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Tuesday, September 16, 2003
Updated: September 18, 1:00 PM ET
Liar liar

By Tim Keown
Page 2 columnist

A football coach lied this week. A nation mourns.

The last bastion of honesty in this troubled world, shattered.

Of all people, a football coach. Mike Shanahan told the world his quarterback's separated shoulder was a concussion, and we can't attribute that exclusively to an Eastern Illinois education, or an outdated copy of Gray's Anatomy.

Jake Plummer
Jake Plummer has avoided costly interceptions this season.
He said he lied because the Chargers would have targeted Jake Plummer's unhinged shoulder if he had been forced back into the game. Better to have them zero in on a muddled head, apparently.

In a football sense, he's right. Of course he's right. But if our football coaches can stand there and lie to us through the innocent eyes of our sideline reporter, what's next? Who else can't we trust?

The social contract has crumbled. To whom will we turn to rebuild it?

And more importantly, if football coaches are going to lie about an injury, how will we ever trust our hard-earned money to our bookie again?

This Week's List

  • In NFL headquarters, high fives all around: It looks like this might be the year everybody goes 8-8.

  • Three months ago, who'd a-thunk it?: Miguel Tejada, MVP candidate.

  • Even the poorest lipreaders could tell Tommy was saying, "Where art thou, Andruw?": Tom Glavine twice showed his displeasure on the mound after Roger Cedeno botched fly balls in the Mets' loss to the Expos.

  • They outdrew a significant number of Division III teams: The Arizona Cardinals packed 23,000 into Sun Devil Stadium for their home opener.

  • More polls, because the world can never have enough accidental insanity: On Saturday, Arkansas beat Texas, at Texas, then woke up Monday morning to find that 1-1 Texas is ranked above 2-0 Arkansas.

  • Yeah, but: Texas gets extra points for its perennially-great recruiting classes.

  • Explains why they're running ads warning fans not to miss the glory days of Giants baseball: Ken Rosenthal of The Sporting News reports that Giants honcho Peter Magowan says the team may lop $25 million off its payroll next season.

  • You might call it childish, and you'd be right; but whenever I hear this question, I feel a strong inclination to take my index and middle fingers and make the burble-burble-burble sound with my lower lip: Warner or Bulger?

  • Because a great city deserves better: It's time to stop referring to New York as "Shockey's Town."

  • If you're talking charisma, sideline presence, leader of men: You won't find a worse look than Jim Fassel bellowing into his mouthpiece while holding that 24-inch-by-24-inch laminated play sheet in front of his face.

  • Uncomfortable at bat: This dude Derrick Turnbow with the Angels ... 98 mph, hair flying, legs whipping, eyes bugging, and very little in the way of a discernible clue.

  • Something that happened just now: Three games on -- two baseball, one football -- and all three on a commercial at the same time.

  • So far, my favorite college football announcer of the new season is the guy on the Ohio State-North Carolina State game -- didn't catch his name -- who repeatedly told everybody on the field, "Don't get greedy in this situation."

  • Jim Mora Jr.? Genius. George O'Leary? Genius: Everyone credits their defensive coordinator for his great schemes the day after they play the Bears.

  • The first step to recovery, as we all know, is to admit the problem: Ever get to the point where you see the highlights so often you can say Tom Jackson's lines for him?

  • One guy who needed my favorite announcer: 49ers' receiver Cedrick Wilson, who got greedy in a situation and cost his team the game by failing to get his butt on the turf before time ran out.

  • Keith Jackson update: In his fourth year of retired servitude.

  • Just for the heck of it: Dan Doornink.

  • Maybe it's just my untrained eye, but: Sunday night, it looked like Brian Urlacher did a pretty good impersonation of the NFL-edition Brian Bosworth.

  • Hey, I don't like the dances much either; but if we were wearing the same uniform, I'd be screaming at my QB to throw him the ball and let Tai Streets wait his turn: Terrell Owens, who does a pretty good of being ignored in the 49ers' offense.

  • Don't know what I'm going to do with my ... what night was that on again?: Man, I'm gonna feel that WUSA void, all the way down to the marrow.

  • And finally, winner in the category Best Associated Press Sentence, one that needs no further explanation: "Blitz, a giant lark who likes to bounce up and down on his inflatable head, had taken to joining the Alouettes' celebrations in the end zone after they scored a touchdown."

    Tim Keown is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.