Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think the more Tennessee's Vince Young opens his mouth, the more I'd be scared witless if he was the quarterback of the future of my football team. "I didn't want to play no more,'' Young said -- and he meant forever -- Sunday on ESPN, referring to his dark period early last season when the Titans were worried he might harm himself when his football career was headed south.
That's not the first time I've heard Young talk about not wanting to play football anymore. When he missed the plane to Philadelphia as a rookie and got disciplined by coach Jeff Fisher, he went into a funk and had to be talked into even playing in the game against the Eagles. Dude: You're a professional football player. There are ups. There are downs. Face them. Take them.
2. I think you're going to see an announcement soon that Matt Millen is joining Bob Papa in the Thursday night NFL Network booth. Assuming it happens -- and I'm sure it will -- ESPN is getting busted in the chops by this in almost the same way the NFL Network got busted in the chops when Jon Gruden jilted the network for ESPN. The big difference is, Gruden left the network high and dry; Millen will still be doing the work he previously agreed to do for ESPN.
So Millen, assuming the NFL Network agrees to the deal, will work Saturday college games (I hear with either Sean McDonough or Brad Nessler) on ESPN, then the Monday night NFL pregame show. Then he'll add the NFL play-by-play gig.
You might ask why ESPN agreed to allow Millen to do the Thursday night games and beat himself up by giving himself three separate jobs, at least in November. Good question. I'm told it's because he really wanted the Thursday night gig and wouldn't have been a happy ESPN camper had he gotten turned down.
4. I think, speaking of quarterback "controversies,'' did anyone really expect Chris Simms to beat out Kyle Orton for the Denver quarterback, or to even compete with him on an even keel? Simms hasn't started an NFL game in 33 months, and he had a healthy spleen the last time he did, Josh McDaniels dealt for Orton, in part because he was convinced Orton would be more accurate than Simms. None of that changed since the Jay Cutler trade. Orton starting has been pre-ordained for 11 weeks, since the deal got done.
5. I think it will be downright insane if somehow, some way, Plaxico Burress beats the legal system (and please explain to me how he can, based on the eight-month-old charge he faces for discharging an unlicensed, loaded weapon in a public place in Manhattan) for now and is allowed to play football in 2009. It's unfair, and I'd love to know -- as I'm sure Michael Bloomberg would -- how a judge in New York can continue this case yet again so Burress might be allowed to play football at some point in 2009.
6. I think this is a very slippery slope for Roger Goodell. He's on record as being opposed to discipline for a first-time offender until that offender has his case adjudicated in a court of law. So on the surface, he seems bound to have to give Burress his day in court before bouncing him. The mitigating factor here is that it's such an open-and-shut case; Burress has never argued he didn't possess the gun, and he has never argued he didn't fire the gun. But if Goodell lives by his precedent, he'll let Burress play until he's tried. I'm not trying to be a cop here. I'm just saying this continuance for Burress, on all sides, might be legally justifiable. But it stinks. That's the only word for it -- it stinks. The team that makes the most sense for Burress is the Jets, because New York clearly would be the place Burress could tend to both professional and judicial matters the easiest.
8. I think I knew it was getting to be summer vacation for football players yesterday when, after 1 in the afternoon, Kerry Rhodes of the Jets Twittered that he wondered if he should get out of bed yet.
9. I think the next interesting football-related journalistic battle line might be how many clicks NBCSports.com can take away from the field by acquiring profootballtalk.com. Today, NBC will announce it has reached a deal with PFT that will allow the site to exclusively license its content to NBCSports.com. Mike Florio, the dogged founder and writer for the site, is giving up his day job (lawyering) to devote more time to PFT, so NBC could be getting even more valuable content than PFT has been publishing. The move is effective July 1. PFT's best month had 1.7 million unique visitors to the site; that's going to skyrocket now.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. I must be un-American. I hate Sweet Caroline in the bottom of the eighth at Fenway. How'd that dumb song ever get picked as a fan anthem?
b. Jon Lester is pitching pretty well. Of the last 65 batters he's faced, the Boston lefty has allowed four hits and struck out 29. Koufaxian.
c. What a bullpen the Red Sox have. The other night against the mighty Phils, with Papelbon resting after two straight Yankees nights, Boston pitched five relievers in the last six innings, allowing one run and striking out nine. The fifth, Daniel Bard, hit 100-mph on the gun twice and struck out Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth and Shane Victorino for his first save.
d. Have you noticed a lot of baseball players look like they're wearing pajamas, not form-fitting uniforms?
e. Amazing but true in Saturday's New York Times: The Yankees have sold out one game out of the first 30 home games this year at the new Yankee Stadium.
f. How on God's green earth can Washington cut Americorps? It's one of the best federal motivators for kids out of college to give a year of their lives to volunteer with some of the neediest agencies and people in our country. Wake up, Washington.
g. How does Luis Castillo show his face Friday night when the Mets play at home for the first time since the drop? Not just the drop, either ... how about picking up the ball with two Yankees steaming around the bases and throwing it to second instead of throwing it home? Insane.
h. Great hustle, Mark Teixeira. I hope every baseball player from Little League to MLB saw the replay of you scoring from first on that Castillo drop.
i. Coffeenerdness: Settled into a good routine here in Boston at night, working or TV-watching in the last couple of weeks before vacation, and brewing a small pot of Peet's Major Dickason's Blend decaf. That's some great coffee. Sounds like the script for a commercial.
j. Mike McGuire, back in Germany, is beginning to focus on his favorite pastime, the NFL. "Saw a segment on NFL Network about the Rams. I really hope the new coach makes us a defensive team. I believe we have some really good defensive pieces. and Bulger/Jackson are both healthy, hopefully hungry to show everyone that changes can be made in one year. I will be rooting.
"Jay Mohr was on NFL Network yesterday and I had to turn it off, I want news and updates, not jokes. He ruined the show ...
"So you know I was a Drill Sergeant for three years and a Drill Sergeant Leader. My thought is that with all these in-shape super-hard NFL players, we should take a couple of them, work them out and do a two or three day In the Life of a Basic Training Soldier. That would be awesome. I talk with my wife all the time about what I would do to them and see just how good of shape they are in. People would watch that. I know that NFL fans would be interested. Take care ...
"Hey, is Cris Collinsworth ready for the new year? I think he will be awesome. You know what I dug out of my closet the other day? A Collinsworth jersey from when I was a kid, I keep all my jerseys and I had to laugh at how long ago that was.
k. Mike McGuire, NFL Network programmer. You've got a retirement job, Mike.
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