"We're all in a tough boat right now. Me and all the rest of the undrafted guys, we have no contact with anybody. Our agents can't talk to anybody about us. Everything's up in the air. You don't know when you're going to get that phone call and be able to sign with a team.''
-- Wisconsin running back John Clay, not chosen in the NFL draft despite a 5.5-yard rushing average in college and 41 touchdowns, to Don Banks of SI.com in this story about the frustration of undrafted free agents not being able to sign with NFL teams till the end of the labor dispute.
"It could have made me or broke me, and it broke me. It's one of the biggest blows I've taken in my life.''
-- Vikings draftee DeMarcus Love, on his experience at the Senior Bowl, to Paul Allen of KFAN in Minneapolis, via sportsradiointerviews.com. Love, rated a second-round prospect entering the January Senior Bowl, was hurt while in Mobile, performed poorly, and fell down the draft board to the 168th overall pick, to Minnesota.
"There's two kinds of coaches' wives: great ones and ex ones.''
-- Rex Ryan, to NPR's Bill Littlefield, on his national radio program, "Only a Game,'' Saturday morning.
"We don't spike the football.''
-- President Obama Sunday night on 60 Minutes, explaining why his administration did not want to release grisly photos of the late Osama bin Laden.
That's how many brains the Boston University doctors studying brain tissue donated for research for football-related damage have examined, the latest being former Bears great Dave Duerson. He became the 14th former player to test positive for the toxic protein tau, which chokes off cellular life in the brain.
That reminds me of something I was told by Dr. Ann McKee, the leading neuropathologist in the BU group, who I met last fall in her office at the New England Veteran Administration. "We need more brains to study,'' she said. "Lots more.'' And as dogged reporter Alan Schwarz suggested Sunday in the New York Times, 15 brains is simply not enough to do a detailed study to see how much damage is done by football -- high school, college and professional -- to a person's mental state.
That's why every team this fall, whenever the labor strife is finished, owes it to the future of the game to urge every player to agree today to allow his brain to be studied after death for a similar condition -- no matter what mental or physical condition the player is in at the time of death. And NFL alumni should hear the same plea from the Players Association and the league. Fifteen brains is a start. But the BU study needs current players, and players in their 40s, 50s and 60s, to sign up for the program now.
More Teams Should Do This Dept.:
You may know that most teams have ESPN and NFL Network on in their draft rooms during the draft, with the sound of one or the other on during the dead periods when the teams are not picking. Maybe they can find out a clue about what other teams are doing, maybe they can be entertained when they're bored.
When the Seahawks chose Alabama tackle James Carpenter in the first round of the draft -- an upset; many teams had second-round grades on him -- the chatter on both channels had analysts questioning the pick. Whether the analysts turn out to be right or wrong, that's not a popular thing to hear when you've just made a pick that's been 11 months of scouting in the making.
So the Seahawks muted both channels and put on Pandora, the personalized Internet radio thing, and soon had Reggae music filling the draft room.
If you listened very closely to "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart'' Wednesday (and who knew to do such a thing?), you'd have heard me and others cackling in the studio audience at the Osama bin Laden jokes. I hadn't been in a studio audience since seeing "Letterman'' 10 or 12 years ago, and got this chance by winning a silent auction in Jersey last year.
First there was a warmup comic, Paul Mecurio, who made the house roar (some of it at my expense; he's a bit of a football fan), and then Stewart came out to greet the house. Very quick, as you'd expect, and gifted at taking any line from the house and turning it his way. If you by chance DVR the show regularly, have a listen during the first two segments, which were largely about the bin Laden story. You'll hear my laugh fairly prominently on a few of his jokes.
His guest that night was David Barton, the conservative historian. Stewart and Barton had a spirited debate on the separation of church and state, and what was most interesting was that they gave us about 25 free minutes by continuing the back-and-forth after the show stuff was in the can. It was great to hear two smart people at absolute opposite ends of the political spectrum go at each other, but with respect for the other's opinion.
Fun night in the big city.
"Cam Newton will be the most scrutinized player in years. The experiment is on. If Newton is successful, the NFL will fundamentally change.''
-- New tweeter @CollinsworthNBC, NBC's Cris Collinsworth, on ... well, you can figure it out. Good observation.
"Plane is delayed because they ran out of seat belt extensions. People we need to get healthy.''
--@TonyGonzalez88, the Atlanta tight end, trying to travel somewhere Saturday morning.
Avs rally in 3rd period, beat Wild in overtime
Alexander Steen, Blues beat Blackhawks in triple overtime