Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think Colt McCoy and Tim Tebow aren't done being under the microscope of teams. They'll be checked out and interviewed and pulled apart in the next three days by teams trying to get some final answers on them. I think they'll be drafted between 22 and 45.
2. I think Jon Gruden should have a new reality show -- and I'm serious. "Developing Quarterbacks With an Acerbic Tongue,'' starring Gruden, Colt McCoy and Jimmy Clausen.
Gruden's show the other night on ESPN -- "SportsCenter Special: Gruden's QB Camp'' -- was beyond good, and informative. I've been around him when he's teaching and coaching (a couple of times, he's been teaching me), and the four top quarterbacks in the draft recently sat with him individually and watched tape. Jimmy Clausen, ultra-confident, also looked like a worker bee, writing down everything Gruden said. McCoy was so ticked at himself for hanging onto the ball too long on the pocket (and well he should be). Gruden was in his element, and I'd strongly recommend the network figure out some way to brand him and do these things again. Often.
3. I think there was a good reminder about contract data over the weekend from ProFootballTalk.com's Mike Florio, regarding the five-year, $47.3-million contract for Brandon Marshall with the Dolphins, which was widely reported as a $10-million-a-year deal. Wrote Florio: "The full contract is worth $47.3 million over five years. It contains a phony $2.7 million roster bonus payable in 2014 -- but only if Marshall participates in 95 percent or more of the Dolphins' special teams plays in 2010. Why would this be included? To allow Marshall and his agent to characterize the contract as a package worth $10 million per year. Truth be told, it's worth $9.46 million annually.''
4. I think the no-duh statement of the week comes from new Jet Santonio Holmes, on who is at fault for him testing positive for substance abuse and getting a four-game NFL suspension, which he'll serve in the first four weeks of the 2010 season. Said Holmes: "I can't fault anybody but myself for putting myself in that position.'' No kidding. No one else imbibed in whatever your substance of choice was.
5. I think the second-round pick that's going to be a home run, other than Colt McCoy, is Golden Tate, the Notre Dame wide receiver. I've heard the knocks on him -- not a quick-twitch guy, a little tight in the hips (his three-cone-drill time is just an eyelash better than Ndamukong Suh). What I say to that is: Watch the tape. I did a few days ago, re-watching on coaches' tape a game I'd seen last fall on TV, Notre Dame-USC. Tate was physical in catching and hanging onto a bomb from Jimmy Clausen despite getting clocked. He has good hands and catches well in traffic; I saw some Hines Ward in him. He's a legit 4.4 guy. He'd be a great get for Matt Cassel and the Chiefs at 36. He would also be reunited with his college coach, Charlie Weis, K.C.'s new offensive coordinator.
6. I think I'd like to give Houston tackle Eric Winston a hand. Join me in congratulating him on a magnanimous gesture. Winston saw we were $1,130 short of $200,000 for our "Five For Fighting'' campaign -- I asked readers to donate $5 to the USO for recreation equipment for far-flung military platoons and companies in Iraq and Afghanistan -- and he wrote a check to the USO for $1,130. Why'd he do it?
"To be honest,'' he said, "I'm not really sure. Well, that's not true. The troops are the bravest people I can think of. They get paid minimally to get sent into a land full of people that could possibly kill them. And most of them volunteer for it! I honestly can't imagine signing up for that. What would it be like to be over there? What is it like to know that each day you fall asleep was a good day, and each day you wake up has a chance to be your last? When I first heard about your idea I thought it was great. It was a chance to give the troops an escape. For however many hours or minutes in a week they might get to get away from it all and throw a football around, shoot some hoops, or play a video game ... I'd want to help people in that position.''
Heck of a gesture. For the record, SI also threw $1,000 into the pot (thanks, bosses), and we finished just over $200,000, with enough money to send 10 platoons/companies the USO-in-a-box kits that help the troops in their down time.
7. I think, 12 years after he was taken number two overall by San Diego, Ryan Leaf might finally be turning his life around ... and this comes courtesy of a sentence for 10 years' probation and a $20,000 fine for smuggling prescription drugs across the border from Canada. He spoke to KJR in Seattle (sent my way by sportsradiointerviews.com) about being off pain meds for the past 17 months, and he sounded like a different guy from the one lots of people in the NFL remember.
