The number of arrests, per team, in the AFC East since January 2009, when Rex Ryan was named coach of the Jets:
New England: 1.
New York: 1.
I'm not minimizing the arrest of Braylon Edwards for DUI last Tuesday morning. And testing at twice the legal limit for drunkenness, being arrested after 5 a.m., and having two teammates in the car makes it fair game for critics who said the Jets should have pushing Edwards by not allowing him to play Sunday night in Miami. But I'm also asking for a little perspective in calling the Jets the outlaws of the NFL.
According to an arrest log kept by ProFootballTalk.com, there have been 22 players arrested for driving while impaired or DUI since Jan. 1, 2009. I went back and checked what happened to each player arrested, and not a single one who was a viable NFL player was kept out of his team's next game. Seven were either roster marginalia or practice-squadders who were cut by their teams and who I don't believe apply to those being kept out of their team's next game, because they weren't valued members of their teams. What happened to the other 15:
Ten players were arrested in the 2009 or 2010 offseason, and every one played in the opening game of the following season.
Five players (San Diego's Vincent Jackson, Atlanta's Eric Weems, New Orleans' Bobby McCray, Indianapolis' Fili Moala, as well as Edwards) were arrested for DUI during the season and played the next week.
None of this makes Edwards' case acceptable. And as Tony Dungy said on Football Night in America Sunday, the Jets could have set a good example for their own locker room by saying this aberrant behavior will not be tolerated. But the fact is, none of the other teams in a similar situation since 2009 did either.
The Green Bay Packers can thank Brett Favre for one more thing, other than a lot of memories, when they take the field tonight in Chicago.
The Packers traded Favre to the New York Jets for a conditional draft choice in 2008. The pick became the Jets' third-rounder in the 2009 draft because Favre played more than 50 percent of the snaps in the 2008 season. So when the Packers started looking for an extra pick to pair with the 41st and 73rd overall picks to send to New England for the 26th overall pick in the first round on that draft day, GM Ted Thompson reached into his trove of choices and pulled out the Favre pick -- the 83rd. He sent the three picks to New England for that first-rounder and a fifth- to get a prospect many in the league thought had some holes because of a very spotty college career. The prospect started only eight games in five years, but Thompson had a feel for him. He thought the prospect would be just what his front seven was missing. And so the deal got made, and Thompson used the ultimate headache that had been the Favre nightmare to help him get his man.
NFL sack leader Clay Matthews.
In the last seven days, I've been on Southwest, AirTran, the Amtrak Acela (twice); I've been stranded in Baltimore for four hours, been in Houston, in Manhattan ... and I have these five questions:
1. Why does Southwest have different seat belts than every other airline?
2. Why, when a child is crying that endless, bloodcurdling cry on an airplane, does a parent over and over say "Shhhhhh, shhhhhh,'' instead of taking the baby out of the seat, putting the child over his/her shoulder and rubbing or gently patting the baby in the back -- anything to change the dynamic or to try to coax a burp out of the poor kid?
3. Why could I find the New York Post, New York Times, New York Daily News, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Investors Daily at the Hudson News outlet in the Baltimore-Washington International Airport ... but not the hometown Baltimore Sun?
4. Why, if a flight is scheduled to leave at 10:15 a.m. out of Atlanta-Hartsfield International Airport, and your plane backs away from the gate at 10:15 a.m. and gets out to the runway on a cloudless, windless day (last Thursday), and it isn't the morning rush hour or the afternoon rush hour, does it then take 32 minutes to get up in the air? Atlanta's infamous for this, in all weather.
5. Why don't more of us take the train, and why doesn't Washington invest in the rails across the country to give more of the country, and not just the northeast corridor, the pleasure of the Acela, with speeds up to 150 mph between Boston and Washington?
T-minus five days and counting for the New Hampshire Half-Marathon Saturday in Bristol, N.H. What began as a nightmare thought -- running twice as far as I've ever run in my life, at 53, in the middle of my crazy time of year -- has turned into one of the most interesting experiences I've had in years. Interesting because I've found I can actually run a long way and not be hospitalized after it. I actually think I'm going to do this.
Please go to our website, www.runpeterkingrun.com, for the story if you've missed it, and for a more important reason: to contribute to my causes for the race, Feed the Children and Wounded Warrior Project. I'd really like all of you to feel the pride of funding one semitrailer full of food and home supplies for 400 inner-city families somewhere in the United States ... and it costs $7,500 per trailer to do that. Also, I'm hoping you can find it in your hearts to support rehab and prostheses for the bravest people in the country, our wounded veterans coming home and trying to make new lives for themselves. I'll be contributing to both after the race as well. If I finish the 13.1-mile race Saturday at 9 a.m., I'll give each charity $1,000. If I don't finish, each charity gets $2,000. So when the two causes tell me to "Break a leg,'' maybe they'll really mean it.
