|Suck it up|
By Ralph Wiley
Page 2 columnist
-- R-Dub's NFL Proverb No. 211
This one's adapted from big-league baseball. Old heads there who normally had nothing but jokes pulled me aside and said in all seriousness, "Rule up here is, don't ever go on the DL -- may not get your job back if you do. You ain't the last one they'll try out."
The DL (or IL) in football is Never-Never Land, where even the likes of C. Woodson and Kurt Warner can visit. Has anybody ever gone from sugar to Tap City quick as Captain Kurt? All the time. Usually, they get a memorial service. The brass says something profound like, "Shovel that crap off the field," and move on. Even Ray Charles can see Trent Green throws a better ball. NFL people have short memories. If they can be said to have memories at all.
Now, our peek inside headgears and headphones, Week 4 NFL Uncensored Thought Balloons. On the DL (down low) of course.
Mike Martz, head coach, St. Louis Rams -- "I feel violated, doctor. By who? Everybody. Especially that thing with the funny perm."
Dick Vermeil, head coach, Kansas City Chiefs -- "Wow. Train wreck in St. Loo ... Trent's better than Warner ... I'd never say it. But he is. He always was. That's why Trent was starting in the first place. Priest Holmes, Wilbert Montgomery, what's the dif? Priest is now. How do we spring him? I ... I don't know. Al can tell me. Hope nobody notices Al Saunders calls the best offensive mix in the league, and is a fine man. Not a whiner. Not a blame-shifter. Don't leave me, Al Saunders. Sure, I left, but that was different."
Grady Jackson, DT, New Orleans Saints -- "Harrin'ton boy ain't like a rookie ... good feet ... what I just say? Good eats? Umm, po' boys. Shrimp & oyster. Um. Man. What game? Game over. Ain't no use dying over one game. There'll be another one next week."
Craig Hentrich, P, Tennessee Titans -- "Oh, no, here they come. Convoy of five in front of Buchanon ... we didn't scout this frickin' guy? ... kicked it right to him ... That's a block in the back! That's two in the back! Unhhh! Oww! That's gonna make me limp. Three-and-out? Punt team again? OK, Craig, go opposite side from him. Reverse? Oh no here they come a-g**d***-gain!"
Keyshawn Johnson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- "So, what are you saying to me, Chuckles? You're saying what? I'm not a burner? So then you leave me out of short-yardage formation? Let me tell you about them burners, Chuck. Them burners will get you fired ..."
Butch Davis, head coach, Cleveland Browns -- "And to think, I gave up Miami and cruising South Beach acting like I was looking for players breaking curfew, all for this. Oh yeah, I'm so smart."
Herm Edwards, head coach, New York Jets -- "Am I losing their respect? Are we that bad? Will I ever sleep again? Will anybody see me kick this mutt over that highway divider? It's up ... good!"
John Fox, head coach, Carolina Panthers -- "Stand up, John. Can't stand up. Belly won't let me. One time, Rodney. OK, smart play. Don't risk it. FG under 30 yards. C'mon, Dawson, is it? Missed. That's what I get for learning his name. Just Maalox, baby."
Bubba Franks, TE, Green Bay Packers -- "See Bubba pass? Sweet with a capital C. One-for-one with a TD. Wonder if Aunt Pearl and Keisha 'nem saw it? Bubba just wanna help the team. Bubba really wanna be featured, but Bubba don't mind helping the team."
Dick Jauron, head coach, Chicago Bears -- "Damn, tell me, who stuck a Roman candle up Bledsoe's butt, and just in time for us."
Justin Lucas, DB, Arizona Cardinals -- "... be nice if they threw an out cut for a brother with seven seconds left before halftime. Wet dream. Nobody would be that dumb. I'm covered up in back. I'm sitting on the out cut and -- here it comes! They throwing an out cut on me seven seconds left before half! ... I'm a made man! A made #*&?@! man!"
Kerry Collins, QB, New York Giants -- "Unfreakingbelievable. (affects voice of effeminate schoolmaster) 'Don't check me off, Kerry, don't check me off.' Yeah, right, Mr. Chips ... if I knew where those Polaroids were, I wouldn't put up with this crap."
Brian Dawkins, DB, Philadelphia Eagles -- "Let's see, Five gets a $20 mil bonus. I get a touchdown, recovered fumble, pick and a sack. In one game. Where's my bonus? Hello?! There's an echo is this cupboard. Five took it all! Well, maybe he needs a driver."
David Carr, QB, Houston Texans -- "Twenty. Eagles. Dawkins? Book him. Felony assault. Couldn't look him off. Or duck him. Or pump-fake him. If there's somebody on the schedule better, put me down for the flu that week. I have bruises, strawberries, pulls, open wounds. My elbow feels like brass. My brain is melting."
Joey Harrington, QB, Detroit Lions -- "This is a baptism by fire?"
Carr -- "It's no baptism by fire. Not yet. He's a little too happy about it. Seen the list? Torn pectoral muscle? Torn from what? Bruised pubic bone? Oh, man ..."
Bruce Matthews, retired, OL, Tennessee Titans -- "Johnny U., Webster, Hayes -- dropping like flies. Who's next? White Shoes? Me? Reading the obits. Looking for friends. NFLers count living in half-dog years. Every year is like 3½ years of actual human life."
Ralph Wiley spent nine years at Sports Illustrated and wrote 28 cover stories on celebrity athletes. He is the author of several books, including "Best Seat in the House," with Spike Lee, "Born to Play: The Eric Davis Story," and "Serenity, A Boxing Memoir."