I'm glad to start off with three short-but-sweet ones from rival SEC powers.
1. "I hope it's dissolved.''
-- Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, on the current labor battle between players and owners, and the prospect of it keeping young players from rookie camps, and offseason team workouts and possible training camp.
I wasn't there to hear one of the cutest Yogi Berra-type malapropisms of recent combines. Later, the word was changed to "resolved'' on the combine transcript, but two earwitnesses said it was "dissolved.''
2. "Is that a trick question?''
-- Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley, asked Sunday who he'd pick with the top overall draft choice, Nick Fairley or Cam Newton, if he were running the Panther draft and if the top overall pick came down to either him or Newton.
3. "What do you think of Cam Newton?''
-- Auburn's Cam Newton, to Sirius NFL Radio hosts Pat Kirwan and Jim Miller Saturday afternoon, turning the tables on them and asking them questions.
4. "I like the comparison -- he's a shutdown corner -- but I think I have better ball skills.''
-- Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith, comparing himself to Nnamdi Asomugha in a meeting with reporters Sunday in Indianapolis.
I like the comparison of me to Rick Reilly -- we're both sports writers-- but I think I have better adjectives. I believe that's about the same nonsense as the sound track of "Mr. Smith Goes to Indianapolis.''
And just so you understand, Rick Reilly's adjectives kick mine all the way around the block.
Jake Locker is one of the most intriguing prospects in the draft, and he continued to prove it Sunday by running one of the fastest times ever by a high-round quarterback (4.52 seconds in the 40) in years. But there's one thing that's going to be very hard for him to outrun: his accuracy. Or lack thereof. In 40 career games at the University of Washington, Locker completed 65 percent or better of his throws five times.
In his last 40 games in the NFL, Drew Brees has completed 65 percent or better 25 times.
The sisters of Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara, who will be a first-round draft choice in April: 1. Princess. 2. Precious. 3. Promise. 4. Peace. 5. Passionate.
According to the Arizona Republic, the parents of the six children, both Nigerian athletes at a high level, have a grandfather who was a King in the Imo State in Nigeria. The names pay tribute to the family's roots.
In 1944, the graduating class of Compton (Calif.) High included Pete Rozelle and Duke Snider, Hall of Famers in two different sports.
Snider, the great former Brooklyn Dodger, died Sunday.
According to longtime NFL PR man Joe Browne, Rozelle got his first job in the media business phoning in the scores of the Compton High baseball team to the Los Angeles Times, "playing up Snider's feats.'' That helped Rozelle land a stringer's job covering baseball in the Los Angeles area.
"Duke died today at 84,'' Browne said. "Pete would have been 85 this Tuesday.''
The combine is always a good time. You see and hear some interesting things in Indianapolis. Observations/stories from four days in the Indiana state capital:
Spotted at a table at St. Elmo's Steakhouse Thursday night: The Andy Reid coaching tree -- Reid joined by Steve Spagnuolo, Leslie Frazier, Pat Shurmur and Ron Rivera, the men who once coached on the Eagle staff under Reid and who now have NFL head jobs.
Media credentials issued by the NFL: 715. Or approximately 690 more media than attended the combine 10 years ago.
Still the Hotel of the City: The Conrad. The giant TVs in the rooms, comfy lobby, free rides around town in bad weather, with a wine bar on one side of the lobby and a Capitol Grille on the other, central to everything.
Underrated Airport of America: the new one on the western outskirts of town. The locals say it's the only new major airport built since 9/11. A couple of nice places to eat and drink in the circular waiting area/preboarding wing, with wide concourses everywhere. Unlike the old one, the security lines aren't 50-minute jobs.
In the lobby of Conseco Fieldhouse, the Starbucks is out and Dunkin' Donuts in. What were you thinking, Seattle?
"Think we're going to get this Super Bowl in next year?'' the cabbie asked me Wednesday night on the way into town from the airport. Yes, I said, but the process will be painful and angst-filled. I must have been asked a dozen times about the work stoppage and what it might mean to the city hosting the Super Bowl in 49 weeks. People here are freaked that labor situation might get this season, and the Super Bowl, canceled. Relax -- for now.
And for those dreading a Super Bowl here? Don't. It's one of the most convenient cities in America. You'll be able to walk everywhere outside on a decent day, and inside on the skywalks on a bad day. Good restaurants. Maybe not enough of them, but you'll find some good meals here.
Nothing's more than a 15-minute walk away here.
Never seen a Marriott complex like the new one down the street from the state capitol building, adjacent to the Indianapolis Indians' Victory Field. Five Marriotts, led by the largest JW Marriott in the world. Want to know how this city got the Super Bowl? Not just because of the new Lucas Oil Stadium. But because of this small city of hotels, with 2,248 rooms and the largest hotel ballroom in the Midwest -- 40,500 square feet. I told a few people over the weekend that when I worked in Cincinnati 30 years ago, Indianapolis was the stepchild of Cincinnati. No more, that's for sure.
"The NFL combine is 1 of the most overrated events n sports. When they get a drill that measures heart, I'll pay attention.''
--@chrisharrisnfl, Bears safety Chris Harris, who did not attend the combine before being drafted by Chicago in the sixth round in 2005.
"Just looked back last year and saw former #Tennessee back Arian Foster ran a 4.73 40 at his pro day. #NofutureintheNFLright?''
--@RapSheet, Boston Herald NFL reporter Ian Rapoport in his consistently readable Twitter account Sunday afternoon from the combine.
That's exactly why postseason physical performances and tests should be 10 percent maximum of a player's final grade. In many cases it should be much, much less, meaning I wouldn't put a lot of stock in Cam Newton air-mailing a few passes over the heads of receivers Sunday.
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