I have to tell you about a great experience I had in Boston last Tuesday. The PR man for Runners World, David Tratner (some of you in football might remember Dave as one of the Jets' PR people in recent years), e-mailed me with a thought: How about if one of the magazine's editors, Amby Burfoot, came up to Boston to run with me and give me some pointers on running a half-marathon? I knew Amby Burfoot. He's a Connecticut boy (from Groton), like me (from Enfield), and I remember him very well from my youth. When I was 10, in 1968, Amby, a Wesleyan University senior, won the Boston Marathon. That was a big deal in Connecticut. "Of course,'' I told Dave. "That would be a huge honor, to run with Amby.''
And so we made the arrangements, and last Tuesday morning at 7:30, we met on the steps of the Boston Public Library on Copley Square. He's 64 now, but with a runner's body and a terrific, patient attitude ... and with a strained calf. "I'm 64, but I think I'm 24,'' he said with a grin. "Things don't heal the way they used to.'' But he was in training too -- for the Athens Marathon in Greece at the end of October, and our eight-mile run, at my pace, would actually be a good day on the road for him.
We set off down Boylston Street, then left toward the Charles Rivers, where we'd run for a mile or so, then across the bridge near Mass General to Cambridge, then around the Science Museum, then four miles southwest along the Charles through Cambridge, then back over a bridge to Allston, then over a footbridge to Boston University, then past Fenway Park back to his hotel.
I wanted to know his advice for the run. Start slow, he said. Don't run for time; run for fun. Don't sprint down the hills. Just run your short strides. Don't get impatient.
"And get behind a really attractive woman runner,'' he said. "Women are great at keeping up a pace, so you won't have to worry about your pace. And, you know, there will be some other benefits.''
I'm not much for talking when running, but I had to know about the day he won Boston. So I interviewed him as we ran. There were 980 runners that day, a Saturday. The running culture at the time, he said, was pretty nerdy. He said he was a skinny, weird nerd who couldn't get a date, as he settled into a slow jog so as not to embarrass me. He said it "was sex, drugs and rock 'n roll on college campuses,'' but he'd go to bed many nights at 9 and be up at 6 to run. He knew he'd have a chance that day because some of the world's pre-eminent runners were saving themselves for the Olympic trials and the high-altitude Olympics in Mexico City that year. After about 10 miles, Burfoot was in a pack of 10 runners. They ran together for a few miles, and he wondered what would happen if he picked up the pace just a little bit. So he did -- and only one of the runners stayed with him. That runner, Bill Clark, stayed with Burfoot for a few miles.
As we ran this morning, we cast long shadows to our right. That's the same kind of shadow, Burfoot said, that shadowed him that April day in 1968. Even as the two runners ascended Heartbreak Hill -- Burfoot was great at hills -- the shadow hung in there. But as they descended the hill the shadow went away; Burfoot found out later Clark strained a muscle coming down the hill. Now he was in the clear. And he won the race.
"Today, you get $150,000 for winning Boston,'' he said, chuckling. "In those days, I got a laurel wreath, a diamond pendant, though you could barely see the diamond, and a big bowl of beef stew -- and I was a vegetarian.''
His big celebration was getting in the family car and driving 90 minutes back to Groton. And then going back to Wesleyan for class Monday morning.
"When you went into class Monday, did anybody stand up and give you an ovation for winning Boston?'' I asked.
"God, no!'' he said. "I was such a shy kid. I'd have been horrified!''
As he told me stories, it occurred to me what a special club he belongs to -- American men who have won Boston. No American has won it in 27 years. I felt like I was taking fly balls off the Green Monster with Carl Yastrzemski.
When we finished, I had a kick left for the last 300 or 400 yards, and I felt good about that. We got a coffee in the Starbucks at the Sheraton -- the same hotel that houses the marathon runners every April -- and now I was the running nerd, needing affirmation from one of the greatest American runners ever. I didn't know how to ask it, so I just blurted it out:
"What'd you think of me as a runner?''
"You look smooth, comfortable,'' he said. "In eight miles, I never heard you breathe. You've got a very economical stride. You don't look like you're working hard. You're smooth. You're an athlete.''
"You're just a little hunched over at the shoulders. But you look like a lifelong marathoner in terms of the ease and the comfort of your stride. I really think you could run a marathon if you wanted to. You could fit into a running group with experienced runners here in Boston and fit right in.''
"You're really going to do well,'' he said. "You're going to love it.''
I know it. I can't wait for Saturday.
(Editor's Note: To read Amby Burfoot's work, go to RunnersWorld.com, where Burfoot, who specializes in sports medicine and exercise physiology, has blogs titled "Peak Performance'' and "Footloose.'')
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