1. I think it will be very difficult for the NFL to justify giving Jim Tressel a shorter suspension than it gave Terrelle Pryor (five games) after both left Ohio State in disgrace and went to the NFL. Pryor was a third-round supplemental draft pick by Oakland and got suspended for the first five games of the season for selling memorabilia for cash while at Ohio State, then skipping out on the university after originally saying he'd stay. The league feels he twisted the rules to make them benefit him. But after the NFL gave Pryor five games, how can it justify giving Tressel, guilty of more serious charges (withholding knowledge of certain violations from the university), nothing? (Editor's note: The Colts announced that Tressel would miss the team's first six games of the season.)
2. I think Pryor's appeal of the suspension, which he said he wasn't going to do, can be read two ways. It's either Pryor proving you can't trust him, or Pryor realizing he doesn't want to be a sap and take a punishment that's too harsh for the crime. Or both.
3. I think it's hard to believe with all the mayhem of the last six months that there's a real live football game to be played Thursday. Good one too. Saints-Pack. I'm going for NBC. Can't wait.
4. I think, speaking of the world champs, the America's Game: 2010 Packers show is another one of the good things done by NFL Films. This is the latest in the series of Super Bowl champion video documentaries of the season, with the three main characters narrating the run to glory (Mike McCarthy, Aaron Rodgers, Charles Woodson) and it has some stuff I didn't know or hadn't heard:
a. Woodson was born with club feet.
b. Great visuals of Rodgers being snubbed in the green room at the 2005 draft, when he had to wait hours to be picked.
c. Rodgers on the reaction by Brett Favre to Rodgers being drafted in the first round: "I think he was offended by it.''
d. Rodgers on having his life threatened when he took over for Favre: "I don't understand it. How am I the bad guy?''
e. Cool McCarthy motivational ploy at the start of the 2010 season -- a blank picture frame in the team meeting room, left there for the team to figure where the next Packer Super Bowl team photo would go. Woodson said it gave the players goose bumps.
f. Great Super Bowl wiring of Greg Jennings, including his incredible emotion after converting the third-and-10 pass play from Rodgers midway through the fourth quarter with the Packers trying to get some insurance points: "OH ... MY ... GODDDDDDDDD!!!!!'' he screams after catching the pass that was ever-so-slightly tipped by Steeler cornerback Ike Taylor.
5. I think there's an interesting concept/story in GQ now: Writer Peter Schrager asks some of the all-time great quarterbacks to give a piece of advice to Cam Newton. This from Dan Fouts to Schrager: "Every bit of information you can gather during your rookie year, do it. I had the honor of playing with Johnny Unitas my rookie season. For some reason, he liked me. Just watching him was invaluable. Even playing catch with Unitas at practice was a learning experience.
"The very first ball he threw to me in warmups was a fastball that nearly broke my hands. Johnny told me, 'Always aim for the receiver's nose when throwing a pass.' I asked, 'Why's that?' He said, 'Because if they don't catch it, it'll break their nose. That will make them better receivers.' I learned all of these great little things from him that year.
"Cam needs to be a sponge and soak up every last bit of knowledge he can this year. What concerns me about this young man, though, is that he's only experienced success on the football field. How will he handle failure? How will he handle the boos?''
Great stuff on Johnny U.
6. I think if you want to follow me in various media this year, here's my schedule:
Monday: Monday Morning Quarterback on SI.com, posted by 8 a.m.
Tuesday: Sports Illustrated's "The NFL Podcast with Peter King,'' beginning tomorrow. (First guest: Nnamdi Asomugha.) I'll have details on it in my Tuesday column tomorrow ... Also, my Tuesday mailbag column on SI.com ... A radio appearance with Colin Cowherd on ESPN radio sometime in the morning ... And a radio shot with Chris Russo on his "Mad Dog Radio'' station on SiriusXM radio, I believe at 5 p.m.
Friday: My "Friday Morning Gameplan'' column on SI.com, which should be posted shortly after noon ... A new TV show on Versus from 6-7 p.m. Eastern, previewing the football weekend with Mike Florio and host Russ Thaler. That could be some good fun ... A couple of radio gigs: with Mitch Levy on KJR in Seattle at 8:45 a.m. Pacific Time, and with Mutt and Merloni on WEEI in Boston at noon eastern.
Saturday: Notre Dame halftime shows on six Saturdays this fall on NBC.
Sunday: Football Night in America show on NBC, 7-8:15 p.m.
Other assignments will float in and out. I'll let you know when they're coming.
7. I think I'd be very surprised if Matt Cassel doesn't start Sunday despite his bruised or broken ribs. That's a pain tolerance thing, and I'm sure Cassel will fight the doctors to let him play.
8. I think I'd be surprised if the Patriots called Randy Moss, who, as I said last month, would be very willing to come back. But never say never.
9. I think people who've been through Miami this summer say they're going to be better than people say. People like me, I suppose; I have them fourth in the division. But you never know. I don't trust Reggie Bush to stay healthy, but that doesn't mean he won't, of course.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. Hey Papelbon: You guys have your fantasy draft tonight up there in Toronto, right? My advice: Tim Hightower in the third round, Antonio Brown in the ninth, Ryan Fitzpatrick in the 10th, Kyle Rudolph in the 13th. You'll thank me someday.
b. Enough of Lackey. Please.
c. Happy Labor Day. I hope you spend it, uh, not laboring.
d. Looking forward to speaking at Marquette University in Milwaukee Tuesday. I was invited by my friend and former softball outfielder Tess Quinlan, a sophomore there. Between now and then I'll try to think of something good to say, Tess, but I can't guarantee anything.
e. Thanks, ESPN, for making me one of the six "Famous Alumni'' (sic) of Ohio University on the OU-New Mexico State football game Saturday. I think.
f. Coffeenerdness: There's something wrong with a business model when the coffee on the expensive East Coast train, the Acela, is far worse than the coffee at a 7-Eleven. And that's a fact.
g. Beernerdness: Took the extended family to Yanks-Sox at Fenway the other night and introduced them all to Allagash White, the white beer from Portland, Maine. I think they were wild about it, if chugging the beer is any indication.
h. Good to see you adjusting to college life so well, Evan King. Proud of you.
I. Trying to figure out what to do with my last day off in a while today. Any ideas? Thinking of a movie. And some sleep. Have a great week. Football's back. Fun times.