I’d planned to lead this column with Sunday night’s compelling return to the field of San Francisco all-pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman after 19 months away, and to so much else from the final week of my training camp tour—including how Peyton Manning has no feeling in the fingertips of his throwing hand to this day, after his 2011 surgeries. (Which stunned me.)
So many inappropriate sexual jokes I could include here as to why Peter would be shocked that Peyton didn't have feeling in the fingertips of his throwing hand. I will refrain.
But Sunday was one of those hurricane-of-news days you don’t get very often in the preseason, so let me get to all things Jordy and Maurkice and Cris Carter and, well, here goes …
THIS WAS THE CRAZIEST PRESEASON DAY SINCE AT LEAST ONE PRESEASON DAY LAST YEAR!
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported the initial diagnosis for wideout Jordy Nelson was a torn ACL, after the wideout landed awkwardly Sunday. Nelson last year set a Packer record with 1,519 receiving yards and is Aaron Rodgers’ favorite target, and his loss would make the Packers significantly less multiple in the deep-receiving game.
Oh no, I guess Aaron Rodgers will have to rely on the 3-4 other high draft picks the Packers have used on offense in order to score points. However will he manage to do it?
• There has to be a common-sense approach to the preseason. It’s easy to say, “Just napalm the damn thing.” After days like Sunday—the two-injury debacle in Pittsburgh, the Cowboys worried about playing on a field with a terrible reputation in Santa Clara, the Giants reeling over losing six of the nine safeties on the roster in the first two preseason weeks—it makes sense to ask this question: When is the NFL going to come to its senses and reduce the preseason from four to two games?
Yes, will this happen? What could stop the NFL from caring about the risk of injury to their players and cause the league to reduce the number of preseason games? Roger Goodell certainly can't think of a single reason.
The exhibition games are fan-cheaters; charging full price for the games is robbery, which is the most no-duh statement in the NFL today.
Yes, if it was the mid-90's then this would be a "no-duh" statement for sure.
They should now follow by cutting out two more chances of injury. Do the math: If Jordy Nelson suits up 17 or 18 times instead of 19 or 20, it follows that he’d have less exposure to the kind of injury that can kill a team’s season in a totally meaningless exercise.
Usually, Peter's math can be a little shaky, but he is in fact correct about his math this time. Though, Kelvin Benjamin just tore his ACL while practicing, so there is only so much the NFL and their teams can do to reduce the chance of injury. Cutting the number of preseason games will certainly help of course. Players still get injured in practices though.
• You are kidding me, Cris Carter—and you are kidding me, NFL. My first reaction to the story of Carter telling NFL rookies at the 2014 Rookie Symposium that they have to find a “fall guy” in a player’s “crew” who will take the blame when the player commits a crime: My jaw dropped.
Yes, how dare Cris Carter encourage that NFL players do something that has thus far remained unspoken. Everyone was shocked when Mike Scott of the Hawks admitted some drugs were his, because that's not how it's done. But it's better to pretend this shit doesn't go on rather than the NFL just admit it, right? I love how Robert Klemko was present for this comment, yet refrained from commenting on it. I see he's learned from Peter King that it's best to withhold information in order to gain or keep access. Be a reporter when it doesn't risk your access.
Precisely. Carter apologized, and though the NFL tried to distance itself from Carter’s idiotic remarks, how could the league have placed the offending video of his talk on NFL.com until yanking it Sunday? This is so offensive it boggles the mind that some person with the NFL would say, Let’s show the world this great advice about obstructing justice from a Hall of Fame hero to impressionable rookies.
I don't think Carter should have said this, but NFL players find a "fall guy" all the time when they get in trouble. It's not advice Carter should be giving obviously, but why would Peter's jaw hit the floor? He doesn't think this type of stuff goes on?
Carter, by the way, was in his yellow Pro Football Hall of Fame blazer. In all ways, this is the biggest example of inmates running the NFL asylum that I’ve seen in years.
It's terrible advice, but again, it happens. The only shocking thing is that Carter said aloud what actually happens in secret. I think it's more funny than shocking.
• The fallout over Terrell Suggs’ hit on Sam Bradford continued. I side with Suggs, who dove at Bradford because he wasn’t sure if Bradford was going to hand off or keep a read-option-appearing play in Saturday night’s Ravens-Eagles game. Suggs said if you’re going to call such a play for a quarterback with ACL reconstructions the past two seasons, you do it at your own peril.
