-- St. Louis rookie tight end Michael Hoomanawanui, explaining to me the correct pronunciation of his last name in the locker room Thursday night.
Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo calls him "Illinois Mike,'' because, as he says, "I have no chance at that name.'' He'll have to call him something. Hoomanawanui caught two touchdown passes against the Patriots and has been one of the big stars of Rams training camp.
If you're doing a Rams game on TV or radio this fall, media folks, he's not the only rookie tight end with a weird handle. Illinois Mike was drafted in the fifth round. Fendi Onobun went off the board in round six, and he has a bright future too.
"I feel good. If I can bounce back from this, what a book it'll be for my kids.''
-- Seattle running back Leon Washington, who started for the Seahawks Saturday night as he tried to rebound from a grotesque broken leg suffered last year while playing for the Jets against Oakland.
"Stylez is my Allen Iverson ... We're going to tolerate him 'til we can replace him.''
-- Tampa Bay coach Raheem Morris, on his tough-to-coach defensive end with the manufactured name, Stylez G. White.
"Let him open up his friggin' pizza shop in the Bronx and leave me alone.''
-- Jets special teams coach Mike Westhoff, on the HBO show Wednesday night, on oft-injured special-teamer Brashton Satele.
In other words: I can't trust this guy to stay healthy or to play competently, so please, Mike Tannenbaum, get him out of my sight.
Anyone else find this weird? Bill Belichick, with 163 victories in 15 seasons, is 14th on the all-time NFL coaching wins list.
Coaches 11 through 13 are all Hall of Famers (Joe Gibbs 171, Paul Brown 170, Bud Grant 168).
Coaches 6 through 10 are all not Hall of Famers (Marty Schottenheimer 205, Dan Reeves 201, Chuck Knox 193, Bill Parcells 183 and Mike Holmgren 174).
Of course, because coaches aren't eligible until five years after their final year on the sideline, Holmgren and Schottenheimer can't be in yet. Holmgren will be eligible in 2014, Schottenheimer in 2012. Parcells was eligible before the waiting-period rule went into effect, and four years he fell short of selection. Parcells, like Schottenheimer, will be up in 2012.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame Seniors Committee -- a five-member sub-panel of the 44-member selection group -- met in Canton Wednesday and emerged with two candidates for election to the Hall in February 2011: former Washington linebacker Chris Hanburger -- a nine-time Pro Bowl pick and five-year defensive signal-caller for coach George Allen -- and former Rams guard/linebacker/kicker Les Richter.
You'd have to be in your 60s to remember Richter, who last played pro football in 1962. You might actually know him as the former director of operations for NASCAR. He died in June.
But he goes down in history for being the man in the most interesting trade in NFL history. In 1951, the struggling New York Yankees of the NFL finished 1-9-2 and were on the brink of insolvency. With the second pick in the 1952 draft, the Yanks picked Richter, a big college star from the University of California. But owner Ted Collins soon sold the franchise back to the league, which assigned the franchise to Dallas. And in June 1952, the Texans traded Richter to the Los Angeles Rams for 11 players: running backs Dick Hoerner, Billy Bagget, Dave Anderson and Dick McKissack; defensive backs Tom Keane and George Sims; offensive linemen Aubrey Phillips, Joe Reid and Jack Halliday, linebacker Vic Vasicek and two-way end Richard Wilkins.
Four running backs!
The best player Dallas got back was Keane. Though the Texans folded in mid-1953 and were relocated to Baltimore the next year, Keane played superbly in those two moving-van seasons, with 10 interceptions in 1952 and 11 in 1953, when he was voted one of two all-pro safeties.
Back to Richter. Imagine you're the Rams, and you deal 11 players for this one player -- and then Richter tells you he's enlisting in the military. That's what he did, serving two years in the Army before taking the field, finally, for Los Angeles in 1954. He played nine years, eight of them ending in Pro Bowl nods.
Interesting that this wasn't the biggest NFL deal in the fifties. In 1953, Cleveland and Baltimore made a 15-player trade. One of the Browns traveling to Baltimore: defensive back Don Shula.
On a Delta flight from Boston to Minneapolis on Saturday morning, I was sitting on the aisle in coach, my legs snug against the seatback, with an empty seat next to me as the plane filled up. A young man, maybe 25, walked down the aisle, looked at his ticket, looked at the empty seat next to me and, wordlessly, began lifting his leg over my two thighs. The man, whether he could speak English or not, had no intention of motioning for me to stand up so he could get to his seat as a normal human being would.
"Whoa, whoa,'' I said, holding my hand up. "I'll get up.''
I got up, allowed the man into the seat, and sat back down. He didn't say a word to me, nor I to him, for the 2-hour, 17-minute flight.
No big deal, I guess. It's just that ... well, who would naturally think to get in a plane seat by climbing over someone, and clearly touching that person awkwardly while grabbing onto a seatback for support, and jarring the person in that seat?
"Every ump I have talked to this offseason hates the new rule where they have them. All of them felt the way fb players do. Injuries are part''
"Of the position they ref at. One also told me that the comp comm changed the rule without consulting one ump. (Although I'm sure Perrera''
"Had a say) loved what Tirico said. Put a helmet on them if they are concerned. Don't change the way the game is played. Altho if it pisses''
"Manning off, I could learn to deal with it. LOL''
-- @ericwinston, Texans tackle Eric Winston, on the rule moving the umpires from a linebacker's position to about 14 yards behind the offense to avoid umps getting beat around like pinballs.
Newspaper Agate Type I Never Thought I'd See Dept.:
From the sports transactions in Wednesday's Boston Globe:
NFL: Fined Cincinnati WR Chad Ochocinco $25,000 for Tweeting during a prohibited time.
Of course, Ochocinco didn't respond with a quote, but with a Tweet, saying, in part, "Dad, again I apologize 2 you for my Tweet.'' Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, who is never shy about the Chad nonsense, said with a sigh to the Cincinnati media: "It's just Chad doing something stupid again.''
NBA Playoffs: Which team can dig out of 0-2 hole on the road?
Phil Jackson wants Carmelo to do what?