"I think it's a positive whenever you're negotiating, but clearly the litigation strategy that the union is pursuing is delaying some serious negotiations that really are going to lead to a collective bargaining agreement. That part of it is frustrating. I think valuable time is escaping us, that's putting financial risk and other risk in play.''
-- Commissioner Roger Goodell, to Jarrett Bell of USA Today, critical of the players' strategy to wait for the judge's decision about whether to issue an injunction instead of negotiating with a mediator appointed by Judge Susan Nelson.
"You aren't sleeping with Mrs. Dalton, are you?''
-- Anonymous former NFL coach, to me, after I suggested that TCU's Andy Dalton would become the best quarterback of the 2011 draft class.
Anonymous former NFL coach and I agreed that if Dalton is a first-round pick come Thursday, said coach will acknowledge my utter brilliance, and that I have never, ever judged a prospect wrong.
"There's a lot of interest in the draft. It's great. But quite frankly, most of the people that are commenting on it don't know anything about what they are talking about.''
-- Green Bay GM Ted Thompson, who has a right to say what he wants about the Mayock/Kiper/McShay set because he just won the Super Bowl. But have a couple of bad drafts, or pick a couple more Justin Harrells and Brian Brohms, and you might hear the geniuses come out of the woodwork on Thompson.
"I know one thing: When I come back as a coach, I'm gonna corner-blitz your ass.''
-- Jon Gruden, in his ESPN special on quarterback prospects, to TCU quarterback Andy Dalton, when they were on the field at the University of South Florida working on passing drills.
To which Dalton replied: "Are you? I'll have it picked up.''
Number of Patriots picks in the top 33 of the draft: 3.
Most picks for a team other than New England in the top 33: 30 tied with 1 apiece.
It's become fashionable in the past couple of weeks to wonder if New England could package those picks, the 17th, 28th and 33rd overall, for a pick in the top five to get the pass-rushing 3-4 linebacker they want, Von Miller, or the franchise receiver they need, either A.J. Green or Julio Jones. To do so, clearly they'd have to move to number three overall, to assure they'd get the player they want, because Buffalo is heavily involved with Miller, and the Bengals may take one of the receivers.
So let's break out the NFL draft trade chart, which places a numerical value on the choices in all seven rounds, to see what the Patriots would have to do to move up to number three under this scenario. The answer is remarkably clean.
According to the chart, the third overall pick is worth 2,200 points. The value of the Pats' three top picks: 17 (950), 28 (660), 33 (580). Total value of the three picks: 2,190.
So the chart would tell you that to get Von Miller or A.J. Green, even if Buffalo were willing to move down, the Patriots would have to use all three picks. That, of course, is assuming the Bills and Patriots take the chart as gospel, and many teams absolutely do not.
I believe Bill Belichick would rather hire Eric Mangini as his press-conference coach than to trade all three picks for anyone in this draft. To get one of those players, he'd be trading the pick he acquired for Richard Seymour, his own, and the pick he got last year for dealing a third-rounder to Carolina for the Panthers' second-round pick this year. That's an incredible amount of loot.
Now, the chart is not gospel. Teams don't have to use it. But it just shows you how valuable the third overall pick is, and it's highly unlikely the Bills would take much of a discount, if any, for dealing that choice, particularly if it meant giving a division rival a franchise player for the next 10 years.
You're a Dolphins fan, and you're down in the dumps because of the Brandon Marshall stabbing and the fact that your team is in the midst of an overwhelmingly insignificant period. Look on the bright side: At least you don't have a second-round draft choice this year.
Someday, Miami fans may call the second-round drafting record of the Saban/Mueller/Cameron/Parcells/Ireland regimes "The Curse of Brandon Marshall.'' For now, let's document what's happened to the Dolphins' last 12 second-round draft picks:
2011: Traded 43rd overall pick to Denver as part of Brandon Marshall trade.
2010: Drafted LB Koa Misi 40th overall with pick acquired from San Diego.
Traded 46th overall pick to Denver as part of Brandon Marshall trade.
2009: Drafted QB Pat White 44th overall.
Drafted CB Sean Smith 61st overall.
2008: Drafted DE Phillip Merling 32nd overall.
Drafted QB Chad Henne 57th overall.
2007: Drafted QB John Beck 40th overall.
Drafted C-G Samson Satele 60th overall.
2006: Traded 51st overall pick to Minnesota for QB Daunte Culpepper.
2005: Traded 35th overall pick to Philadelphia for QB A.J. Feeley.
Drafted DE Matt Roth 46th overall.
Let's see what we have. Smith is a solid starter. Marshall, acquired for two seconds, has the potential to be more than that, but who knows if he'll ever be great in Miami with the mayhem that follows him off the field every offseason. You have to think that even though his future with the Dolphins isn't in question as of today, his Miami future is cloudy. Marshall, who has had eight incidents requiring police attention in the past four years, is recovering from stab wounds suffered in a fight with his wife Friday night; the Dolphins could release him when the new league year begins and owe him only $3 million, according to ProFootballTalk.com. But it's likely he'll return for the 2011 season, if there is one.
Misi may turn into a good starter, but it's too early to tell. Merling, returning from a 2010 Achilles tear, is competing for a spot in the rotation, and the jury's still out on how good he can be when healthy. Henne is hanging onto his starting quarterback job by a thread. Misi, Merling and Henne all have to go in the could-go-either-way mode.
