Uncensored NFL thought balloons
By Ralph Wiley
Page 2 columnist

Recent NFL mirages, or, things people think they saw but actually didn't, being too busy listening to color guys yammer:

1. 49ers WR Cedrick Wilson Should Have Gotten Out Of Bounds Or Otherwise Stopped the Clock Against The Rams! That Yutz!


From what we saw on tape, Wilson caught the ball just outside the right hash. Looking at the angles, from his perspective, it's doubtful he could've made it out of bounds without being tackled by the Ram DBs, who are not paid to be mannequins. Now what Ced could have done was take a knee and count on a Ram defender to touch him, so the 49ers could've used their last TO to set up for a field goal on the last play in regulation.

Furthermore, that's a difficult situation to re-create in a practice; the reaction is almost all instinctual and visual in this position on the field, even at that time of the game. Your instincts tell you to see an angle that allows you to break it through all the way, and your instincts tell you there's as good a chance to score as to get out of bounds. What your instincts don't tell you is to go down . . . you have to have already thought about that . . . there is supposed to be a rule that you can down yourself as an offensive player, but I'm not sure if even the refs know it. And the fact Ced played prep football at Memphis Melrose like I did once has nothing to do with it. How dare you imply it does.

Jeremy Shockey
"Maybe this will keep my mouth shut for a couple of weeks."

2. Jeremy Shockey Has Mental Problems And Shouldn't Have Dropped That Ball! That Putz!


Yes that TD ball vs. the Cowboys was virtually undroppable, but it happens to the best of them. It happened to Jerry Rice in a playoff game, against, who else, Bill Parcells and the Giants in, what, '86? Rice, a second-year man at the time, was running free behind everybody and dropped a perfect strike from Joe Montana. The Niners lost that game 49-3, but if Rice had caught that TD ball early, it would've been 49-10.

3. Bill Parcells Beat The Giants!


I don't know, but it kind of looked like to me that Quincy Carter played better than he ever played, on the biggest stage in football. If this was college (Triple-A) football at Miami, everybody'd say, "It's Brock Berlin's team now!" and Larry Coker would stand there waiting to cool some soup with his ears. Nobody cracks jokes like that about Parcells, do they? Can't even call him a decent expletive without his boys piling on. Didn't hear anybody say it was Quincy Carter's team now, when this win in fact made it so. These same Giants made Warner look like pure stank garbage; nobody knows that better than Bill Parcells. That being said, it was impressive that Cowboy rookie kick returner Zuriel Smith knew not to touch a kickoff rolling out with 11 ticks left. That kind of in-game reaction only comes from rote, practice. It's the kind of detail Parcells brings. Hell of a man to play for, no doubt -- a hell of a football man and coach. But even he would tell you -- he don't play.

Jamal Lewis
"Hey, where's the defense? Aren't they supposed to come after me?"

4. Jamal Lewis Should've Gotten 300!


He did get 300. A penalty took it away. Penalities are part of the game. So 295 from scrimmage in the NFL isn't enough? Here's the seed. You try. I'll say this: J-Lew behind deathstar tackle J-Ogden is as close as it gets to a guaranteed three yards and a cloud of bank as there in the League.

5. Donovan McNabb Has Turned From Sugar to S***! Chunky S***, At That! That Unholy Strutz!


Igs signed Todd Pinkston long-term to impersonate a coat rack. Can't get up the field, doesn't make the tough possession catches, either. Thrash? Glorified kick returner. What? I mean, if we're talking about world-championship-level quality. Chad Lewis dropping balls; none of them, especially Lewis, gets separation. McMullen could be one of the young Draggers, but he's not among the early bloomers like Calico or Boldin or Rogers. A lot of the like-new-money Tommy Maddox has to do with Burress, Hines Ward and Co. making plays. Duce Staley? Suitable for blitz pickup. More of a change back, as in pace; actually, more of a back-up, albeit a good back-up. Jamal Lewis makes Duce Staley looked like Emanuel Lewis. Andy Reid starts calling creative running plays like Alex Karras bet. Infrequently. It's like McNabb is suddenly going to war with the cast of "Webster." Ol' Ball Coach and Patrick Ramsey, come on down! My advice? Better make hay of Da Iggles while the sun shines. We won't even discuss their decimated secondary, World Dawkins and Bobby Taylor and a cast of a thousand D-lineman out. Can the Igs hold on until reinforcements arrive? Don't ask me. Ask the Buffalo Bills.

