With the prime-time NFL Draft on the horizon (April 26-28), it’s time to follow up on some of the dumbest, nonsensical opinions I’ve heard this offseason. And, believe me, they are not all draft-related items. And that’s not a bad thing because, generally, it is difficult to trust much of what teams are saying about their true intentions next week. — John Czarnecki
“He’s not a bad person.”
A couple of unidentified personnel directors, men who probably live a little on the wild side, referred to talented cornerback Janoris Jenkins in such a manner this month. Jenkins has top-10 draft ability but a bit of a tainted past. He was kicked off the Florida roster after a failed drug test and a couple of marijuana-related arrests, then transferred to North Alabama. Jenkins says his pot days are over, knowing that he can’t afford a substance-abuse suspension in the NFL. Jenkins needs a high-paying job, too. He is the father of four children by three different women.
Getty ImagesJoe Robbins
"I'm going to guarantee a Super Bowl."
Few are comparing Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson to a modern-day Joe Namath, but this was his response after the Philadelphia franchise finally paid him big money. Jackson, who reportedly was in debt to his agent and others, wasn’t even a dynamic performer in 2011. He scored only four touchdowns and failed to reach 1,000 receiving yards. But he can be pretty special when he wants to be.
"How in the hell can u pay a man this much money that cant run tackle or catch."
Excuse the vocabulary, but this was the Twitter response from Falcons receiver Roddy White when he heard that commissioner Roger Goodell would earn $20 million in the final years of his new contract with the league’s owners. White was unimpressed that Goodell is the most powerful commissioner in pro sports and recently squeezed billions more out of the TV networks, basically a 60 percent increase over the life of the contract’s nine-year extension. White's response: "players make this league dont ever forget that."
"How does that get out?"
No, agent Bus Cook wasn’t talking about client Brett Favre’s cell phone photos. It was Cook’s response when he was asked about reports that his first-round client, LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne, had scored a 4 on the Wonderlic test, the NFL’s longtime version of a football IQ test administered to all future employees. The low score won’t hurt Claiborne’s chances because he figures to be among the first six picks. But Cook should know these scores are always leaked, sometimes by coaches who hope a player such as Claiborne falls to them as a result.
"It's up in the air."
Just a few weeks ago, that is how Colts owner Jimmy Irsay answered when asked about picking Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the first overall pick. Irsay wanted us to believe he was also still considering Robert Griffin III. But the Heisman winner proved too smart for Irsay by refusing a private workout. There is no doubt Irsay tweets too much, but the odds of the Colts passing on Luck at No. 1 on April 26 are about a million-to-one.
"Didn't want to look like a conehead."
That was Bobby Petrino’s reasoning for why he didn’t wear a motorcycle helmet. He then had an awful accident that actually led to his firing. Had he not been hospitalized, the former Falcons coach might not have been exposed for his relationship with Jessica Dorrell, whom he had hired at Arkansas. So, Petrino finally was repaid for walking out on the Falcons after 13 games in 2007 and leaving a Xeroxed note on every player’s locker-room chair in order to chant "Woo. Pig Sooie!" What a phony!
"We're going to have a lot of fun together."
This is what backup quarterback Tim Tebow said about his future with his new teammate, Jets starter Mark Sanchez. It’s safe to say Sanchez doesn’t share similar thoughts about the pending competition with the former savior of the Broncos. Plus, how frustrating will it be for Tebow if Sanchez gets hot as a passer and receiver Santonio Holmes becomes the leader of his fan club. The wildcat can be a great offensive changeup for a few plays in every game, but not the 20 or so plays that have been discussed in Jets camp. Heck, that amount generally is a third of a team's plays per game. We all know that isn’t going to happen. Tebow discovered in April how New York fans might treat him when a Yankees crowd booed him as he sat next to Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade.
Owner Tom Benson saved the Saints
When Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, Benson moved his team to San Antonio and was thinking about keeping it there. Instead, the NFL interceded and made a commitment to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region that was ravaged. There was no way commissioner Roger Goodell was going to be viewed the same way President Bush was by the citizens of New Orleans. Basically, the NFL, Drew Brees and Saints fans everywhere saved the teeam for the city of New Orleans. The deal was too good for Benson to pass up!
Gregg Williams should be banned for life
I’ve heard this statement a million times via sports-talk radio. Now, I realize he has said a lot of ridiculous stuff in pregame meetings and Saturday night speeches about harming the opposition. I’m not saying I condone it, but Williams has been talking like this for a long, long time — and not just with the Saints. Does anyone believe Buddy Ryan or Jerry Glanville didn’t say stuff about trying “to kill” the opponent when talking to their defenses? Yes, the bounty system is grounds for a year-long suspension. But before we all rush to jump onto our soapboxes, let’s remember that football is a rugged game played by some of the toughest men on earth. That’s why it’s so popular with the masses and the TV ratings are through the roof. And let’s not forget that players like Dick Butkus, Chuck Bednarik and Ronnie Lott are remembered for their fierce, unmerciful hits.
Abolish the kickoff
Yes, the owners want to make the game safer for the players, but this is a crazy idea, one that would alter the game forever. Granted, there were 1,120 touchbacks last season after the kickoff was moved up from the 30- to the 35-yard line. But that doesn’t mean kickers won’t try to place more kickoffs inside the 5 this season, forcing returners to make a decision. And what about depriving fans of one of the game’s most exciting plays? Darren Sproles of the Saints returned 40 kickoffs for 1,089 yards in 2011.