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As exciting as all of the NFL action was yesterday, the biggest story of the day in sports was Game 2 of the World Series and the mystery over the brown substance that was visible on the hand of Tigers starter Kenny Rogers.
So in order to cover that baseball story while at the same time meeting my commitment to write a football column, I mined my list of contacts from throughout the NFL to get a take on what they thought about the controversy surrounding Rogers. Here is a sampling of what I was told.
(Just a minor note first: I wasn't able to get through to anyone last night because it was pretty late after the Tigers-Cardinals game. So what follows is just a guess about what players would have told me. I'm confident it is accurate, though.)
"I don't see what the big deal is. Back in college I used to have brown stuff on my hands all the time." -- Najeh Davenport, RB, Steelers
"There's no excuse for that. You have to keep your hands clean. I wash mine all the time because I know where they've been." -- Matt Leinart, QB, Cardinals
"I can understand why Rogers would do that. Sometimes I vomit on the ball in hopes opposing cornerbacks won't want to intercept it." -- Donovan McNabb, QB, Eagles
"It's no big deal. Stuff like this used to happen all the time back when I started playing because dirt was still pretty new and everyone wanted to try it out." -- Morten Andersen, K, Falcons
"I'll give Rogers the benefit of the doubt because strange things can happen during the course of a game. For instance, sometimes I touch my face when I'm playing and get handsome all over my hands." -- Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
"I hope he did have something illegal on his hands and it erupts into a huge controversy that lasts for months because that might keep Detroit fans distracted from our wretchedness through the end of the NFL season." -- Rod Marinelli, head coach, Lions
"Hey! Hey! Look at me! Look at me! I just smeared something on my hands, too! Look! Give me some attention! Look over here, everybody!" -- Terrell Owens, WR, Cowboys
Eagles excited to see 62-yard field goal up close
Cardinals learn from last week by not building a big lead against the Raiders
Broncos top their minor league affiliate, 17-7
Joe Gibbs disappointed to return home from Indianapolis without seeing a race
Things I Thought I Thought While Watching Michael Vick Embrace a 46-Year-Old Danish Man
1. At 2-5 and with eight of their remaining nine games against teams with winning records, the Redskins could easily finish 2-14. While that would be a huge disappointment to the team and its fans, at least a two-win season might allow the Redskins to get the No. 1 overall pick in April's draft and replace Mark Brunell with Brady Quinn. And even better, Dan Snyder negotiating with his first No. 1 overall pick -- especially one as high-profile as Quinn -- could provide more than enough entertainment to make up for all the heartache of the 2006 season.
Snyder: "I am prepared to offer your client $1 billion over 10 years."
Quinn's agent: "Wow. Thank you. That's very generous. Especially for an initial offer. But wouldn't that contract be rejected by the league because it would put the Redskins well over the salary cap?"
Snyder: "Oh, so that's how you're going to play it. Reverse psychology, eh? You drive a hard bargain, my friend. But I respect you for that. Let's make it $20 billion over 10 years then."
2. The Eagles lost their second game in a row yesterday, but I still think they have to be considered one of the favorites in the NFC. Just try to forget the loss for a moment and realize that we're here in late October and already the Eagles are in their Super Bowl form of two years ago, as evidenced by Donovan McNabb and Andy Reid grossly mismanaging the clock at the end of the first half yesterday. And then throw in the fact that McNabb finally found the big-play receiver he desperately needs in Tampa Bay cornerback Ronde Barber, and things are looking very good for the Eagles.
3. Matt Bryant's 62-yard, game-winning field goal is huge for the Buccaneers going forward. Now that Tampa Bay's offense knows that 60-plus-yard field goals are within Bryant's range, they can take the field with a bit more hope. The pressure of having to drive the length of the field to score an offensive touchdown is a bit much to ask of Tampa's offense this season. But with Bryant knocking down kicks from midfield, the Bucs know they only need to barely cross the 50 to put a few points up on the board. That's something they can realistically do once or twice a game. And if Bryant can somehow increase his range to 90 yards, Tampa's offense would become unstoppable.
4. Huge win for the Raiders yesterday. And although it was only one victory, it probably felt like two. They got to celebrate on the field after the final gun sounded, and then again an hour or so later when they went upstairs to wake up Al Davis and tell him that they won.
5. As impressive as Michael Vick was throwing the ball yesterday, the composure he displayed throughout the game was even more impressive. He threw for 232 yards and four touchdowns -- his previous career high was two -- and did it all without ever changing the calm expression on his face. I know that I watched the game unfold with my mouth agape, shocked and amazed every time Vick hit a receiver in the hands. Yet his stone-faced performance almost made it seem that he wasn't surprised at all to be throwing the ball so well. Which is impressive because he had to be shocked. Heck, he was probably even more shocked than I was because he's seen himself throw the ball far more than I have over the past few years. But he played it off pretty well, and that's a credit to him. And I know one thing: I wouldn't want to play poker against Michael Vick. Because he probably has a great poker face, and also because I'd be worried his brother might bust in and hold up the game.
6. I have to admit, I don't even know if I'm going to watch the Cowboys-Giants game tonight. It's just that I can't stomach watching well, I'm just going to call him "the player" like Bill Parcells would. "The player" can flash his big smile all he wants to and write children's books to his heart's content, but there's no way I can ever respect someone who decided it was appropriate to announce in mid-October that he is probably going to retire at the end of the season. That announcement has caused a big distraction for the Giants and serves no real purpose other than for "the player" to bring attention to himself and cause people to fawn all over him for the rest of the season.
DJ Gallo is the founder and sole writer of the award-winning sports satire site SportsPickle.com. He is also a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine and Fantasy Sports Monthly, and has written for The Onion and Cracked. His first book -- "SportsPickle Presents: The View from the Upper Deck" -- will be in stores soon.