This is very true, but I think it's also important to note that the defender shouldn't be simply going for only the QB's legs when trying to make a tackle. I don't believe Suggs did only go for Bradford's legs, but it would be nice if the defender hit the QB and didn't try to only take his legs out in another situations.
Chip Kelly shouldn’t be putting Bradford in such a position to be hit violently anyway—and certainly not in a dumb preseason game.
For a smart guy, leaving Bradford out there to run a read-option play wasn't the smartest move that Kelly could have called. I get that they want to practice these read-option plays, but in a preseason game that is simply setting your QB up for an injury in a pointless preseason game. What kind of dumbassery is that to call this read-option play?
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Lots of reasons to say ‘Wow’ about NaVorro Bowman this morning.
Question to Bowman on Friday: “How long does it take you to get ready to practice or play right now?”
Bowman: “About two hours. The massaging and the bending, the flexing of the knee. Once I do that I have a five-minute period where it just needs to relax and then I’m ready to go.”
Peter knows how Bowman feels because he used to roll out of bed and then go to a team's training camp with his notebook, but now he has to roll out of bed, take a shower and then go to a team's training camp with his notebook. It's just so hot out these days that Peter must prepare more to stand out in the heat than he used to. So Peter completely empathizes with Bowman.
Question: “Before the injury, how long would it take you to be ready?”
Bowman: “Nothing. No time.”
So Bowman didn't stretch all before practice in order to be prepared to practice? He threw an uniform on and just started to play football with zero stretching or bending of his body?
Look what happened to San Francisco’s D this offseason. No Justin Smith; retired. No Patrick Willis; retired. No Aldon Smith; cut. No Chris Borland to train as the next great inside ‘backer; retired, shockingly.
Peter's jaw hit the floor when he heard that Borland retired. It made him lose all feeling in his heart.
Bowman sure knows how to make an entrance. Until Sunday night against Dallas, Bowman hadn’t played in a game since shredding multiple left knee ligaments on the ugly goal-line play in the NFC Championship Game in Seattle in January 2014. He played three plays against the Cowboys. From his spot in the nerve center of the Niner defense, Bowman stoned Darren McFadden up the middle for a one-yard gain on first down. He stoned McFadden over right tackle on second down; loss of one. He stopped running back Lance Dunbar on a dumpoff pass from Tony Romo on third down; loss of one. Three plays, three tackles, two of them for losses. That was an impressive three minutes of football right there.
Or really shitty blocking from the Cowboys offensive line that probably wasn't trying too hard for fear the horrendous turf on the 49ers field would swallow up their legs and tear ligaments doctors didn't know existed in the human body.
“I thought I ended my career,” Bowman said Friday afternoon in the bowels of Levi’s Stadium.
Given the condition of the field, "the bowels of Levi's Stadium" could very well pertain to a few locations in the stadium or on the field.
Two hours of prep work, daily. Just to be able to practice. Seventeen months of arduous, painful work to try to be NaVorro Bowman, all-pro linebacker, again … while so much of the team is crashing and burning around him.
Has it been worth it?
Peter King asks the tough questions which he knows will result in an obvious answer. Like, what does Peter think Bowman will say? "No, it's hasn't been worth it. I retire, effective immediately."
“I don’t play this game for money,” he said. “I play it for respect and ultimately to make it to the Hall of Fame. That’s what drives me. In order to be the best, this work comes with it, and I’m willing to fight through it.”
This is the answer I would expect to hear from Bowman. It's remarkably easy to say you don't play football for the money when you are sitting on a contract worth almost $26 million guaranteed. At that point, saying you play the game for respect sounds more noble than it probably is. I'd like to hear Bowman say he doesn't play football for money and then back it up by taking less money and gain the respect of his teammates by allowing them to get paid. It's always about the money. Always, even when he claims it's not about it right now for Bowman, the game of football was about the money before he got paid.
He said he doesn’t think he’ll feel that way all season, and he’s not sure exactly how to describe the difference in the knee; he just knows it’s not the same as it was two summers ago.
Well, that doesn't sound positive at all.
I find one thing about the Niner dynamic fascinating right now. Bowman and Borland, health permitting, were set to be the next great combo platter of inside linebacker for the next three or four years. Bowman’s injury was one of the factors that made Borland play so much last year—and, it turns out, he played very well.
