- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
DP: But if he does decline, do you still have to keep him as part of the head count since he always changes his mind?
JA: [Laughing.] No, no. I saved one steak for him.
DP: He's coming back, right?
JA: I don't know. You guys probably know more than me. Honestly, I'm probably one of the few players that detaches himself from football when I go into the off-season. Heck, I found out he had ankle surgery on ESPN. My theory is, hopefully he would've told us already if the answer was no. I'll be honest, I don't care when he comes back. Just show up for that opener in New Orleans, and we'll beat the tar out of those guys.
DP: Do you need him to go deep into the playoffs?
JA: We have such a great team. There's not one guy that makes or breaks our season. Brett's obviously a phenomenal player. He did [great] things for us last year. He won us a few games. We'd love to have him back. But eventually he's going to retire, and a lot of us are still going to be playing. So we're going to have to win games without him, whether it's this year, next year, the year after. Who knows? I guess this has just been my motto forever, and Coach [Brad Childress] does a good job of instilling this. You work with who's there. We have to go out and play games, and we have to win.
• Home Fires
Saints coach Sean Payton recently took his team to see areas affected by the BP oil spill. I asked him, as coach of the NFL champs, how close he felt to the region: "It started in 2006 for us following Hurricane Katrina, specifically [at] that Monday night [game] when the Dome reopened.... It kind of snowballed. It's a community that's very small—[it's] where the players live, where coaches and people in our organization live. We are literally right amongst the people of the city of New Orleans."
• Rule Monger
Mike Pereira, the NFL's former head of officiating, has joined Fox Sports as a rules analyst. I asked him what he thought of FIFA's silence about the blown call that disallowed a U.S. goal against Slovenia at the World Cup. Pereira first noted that Sepp Blatter, FIFA's head, claimed officiating controversy was good for the sport, then joked, "If our commissioner thought that way, my job would have been a heck of a lot easier."