Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think I've been so focused on helping Zim that I've short-shrifted the Dallas scout, Rich Behm, who was paralyzed in the collapse of the Cowboys' practice bubble. The club has set up a trust fund for the children of Behm, who is married, with two young children. Funds can be sent to Bank of America, c/o Shelby Kirksey, 5500 Preston Road, Suite B, Dallas, TX, 75205, payable to "Rich Behm Family Trust Fund.'' Behm is 33.
2. I think if the Saints didn't have bad luck, they'd have no luck at all. In a draft already skinned to the bone because of trades robbing New Orleans of its original second-, third- and fifth-round picks, the team had four choices. And the third of those four, linebacker Stanley Arnoux of Wake Forest, ruptured his Achilles running to the ball in minicamp over the weekend. If I were a free-agent, my agent would be peppering Mickey Loomis with calls now. I'd want in. The Saints are the NFL's land of opportunity now.
3. I think the Rams' release of linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa was about one thing: size. Even though Tinoisamoa led the Rams in tackles four times in his six-year career, new St. Louis coach Steve Spagnuolo needed a bigger body than Tinoisamoa's 225-pound frame to play strongside linebacker in the 4-3.
4. I think that Jimmy Buffett thing with the Dolphins is weird. What's his role? Playing a few songs in the parking lot? I'm amazed the Dolphins have so much trouble selling tickets and haven't been able to build a constant-sellout fan base in South Florida. It's weird. They have a competitive team almost every year, and they beg to sell tickets, and they use stuff like some unclear relationship with an old pop star whose last hit was (I googled this, so apparently it's true) Margaritaville, in 1977.
"It's something I've always dreamt about -- seeing how we can merge Jimmy Buffett and the Dolphins,'' the Dolphins new owner, Steve Ross, told a crowd in south Florida the other day. Wow. That's a heck of a dream. I never heard Eddie DeBartolo say he dreamed of merging Tony Bennett and the 49ers, or Wellington Mara dreaming of merging Bruce Springsteen and the Giants.
I'm not trying to kill Ross here. It's good that he's trying anything he can to market his team to a fan base that doesn't buy enough tickets. I'm just pointing out what a strange reach it is. Stirring lyrics to the song Buffett wrote that the team hopes will become its theme song. "Kickoff time's approaching, we gotta shut off our cell phones, and get our arms up in the air. We are entering the 'FinZone.' ''
5. I think I love the Brian Leonard trade for Cincinnati. The Bengals dealt a journeyman rotational defensive lineman, Orien Harris, for the Rams' second-round pick in 2007, who was a non-factor last year with a shoulder injury that has since healed. I've always thought Leonard was a perfect NFL swing back -- a good-enough blocker to plug in at fullback, a very good pass-catcher, and a good-enough runner to have a 20-carry game three or four times a year and not hurt you.
6. I think I don't have much illuminating to say about Brett Favre, the will-he-or-won't-he man of the moment, because the cake's still in the oven. It's not done yet. Favre has not decided yet whether to play.
A couple of important points: The right biceps near his throwing shoulder isn't right, dating to last year with the Jets. He also has to decide that he'd want to train the way he did two years ago, when he had a live-in trainer for much of two months at his home in southern Mississippi.
I feel sure the Vikings want him and will put up with this long hiccup, regardless of the outcome. If they think he can be healthy come August, and he wants to play, they'll have him. And if Favre feels that by August he could play with no pain in the shoulder -- either after having surgery or it going away naturally -- it's likely he'll play. No matter what is said this week, it's not over now. Even if Favre says he's decided not to play, it's not over, because he's ruled by emotion.
Now, could the Vikings tell him no thanks, unwilling to be held hostage by the emotion of the moment? Yes, of course. But they shouldn't. What Brad Childress should do right now, simply, is tell his quarterbacks Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels, "Look, we're exploring signing Brett Favre. The guy was playing well last year 'til he hurt his arm, and we owe it to the organization to cover our bases here. So just keep working, and I'll keep you posted on what happens.''
Then he should announce that the Vikings are going to give Favre the time he needs to see if he wants to play and can get healthy enough to play, and then the Vikings will see if it's a smart idea for the franchise to make a deal with him, and everyone's just going to have to be patient while this process plays out.
