One honored number that’s in use is No. 88 — first made famous by WR Drew Pearson. That number has been worn proudly (by Michael Irvin) and not so proudly (by Antonio Bryant). Now it has been bequeathed to rookie WR Dez Bryant. And Irvin met with Bryant to make sure he realized the enormous responsibility of wearing No. 88 (via the Dallas Morning News).
“The responsibility of wearing Drew Pearson’s number,” Irvin said. “A lot of people have worn that Cowboys helmet before him and the honor it is to wear a Cowboys uniform. He plays for everybody that has played before him and for everybody that is going to play after him.
“I just wanted to give him a sense of the enormity of it all. And I think he understands that. And he remains humble, and that’s a good sign.”
Wow, it’s surprising there was no coronation ceremony with flowing robes, chrism and pointy hats to make this thing official. Of course, that might have been excessive.
FORMER LIONS QB Joey Harrington once told me that the best advice he ever received in football came from Barry Sanders who said, prior to his first rookie minicamp, “Find a good place to get doughnuts.”
Such is life for NFL rookies. Along with huge signing bonuses (for some), comes some humbling in the form errands, fight-song singing and other activities normally reserved for the kids pledging Delta House. Say, who is up for a road trip?
New Panthers QB Jimmy Clausen was given a grocery list by new teammate WR Steve Smith who asked the rookie to bring him some Cactus Cooler, according to the Charlotte Observer. Cactus Cooler is an orange and pineapple flavored soda (it is delicious) is only available in California and Arizona, making it necessary for Clausen to bring it with him on the plane.
Clausen should be lucky that Smith did not request a double-double from In-n-Out Burger.
JAGUARS LB Kirk Morrison told the Florida Times-Union that he’s looking for that winning feeling with his new team, saying it was tough playing for the Raiders. “Being on a losing football team after a while, people say it doesn’t get to you, but at times it does,” Morrison said Saturday. The Jaguars have won 14 games the past two seasons and haven’t reached the playoffs since 2007. But again, compared to the Raiders, the Jaguars are the 1960s Packers.
THEY SAY that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Well for Jets rookie RB Joe McKnight, the second impression was just as bad as the first.
McKnight spent most of Saturday dropping passes, or taking a knee with a towel wrapped around his neck, one day after the rookie from Southern California puked on the field.
Yeah, you didn't just throw up in front of coach Rex Ryan, Joe. You threw up on coach Ryan.
“He’s fighting through it,” Ryan said. “It’s funny. Every time I look around, he’s got a wet towel around his neck… then he’s making one mistake after another. Then you put the ball in his hands – and he’s pretty good.
“I don’t know exactly what it is, but he’s fighting through it. Sometimes it takes a player a little longer to play like a Jet. Maybe the tempo’s different (from college). I don’t know.”
Of course, Ryan was quick to point out that there was a near panic when Shonn Greene struggled at rookie camp last season.
“Just go back to last year,” Ryan said. “Remember when you guys were telling me, ‘Shonn looks terrible.’ I’m like, ‘No, just play the deflection.’ Remember he couldn’t catch anything. Shonn Greene pulls up in the first special teams part of practice and I think he ended up working out really well. I don’t think we need to overreact with this.
“He still does some great things out there. I don’t know if it’s so much his physical conditioning. It may be a bug. The thing I appreciate about him is he is trying to fight through it, albeit on a knee most of the time (laughter), but he’s fighting through it.”
Well the New York media is known to give players ample time to work through their problems, so McKnight should be fine.
Go Lakers. Quit toying with me.