TUESDAY, AUG. 17:
A regular F.E.
Scott Studwell and I went over to the Albatross tonight to be spectators. It's
the meat rack in town, just across from our practice facility, and there's
music and a DJ, but the real attraction this time of year is the Vikings. The
choice talent from all over southern Minnesota and northern Iowa comes to the
Albatross to try and land a Vike. I was drinking a beer and Scott was having
soda water when a waitress brought him a note. It was from a girl across the
way. You won't believe what it said. In its entirety: "Dear Scott, I would
love to have your baby."
But Scott decided
to stay there and watch the action with me. We like to look at the dancing.
I've seen guys get carried off the practice field and be boogieing at the
Albatross a couple hours later. In fact, I've seen a lot of guys dance their
way right off the Minnesota Vikings. California kids particularly. They've got
to show off all their hot new steps to the hicks from Minnesota. And it can get
to you. One time a couple of years ago, when Scott was still drinking pretty
good, he got a few in him, and he turned to me and he got up and said,
"Ahmad, now I'm going out and be a regular F.E."
he said. "Fred Estaire."
Frank. At the Albatross everyone's equal. In fact, it's better to be a reserve
because the girls aren't so likely to approach a big name. The fringe guys can
really score. So, often, the guys having the hardest time making the team must
struggle with the most temptations.
bed-check time, 11 p.m., I'm back in my room now, and I want to assure you that
I resisted all urges to be an F.E. Through the years a lot of rookies have
found out the hard way that it's not wise to sneak out after bed check and
return to the Albatross for a late date. That's when the coaches start
today: Fran Tarkenton once told me that ideally every player should be traded
about every three years. He may be right. I feel like I've been here, in camp,
a year and a half. If it were a new team, with a new system, new guys, new
hangouts, I'm sure I'd be more alert and interested. More involved, Frank.
A couple of your
colleagues from SPORTS ILLUSTRATED were here today. The photographer was taking
pictures of [running backs] Ted Brown and Darrin Nelson. Everybody on the team
tried to stand closer to those guys. Teddy and Darrin never knew they had so
many friends. Eddie Payton leads the team in getting himself into other