Ah yes, Peter is lightly treading down the "NaVorro Bowman is playing despite fighting back from a very traumatic knee injury, while Chris Borland is being a pussy and retiring before he gets hurt" road right now. Again, Peter is lightly treading down this road, but I know he wants to hammer this point home a harder than ends up hammering the point home.
So here’s Bowman, who stones people, playing. And Borland isn’t. Bowman, a Harry Carson block-of-granite type, and Willis keyed a defense that went 14 straight games in 2011 without allowing a rushing touchdown. Three times he was first-team all-pro, the classic kind of run-stuffer who also had the ability to turn and run with tight ends. Bowman's fought through it all, and Borland chose another path.
"Chose another path." Come on Peter, you know you want to go there, just like you wanted to go there last week and complain about the "Black Lives Matter" protesters blocking the street. Go full heel on us. Bowman has chosen to stick around and play through injuries, while Borland is retiring before he can get injured. You know you want to write this point of view. Just do it.
Concerned about the impact of football on his long-term health—a rising tide among current players—Borland walked away from the game after one starry season.
Peter describes the guy who fought back from injury as "a Harry Carson block-of-granite type" and states the other guy "chose another path." It's like saying, "My oldest son is running his own company and is successful, but my youngest son chose a different path and hasn't found his calling yet." It's on the edge of judging, but trying to do so in a polite way.
That’s one of the things that makes this comeback compelling. There’s nothing dramatic about the way Bowman says this. It’s simply his ethos. He’s a man making a choice, the way Borland made his. And the 49ers, in this seismic season, need Bowman desperately, and he knows it.
Bowman has an ethos. Chris Borland has no ethos. One chose a compelling comeback and the other tapped-out through "walking away." Regardless of what Peter says, the wording he uses says what he really thinks. At least I think I think I know what Peter thinks.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Six things you need to know about Peyton Manning, at 39.
Again, at this point there is very little I don't know about Peyton Manning, but I'm sure learning six more things won't hurt.
1. He still doesn’t have feeling in the fingertips on his right hand.
Peter is still stunned upon hearing this.
“I can’t feel anything in my fingertips,” Manning said Thursday. “It’s crazy. I’ve talked to a doctor recently who said, Don’t count on the feeling coming back. It was hard for me for about two years, because one doctor told me I could wake up any morning and it might come back. So you wake up every day thinking, Today’s the day! Then it’s not.” I find his production all the more impressive since four neck procedures caused him to miss the 2011 season, and caused him to lose—maybe forever—the comfortable grip on the football.
I don't know how it usually works with a quarterback, but I would think it would be a much bigger deal for a wide receiver to not be able to feel the ball with his fingertips than it would be for a quarterback. Maybe not, but this still sounds like a semi-serious medical issue. A medical issue that Peter King thinks NaVorro Bowman would fight back from, but Chris Borland would choose his own path and walk away if faced with this fingertip condition.
2. He traces the physically crummy end to last season not to age but to a vomitous December night in San Diego.
Now I'm the one whose jaw is on the floor. You mean Peyton Manning isn't attributing his poor ending to the season to getting older? He isn't saying, "Oh sure, I'm really old and can't play an entire season at a high level anymore"? What an unexpected thing for Peyton to attribute his crummy ending last season to, as opposed to acknowledging he's getting older.
Before the Broncos’ 14th game, in San Diego, Manning says a bug he caught from his sick daughter made him violently ill. “I threw up all night,” he said. “Then, in the game, I moved to the right on a simple scramble and my quad cramped on me. It lingered. I couldn’t shake it the rest of the year. I really studied it hard this offseason, whether it could linger into this year or whether it was isolated. I just think I got dehydrated, and that caused it. I don’t think you can blame it on my age. It was just an isolated thing.
Manning was just dehydrated for an entire month. It's not that he is older or anything. It's just one of those things that happened as a result of being dehydrated for a few weeks. No big deal, let's all move on and just accept this reason.
4. Manning got advice from Derek Jeter on the contract thing. His wife Ashley weighed in too, importantly. “I talked about it with Ashley, about what I wanted to do, and I wanted to be here,” he said. And Jeter told him: “Do what you want—not what they want.”
Ah, the Jeter always has such great advice. "Use your leverage as an icon to engage in a battle over your contract, fully knowing you have the media on your side and it's going to be hard for you to look like the bad guy." I mean, it's true though, so I'm not sure I can mock it.
6. The Broncos will likely do the Romo thing this year, and give Manning every Wednesday off. Just for insurance—and so the Broncos can see a little more of Brock Osweiler getting quality time with the first unit. “I think that’s the plan right now,” Elway said. “I think he’d feel better right now if he takes Wednesday off. His health is not a concern. His freshness is a concern.”
