Work in Sports
Splash of a Titan
This is the eighth in a series of postcards Sports Illustrated's Peter King will e-mail from his annual NFL training-camp tour.
Friday, July 28
TEAM: Tennessee Titans
Site: Still at Western Illinois University, Macomb, Ill., watching the Titans scrimmage the St. Louis Rams. You might appreciate the sight that greeted me outside the Holiday Inn Express (and, yes, I do feel smarter today): A field of corn grows outside the back door of the hotel, and a satellite cranes for programming right next to it.
PLAYER I SAW WHOM I REALLY LIKED: Titans linebacker Greg Favors, a 244-pound battering ram making his presence felt against the Rams in three practices so far. The Titans picked him up on waivers from Kansas City last September, and he was mostly a special-teams player for them. Now, coach Jeff Fisher tells me Favors would be a starter if the season began today. The thing I liked most in watching him in full scrimmage drills against the Rams was that he went at every play in this oven of a climate like it was his last. Just what the Titans need: another good linebacker.
OPINION/FACTOID THAT MIGHT BE INTERESTING ONLY TO ME: Brenda Warren, Kurt's wife, was at practice Friday morning accepting congratulations on her husband's new contract from every player, coach, fan and groundskeeper.
THE FOOD: I gave you lunch Thursday from the Rams cafeteria ... Today I give you breakfast:
Excellent eggs, made to order by the pleasant dining hall staff at Western Illinois. Cooked just right, with the yokes bleeding a warm yellow. The oatmeal was awful. Tasteless, watery, blah. But as a veteran oatmealer I am convinced oatmeal is the impossible breakfast food. I have had truly great oatmeal only once in my life -- at the Ritz-Carlton in Atlanta. It's usually pretty boring and tasteless, unless you load it up with extras. But, then of course, you are defeating the purpose. About that coffee: I simply can't drink coffee-flavored water. Especially when there is no half-n-half with it. Call me a coffee snob, but I'm pretty cranky in the morning unless I get my six cups.
Dear NFL Junkie:
Now don't get alarmed Tennesseans. But Jevon Kearse went down like a sack of potatoes at practice this morning and it looked like he might have seriously hurt his knee. The reason I tell you not to get alarmed is that he got up after slipping on wet grass during a pass rush drill, iced the knee for a half hour, flexed it a few times, jumped on it a few times, huddled with the trainers, and walked off the field around 11 a.m. limping only slightly.
"It's OK," said the best rookie pass-rusher since LT. "I just slipped. I think we will play it safe and stay off of it for a while."
AWWW. A shame. He will have to miss practice for a day or two. I'm sure he will hate that.
Two good fights at practice Friday. I liked the one between Titans safety Perry Phenix and Rams wideout Tony Horne. They jostled in pass-coverage, punches were thrown, Phenix hit Horne, and then they throw a couple more haymakers.
"Hey, Phenix!" some fan yelled. "Nice kick! Jeez!"
These things happen at training camp.
Now, with the skies darkening and some Midwestern thunderstorms looming, I set off on one of the strangest point-to-point trips in my 16 years of covering training camps. I drive 78 miles on back roads to Peoria, take a small plane to Chicago, change planes, and it is on to Oakland for a weekend of 49ers and Raiders. Peoria to Oakland. Now that's a trip I bet I never make again.
Check back soon for more Postcards from Camp. Next: 49ers (Saturday).