Clijsters is tougher than anyone playing on Sunday

The beginning of the NFL season inaugurates a de facto debate at the watercooler, or thereabouts: who’s the toughest guy you saw this weekend?

Tom Brady? Maybe.





Can’t wait to see which comedy did better ratings, Leno or the Bills?

LaDainian Tomlinson — 55 yards, one fumble, one catch — says he’s a more complete back than Adrian Peterson. Truth is, he’s less complete than Darren Sproles.

Nice to see Matt Barkley come off the field and immediately give credit to the Almighty. Obviously, God likes Southern Cal a lot more than Ohio State. And why not? I mean, those kids at SC have already been through so much.

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Richard Seymour? If I’m the Patriots, I wish I never let him go.

But I want to run something back here, an athlete whose virtues were lost in the news cycle, woefully unacknowledged by the first week of pro football. Turns out the toughest guy isn’t even a guy. She isn’t even a football player.

Kim Clijsters. Yes, that’s right. The U.S. Open champion, mommy.

Look, I’ve been on the field and seen, no, felt, the concussive hits up close. I’ve been ringside for the most brutal knockouts. But I’ve also been in the delivery room. It’s like the first 20 minutes of “Saving Private Ryan” — except it goes on for hours.

I’m a devout believer in the miracle of birth, which, like most miracles, is a test of faith.

Happens the same every time. The nurse says, “There it is. See?”

And the guy says, “Where?” All the while thinking: “Are you ——- kidding me? No way that’s getting through there.”

No one should ever come back from that kind of physical trauma. No one.

Now you want me to weep because Brett Favre got his shoulder scoped? Please.

Favre had the trainer from Minnesota flying out to give him pep talks and shoulder rubs. New mothers are sent home, still wounded, and left to deal with prolonged sleep deprivation and psychiatric torture that would’ve shamed the most sadistic masters at GITMO.

Which brings me back to Kim Clijsters, who has an 18-month-old daughter named Jada, winning the U.S. Open tennis tournament.

Hot mommas

Kim Clijsters

Photos: Kim Clijsters isn’t the only woman to experience athletic success after giving birth. We’ve come up with a whole list of winning moms.

I know other athletes have done extraordinary things after giving birth. There are those crazy distance runners, and Dara Torres and Lisa Leslie and Sheryl Swoopes, to name a prominent few. Still, with another NFL season now begun, the attributes celebrated by the TV announcers like John Madden were best displayed by Clijsters.

There goes your week’s toughest ballplayer. Turns out Clijsters is the first mother to win a Grand Slam since Evonne Goolagong won at Wimbledon in 1980. But she’s also the first unseeded woman to win the Open, and she only had to defeat both of the Williams sisters to do it.

As comebacks go, I’ll take that over Brady’s knee and Favre’s shoulder.

Anyone who’s witnessed the metamorphosis — from woman to baby mama — would tell you the same: they’re tougher than we are.

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Can’t wait to see which comedy did better ratings, Leno or the Bills?

LaDainian Tomlinson — 55 yards, one fumble, one catch — says he’s a more complete back than Adrian Peterson.

Truth is, he’s less complete than Darren Sproles.

Nice to see Matt Barkley come off the field and immediately give credit to the Almighty.

Obviously, God likes Southern Cal a lot more than Ohio State.

And why not? I mean, those kids at SC have already been through so much.

Speaking of Barkley, if you graduate high school early, attend spring practice and workouts with your college team, then celebrate your 19th birthday in September, are you really a true freshman?

Remember the comedian, Carrot Top?

Girlfriend wants to know when he swallowed Joe Piscopo.

I just want to know when Ochocinco retired.

Was that one of those things I missed because I’m not on Twitter?

Next time Kanye West has an urge to grab someone’s microphone, can it be Brent Musberger’s?

Even as I write this, I’m still getting messages from Michigan fans: told you the coach was innocent.

Take heart, Buckeye fans: what NFL team wouldn’t want Terrelle Pryor in its wildcat package?

Quick, what do Mark Sanchez and Aaron Rodgers have in common?

They both had better days than the guy they replaced.

The only guy happier than Rodgers is Josh McDaniels.

Oops.

Jay Cutler just threw another pick.

Raise your hand if you had Jake Delhomme in your fantasy league.

It’s OK. The hardest part is admitting it.

In his last two games, Delhomme has nine interceptions and two fumbles. The question isn’t, “Has anyone ever had a streak like that?” Rather, “Has anyone ever had the chance?”

Right about now Bengals fans have to be thinking that maybe that blackout rule isn’t such a bad thing.

On the eve of the big fight between Floyd Mayweather and Juan Manuel Marquez, Bob Arum derided UFC fans as “skinhead white guys” who watch other “skinhead white guys” act out their fantasies by “rolling around like homosexuals on the ground.”

You see, some things boxing fans just won’t tolerate.

Meanwhile, Marquez is drinking his own urine.

Houston puts up 512 yards on Oklahoma State I have to wonder: is this the best defense that T. Boone Pickens can buy?

I’m not saying Serena Williams got a bad deal.

Just that the U.S. Open is the same tournament that deified the likes of Ilie Nastase, Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe because they behaved like louts.

This year featured temper tantrums, the charmingly improbable rise of a 17-year-old star, a champion mom and a Roger Federer circus shot.

Still, felt like something was missing.

That would be Harvey Araton making sense of it in the New York Times.

As a service to my readers, I’d like to confirm that the WNBA regular season has, in fact, ended.

Keep you posted on MLS.

Finally, I’d like to be the first guy to thank Ray Lewis for not twittering.