* * * * *

Without ado, the 2003 inaugural peek under the helmet and behind the facemask at what (little) NFL stars are (or might be) thinking. If you can call their reactionary hyper-reflexes "thinking."

Emmitt Smith
"I'm sure all the fans in Arizona will love me."

Emmitt Smith, RB, Arizona Cardinals: "What week is this? Two? You gotta be &$%#! kidding. Could've sworn it's Week 6. Starting to feel like a slice of bacon surrounded by hot grease in a fry pan."

Mike Holmgren, Head Coach, Seattle Seahawks: "Martz ... can you hear me, Martz? This is your conscience. You will play Warner against the Sea-Dogs. Look at that hangdog look on Warnie's face. The poor guy. Put him around your neck and swim to me, Martz."

Mike Martz, Head Coach, St. Louis Rams: "I'm ready for my close-up now, Mister DeMille . . . "

Terrell Owens, WR, San Francisco 49ers: "That's my close-up. Mine. All mine. Everything's mine. I'm going to Atlanta soon because Michael Vick is getting attention that should be mine. ATL will be mine. I'm going to try to convince Champ Bailey to go, too. Then Champ will be mine. Insecure? Who's insecure? I'm not. But enough about me. What about me?"

Deuce McAllister, RB, New Orleans Saints: "The good thing about playing for the Saints is ... I don't know; at least nobody's stealing money out of my pocket in the locker room any more. Didn't put that on 'Playmakers.' I'll never forget ol' whatshisname (Albert Connell) for showing me what teamwork is all about."

Steve McNair, QB, Tennessee Titans: "Wow. I didn't know two fingers could go in such opposing directions. Wow. That's what a dislocated ring finger looks like? That's going to leave some calcium deposited somewhere. So much for any rings going on that finger. It looks funny. So funny I want to ... throw up."

Peyton Manning
"I wish the Colts would wear orange uniforms."

Peyton Manning, QB, Indianapolis Colts: "Liquored-up idiot kicker ... liquored-up idiot crowd ... what there is of a crowd. There were more people out in the parking lot at University of Tennessee games than what's in here. When I call signals. I hear an echo ..."

Hugh Douglass, DE, Jacksonville Jaguars: "Yeah, the Eagles miss me, don't they? Yeah, they do. I don't look back. I look forward. Bet Philly thinks about me, now that they're banged up. They'd like to have Wolverine back now. They miss me acting crazy in the Vet locker room before games, eating rats, howling. Worked for me. Donovan's depressed? Why? Not because he got married, but because I'm gone. Without me they are nothing. I've moved on. Say ... who exactly do I play for now? What place is this?"

Brian Urlacher, LB, Chicago Bears: "We're looking at 3-13, but I'm looking at several major marketing campaigns and eventual TV series. I am the King of All Midwest. Cool lies the head that replaced Singletary and Butkus. Da Bears. Da Bulls***, is what. That should be my spot, the guy worried about his commercials. There's no I in team, 'Ain't no we, either.' I could've said that way better. But my agents won't let me. I've got to get with Shockey."

Chris Hovan, DT, Minnesota Vikings: (To dreadlocked opponent) "Nice hair." (To bald opponent) "Nice hair." (To mirror) You talkin' to me? Are you talking to me? Well I'm the only one here ..."

Steve Mariucci, Head Coach, Detroit Lions: "Five million-plus slats per, and a brand new Expedition every year. Who cares what people say? I do need some of that dye spray for my spot, though. Make sure to shoot me on my good side. Joey, No Joey, No ..."

Martin Gramatica
"At least I didn't get hurt celebrating a made kick like my stupid brother did."