Absolutely. The Broncos know Manning can play a full season with no problem, even though he can't feel his fingertips and his arm strength seems to have slowed as the season progresses. So no worries from them here. They just don't want Manning to get dehydrated for an entire month again.
And yes, the whole "The Broncos are resting Manning just for insurance and not because they are concerned about his health/arm strength" is one of those things I think NFL teams and other sources tell Peter that he buys hook, line and sinker because he likes Manning and wants to believe it.
OXNARD, Calif. — You think this team doesn’t have one foot out the door to L.A.?
What a scene here Monday and Tuesday, when the Rams, after a Friday night preseason game in Oakland, scheduled a couple of days of work against the Cowboys at their training complex here. It was enough to see the fans, who outnumbered the Dallas fans by 2-to-1 (my estimate) Tuesday, be nuts for the Rams; one even had a huge flat-head cutout of owner Stan Kroenke in the crowd. Imagine fans cheering for Stan Kroenke. Amazing. He’s not exactly a fan favorite in St. Louis.
Well, if California wasn't trying to lure the Rams to their state through flattery than I imagine there would be zero fat-head (not flat-head) cutouts of Stan Kroenke. I mean, of course St. Louis isn't going to love Kroenke. He's trying to take the NFL team away from the city. What the fuck does Peter expect?
On Monday and Tuesday, the Rams did a morning walk-through practice near their hotel between Los Angeles and Oxnard. In one of those sessions, coach Jeff Fisher stuck his head into the offensive huddle and said, “Guys, I’m putting Eric Dickerson in the backfield, and you’re going to block power for Eric Dickerson.” Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson, he meant. And Dickerson took a handoff in this walkthrough practice, ran through a hole, and folks cheered.
Jeff "8-8" Fisher sure knows how to pump the team up. But hey, if I were an NFL head coach who so far had gotten paid over a million dollar for every victory then I'd be in a good mood too. I don't know what Peter expects though. Everything will be all sunshines and rainbows for the Rams in California. They want the Rams to move from St. Louis to their state.
RENTON, Wash. — Nothing changes for Russell Wilson.
Not really, but I guess it's more fun to go with this story than to check whether it's realistic or not. He just got a huge new contract and is dating a famous pop star. Things have changed, regardless of whether he wants to acknowledge it or not.
Ten minutes before the official start of Seahawks practice, on a pristine field a short spiral east of Lake Washington, Russell Wilson is throwing to the tight ends. Fast. Snap, set up, throw, over and over. I’m guessing before practice even started he’s thrown 30 or 40 passes in anger. I’ve seen this movie before: last year, and the year before. Super Bowl win, Super Bowl loss.
Wait, so Russell Wilson hasn't stopped practicing entirely now that he has a new contract? I completely expected him to stop practicing now that he's really wealthy and focus on baseball. Perhaps God spoke to Wilson as he signed his new contract and decided that Wilson should focus on football-only, thereby closing the door on a possible baseball career.
The quarterback who threw the interception heard ’round the world in the Super Bowl last February and made Malcolm Butler a household name doesn’t seem much worse for wear.
He's dating a singer and he got a huge new contract. He's been to two straight Super Bowls. I'm trying to figure out why Peter would think Wilson would be down in the dumps and worse for wear.
The interception might be in a place deep inside him, burrowing a hole he’ll always feel. But if it is, Wilson’s doing a good job hiding it. Or pretending it’s not there.
That's sort of what he has to do in order to move on isn't it? Being able to forget about a bad play that cost his team the game is how he can avoid allowing one play to ruin the next football season.
Wilson said it took about a week before he got over it. Since then, his off-season has been pretty much the same as his others work-wise—just a bit more spotlighted because he’s dating a celebrity.
It's also a bit more spotlighted because Wilson and his agent took his fight for a new contract to any media outlet who was willing to listen to them, while pretending that Wilson totally had complete interest in playing baseball again so that was a fallback option if the Seahawks don't give Wilson exactly what he wants. Of course, Peter won't question Wilson's insistence the spotlight is on him more because of his dating Ciara. Peter isn't here to question. He is here to get quotes and write them down word-for-word as they were told to him, which is why he can be used by some members of the NFL and NFL organizations to disseminate the information they want disseminated. Breathlessly writing down quotes is how Peter gets his sources and how his sources use him from time-to-time.
