Ninety-nine thought balloons
By Ralph Wiley
Page 2 columnist

Great players make great plays

    -- R-Dub's NFL Proverb No. 1

Gus Frerotte
With Orpheus Roye in his face, Gus Frerotte suddenly remembers he's not a lefty.
Many people who like football are under the mistaken impression that just because the right scheme is called, that should be the end of it. Like life is in any way predictable, or something.

Just because a guy is assigned to Marvin Harrison doesn't mean he is going to stop Marvin Harrison. Just because somebody blocks Junior Seau doesn't mean Junior Seau is going to stay blocked.

Once, the Jints were beating the Montana Niners at the Meadows, less than a minute left, Jints in pre-vent, special attention (i.e., 2½ guys) paid to the young Jerry Rice. What happened? An 80-yard TD pass right up the gully between right hash and sideline. Nothing the defenders could do to stop it. Big-Time editor, a Jints fan and Niners hater from the Illy, was distraught. "Why couldn't they stop it?" he cried. "They knew it was coming!" Big-Time seemed to be looking to me for answers. All I could come up with was, "Great players make great plays." While it may not be high-octane philosophy, or even original, it is R-Dub's NFL Proverb No. 1.

That, and the following, will have to do it for today:

Jerry Jones, owner, Dallas Cowboys -- (dons shades, folds arms on chest, scowls) "How you like me now!" (Campo's mouth moves)

Peerless Price
Peerless Price loves catching footballs on TV.
Gus Frerotte, QB, Cincinnati Bengals -- "Sore? You try carrying these big sumbucks on your back for three hours, Mr. TV Guy. I'll have your job soon. They're benching me, you say? Good, I mean, too bad, so sad, I'm mad. Any other clichés you need?"

Zach Piller, OL, Tennessee Titans -- "Coakley, you cocakaroach, get lucky on a pick-and-go; now you gonna celebrate too? I'll stop you or die! Unh! Crap. Missed him. Oh well. What's for dinner?"

Peerless Price, WR, Buffalo Bills -- "Eleven for 183 ... and the game-winner ... I love ... catching strikes from Drew ... and those twins."

Dwayne Rudd, LB, Cleveland Browns -- "I can't believe I'm still here ... gotta stay low-profile. Low-profile? Baby, I'm wallpaper."

Junior Seau, LB, San Diego Chargers -- "AIEEEEE! Feed me! Feed me now! I eat rookies and punk QBs and I pick my teeth with their bones! I RULE! What?! Oh, hey, Marty. Discipline? You want disciplined lanes or powdered QBs? That's what I thought."

David Carr, QB, Houston Texans -- "... oh Lord, is that foam coming out of that big Samoan dude's mouth?!?!?"

Trent Dilfer, QB, Seattle Seahawks -- "Yep ... foam all right."

Doug Brien
The lonesome Doug Brien.
Jake Plummer, QB, Arizona Cardinals -- "That NFL charities spot with me and the little girl, where I try to convince her a Cardinal is tougher than a Falcon and Eagle? I've been told it's pretty funny. I think it's pretty funny. Wonder if she's any good at blitz pick up?"

Doug Brien, PK, Minnesota Vikings -- "Nobody's speaking to me because I missed two XPs and we lost to Buffalo in overtime. I'm not comfortable here anymore. I want to go. They can't fire me. I quit. Let Moss kick if he's so great and everything's a little kicker's fault. Who's that moving my stuff? Gary Anderson? You here already? Like you didn't miss one to cost them a Super Bowl berth!!!! ... at least my wife is there for me. Honey ... Honey?

Jim Fassell, head coach, New York Giants -- "Hee, hee, hee, hee, hee, hee hee! ... hee, hee ... hee ... don't know who lit up Collins' arm; all I can say is -- give him more of whatever or whoever it is! Hell, gimme some too! Uh-oh! Uh-oh! I feel a guarantee coming on! Bring #&@!* Spurrier on! Stop me before I guarantee again!"

Mike Shanahan, head coach, Denver Broncos -- "We were 2-0 last year. I mention it to cover our butts. On my way over to the John Elway retrospective at Pat Bowlen's screening room. I've let it go already, but Pat ... I worry about Pat. Yeah we handled T. Owens. Kenoy Kennedy hit him so hard he still may not know who he is."

Julius Peppers, Mike McMahon
Peppers is unlikely to win his appeal of a four-game suspension for the use of ephedrine.
Terrell Owens, WR, San Francisco 49ers -- "Me? ... I'm Batman."

