"When someone like Carson, someone quiet that grows a random beard now and then, when he speaks you listen, especially when it's out of character. What we call it, where I'm from, is he's pulling a power move.''
-- Chad Ochocinco, in an odd sound bite to WCNN in Atlanta via sportsradiointerviews.com, on Carson Palmer saying he would retire from football if not traded by the Bengals this offseason.
But the power-move thing ... that's the point. He is pulling a power move. Or trying to.
"Everyone is not privy to the information. I talked to [Bill] Cowher and I talked to [Jon] Gruden and they're friends of mine. Of course Jon worked for me. There were a lot of reasons why that didn't happen. In Bill's case he wasn't ready to come back and he was very honest about it and we had a very candid conversation. In Jon's case, he said he would come back for me, but I said I needed a little more than that. You shouldn't just come back for me, you should want to do this ... He really enjoys TV and he's good at it.''
-- Cleveland president Mike Holmgren, to KJR in Seattle via sportsradiointerviews.com, on considering Jon Gruden and Bill Cowher for his vacant head-coaching job before hiring Pat Shurmur.
You know what I find amazing about that statement? You'll see down in number four, of the Ten Things I Think I Think.
"Well, after this phone call I have to clean the floors with the wife and do some laundry.''
-- Patriots guard Stephen Neal, in one of the all-time self-deprecating, humble retirement announcements in recent NFL history, asked what he plans to do next.
We are 185 days away from the scheduled Sept. 8 opening game of the NFL season, at Green Bay. Six months from tomorrow.
When I pointed that out to a lawyer friend over the weekend, he said, "That sounds like plenty of time to get to court and get a resolution so the league won't miss any games. Not so. When you start to get into the federal court system, everybody thinks their case is the most important one in the system. If the players sue to try to overturn the league's antitrust exemption, I bet the decision will take months. Not just the original decision, but the appeal in front of a three-judge panel. That could take two or three months. I could see each side not wanting to go to court. Could the players stay solid losing paychecks in the millions while some court case very few of them will take the time to understand is argued?''
And, I said, could the owners stay solid knowing they'd be taking not only a multi-billion-dollar financial hit, but also knowing there was no way they would win the PR battle either?
This week, and perhaps one more extension after this, is vitally important.
How ridiculous is this? There's a chance (how good, who knows) that quarterbacks Cam Newton of Auburn and Ryan Mallett of Arkansas will both be picked in the top half of the first round of the NFL draft on April 28. Both players will have very important days on the same day this week. Auburn and Arkansas both have their Pro Days on Tuesday.
Florida State's Christian Ponder has his Pro Day March 16 in Tallahassee, Missouri's Blaine Gabbert his in Columbia March 17, Washington's Jake Locker in Seattle March 30. With the exception of Delaware's Pat Devlin on Gabbert's date, the lesser guys don't conflict with the competition either -- Andy Dalton of TCU March 11, Colin Kaepernick of Nevada March 22, Ricky Stanzi of Iowa March 21, Greg McElroy of Alabama March 10 and latecomer Scott Tolzien of Wisconsin March 9.
"Really drives me nuts,'' one top college scout told me Sunday. Not that there aren't going to be conflicts. But to see so many big schools loading up on such a small number of days. Today, one major school (Tulsa) has its Pro Day; next Monday, there are two (Central Michigan, LSU). Thursday, 13 major schools have Pro Days. Who plans this stuff?
I understand coaches and scouts want the weekend off.... And to get to Baton Rouge you'd have to travel on Sunday unless you were flying private. But for nobody to have noticed Mallett and Newton working out on the same day? Not good.
Now, teams thinking of taking a quarterback that high are going to try for a private workout with the guy anyway, most likely. But teams want as many exposures to a kid as they can get. (Maybe with the exception of Mike Shanahan, who hid his interest in Jay Cutler so well that no one, until he made the pick, including Cutler himself, had any idea what he was going to do.)
I'll be very interested to see where Chan Gailey, Jim Harbaugh, the Panthers and the Tennessee contingent led by Mike Munchak will be on Tuesday.
Had a swell time on my first trip to Atlantic City since 1982 (covering an Aaron Pryor fight for the Cincinnati Enquirer then). This time I got the Harrah's Broadcast Award from the Maxwell Football Club at its 74th awards dinner. A swell time, sitting on the dais with Mike Vick, Andy Reid, a coterie of Eagles from the 1960 NFL title team, Joe Paterno, Frank Beamer, Cam Newton, Patrick Peterson, George Bodenheimer of ESPN and many local footballers and coaches from the Philadelphia area. Lots of fun, and a swell honor. What a great club Ron Jaworski lords over.
Anyway, I hadn't been to any of these newfangled casinos in Atlantic City, nor to the city, in some time. A few things struck me. To be downtown on the streets of the Monopoly game was fun. But time has not been kind to many of those streets. Oriental Avenue, for instance, mostly doesn't exist.
We stopped for a sandwich Saturday on the way out of town at the White House Sub Shop, which has survived every economic downturn in the city for 65 years, and still has traffic in and out at all hours. I commented to the cashier behind the counter about the photos of the Beatles in the place in 1963 and how cool that must have been. "I was at the concert,'' she said.
One of the sandwich-makers, just before noon Saturday, had been making sandwiches there for 50 years. Fifty! I'd recommend the cheesesteak, if you're interested. The large one, for $15.30. You won't eat again for three days.
One other thing about Harrah's: In the valet parking area, where you wait for your car, there's a vending machine. I found one row in the machine interesting: Skittles, Golden Oreos, Lance Peanut Bars, Goetze's Caramels, 5-Hour ENERGY. That's right. They don't want you to fall asleep in the casino, apparently.
It's $4.50 for the energy shot, or 90 cents an hour.
"The only way there could be a lockout this year is if it was needed. All that leaves our lives does so because the Father deems it necessary.''
--@RickyWilliams, Miami running back Ricky Williams, at 6:37 Sunday night.