Leaf said after his career ended, "I continued to take them, and then I all of a sudden realized I was just taking them to take them, and at night to get to sleep. And I wasn't in pain anymore, or at least I didn't know if I was in pain anymore. It was just a way for me to ... I completely recoiled, I became anti-social, isolated, and it just takes away all the bad feelings. You know, all the criticisms of why you weren't a great quarterback, or how you let down your university, or how you let down so and so, or your family. It was a way to cope, a coping mechanism just like any other addict has.''
Leaf blamed much of his failure in the NFL on losing begetting more losing. "I had never lost and I didn't know how to handle it,'' he said. "I didn't handle it well. I had never lost at anything, and when we started to fail, I proceeded to act like I always had and that was to be defensive and protect myself the only way I knew how. And that was to be as defensive and as strong as possible and do everything myself. And that just doesn't work at that level.
"You just can't. You need help, you need people around you, and I totally failed at that part. I just wasn't ready to fail and I didn't know how to do it. It makes you grow up in a hurry. My wrist was done [severely injured] in four years and I couldn't compete at the level that I could anymore. But I was just so beat up. I was tired of being beat up by everybody that I just wanted to run and hide from it, because I wasn't going to be able to compete at the level I needed to compete at, and I was just tired of being beat up.''
8. I think we're picking up some momentum on our New England Locker Room Luncheon to benefit the Matt Light Foundation (he specializes in helping at-risk teens) and the Greater Boston Food Bank, two causes Light and I have a deep interesting in helping. Matt and I will be joined by emerging-star teammate Julian Edelman and star scribe Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston, to take you inside the Patriots and hopefully inside the lives of pro football players. We'll cover the rest of the league too.
The luncheon is at Davio's at Patriot Place in Foxboro, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on May 11. We're selling 30 seats for $1,000 apiece, and for that grand you'll get your picture taken with Light and Edelman, autographs galore, and some quality football talk. (Promise.) For ticket information, or to place your reservation, contact Margrette Mondillo at firstname.lastname@example.org. Pass along the info to Pats' fans or fans of the game if you know someone who might be interested.
9. I think it is not news -- or shouldn't be -- when Jerry Jones, apparently tipsy, talks to a cellphone-toter who doesn't say he's going to publicize the Jones video. It wouldn't be for me. Now, many of you have Tweeted me or e-mailed to say, "What about the reporting of Jerry at the league meetings years ago when he was into the wine and talked about 500 coaches being able to do the job Jimmy Johnson did?''
Here's the difference between this week's story and the 16-year-old story that led to the Jones-Johnson divorce: Rick Gosselin and Ed Werder, two of the reporters who heard Jones through the firewater that night at the league meetings in Orlando in 1994, didn't report anything immediately. Rather, they went to see Jones the next morning at 9 to quiz him on the record about what he'd said, and Jones said it was all fair game. Sorry. I wasn't taught in journalism school to ambush-quote newsmakers after midnight, and after four glasses of wine. And if that's the way the business is going, I'll find something else to do, thanks.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. Someone explain to me why, if there's an ash cloud over northern Europe from the Iceland volcano, airplanes can't fly south and get to central Europe that way, thereby avoiding the ash particles than can ruin jet engines.
b. I expect I'll get a few answers to that. I'm not trying to be a wise guy -- I truly don't know.
c. How sad, the dozens of runners stranded in Europe who can't get to the starting line of the Boston Marathon this morning.
d. Mike Cameron and Marco Scutaro were supposed to be Paul Blair and Mark Belanger. They look like aging has-beens for the Red Sox in the first two weeks.
e. Coffeenerdness: I've been slow in recommending a really good cup of coffee that's right up my alley -- dark and full of flavor, no acidity: Blind Bean Blend, a French roast-Colombian mix. My buddy Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel forwarded it to me graciously right after the season. I would recommend you do it if only to see one of the coolest coffee logos on the planet. Interesting story of an Iowa man who went blind and still followed his dream of becoming a coffee-roaster. I wouldn't put him in this space if the coffee were swill, and it's really good.
f. I know what I'll do first thing Thursday morning. Click on dallasnews.com and check my mock draft against Rick Gosselin's. He's fantastic. Always has been. Later check mine and Gosselin's against that of SI.com's Don Banks, who, in addition to filing his final mock late Thursday morning, will also have a mock draft of the second round on Friday morning.
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