No matter what the circumstances are, can you stay laser focused on the idea of what can you do for the next moment? That’s the trick. If you ask any great players—and I’ve had the fortune to be around a lot of great players—Derek Jeter to Michael Jordan to other quarterbacks who have played the game—
(Bengoodfella makes wanking motion with his hand)
My mental coach, Trevor Moawad, has this idea: conscious competence.
Not to be confused with conscious uncoupling of course. Speaking of conscious uncoupling, how smart was Russell to divorce his wife before he got paid? He knows what he's doing, even if he tries to act like he doesn't.
Seattle's quarterback coach, Carl Smith, and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell both said Wilson’s the exact same guy this summer, post-contract and post-calamitous interception.
Wilson got the new contract like a month ago. It's not like an athlete gets paid and then always immediately starts to turn evil and lazy, refusing to show up for practice and hanging out with Justin Bieber. Sometimes it takes a year or so for a player to change after he has gotten paid, once he has faced tough situations and realizes he is rich so the motivation to dig himself out isn't as great. I'm not saying this is the case for Wilson, and I don't believe it would be, but it's been a month since he signed a new contract. It's a bit early for the whole "HE'S THE SAME GUY!" talk.
When you go on the road to training camps, there are some days you know fun things might happen.
Tickle contest between Peter and Klemko every night before bed!
Last Tuesday, I walked into Cowboys PR VP Rich Dalrymple’s office at camp—a converted Marriott Residence Inn room, right by the practice fields—and who was sitting there chewing the fat with Dalrymple? Tommy Lasorda.
"Chewing the fat" and then Peter mentions Tommy Lasorda. I see what you did there Peter.
The conversation was so good I thought the best way to relay it was to give you a seat in one of the chairs in the room, across from Dalrymple’s desk, and let you just listen to Lasorda, 87, tell his tales.
I won't cover this much except to show you the contributions (or lack thereof) Peter made to the conversation.
Garrett: “Did you come to the playoff game against Detroit?”
Lasorda: “I was there! And we should have won. What about that catch?”
King: “The Dez Bryant catch that wasn’t a catch?”
Lasorda: “That was the greatest catch I ever saw in my life, and they took it away from them. Otherwise they’d have been playing Seattle.”
King: “For the NFC Championship Game.”
No Peter, the Cowboys would have been playing in Seattle against the Sounders, because the winner of the Dallas-Green Bay game got to play a soccer match against the Sounders for the right to play in the NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Yes, for the NFC Championship Game. That's what Lasorda meant. No need to interject.
Lasorda: “That’s right, yeah.
Tommy Lasorda is like, "Aren't you supposed to be the one who covers the NFL?"
King: “Seems like the rivalry is missing from baseball now. Football too. Guys are pretty friendly.”
Dalrymple: “Our guys pray with the other team on the field after the game.”
Lasorda: “If I saw my players ever talking to the other players, I would chew their ass out.
Brilliant observation from Peter. Of course, Peter is the same guy who loves to relay stories on how Peyton Manning and Tom Brady run into each other at exclusive restaurants and golf clubs and then marvel at how these two players are such good friends and run in the same circles. I guess it's okay for Manning and Brady to be friends and still have a rivalry, but Peter thinks guys are pretty friendly in sports and it takes away from the rivalry. That is unless Peter thinks it's cool two superstars get along well.
“It’s intoxicating. It’s a drug, a drug that gives you the most incredible feeling there is. Outside of sexual intercourse, there's probably nothing like it. But fun is the wrong word for it. I don't consider football fun. It's not like a water park, or a baseball game.”
—Former 49ers linebacker Chris Borland, on football, in a terrific longform story on ESPN.com by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru about the post-football life of Borland
Hey, he made his choice according to his ethos.
“When you run the read option, you have to know the rules. If you want to run the read option with a starting quarterback that’s had two knee surgeries, that’s on you. It’s not my responsibility to update you on the rule. I could have hit him harder on that. I didn’t.”
—Ravens pass rusher Terrell Suggs, after hitting quarterback Sam Bradford in the left knee in Saturday night’s preseason game against the Eagles.
It seems Suggs sort of went at Bradford's knee, though it's hard to tell. He may not have and I can't figure it out. Either way, I don't know why the hell the Eagles would run the read-option with Sam Bradford in a preseason game. Many teams who actually have quarterbacks who run the read-option aren't running it in preseason, mostly because it's preseason and it's stupid to expose a quarterback to an injury risk.
