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Monday Morning QB (cont.)

Posted: Monday June 4, 2007 8:54AM; Updated: Friday June 8, 2007 9:52AM
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Quote of the Week I

Eric Wright, who transferred from USC to UNLV, was selected by the Browns in the third round.
Eric Wright, who transferred from USC to UNLV, was selected by the Browns in the third round.
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"I asked him why he was late for camp and he said, 'I had to attend the funeral of my friend who got shot in the face.' These kids are dealing with one to three murders a week or every couple of weeks. We have to get these young kids going to graduations and proms and not funerals. I talked to the team about the importance of all of us making sure that we provide those opportunities for kids.''
-- New York Jets coach Eric Mangini, who held his annual football camp (for more than 800 kids) in his hometown of Hartford last weekend, on a middle school kid who was late to the camp session last year.

Quote of the Week II

"I wasn't worried about going to UNLV and not being scouted. The NFL scouts everywhere. If you played on Mars, they'd find you.''
-- Cleveland second-round pick Eric Wright, who left USC for Nevada-Las Vegas in 2005 after sexual-assault and drug charges. He he had two trouble-free years at UNLV and was picked by the Browns in the draft.

Quote of the Week III

"Even though he already ranks fifth all-time in touchdown reception -- with 101 -- he would never get this selector's vote for the Hall of Fame, no matter what he does from here on out. Anyone who makes the statement, 'I play when I want to play' (Moss did during his Vikings tenure) should never be put in the same category as players such as Walter Payton, Mike Singletary, Jim Kelly.''
-- Buffalo News NFL beat writer Mark Gaughan, one of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's 40 selectors, on transplanted New England wide receiver Randy Moss.

Quote of the Week IV

"I still have the taste of a snowball in the face. As far as I'm concerned, everything that came before is history. I draw the curtain on that. All I want to know is what we're going to do about the memory of that snowball.''
-- New Orleans assistant head coach Joe Vitt, telling the New Orleans Times Picayune he can't forget the decisive loss at Chicago in the NFC title game.

Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me

Butch Davis didn't part company with the Cleveland Browns with lots of handshakes and warm wishes. That makes one of his signings in his first recruiting class at the University of North Carolina quite notable.

Matt Merletti, who rushed for 1,113 yards at St. Ignatius High in Cleveland last fall, will enroll at North Carolina this summer to get a head start on college life and his Tar Heels football career. He's the son of Browns chief administrative officer Lew Merletti, the former head of the Secret Service who oversaw security for three presidents ... and who was the security-meister for the Browns when Davis coached there.

Stat of the Week I

The NFL Draft was watched on television -- for at least a moment -- by 38 million people in America.

Stat of the Week II

Houston first-round pick Amobi Okoye turns 20 on June 10 -- the same day I turn 50. This means Okoye will go through mini-camps, a full training camp, a full regular season and most of the next offseason without being able to walk into a bar in Houston and say, "I'll have a Coors Light, please.''

Aggravating/Enjoyable Travel Note of the Week

Eight observations about the family vacation in Italy:

1. Never have I been much of a wine guy, but staying in Tuscany, in the region that specializes in Chianti, I certainly have a bigger appreciation and affection for very good wine, and an understanding of what makes it good. Not sure, though, if I'm suited for drinking wine at every meal after breakfast. But I do like climbing up some incredibly rural dirt road and stumbling on a castle or ancient villa with a sign inviting you in for a wine and olive-oil tasting.

2. We stayed just outside of Greve, the unofficial capital of Tuscany. If you're ever driving through and want the best thin-crust pizza you've ever tasted, go to Pizzeria La Cantina in the center of town and order the pizza salsiccia -- pizza with wild-boar sausage. So light. My only regret is we got to the place only three times.

3. Got a good mystery writer for you: Harlan Coben. Read two of his Jersey-based crime novels. The Promise was especially riveting.

4. Before my vacation began, I asked NBC boss Dick Ebersol which show I should download to my IPod. "Friday Night Lights,'' he said without hesitation. I took him up on it, downloading all of season one, and he's right. The parenting stuff in there is as good as the football stuff. Better, really. One question for the Life Gods: Why didn't I ever play for Coach Taylor -- at something, anything?

5. You know what's great about dinner in small towns in Italy? You sit there and talk, and you make an effort to communicate and smile and ask the waiter or waitress what's good. Then at the end of the meal you're ready to go, and the waiter begs you to stay, as our guy did at LaCantina. And here comes the Vin Santo (dessert wine), the Limoncello and the cake, and -- oh wait -- the biscotti follows 10 minutes later with coffee. And you look on the bill, and there is no record of anything after dinner.

6. Driving in Italy: You're never lost for long. Eventually you'll see a sign pointing you to the town you're going to, or one you're quasi-aiming for.

7. The one Italian thing I am now addicted to: olive oil.

8. Memo to Snoreman in seat 38G on the eight-hour Air France flight from Paris to Newark the other day: Dude, you've got a problem. People in four languages were calling you every name in the book and jostling you, trying to get you to wake up because you sounded like a sledgehammer. Easier to climb Kilimanjaro, though.

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