MORT'S MAILBAG | July 9
Q: Can you explain what the supplemental draft is? -- TW, Oregon
MORT -- TW, I hope I don't confuse you here. The supplemental draft is conducted for players who were not eligible for the regular draft in April. This happens when players have left their schools for a variety of reasons and are successful in petitioning the league for entry. They still must meet the requirement of having been at least three years removed from their senior year of high school or their 18th birthday. Most of the players who are eligible for the supplemental draft are never selected and, thus, become free agents able to sign with any team.
The supplemental draft held this Thursday will be conducted via e-mail. A team interested in exercising a draft pick from its 2004 cache must submit a bid that specifically designates the round it is willing to spend on the player.
Most players in the supplemental draft are never selected and, thus, become free agents able to sign with any team.
If multiple teams submit identical round bids, the player is awarded to the team that has priority based on the order set in the April draft (win-loss record, tiebreakers, coin flips, etc.).
Hypothetically, let's say that the Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys each submit a third-round bid for Georgia Tech running back Tony Hollings. The Texans would get the nod because they picked third and the Cowboys fifth in the April draft. The Texans then would be docked their third-round pick in next year's draft.
Q: Why is it that people bring up the subject of Barry Sanders' return? Didn't he appear in a beer commercial and thus make himself, by NFL rules, ineligible to play? Certainly, the NFL doesn't allow any current players to do these spots. -- Jeremy Davidson, Maplewood, Minnesota
MORT -- Jeremy, the fascination with Barry Sanders should be obvious. He left the game suddenly in his prime with Walter Payton's all-time record within his sights. However, he did not make himself ineligible to return to the NFL because of the beer commercial. He wasn't an active player when he did it. I don't foresee Barry ever being an active player again, but people won't stop talking about him.
Q: Any thoughts on how the Cowboys might improve their offense? I mean, there's former Lions coordinator Maurice Carthon, former Giants coordinator Sean Payton and of course future Hall of Famer and former play caller, head coach Bill Parcells. Interesting mix, and they say it's going to be a combination of input. -- Joel Hart, San Marcos, Texas
MORT -- Joel, the Cowboys' offense will be very interesting. Parcells will be hands-on, as always. He may even call plays or have stretches when he does call them. You're right, Parcells has said it will be a potpourri of input from those guys. I would think that he may find a comfort level with Payton or Carthon and let it ride with one of them. Just don't think that Parcells is about being conservative as he was with the Giants. He doesn't have that same defense, and he showed with the Patriots and Jets that he understands this era of football. He'll run the ball, yes. He'll throw it, too. He will do whatever it takes to score points on offense. Of course, one of those quarterbacks better step up or it won't matter who calls plays.
Q: Everywhere I look, someone has a list or rankings of QBs, RBs and WRs. But we all know games are won and lost in the trenches. Who has the best offensive lines? -- Jim, Queens, New York
MORT -- Jim, that's a really good question. Without a lot of in-depth analysis, the teams that had the best O-lines in 2002 were the Oakland Raiders, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Green Bay Packers and the Philadelphia Eagles. I'm sure there are a handful of others who would take umbrage at that grouping. I would watch out for the Buffalo Bills' line this year.
Q: Do the other owners enjoy having Raiders owner Al Davis in the league to keep the league interesting or would they prefer that he keep quiet? -- Bill Dyersberg, Tennessee
MORT -- Bill, Al Davis has quite a few detractors among fellow owners because of his litigious ways that has cost them money and time with attorney fees. However, I think most owners would have to admit that the league would be less compelling without Al Davis around. Over the years, he has been a major contributor to the success of the league and pro football in general. He was a driving force behind the NFL-AFL merger. He has been a brilliant football mind and still garners much respect when he speaks to the heart of the game. That's why he is a Hall of Famer.