That's one solid starter, one major question mark who could be very good, and three maybes. Pat White was a terrible reach. John Beck, a pick of one-year coach Cam Cameron's, never panned out. Satele played passably for two years, then was traded to Oakland. Jake Grove was cut a year after signing a $29.5-million deal with the Dolphins via free agency. Culpepper and Feeley each lasted one dubious season, combining to win four starts. Roth, never as good an edge-rusher as he thought he was, was dumped after a contract dispute; he had 12.5 sacks in five years.
That's a pretty bad track record, to put it mildly. After picking 15th in the first round, Miami will be out of the nightmare round -- but will be reminded of it daily this week, with all the stories about what a risky trade the Marshall deal was.
I traveled nowhere in the past week -- except to a Boston-area courtroom. For the first time in my 53 years, I was selected to serve on a jury.
I'm not like most people. (You probably knew that already.) I badly wanted to be on a jury. When I lived in New Jersey, I got called three different times to be in the jury pool at the Essex County Courthouse, but I never got on a case. I always thought it would be cool to be Henry Fonda or, at least, Martin Balsam, in 12 Angry Men, the best court movie I've ever seen.
Our pool was small -- only about two dozen residents of Suffolk (Mass.) County. I was Juror 13. We needed six people, not 12, with one alternate. And the two lawyers involved in the case of the day -- a she-said, she-said catfight that turned into harassment and vandalism, with the two ladies apparently vying for the affections of a dubious character who was both homeless and unemployed -- weren't much into the peremptory challenge business. So a few of the lot got kayoed because of work or personal prejudices, and then we just went by number. I was Mr. 13. My lucky day. I got the last seat.
The case had very little hard evidence. Lots of escalating tempers, hatred, blame and confusion. Not a great job clarifying all the confusion by the lawyers, particularly by the commonwealth's attorney prosecuting the case. I sat there during the two-plus hours of testimony trying to figure out if we could get a solid handle on the two charges. Did the defendant damage the plaintiff's car, and did she do it willfully? Did the defendant harass the plaintiff through verbal or electronic means over a five-month period? Three or four times, I wanted to shout out to one of the attorneys: "You gotta be kidding! Follow up on that question! Ask her to clarify!'' Or whatever. In that regard, it was a frustrating experience, wanting to know more information, and that information quite possibly being on the tips of the witnesses' tongues, but we could never get to it.
We deliberated about two-and-a-half hours. Good group. A 48-year-old mom from the neighborhood, a 19-year-old BU student (who, by lot, was selected foreman) who had to rush from court the first day for an Organic Chemistry test, two 20-something women (one about to get married), a quiet 50-ish businessman, and me. I got up and dry-erase-boarded the charges from the judge about what we had to feel surely was proven in court to get guilty verdicts. First we discussed the case involving vandalism. Was there vandalism to the car? Certainly. Was the damage done willfully? Without question. Did the defendant do it? We all thought she probably did -- but we couldn't convict someone on the flimsy evidence presented in court. Not guilty.
Now the harassment accusation. The judge did a great job on this charge, telling us that harassment had to be at least three calls or texts or e-mails or letters that implied any form of harassment. Very helpful. The two women appeared to be equally angry with each other, but we felt strongly that the defendant on at least three occasions over the five months acted in a harassing way. All except for one of the younger women on the jury. I'll call her Mary. She just wasn't totally sure that there were three incidents or more, though she felt 99 percent sure there were. I'd written down the judge's exact words when sending us to deliberate.
"You have to have an abiding conviction to a moral certainty that it's true,'' the judge said. "It doesn't have to be 100 percent certain, because very few things in life ever are 100 percent certain.''
There could be a very slim chance that we were wrong, the judge advised, but if we had this "moral certainty'' of guilt, we should vote to convict. We batted that around for a while, and Mary gave it a few minutes of thought, and she said, OK, she was fine with being the sixth guilty vote.
I felt great about both verdicts. Though I felt the defendant did what she was charged with on the first count, she deserved to go free because the commonwealth didn't do its job of convincing us beyond a reasonable doubt. Sort of like instant replay in the NFL. If the ref cannot see indisputable evidence to overturn a call, he's got to let the call stand, even if in his heart he thinks the call would be best overturned.
When we marched back into court, I watched the defendant's response to the guilty verdict. Angry. She had no response to the not guilty verdict. And just like that, we were up, out of the courtroom and on our way home. As in 12 Angry Men, we just went our separate ways. We shook hands and said goodbye, and six people went in six different directions.
I hope we did the right thing. I'm as sure as I can be that we did. And I think it's a heck of a process. No one in the jury room was looking at his or her watch and hurrying the process. We would have stayed for two days if we had to. Everyone was heard. No one was shouted down. It was the American justice system working. The case itself had some flaws, but the jury took the evidence we had to consider and delivered a verdict. I loved every minute of it. If I could have gone back the next day to do another case, I would have, without question.
When I got home Thursday night, after dinner, my wife and I flipped through the channels and there it was: 12 Angry Men. One of the great movies I've seen, certainly in my top 10 ever. And there we sat, transfixed. That's one of the best days I've had in a while.
"Hair cut time.''
--@bmarshall19, Miami wide receiver Brandon Marshall, at 4:03 p.m., Friday. That was his last Tweet before being stabbed Friday night and taken for surgery at a south Florida hospital.
"6 years ago today I waited a long time in a green room .... I'd say it was worth it!''
--@AaronRodgers12, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, at noon Saturday, recalling his long wait just offstage at Radio City Music Hall in 2005, when he and Alex Smith were in contention to be the first pick in the draft. Smith went first overall. Rodgers went 24th. The rest is Packer, and 49er, history.