"I think the kid is a good working back, and if you've got everything else around him he can play his role. But when it comes to outstanding, I don't see anything outstanding about him. It's not said in a cruel manner ... But here's the deal: He can change everything I've said.''
-- Jim Brown, in an interview with longtime Browns beat man Tony Grossi, now with ESPN Cleveland. Excellent job by Grossi, my fellow Ohio U. Bobcat classmate 35 years ago, as this byplay with Brown shows:
Grossi: "Browns fans believe you're a bitter man and that's why you're saying these things about [first-round draft pick Trent] Richardson."
Brown: "That's so petty and so ridiculous. Anyone that thinks that I'm a guy that goes around bashing anybody ... I [criticized] a lot of people in my career ... I talked about Tiger Woods [before his scandal] and challenged him, and O.J. [Simpson], because of certain hypocrisy. But the Browns speak for themselves. What have I said about the Browns other than the fact that Richardson is an ordinary back? There's so much I could say. So you tell all those people that want to look at me, look at what you've got. You're sitting on a mess. You've got a guy that doesn't give interviews except in other cities. I ask all the people in Cleveland, do you get the impression that Mr. [Mike] Holmgren wants to be there? If you do, then tell me."
Doesn't sound like Holmgren -- who chose to end the team's formal, compensated relationship with Brown two years ago -- and the legendary running back will be smoking the peace pipe anytime soon.
-- Tim Tebow, asked when the last time he'd made a special teams tackle. Tebow could be used as the personal protector -- the up back -- on the Jets' punt team.
I've written about Peyton Manning's foundation before, but I think this is worth repeating: Manning's PeyBack Foundation gives out about $500,000 per year, in scores of chunks (88 recipients this year) to agencies in Indiana, Tennessee and Louisiana. Five of the foundation's beneficiaries this year:
|Peyton Manning's PeyBack Foundation|
|Selected 2012 Beneficiaries|
I mentioned the other day on SI.com that Greg Schiano was a -- shall we say -- quirky and very particular head coach at Rutgers, and that during team meetings at road hotels, the temperature in the meeting rooms had to be at a precise number.
Come to find out now that once, at a Scarlet Knights team dinner, the food service people got upbraided by a Rutgers staffer because the pasta being served was the wrong noodle.
Wished I had Aladdin's Lamp on my return flight from London last Monday, so I could have wished that the fellow sitting across the aisle who took his shoes and socks off before we took off had actually washed his feet some time in the previous three days. Nothing like the look of dark-gray crossed feet every few minutes for seven hours.
Three other England thoughts:
1. It's entirely possible that I slept so well at my brother's home for a variety of reasons, but I think it has a lot to do with noise. I live in Manhattan, on the 16th floor of a high-rise. You can turn the noise down, but you can never shut it off. My brother Ken lives in a village in Northamptonshire, 80 minutes north of London. At night -- or, really, after the school next door lets out for the day -- there is ... nothing. No noise. The birds in the morning sound like a rooster, relatively speaking. And one night there, I slept nine hours. Don't remember a thing. That never happens to me. Maybe silence is more important in our lives than we think -- or than I've thought.
2. In the last couple of years, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has been pushing a project of his, FanVision, a handheld TV/video device fans at live games could get in the stadium to watch replays of the game they were watching, as well as live games around the league. FanVision might make millions. It might be the next Xbox for all I know. But to me it's a truly dumb idea.
We're already hit over the head in NFL stadiums with deafening music and replays after nearly every play on the big scoreboards -- and the boards now give more and more fantasy football info, so you can follow your fake team while rooting for your real one. (Most people have their iPhones or Blackberries to follow their teams, if they wish, at games.) Do we need to be so bombarded with more media? Do we want to shut off all human communication at the expense of more distractions inside the stadium?
The NFL (and other American pro sports) could learn something from a game like cricket. No music. No exploding scoreboards. There's the game, and discussion in the stands. I realize we're beyond that. And I may not be in the majority here, and I may be Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino. But I wonder what fans would say if team owners took a poll of all their season ticket holders and asked if they favored music played at 105 decibels between plays. Maybe the fans want it. But I'd bet there'd be nearly 50 percent, if not more, who would say either kill the music or play it at half the volume.
3. I do not envy you, NBC peers, on your Olympic travels to London. It's a great, great city, but the traffic is insane. Take the Tube a bunch. Clean, fast, well-marked, everywhere.
"I can't watch the #NFLTop100 list anymore... These cats ain't better than me! #realtalk can't wait until this upcoming season"
-- @SeanWSpoon56, the Atlanta linebacker who apparently didn't like watching Brian Cushing of the Texans get the No. 54 ranking on NFL.com's top 100 player list last week. Or maybe it was Jonathan Vilma at 58.
"Take my word for it Pete Carroll isn't playing mind games talkin about how well rookies looked.. he could start 3 rookies.. loves competition"
-- @PatKirwanCBS, the radio host and CBS football analyst, who is very close to the Seattle coach.
"Enduring theme from NFLPA/NFL continued discord: billable hours."
-- @adbrandt, the lawyer, former cap manager and current ESPN columnist Andrew Brandt.
"You can tune a piano, but you can't tuna fish."
-- @JimIrsay, the Colts' owner, on Friday morning.
Sharks beat Kings in overtime to get much-needed Game 3 win
Red Wings drub Blackhawks, even series at 1-1