7. I think you might be wondering how two news organizations, Yahoo! Sports and ESPN, could have such disparate stories 24 hours apart last week. Yahoo's report said Favre called Childress and told him he's not playing. ESPN's said Favre will play if his shoulder's right.
Having been around Favre a lot over the last decade, I can tell you why these stories happen, and why there's a very good chance both are correct: Because it's hard for him to make up his mind (no crap, Sherlock!), and he keeps his own counsel a good deal of the time, and there are very few "sources close to Favre'' who have a good idea what he's planning to do at a given moment -- and even then, he could change his mind about what he's likely to do.
Good example: Last year, I sat with him for a few hours five days before he signed with the Jets. It was a discussion about everything -- playing, not playing, venom about the Packers' decision to not allow him to come back or start or release him. And when I walked away from that meeting with him, I remember telling someone who knew I'd been around him, "He's going to play hardball with the Packers for a few weeks, at least. One of the reasons is he doesn't want to go to the two teams that want him -- the Bucs or Jets.'' I told a beat-guy friend of mine covering the story: "He's not going to the Jets.'' Eleven days later, he's posing with a Jets' jersey at a press conference. Moral of the story (painful for me because I'm supposed to know the guy, and I keep getting his fate wrong): Write your stories about Favre with a big eraser on the end of your pencil.
8. I think here are my two cents on the fate of Marvin Harrison: I said in my March 3 column that I thought he'd retire, because he's made $80-$90 million over the last decade or so, and given that he can't get totally healthy and no one wants to guarantee him enough to make another effort worth his while, it was highly unlikely he'd play again. I had a source with knowledge of the situation echo that to me in the past month, that Harrison, though he was still holding out hope that someone might step up and pay him big money, wouldn't get such an offer, and so this source didn't think he would play again.
So in response to a Twitter follower's question about Harrison a week ago, I tweeted that I was told reliably Harrison isn't going to play. His agent, Tom Condon, responded by saying Harrison still planned to play, and he's healthy enough to play.
If I were Harrison's agent, and I was still holding out hope that some team desperate for a veteran receiver (Chicago? Tennessee?) might guarantee my client $5 million to play in 2009, I'd say exactly the same thing -- especially because I'd want to leave no thought in a future employer's head that my client's wheels are healthy enough to play.
Barring a big offer from someone, I'd be surprised if Harrison shows up on anyone's team this summer.
9. I think I agree with Drew Rosenhaus: Darnell Dockett is worth a first-round pick.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. I trust you all had a nice Mother's Day.
b. Happy graduation day, Alex Mortensen.
c. And a happy graduation day to you, six days early, Amanda Bowers. In case you didn't know, your father is looking quite forward to the trip to Charlottesville this weekend. I doubt he'll be playing any pickup basketball down there, though.
d. I'm not going to give you any I-told-you-so reaction to the Manny Ramirez thing. I had no idea he used anything illicit to get big and strong and great, and it's another sad case of a player thinking he's bigger than the game and willing to risk everything for an edge that might help him, but certainly isn't vital to his success, unless he's been doing it for 10 years.
e. And I would also say that Jason Bay, who was traded to Boston when Ramirez got dealt to L.A., is becoming Manny without the selfishness, prima-donnaness and non-respect for the game. Bay hit a home run for the winning runs in a 6-4 win over the Yankees two days before Ramirez got suspended. Bay also hit an RBI double and three-run homer in the same inning in a rout of Cleveland the day Ramirez got suspended, and he hit a three-run homer to spark Boston past Tampa Bay the day after Ramirez got suspended.
f. Coffeenerdness: I'll say this about England: It has to work on its espresso, in a big way.
g. Finally saw The Wrestler. Touching. Gripping. I really feel like the curtain was pulled back on a weird world, and I know a little about wrestling, and wrestlers.
h. Finally saw Gran Torino. And why that was not Picture of the Year, I'll never know. It's a classic I-laughed-I-cried-I-ranted movie. How great was Clint Eastwood? How great was how he conquered the Hmong gang? How great were the Asian brother and sister? Loved, loved the movie.
i. Speaking of getting to know something about a world we know little about: I can't say enough good things about As They See 'Em, Bruce Weber's book about umpires and umpiring. I know I praised it last week, but I finished it the other night -- terrific ending -- and said to myself, "I'd love to illuminate a darkened world the way Bruce Weber did.''
j. Every time I read a British sports section, I feel like there's an inside joke and I'm not in on it.
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