|NFL ready to douse Dante's inferno|
By Ralph Wiley
Page 2 columnist
Forewarned is forearmed, Dante. When it ain't there -- duck. Get down.
Super Gnat had another claim to fame -- maybe the best sporting cameo in the history of motion pictures. He was in Bob Altman's "M*A*S*H*." We didn't know Altman was a fan, but there Gnat was, stealing the big football game scenes, running back a kick for a touchdown against the 4077th, then getting hyped with morphine during a pileup and becoming hilariously useless, except as sideline entertainment. Higher than a kite, he assumed the sprinting position in imaginary starting blocks, then ran helter-skelter into a bevy of cheerleaders, including Hot Lips, at the report of the halftime gun.
We are not halfway through the 2003-04 season, so there is no gun going off yet, but all teams will be looking to shoot down Dante Hall in the coming weeks. Like the Super Gnat, Dante seems to be a sweet, agreeable kid with blazing straight-on speed, but more importantly, an outerworldly jab step and and the ability to change directions like a fish, or a Nicholas brother. But I know the tendencies of these NFL gunners; what they cannot catch, they try to destroy. Dante is in their crosshairs now. Here's hoping they miss.
Here's also the Week 6 NFL Uncensored Thought Balloons, brought to you by Dub's "Instant Temporary Insanity." Try "Instant Temporary Insanity." It's worked for Miggy Tejada, Eric Byrnes, Derek Lowe, and many others ...
Julius Peppers, DE, Carolina Panthers: "What do I have to do, make a wish and break a guy over my knee? Snap Manning's neck, use his big head as a pinata? We didn't get a sack last week -- but we won, didn't we? We're in front of Tampa, ain't we? I still can't get any major pub. What am I, garlic?"
Dick Vermeil, Coach, Kansas City Chiefs: "Go, Dante, go! The Superstar of Running Far! So am I the man, or what? Simple as special teams, baby. My great hope for this season is that Brenda Warner doesn't call asking me to be on her radio show. Suddenly, my cell phone is going to get baaaad reception. I'll throw it in our retention pond and ask Brenda, 'Can you hear me now?' I hear you, Bren, but you don't think you're coming here, do you?"
Brett Favre, QB, Green Bay Packers: "Can't believe Emmitt blubbered like that after the game. Unless it was the pain. Me, never had a cracked scapula. Don't even know what one is. I thought it was what you flip pancakes with. Von Holliday always did want to whack me, the big bastard. We're gonna go out there beat the tar outta the Chiefs. Or, not. We'll have a tag-team match, me and Winters vs. Ahnold and Jesse the Body. Pay-per-view. How could Cameron go with Justin Timberlake? My facial hair's way more rugged than his is ..."
Bill Parcells, Coach, Dallas Cowboys: "He's glad? I'm ecstatic."
Jon Gruden, Coach, Tampa Bay Bucs: "I like that guy, I like that guy. Marvin Harrison, I mean. I like that guy. Keyshawn is my guy. He's a real card, that Key. A real ... jerkweed, actually. He's my guy -- until I can draft somebody or get Jurevicius gets back. Then Key's more like ... history."
Bill Callahan, Coach, Oakland Raiders: "Hey, gang, I got an idea ... what is it? ... uh ... darn ... I forget. Let me call Chucky up and see what it was."
Jeremy Shockey, TE, New York Giants: "I can't get mad at fans? I can't call a guy a homo? I can't get a guest-starring role in 'Kill Bill, Vol. 1'? So tell me, what can I do? OK, besides going to hell ... besides eating (expletive)."
Dom Capers, Coach, Houston Texans: "I've got to talk to Gary Walker, that defensive end of ours. 'By going 2-2, we've put ourselves in a good position.' ? Yeah. Right, Gar. We put ourselves in a good position to go 2-14, unless you do less yakking and more tackling. Note to self: call up Rush and tell him I don't need a more motivated McNair in my freaking division!"
Jeff Fisher, Coach, Tennessee Titans: "If I Had A Hammer -- a Hammer running back, a real Striker, instead of this admittedly good-looking guy dipped in caramel, who apparently thinks he's living on a pension -- I'd Hammer in the morning, I'd Hammer in the evening, all over this la-and. But I'll keep on siccing Steve on 'em instead, I guess. Could be worse ..."
Bill Cowher, Coach, Pittsburgh Steelers: "Maddox, mirage, Maddox, mirage. ... Memories, light the corners of my locker room stall, misty water-colored memories, of the jaw that jutted ... can it really be over ...?"
Mike Shanahan, Coach, Denver Broncos: "... let's see, Jake, or Maddox? Portis, or Bus? Vail, or Erie? ... Yep, Bill, it's pretty much over, I'd say."
Mike Martz, Coach, St. Louis Rams: "People are beginning to think than that even Vermeil, Lovie Smirh, Orlando Pace, Marshall Faulk, Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt and the liberal media can't prop me up ... but they're wrong."
Ralph Wiley has written articles for Sports Illustrated, Premiere, GQ, and National Geographic, and many national newspapers. He was one of the original NFL Insiders on NBC. His many books include "Serenity, A Boxing Memoir," "Why Black People Tend To Shout," "By Any Means Necessary: The Trials and Tribulations of the Making of Malcolm X" with Spike Lee, "Dark Witness," "Best Seat in the House" with Spike Lee, "Born to Play" with Eric Davis, and "Growing Up King" with Dexter Scott King and the children of Martin Luther King Jr. He contributes to many ESPN productions, and bats cleanup on a weekly basis for Page 2.