Whether Suggs had malice on the play, I don’t know. I don’t know why he would. But I don’t know how Suggs said he could have hit him harder. He lunged quite hard into Bradford’s knee.
I think overall it is a cheap play to dive into a player's knee. I don't know if Suggs meant to or not, but it's never cool to dive into a player's knee, no matter if he's the quarterback, kicker, punter or a wide receiver.
“L-A-RAMS! L-A-RAMS! L-A-RAMS!”
—Thousands of fans chanting at a practice between the St. Louis Rams and Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday at the Cowboys’ training camp field in Oxnard, Calif.
What made the display interesting was that at least two-thirds of the fans on hand that day identified as Ram fans. You don't often see a road team in a practice or game setting dominate the local crowd, but that’s what the Rams fans did in Oxnard.
Yet again, these are fans of football who want an NFL team in California. Of course they are going to put on a good show in order to convince the Rams to come out there. It's not really remarkable if you know these fans want a chance to prove they can support the Rams once they move to California.
MLB Payrolls We Have Loved Dept.:
Los Angeles Dodgers (14 games over .500) payroll: $298.5 million.
Combined payroll of Pittsburgh, Houston, Kansas City (61 over .500): $300.6 million.
This statistic just makes me roll my eyes. It's interesting I guess, but the Astros have a low payroll because they essentially disintegrated their entire team a few years ago to rebuild the organization from top to bottom. They have players working under cheap contracts who are producing at a high level.
Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Notes of the Week
On the later flight, a Japanese boy, about 5 or 6, sat in the middle seat of our row, with me on the aisle. He was exceedingly polite. He had to get up twice to use the restroom, and each time he said he was sorry. While seated, he devoured a large picture book about dinosaurs, and pulled out a folder of dinosaur drawings that I am assuming he made.
Peter is like, "Of course it makes sense this little boy likes dinosaurs. All Japanese people love Godzilla and he is pretty much a dinosaur, so the fact this child devoured a book on dinosaurs did not stun me or make my jaw drop to the floor."
"I feel like the Altuve here," Astros shortstop Carlos Correa at #Texans practice.— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) August 18, 2015
We get it. Pretty good jo---
The Astros shortstop was commenting how small he felt (a la 5-7 shortstop Jose Altuve) while visiting the city’s NFL team.
And of course Peter has to explain the joke to his readers, because he believes his MMQB readers to be too stupid to figure out the joke for themselves. Not everyone can be as smart about baseball as Peter King, but give him credit for trying. One day, maybe one day, he can educate his readers to where they are close to his level.
Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think if you wanted to tell me that San Diego pass-rusher Melvin Ingram will lead the NFL in sacks this year, I would not argue with you.
Oh, thank God. I was very worried Peter would argue with me if I said Melvin Ingram would lead the NFL in sacks this year. That's a load off my mind knowing I have Peter's approval should I hold this opinion.
2. I think it feels very much like you can see the end for Robert Griffin III in Washington. It started last year, with the blunt criticism of Griffin from his head coach, and it continues with subpar play this summer, and another mini-controversy last week, when he said he thought he was the best quarterback in the NFL. Which would be hilarious if it wasn’t so ridiculous.
I just can't believe a professional athlete had an unrealistic perspective of his true athletic ability. This never happens.
3. I think you’re owed an explanation from me, in the wake of Ben Volin of the Boston Globe writing Sunday that it wasn’t just Chris Mortensen who got a bum steer from someone in the NFL about the deflated footballs in the AFC title game. Volin said it was me, too. I reported after Mortensen’s story that 11 of the 12 footballs were at least two pounds per square inch under the minimum limit of 12.5 psi when tested by the league at halftime. I reported that I’d heard “reliably” that the story of the footballs being at least two psi under the minimum limit was correct.
Being not an employee of ESPN, I won't copy work that others have done. Here is how I feel about this apology from Peter. I agree with what is written there and I think it undermines the credibility of THE MMQB that Robert Klemko also held back the comments Cris Carter made at the rookie symposium about finding a "fall guy." But hey, he learned from Peter King. Hold back information when you are asked. It's how you best gather sources who eventually mislead you. Peter criticized Chris Mortensen a few weeks ago for not taking back his report, yet I forgot that Peter didn't take his report back either. Peter seems to have forgotten as well. No one cares. The "SI" media guy who eviscerated Cris Carter for his comments had very little to say except "You judge yourself" when confronted with the idea Klemko covered up the "fall guy" comment and Peter flip-flopped. Why? I'm guessing because he can't go as hard against "SI" employees as he can employees of other organizations. So, Peter is excused from receiving the type of criticism others would get in this situation. What a world.
