Posted: Monday July 24, 2006 10:00AM; Updated: Wednesday July 26, 2006 2:46PM
Ten Things I Think I Think
Koren Robinson caught 22 passes for 347 yards in 14 games for the Vikings last season.
1. I think it's reasonable to wonder if the Bengals are running an NFL franchise or a state pen.
2. I think what worries me the most about the Minnesota Vikings is hearing that head coach Brad Childress thinks Koren Robinson will be a fine No. 1 receiver. Sheesh. I know he has to say all the right things about his team, but that hardly gets the folks in Duluth and Fargo and Pierre all fired up about the season up there in the north country.
3. I think it's getting hairy for Army First Sgt. Mike McGuire, the leader of a platoon scouting for man-made explosive devices throughout Iraq and a friend of this column, as these two recent e-mails show:
June 28, 2:33 a.m.: "Well, we got hit, but everyone is OK. We were conducting our mounted movement patrols. I was in the lead vehicle followed by an APC (Armored Personnel Carrier) and then another Wheel Vehicle that my platoon leader was in. As we were going down the highway heading home for the day, I suddenly heard a loud explosion and saw a cloud of dust. The vehicle behind me had been hit by an IED. All I heard across the radio was a bunch of curse words. I thought for sure they were hurt bad.
"We stopped our convoy, then from the cloud of dust comes this vehicle rolling on three flat tires, windows cracked and leaking fluids everywhere. The vehicle kept moving and we rolled back to camp on that vehicle. The driver of that vehicle, Spec. Regusci, said that as we were traveling they were hit. As the explosion hit, PFC Jewell, who is the Machine Gunner for that vehicle, was blown down into the vehicle and the passenger in the rear was knocked unconscious. The inside of the vehicle was filled with smoke and gravel from the explosion. Regusci looked and heard Jewell moaning and the other guy unconscious. Regusci asks Jewell if he is all right and Jewell replies yes. So Regusci yells at him to stop being a %#@$^& and get back up in the hole with the weapon. Instantly, PFC Jewell gets back up in the gunners hatch ready to fire.
"The platoon leader and Regusci are two crazy guys, and as they roll by me in their torn-up vehicle they are both laughing and saying what a rush that was. We made it the last leg home in that vehicle. What a close call.... Last time you wrote, you said your wife said hi. Make sure you say hi to her. And thank everyone for their prayers. They must be working. We're alive. My wife had a good idea to throw at you. She says why don't you come to Germany when we return and see the Homecoming for the Task Force. It would be awesome and you could meet my guys. Just a thought.''
July 21, 1:36 a.m. (Headline: "THINGS ARE CRAZY IN RAMADI"): "Been awhile since last I wrote, but things have been really crazy here in Ramadi. Every day we are finding IEDs, getting small-arms fire or something.
"Well, since last time I wrote, my platoon has done the biggest demolition mission of my 13-year career. While working with the infantry we found two houses that were being used as safe houses to make IEDs and roadside bombs. So as combat engineers, we got to destroy both houses using C-4 explosives. Man, it was so awesome to see those two houses go up in smoke at the same time. What a sight.
"I can't wait to talk to you in person or on the phone and explain all the things we have done over here. I am not very good at writing to explain things. Yesterday, while I was out on patrol along the highway, we noticed a tire on the road. After further inspection we saw that it was filled with sand and had a Coke can on top. We stopped traffic in both directions and I told my gunner (SPC Brazinsky) to shoot the tire. As soon as he fired and hit the tire, it exploded and put a 4-foot-by-3-foot deep gap in the highway. If we would have hit that it would have done some serious damage to us. This place is Hell on Earth, if there is one.
"The vehicles we ride in have no air-conditioning. The heat outside is 114 degrees. Now, get in the vehicle with the engine heat blowing on you and that adds about 20 degrees easily. My watch read 124 degrees in the vehicle. We sweat so much, our uniforms are soaked. It looks like we just got out of the shower with them on. Anyway, the men stay focused and do a hell of a job. We have taken zero casualties in my platoon and I thank God for that every day.
"Just finished reading All Things Possible by (my hero) Kurt Warner. What a book. It inspired me and still does. I started reading And the Last Shall Be First by Warner yesterday. We'll see how that one goes. Well, take care, tell everyone I said hello.... Want my early picks for the Super Bowl? Just because it's fun to predict, I say Cowboys vs. Steelers.''
4. I think we'll never hear the real truth about this story, unless we get it 10 miles off the record, and even then it'll be homogenized. The two defensive leaders of the Dolphins are Zach Thomas and Jason Taylor. Taylor and Thomas' sister, Katina, are getting a divorce after six years of marriage. How will the players react to the situation, working side by side for the next five months? Great story, but we'll never hear it.