1. I think, as it is every year, the most overplayed story entering training camp is the first-round-holdout story. As of this morning, 26 of 32 first-rounders are in the fold, with Dan Williams (Arizona) and Jerry Hughes (Indianapolis) on the verge of signing deals, likely today.
The reason angst over these things is silly can be seen in the Hughes negotiations. The Colts have their first practice today at 8:30 a.m. in Anderson, Ind. Most often, contract negotiations are deadline deals, and so why would anyone get too exercised over a contract not being done before practice begins? I'll say what I've said about these things forever: The only time a contract holdout is truly damaging is when it's a player the team is counting on to play a key role in year one, and when it's at a position where catching up is going to be very hard -- as in quarterback.
It killed Akili Smith's rookie year, and maybe his career, a decade ago in Cincinnati. It hurt Andre Smith's rookie year in Cincinnati, but that's as much because he came to camp out of shape and overweight last year. Short holdouts are rarely kill shots to a player's rookie season.
2. I think Ricky Williams is the best running back on the Dolphins. Think about how amazing that is. He's 33. He's carried the ball 401 times the last two years. And watching practice Sunday at Dolphins camp, I saw a spry, still-explosive back working as hard as rookies. It'll be very interesting to see if Miami tries to re-sign him after this year. Both he and Ronnie Brown are set to be free agents next winter.
3. I think Albert Haynesworth thinks Mike Shanahan's being unfair to him by forcing him to pass this conditioning test. I don't agree. Shanahan has two gate-keeping ways for players to be admitted to training camp. They can either participate in 50 percent or more of the offseason workouts at the Redskins' facility. Or they can complete a conditioning test.
For linemen, the test consists of two 300-yard shuttles (running 25 yards back and forth six times). The first 300-yard shuttle must be run in 70 seconds. Then the player gets a three-and-half-minute break. The second shuttle must be run in 73 seconds. Most teams have conditioning tests something (but not exactly) like this. The bottom line is if Haynesworth were in tip-top shape, he'd pass it. I think if a player has made $35 million in the past 16 months, he ought to be in tip-top shape entering camp.
4. I think the Broncos just might be regretting dealing J.J. Arrington to the Eagles. If you hadn't heard, both top running backs, Knowshon Moreno and Correll Buckhalter, were hurt on the first weekend of camp.
5. I think it's looking like a Maryland Tweetup on Aug. 18 -- either in Westminster, site of the Ravens' training camp, or in Baltimore. Hang in for further details. I'll let you know the deal on Twitter @SI_PeterKing when I get it worked out sometime this week.
6. I think if you'd like to come and heckle me at one of my remaining stops, bring it on. My schedule:
Today: Tampa Bay (but leaving early for NBC "Football Night in America'' meeting in New York)
Tuesday: San Diego.
Wednesday: San Francisco (Santa Clara, Calif.).
Thursday: Arizona (Flagstaff, Ariz.).
Saturday: St. Louis (intrasquad scrimmage).
Sunday: Chicago (Bourbonnais, Ill.).
Aug. 9: Indianapolis (Anderson, Ind.).
Aug. 11: New Orleans (Providence, R.I., before preseason game at Pats).
Aug. 13: New York Jets (Cortland, N.Y.).
Aug. 14: New York Giants (Albany, N.Y.).
Aug. 15: Philadelphia (Bethlehem, Pa.).
Aug. 16: Pittsburgh (Latrobe, Pa.).
Aug. 17: Washington (Ashburn, Va.).
Aug. 18: Baltimore (Westminster, Md.).
Aug. 26: New England (home preseason game vs. Rams)
Other games TBA
7. I think I've got bus envy. I want a bus for this trip next year. In fact, I know I do. I figured that out while waiting four hours for my 36-minute flight from Atlanta to Greenville, S.C., the other night, after I figured I could have driven to and back from Greenville in the time I was drinking at the Atlanta airport hotel bar. I also think I probably won't get a bus -- unless John Madden decides to chauffeur me around.
8. I think I'll start worrying about Darrelle Revis missing summer practices around Labor Day. At the same time, Revis missing camp is exactly the kind of thing that happens when you have 36 stars on your team, many of whom think they're underpaid, as stars often do. When the Jets decided to build a team that led the league in Q rating, this was the kind of thing they knew could happen.
9. I think, at the end of the day, what dooms the Revis talks from a soft-landing of a resolution is the $15-million-a-year deal Nnamdi Asomugha got 16 months ago. Revis is a better player who had a better 2009 season than any other corner in football. So if you're Revis, you ask, "Why would I take a dime less than Asomugha?'' If you're the Jets, you say, "Apples and oranges. You've got three years left on your contract, and Asomugha was a free-agent.'' And so it goes.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. Welcome back to the ranks of the employed, David Elfin. The ace ex-Redskins beat man will now cover the NFC East for AOL Fanhouse.
b. Those who heard it said Ed Werder gave one heck of a eulogy at the Friday funeral for ESPN producer Leah Siegel in Dallas. She died at 43 of breast cancer. Kudos to the Broncos, Packers, Redskins and Saints for remembering Leah with floral arrangements.
c. The Dallas Morning News' had this powerful Sunday story on Leah Siegel.
d. Found myself in the same hotel Sunday night, the SpringHill Suites in Tampa, where I stayed for my spring-training trip with my two brothers and brother-in-law. Eerie feeling, thinking back on the great time we had and Bob now being gone.
e. Palms getting a little sweaty, A-Rod?
f. Can't believe I didn't eat a four-way at Skyline last week in the Cincinnati environs. Miss that culinary delight.
g. Experience four innings of Gwinnett Braves baseball the other night. A fun place. I counted 34 beers on tap, and came up with the reality of what successful minor-league baseball is. At a good minor-league game, the ticket price really is a cover charge. For farm-team owners, isn't minor-league ball really all about the concessions?
h. That airport in Lexington, Ky., is beautiful. Clean. Very horse-conscious. No long lines, even at rush-hour times.
i. That Rick Pitino story gives me the creeps. Triple creeps.
j. Coffeenerdness: Back to my two triple grande hazelnut lattes on this road trip. Have mercy on me. The schedule's fun, but it's a killer.
k. I think I've settled on the half-marathon I'm going to do, as my punishment for saying something really dumb last winter about Terrell Owens. (I said if Owens signed with the Bengals, I'd run an ultra-marathon. He signed with the Bengals. I'm not running 50 miles. As you probably can figure, I would die on the course. Face it: I'd crawl to run 20. But I'm running five now, twice a week, so I think I can work myself up to 13.1.)
The New Hampshire Half-Marathon is Oct. 2, a Saturday morning, in Bristol, N.H. Let's try to figure out a good charity to benefit me trying to do something I may have no business doing. Send your ideas to either firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SI_PeterKing. I'll probably do something different than the USO this time, just because we've helped them quite a bit to this point. But I'll let you readers decide.
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