Friday, April 30, 2010


Instead of scouting colleges all over the country, scouts should spend time in prisons talking to wardens.

Get a list of their nastiest inmates and find out if they can kick, pass, block, run, tackle--and if they enjoy inflicting pain and season-ending injuries on opposing players.

If you think this is far-fetched, here's an NFL reality check.

Charles Grant, a 6-foot-3, 290-pound defensive lineman for the New Orleans Saints, was indicted recently for the fatal shooting of a pregnant woman and her unborn child.

Pacman Jones, a Dallas Cowboys corner back, has a rap sheet that hardened criminals would envy. He's been charged with assault and vandalism in a nightclub, a violent habit that began back in his high school days. Jones got in a fight at a strip club and beat a stripper's head against the bar, then threatened to kill one of the club's employees for trying to stop him.

The Dallas Cowboys assigned two burly bodyguards to keep their costly investment out of trouble. He ended up attacking them.

Marshall Lynch, a Buffalo Bills running back, has been arrested for possession of a loaded firearm. Last summer, while driving his luxury SUV, he drove into a woman and sped away. She was left with a bruised hip and 7 stitches. Marshall got fined $100 and received a 3-game suspension. There's no record of his doing time. But then, you probably wouldn't do time either if you were considered the #1 running back in the country.

Tank Johnson, a tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals, has been arrested for possession of 6 firearms, resisting arrest, attacking a police officer, and driving while drunk. His coach, Lovey Smith, has been known to visit Tank in jail.

Brandon Marshall, nicknamed “The Beast,” is a wide receiver for the Miami Dolphins. “The Beast” has been arrested for drunken driving, domestic violence, driving without a license, and punching his fiancee for a reason not yet explained.

Donte Stallworth, a wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns, hit and killed a pedestrian while driving drunk. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison. But with skills like his, I'm guessing he'd be out in a year.

Michael Vick, as any football fan knows, was released from prison after serving 2 years for operating an illegal dog-fighting ring and killing the dogs that didn't do well. The ex-Atlanta Falcons quarterback is now a backup QB for the Philadelphia Eagles. Apparently committing despicable acts is not a hindrance in the NFL, it's a prerequisite.

And I would be less than thorough if I left out the names of Ben Roethlisberger and Plaxico Burress.

Ben, star quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, is being accused of sexually assaulting a drunken college student in a bathroom somewhere in Atlanta. So far he's been given a 6-game suspension by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. The odds makers in Las Vegas are betting it'll end up being a 2-game suspension and giving 50-yard-line tickets to the ravaged co-ed.

Plaxico Burress, former wide receiver for the New York Giants, is currently serving a 2-year prison term, but will likely get out in 20 months for good behavior. Plaxico has a long string of domestic disturbances and civil lawsuits.

But the criminal behavior that launched him into the national spotlight and highlighted his lack of anything resembling common sense was tucking his Glock pistol into the waistband of his jeans and bringing it to a New York City nightclub. While there he accidentally discharged it, shooting himself in the thigh literally and in the foot figuratively.

How this man learns intricate pass patterns is beyond me.

Maybe they should give big fat bonuses to football players who get through a season without being arrested. Either that, or make NFL stand for NATIONAL FELONS LEAGUE.



Anonymous said...

OMG! This is so funny and so sad at the same time.

With all these football players in jail, maybe the warden will let them put together a team, then play a game between the prisoners and the guards.

We could even make a movie about it...maybe call it "The Longest Yard." Perhaps Burt Reynolds or Adam Sandler could play the lead. What do you think? I would have thought it an entertaining idea, but too far-fetched to be true. Hmmm.

Bernie Most said...

Very arresting piece Mr. Thistle!