Media Day Snap Judgments: Saints' Shockey sets record straight; more
Jeremy Shockey and Dwight Freeney were 'must-hears' during media day
Don't expect Colt rookie quarterback Curtis Painter to be running the option
Roman Harper gave the P.C. answer regarding the Saints and their underdog role
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Musings, observations and the occasional insight from Super Bowl media day at Sun Life Stadium, which was almost refreshingly tame by recent theater of the absurd standards ...
If I had to hand out a least convincing actor award on media day, Saints tight end Jeremy Shockey would take home the statue with virtually no competition. I spent the first 20 minutes or so of the Saints' media-day session at Shockey's table, and for most of that time, he tried to assure us he felt not an ounce of bitterness two years ago when forced to miss the Giants' historic Super Bowl upset of New England due to the broken leg he suffered late that season.
Could have fooled me. Then again, not really. Shockey's recounting of his behavior of two years ago had me thinks he doth protest too much.
"I didn't get to play in the big game, as all you guys know, with the former team I was with,'' said Shockey, strangely avoiding the word Giants.
Right. We knew that much. What we didn't know until Tuesday was that Shockey wasn't upset at the Giants for how he perceived they treated him once he was placed on the injury reserve list, which is what we were led to believe at the time. Shockey said more than once that he was merely upset about the pain in his leg. Not the fact that Giants officials wouldn't allow him to be on the sideline during New York's 17-14 upset of the unbeaten Patriots, or any other real or imagined slights.
"Breaking a bone in your leg is not a good feeling,'' Shockey said. "Everyone thought I was bitter because our team was winning. But I was still excited for our guys. I think the media pointed it out and made it out to me being upset at my team, because of something, I don't know what. But I was upset at just the fact I couldn't play in a game of that nature after all the hard work I put in.''
No doubt missing the Super Bowl would be a crushing disappointment for any player, especially a veteran like Shockey who had never before made it to the NFL's biggest game. But if Shockey wasn't doing some pouting two years ago this month, then he was doing one heck of an impersonation of someone who was. I think we all know that much is true.
"It was just hard watching for the fact I had pain in my leg and I was on crutches,'' said Shockey, who watched that Super Bowl from one of the Giants ownership suites at University of Phoenix Stadium. "But I had no pain after they won the game, I promise you that. I was really fine, it was a great feeling. I didn't get to celebrate with my teammates, but they much deserved everything they had.
"It was definitely a tough, tough, depressing couple months, being in a cast, rehab, and watching every commercial of David Tyree's catch and wanting to be there. But by good fortune and hard work, I'm back in the same situation and I'm playing in this game. I'm going to play this game like it's my last game.''
Listened long and hard to Dwight Freeney first thing in the Colts' media hour, and tried to read between the lines and every tea leaf available. Bottom line is this: I didn't exactly get the feeling he's hopeful of making anything other than a token appearance at something considerably less than 100 percent on Sunday night.
"We definitely have some recovery to go,'' the Colts leading pass rusher said. Freeney went on to add the following sound bites about the most over-covered body part in this entire Super Bowl:
-- "There's some pain in there.''
Does that sound like a guy who thinks he's playing in the Super Bowl to you? Me either. And if he does play, I can't see him having his trademark burst and quickness in the pass rush, the one that makes Dwight Freeney, Dwight Freeney. Stay tuned, of course, but I can't see where the Colts are counting on No. 93 for much help at all against the New Orleans offense.
Unsurprisingly on media day, Saints running back Reggie Bush had to endure a few questions about his celebrity girlfriend, Kim Kardashian.
"I'm willing to bet she'll be shown on TV,'' Bush said, meaning during the game on Sunday. "I would say more [than usual], especially if I score a touchdown.''
We also learned Tuesday that Bush is something of a neat freak at home, and likes to vacuum frequently.
"I don't like a dirty house,'' he said. "And I've got this white carpet, and I have a dog, so I do like to vacuum a lot.''
Someone tried to work in a few football questions at that point, but this clearly wasn't the day for it. Bush's next questioner wanted to know if it was true he takes longer to get dressed than most women? At first I thought he looked hurt, but then No. 25 rolled with it.
"You know appearance is everything,'' Bush said. "I don't like to just throw on clothes and mismatch them. I like to make sure I look presentable any time I'm in public. I think it's important. I represent myself, my family and the Saints every time I step out in public.
"And I sometimes do take a little longer to get dressed than a woman, yes.''
I swung by Colts rookie backup quarterback Curtis Painter to ask him if he's had any nightmares yet about a Colt McCoy doomsday scenario unfolding in the Super Bowl -- with Peyton Manning going down early in the game with an injury, a'la Texas's McCoy in the BCS national championship game?