As I said on Twitter on Sunday, I believe the person who told me this believed the story was accurate when, obviously, it clearly was not. So, were we used by someone to get a storyline out in public? Maybe …
No, pretty clearly "yes."
but the reason I’m skeptical about this is because with the knowledge that there would be a full investigation and clearly the air pressure in the footballs would be publicized at some point, the league would look stupid for putting out false information that would eventually come back to embarrass it.
Great take, Peter. Because the NFL is always so worried about it's image and looking like they are giving out false information that they may eventually have to take back. We all know the NFL is deeply worried about being seen as hypocritical and willing to mislead. The NFL knows that fans will still watch, while the reporters who reported this false information would look stupid.
Clearly, this story, along with the Ray Rice story from last fall, has made me question sources and sourcing in general, and in a story as inflammatory as this one, you can’t just take the story of a person whose word you trust as gospel. It’s my error.
Again. You said this same thing last year. The two biggest NFL scandals of the last two years and Peter fumbled the ball on reporting both of them. It's almost like it's a trend. But hey, "SI's" media guy is cool with an apology, so I should be too.
I need to be better than that. Readers, and the Patriots, deserve better than that.
Which is also something Peter said last year. He said he needed to be better. Then when the next big scandal pops up, Peter gets his sourcing and reports wrong again. Readers do deserve better. Can Peter do better?
6. I think this is bad news for the future of Chris Cooley in Washington: New tight end Derek Carrier, acquired in trade with San Francisco on Friday, will be wearing number 47. For all either outside the Beltway or just casual fans of tight-end numbers in recent NFL seasons, that was Cooley’s number. He wants to play again, badly, and his old team sent him a message with that news Saturday.
This is an update for those worried about retired tight ends like Cooley and his ability to make it back into the NFL. So, this is an update for like five people.
7. I think this was a first: I interviewed Tony Romo the other night at Cowboys camp, and he brought his own soundtrack: a boom box with Bruce Springsteen playing at a moderate volume. During our chat, he interrupted his football chatter when “Wrecking Ball” came on.
I don't want to spoil the ending, but Romo and Peter bonded over how great Bruce Springsteen is live. Which is something we already know. I do like how both Peter and Romo pretend like seeing Springsteen live is some secret they both share, instead of something that probably millions of people have in common with them.
9. I think the Cowboys deserve credit for recruiting La’el Collins hard and signing him as a rookie free-agent after the draft … but 31 other teams deserve blame for not using a sixth- or seventh-round pick to take him on draft day. Pro Football Focus named him the top-rated rookie of the first full weekend of the preseason, and people in camp told me last week he’s been terrific in all phases with the second unit. I don’t expect him to stay second-team for the season.
Hey revisionist history, this is Peter King on the line wanting to speak with you. If Peter recalls correctly, and maybe he needs one of his sources to confirm this, Collins was a part of a murder investigation prior to the draft. If it turns out Collins had a part in this murder then I imagine Peter would be writing, "I can't believe Team X spent a draft pick on a player they knew had no chance of playing this season or even in the NFL at any point."
Peter seems to not be able to recall his own words. I'll help him. Here is what he said about Collins prior to the draft:
1. I think La’el Collins, the LSU tackle projected to be a first-round draft choice, has a problem. A pregnant woman Collins apparently knew was murdered last week in Louisiana, and police want to speak with Collins. Police say he is not a suspect. But one team I talked to that is interested in drafting a tackle in the first round is now re-thinking whether Collins will even be on its board on Thursday night. This team’s thinking goes: How can you draft a guy who’s being sought in connection with the death of a woman, even if police are saying now he isn’t a suspect? He needs to be exonerated by Thursday. Fair or unfair, Collins needs to address this today, and with finality.
But now that Peter has revisionist history on his side he thinks some NFL team should have drafted Collins because he's so talented. Peter does an excellent job of forgetting that Collins' status was very much up in the air when the draft occurred. What a farce for Peter to act like 31 teams (and the Cowboys, they didn't draft Collins either, dumbass) dropped the ball in not spending a pick on Collins.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
b. I think having a The MMQB-style site for covering the 2016 election would be an awful lot of fun right now. I think I’d have Klemko writing a daily Trump story, and Vrentas doing a what’s-wrong-with-Hillary’s-campaign takeout right about now.