Julius Peppers, DE, Carolina Panthers -- "No, I'm Batman ..."

Mike McMahon, QB, Detroit Lions - "Ow! I say let Joey start!"

Marshall Faulk, RB, St. Louis Rams -- "Kurt's coming back down to Earth. Knew he would eventually. There's a reason he was in the Arena league. No panic. Who to bench first? What's with Martz? Memo to self: Have Orlando Pace cloned. Who cares if it's legal?"

Bill Romanowski, LB, Oakland Raiders -- "Home is where, when you go there, they have to put you in, at linebacker. This is for medicinal purposes only. I'm a throwback. Will hock up a loogie on you in a minute if things get bad and we need a diversion."

Tom Brady
This is looking just too easy for Tom Brady.
Lee Flowers, DB, Pittsburgh Steelers -- "Yeah, I said Tampa Bay was a paper champion, and all they do is talk. I meant that &$#%! I'm not no paper champion, just because there's been something like 100 balls thrown at me the first two weeks. Co-inkydink."

Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots -- "Nobody seems to notice that me and Matt Damon look like brothers, only I'm bigger, taller, younger and sexier. They must never know I ordered it up. I need a How-To-Handle-Groupies seminar. How do I know who likes me for me? Oh, right -- who cares!? Until the Devil comes for my soul."

Jay Fiedler, QB, Miami Dolphins -- "This Ricky Williams thing may work out for me. People actually bite on my play-fakes now. If we get to the Bowl, I'll reveal my actual given name. Arthur."

Marvin Harrison, WR, Indianapolis Colts -- "Don't say anything to anybody, Marv. Try to make it through an entire career without saying anything ... Remember when Sterling Sharpe would not say anything to anybody in the media? Now they can't shut him up."

Michael Vick
Multitalented Michael Vick will have to be multi-multidimensional.
Mark Brunell, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars -- "That Sean Salisbury really knows what he's talking about. QBs totally rule. Except for me. I'm so lucky. I get one whole receiver to work with."

Trent Green, QB, Kansas City Chiefs -- "Our secondary? What secondary? Where exactly would that so-called secondary be?"

Anthony "A-Train" Thomas, RB, Chicago Bears -- "Willie Galimore, Gale Sayers, Walter Payton, A-Train. Works for me."

Michael Vick, QB, Atlanta Falcons -- "Oh. So, you're saying, I gotta throw it, run catch it, then kick the winning field goal, too?"

Herm Edwards, head coach, New York Jets -- "If you want 'em to play like men, treat 'em like men. Treated 'em like Cub Scouts last week. That's why we got a 44-point tattoo applied to our butts."

Steve Spurrier
Steve Spurrier finally found a quarterback he likes.
Deuce McAllister, RB, New Orleans Saints -- "Albert Connell, my teammate, stole money out of my pants pocket last year. I'm kinda country, so now I keep my money in my shoe, and run away from everybody. I'm also kinda country strong, kinda country fast. Is that all right? Will people be mad at me for that? Albert was."

Gilbert Brown, DL, Green Bay Packers -- "Deuce got loose, but if he had run into me, then I'da tackled him. The one word a NFL D-lineman in Green Bay must learn? Buffet. ... Umm, foood."

Vinny Testaverde, QB, New York Jets -- "Dreamed of milk and Rice Krispies, snap, crackle, pop. Woke up. It was my knees."

Steve Spurrier, head coach, Washington Redskins -- "Yeeesh! Horselips! Lookit that stud QB Philly's got! Gotta get me one'a them boys! Love ya, Shane, Danny, but apparently this thang's bigger'n both of ya. Grab a couple visors, fellas. Hopefully ..."

Anthony McFarland, Chris Redman
The color of Chris Redman's shoes didn't help him escape the Bucs' Anthony McFarland.
Andy Reid, head coach, Philadelphia Eagles -- "God, look at all these messages! Ton of calls from coaches, saying they wish it was them that Stunned the Fun-Gun, brought Spurrier down a peg. Understood, but, 10 messages of Mooch giggling is a bit much."

Jon Gruden, head coach, Tampa Bay Bucs -- "F#%@&! -- A!"

Chris Redman, QB, Baltimore Ravens -- "Went to U of L, check, play for Baltimore NFL team, check, spoke to Johhny U. on tricks of playing QB in NFL, check, wore black quasi-high tops in his honor, check. Got doors blown off again, double-check. Guess there's more to it than a crew cut ... my mouth still bleeding?"

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."



Ralph Wiley Archive

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