"I know one thing, we're not going to be doing any quarterback options or anything like that,'' Painter said, referencing the type of play McCoy hurt his throwing shoulder on, five snaps into the game. "So as far as that exact scenario, I think we're safe for now.''
I don't quite get the wager, but Colts safety Melvin Bullitt and Colts linebacker Clint Session showed up at media day sporting what you would call modest Mohawk haircuts. It seems that Bullitt and Session bet that if the Colts made the Super Bowl, they had to both get Mohawks. So, one of them bet against their own team? I don't get it.
"This is the Mohawk,'' Session said, running his hand over the slightly elevated swath of hair in the middle of his head. "It's not one of those vintage Mohawks like Mr. T. It's got a little modern blend to it. But yeah, this is the Mohawk. I lost a bet. I've got to be a man of my word.''
Quote of the day, part I: From Shockey, when asked if he'll have a big role in this week's Saints game plan?
"It comes out [Wednesday], so I don't want to give you any premeditated Nostradamus predictions here.''
There's no bigger non-story at this year's Super Bowl than Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams last week telling a Nashville radio station that he coaches his guys to hand out "remember-me hits'' to every quarterback they play. Which this week is Peyton Manning.
A defensive coordinator telling his players to keep hitting the quarterback? Ground-breaking.
"It was just kind of a tongue-and-cheek thing that caught a lot of attention,'' Williams said Tuesday, probably for the umpteenth time. "It doesn't ever bother me if it takes some of the stress off them and puts it on me. I don't play, and if I can do some things that maybe help them out a little bit and divert some of the attention from them, that's OK. It was meant in that regard, and it was meant in honesty.''
A Super Bowl-related fact I did not know until Tuesday: Williams, the former Redskins coordinator, carries a medallion around in his pocket at all times. It has a picture of Redskins safety Sean Taylor on it. Taylor was shot and killed by home intruders in December 2007, and Williams was his coach in Washington.
"He was my favorite player and he passed away on my watch,'' Williams said.
* Colts rookie receiver Austin Collie did a two-year Mormon mission to Buenos Aires in 2005-07, and he said he didn't even watch the Super Bowl for the two years he was in South America.
But the BYU standout had just returned to the states in time to catch the Colts' last Super Bowl win in Miami, three years ago, against the Bears.
"I saw the Colts win,'' Collie told me. "I got back January 11 . Devin Hester took one back, the first kickoff, right?''
Right you are, A.C. But Collie said he has no first-hand memory of either Pats-Eagles in 2005, or Steelers-Seahawks in 2006. Don't know if that's a plus or a minus.
Quote of the day, part II: From Saints safety Roman Harper, asked if New Orleans was embracing its underdog role?
"I don't know that we embrace it, but we've got to take it. We understand the Colts have been here and there's a reason we're the underdogs. This is our first time here as a team. They've been here and done this before.''
Smart answer, Roman. And he didn't even once reach for the ultra-tired no-respect angle.
* Colts kicker Matt Stover broke into the NFL with Cleveland in 1990, and didn't reach his first Super Bowl until his 11th season, in Baltimore in 2000. Now, after going to the big game in the first season of his NFL decade, he's back for the bookend trip, capping the 2009 season.
"It does give you an appreciation for this game,'' said Stover, 42. "In fact, I've been able to say that to a lot of the guys: 'Look guys, it may take another 10 years for this organization to get back. Do you understand that? And maybe you won't be in the league. So you take care of the business now, because this game doesn't happen very often for players.' ''
And then Stover added a killer caveat: "Unless you're Adam Vinatieri.''
Colts receiver Reggie Wayne got the legacy question Tuesday at media day: If Indy wins its second Super Bowl in a four-year span, with all the accomplishments the franchise has notched in recent years, will the Colts be one of the best teams of all time?
"We all have our theories, but to be honest with you, I feel like we're there already,'' Wayne said. "But I mean, who am I? All we can do is win games, win as many games as we possibly can.
"But if we do win this game, I feel like it's one step closer to being one of those teams with those asterisks by them, as being one of the best. If we take care of that, then we'll sit back and see.''
In this age of the Patriots' Spygate saga, I don't think Wayne really meant to say "asterisks,'' but I got his point.
My final few lingering thoughts on Super Bowl media day:
-- I didn't see Colts president Bill Polian in attendance. Maybe that was his way of protesting Indy having to send its Pro Bowl players down to Miami Sunday night for TV purposes only.
-- Sun Life Stadium was home to the first Super Bowl media day ever held indoors. Gotta be God's sense of humor when it comes to stadium naming rights.
-- If the Colts win Sunday night, does Edgerrin James get another ring?
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