Peter always has the pulse on what his readers want. He thinks his readers want MORE coverage of Donald Trump, as if the wall-to-wall coverage he gets every evening on FOX and CNN isn't enough. It's like when Peter writes about Tim Tebow, because that's what his readers want to read about. Peter knows us better than we do it seems.
e. In the midst of this bizarro-world bad Red Sox season, I note that, in the span of eight-and-a-third innings last week, Boston got 25 hits and 18 runs off King Felix and Johnny Cueto.
f. You just can’t predict baseball, Suzyn. You really can’t.
It's not like the Red Sox have a team full of shitty hitters or anything. They are 3rd in the majors in runs scored, 4th in OBP, and 3rd in the majors in hits. Scoring runs isn't their issue. So you can't predict baseball, but you can know the strengths of your own favorite team.
g. Not saying Dave Dombrowski wasn’t a good hire by the Red Sox.
And we all know that Peter will basically now say Dave Dombrowski wasn't a good hire by the Red Sox. Peter does this all the time. "I don't want to do this..." and then Peter proceeds to do that thing.
But just for the record: Boston made a change because the current franchise architect spent huge money on players (Sandoval, Porcello, Hanley) who are not huge-money players. And the franchise now has hired an architect who spent huge money on players (other than Miguel Cabrera and maybe Victor Martinez) who didn’t produce enough to win big.
Yes, other than the players who Dombrowski spent big money on that have so far worked out well, he's really signed some huge busts. Just ignore all the good signings he made and his record looks pretty bleak.
What am I missing?
You mean other than the two World Series champions Dombrowski built in Florida, the fact he took a Tigers team that was the worst in the majors and built them into a team that made two World Series, and drafted guys like Rick Porcello, who he then traded so the Red Sox could give him a huge contract? Other than all the success Dombrowski has had? Other than that, you are missing nothing.
I see the division titles, and it’s important to get in the derby every year, so maybe I’m being too hard on Dombrowski. But the Tigers are 12 over .500 since opening day 2014 (including the playoff three-game sweep last year by the Orioles). Going forward, I’d like Boston to be more of a farm-system team and less of a free-agent team. Too many Crawford/Hanley mistakes in big-money land.
You mean draft good players like Curtis Granderson, Justin Verlander, Andrew Miller, Rick Porcello, Alex Avila, and Drew Smyly? Or do you mean the part where he used prospects he drafted to land guys like Miguel Cabrera, Austin Jackson, Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez, and David Price?
The funny part is Peter is bemoaning the Red Sox re-signing Rick Porcello, yet he can't seem to make the connection that Dombrowski is the guy who traded Porcello to the Red Sox before he wanted a big contract the Red Sox eventually gave him.
j. Coffeenerdness: This was a first, driving from the airport in Denver to the Broncos’ practice facility last Thursday: a standalone drive-through Starbucks. No store. Just a skinny little drive-through, on the southeast side of town. No idea such a place existed. Some of their stores could take a lesson from said drive-through: From time of order (three drinks) to pickup of drinks: less than 90 seconds.
One minute Peter wants to have a discussion with the barista and talk about how kind everyone is when having conversation, the next minute he wants everyone at Starbucks to shut the fuck up and just hand him his coffee. I guess it just depends on Peter's mood whether he wants conversation and kindness or a quick drink without any talk.
l. Took Greg Bishop of SI to Coors Field for his first trip there on a lovely night for baseball (Nats/Scherzer-Rockies) Thursday. Good to be joined by one of America’s bright young sportswriting lights, Tim Rohan of the New York Times. Coors has one of the best concession stands in all of sports: a salad bar on the lower concourse between first base and right field. Romaine, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, red onion, with balsamic vinaigrette, topped with chicken, for about $8.
Yeah, Max Scherzer. Which MLB GM traded for him before he flourished again? I can't remember.
m. Uh, no line in the sixth inning Thursday night. There should have been.
Because I know when I go to a baseball game I'm thinking, "I'm hungry as hell, where is the nearest salad bar at? All I can think about is devouring a delicious house salad with my beer while watching some baseball."
The Adieu Haiku
So L.A. beckons.
My best guess: Rams in ’16,
Chargers close behind.
I only include the Adieu Haiku now because I want everyone who reads this blog to suffer through the inanity of it along with me.