Martin Gramatica, K, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: "Aieeeeee! Aieeeeee! Aieeeeee! The Great Gazoo does not get keeck blocked. Not up meedle! Is not my fault! Is punk Chucky fault! Ask heem! (covering ears with hands) Lalalala I am not leestening to you!"

Stephen Davis, RB, Carolina Panthers: "A buck forty against the Super Bowl champions, the new Steel Curtain -- and Jamal Lewis goes for 295 against Cleveland! What, were the &$%@! Browns on cognac break? There goes my Player of the Week. Dahm!"

Hines Ward, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers: "I love the smell of Cincinnati on Sunday morning ... smells like ... victory ..."

Peter Warrick, WR, Cincinnati Bengals: "Hey, 'Playmakers' is on. I'm glad somebody is winning something. We got something for the Steelers. I don't know exactly what it is, but we got it for 'em. If you think I'm mentioning Joey Porter got shot in the ass, you're crazy. Joey might end up shooting me in mine ..."

Mike Shanahan, Head Coach, Denver Broncos: "Fibbed? No, I lied. Yeah, I lied. Do it again in a heartbeat. Call it what you want, fibberooski, li'l white one, whatever, Jake had a slightly separated shoulder, OK? What, you convening a new House Un-American Activity committee? Hey, we could wrap Portis in cotton after practice. If he goes down, we're done. No one must ever know ..."

Marcellus Wiley, DT, San Diego Chargers: "Somebody wake up Marty and tell him it's 2003 ... you know this is a thought balloon because I'm way too smart to be that honest with the people I work for. I know well who to pump up. No, baby, I didn't go to an Ivy League school for nothing. Got the gift of speaking obsequiously to power. If I used 'obsequious' in the locker room, I'd have to fight; somebody would swear I was talking about his mama ..."

Jason Taylor, DE, Miami Dolphins: "Me, I'm saving all my money. I saw what happened to Wolfgang Bodison after 'A Few Good Men.' Nothing."

Vinny Testaverde
"I'm too old for this!"

Vinny Testaverde, QB, New York Jets: "Why is that boy (Chad Pennington) slapping everybody in the helmet in warmups, going all rah-rah-rah? If you want to do something constructive, unwrap that hand and get out here and chum some of this s*** ..."

Ahman Green, RB, Green Bay Packers: "(See Stephen Davis)."

Sebastian Janikowski, K, Oakland Raiders: "(dial tone)"

Priest Holmes, RB, Kansas City Chiefs: "Hello. I'm Priest. I'll be jumping over you now ... Personally, I thought Lisa Guerrero did good. I want to tell her so. What? Scott Erickson? A baseball player? What? Oops. Oops. Hello, I'm Priest ..."

Drew Bledsoe, QB, Buffalo Bills: "I heard somebody called me a weenie. Let me say this to myself, I knew Jim Everett and I'm no Jim Everett. What's that blocking out the sun? Oh. It's just Mike Williams. He's on my side. Let's see them call him a weenie."

Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots: "... ah ... better ..."

Doug Johnson, QB, Atlanta Falcons: "I'm doing the best I can, OK? Will everybody stop looking at me like that? Will somebody say something please? What's that? On second thought, shutup."

Tim Couch, QB, Cleveland Browns: "I'm waaiitiinnnnng here ..."

Laveranues Coles, WR, Washington Redskins: "You don't know what it's like having a name nobody can pronounce, let alone spell. I can't spell it myself. And it's my name. At least I wasn't named Lexus Mercedes Infiniti Coles. That was the second choice."

David Carr, QB, Houston Texans: "Yeah, we lost, but that's mostly what we do. You've got to get shelter where you can. Did they see that move I dropped on that DB? Was that sweet or what? I'll loop that so it runs over and over and I can go to sleep by it."

Jamal Lewis, RB, Baltimore Ravens: "If people only knew. I was running from Ray. I'm not saying it's right, when guys with the intials 'E-D-D-I-E' fold up like cardboard in front of Ray-Ray -- but I understand. Now we go for the 2,000, boys. Only I won't be saying it. But you can believe I'm thinking it. Cause I am. It's good to think. For a minute. OK, Jamal ... don't think ...run."

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.



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