How can you free-fall from nowhere?   

Updated: May 1, 2007, 4:09 PM ET

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Can someone please tell me where Brady Quinn fell from, or where he fell to? I keep reading that his drop to 22nd in the first round of the draft was a "free fall" for a guy who was once considered a guaranteed No. 1 pick in the entire draft. But don't you have to be somewhere first, before you fall from wherever it is?

I googled "Brady Quinn free fall" and got 690 news articles from Sunday and Monday. Nowhere did anyone attempt to inform the reader where the Notre Dame quarterback was before this precipitous and apparently expensive free fall.

Here are the facts: There was a draft. Quinn was one of the players eligible to be drafted. After 21 players, Quinn had yet to be drafted. With the 22nd pick, the Cleveland Browns drafted him. He was drafted where the people who assess the talent believe he should have been drafted. He will be paid accordingly, just like every other guy who was drafted.

The "free fall" is based on speculation and guesswork. It had nothing to do with reality, because -- and please, hold onto something if you feel the need -- the only real thing about the NFL draft is the actual draft itself.

The idea that Quinn fell to 22nd? It's fantasy, pure pretend. It was as make-believe as unicorns and chocolate rivers and gumdrop rainstorms.

Brady Quinn didn't free-fall because a lot of guys who guess for a living thought he would be chosen earlier. He just wasn't picked, that's all.

And now the guessers are guessing about something else: How much hypothetical money Quinn hypothetically lost in his hypothetical free fall. He lost $7 million, or $22 million, or some other preposterous amount he never had in the first place.

But if he really lost it, where can we find it? Oh, that's a stupid question -- it's at the end of the rainbow. Whaddaya say we go find it?

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Let's just tell someone their draft is an unmitigated disaster 12 hours after it ends, and six months before we know anything about anyone: Draft report cards -- a seasonal treat.

Because everyone in the NFL tries to mimic success: The Patriots have decided they have a new role model: the Bengals.

And maybe even the third or fourth: After his partner said Nets forward Bostjan Nachbar once said he didn't like the comparisons to Peja Stojakovic because he wanted to be the "first Nachbar" and not the "second Stojakovic," Steve Kerr said, "I think I'd rather be the second Stojakovic."

I'm sure the philosophy chair will get to use it whenever he gets word of a big thinker he wants to recruit up near Covington: The University of Kentucky is investigating the idea of purchasing a private plane for its coaches to use on recruiting trips.

It sounds crazy, until you think, "Damn, I bet Florida's got one of those planes": Yes, and also Tennessee and Alabama.

Just for fun, imagine what would happen if he were doing the same things against the 1989 Detroit Pistons: Warriors guard Baron Davis is getting to the rim so effortlessly that it must have crossed the mind of Mavs coach Avery Johnson to have someone deliver a hard body shot as a message.

Then again: The only message the Mavericks seem interested in sending is the basketball equivalent of an SOS bonfire on a deserted island.

Of course, if mugging's your thing: Just watch Nuggets center Nene Hilario play Tim Duncan.

Rims everywhere shudder at the thought: The free-throw shooting of Warriors center Andris Biedrins.

It's probably too much to ask, since it's so much easier not to think: Could the Warriors' success -- hey, if they finish off the Mavericks, they'll make it to the Western Conference Finals -- lean the NBA away from its longstanding tradition of promoting individuals over teams?

What we need for the rest of the Warriors-Mavs series: Split screen -- the game on one side, Mark Cuban on the other.

OK, then -- the new job's going well: Dolphins coach Cam Cameron, making his first decision as the big guy, was publicly scorched by booing fans at team HQ after he chose Ted Ginn Jr. over Quinn.

Two things about Quinn's girlfriend: (1) leave her alone, because the talk-radio insults are the lowest form of discourse, and; (2) she should have stayed in the hotel room, for reasons documented in (1).

The latest in the steroid saga: Revenge of the Bat Boy.

And finally, if the lightning bolt hits me after I finish this item, someone please see that the dogs get fed: This isn't meant to imply anything, but the question can still be asked -- will there ever be a time when even one person in the media suggests that it just might be Joe Torre's fault?

Tim Keown is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine. Sound off to Page 2 here.



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