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PREVIOUS SPORTS
• Sideline: Yes, Non–Conference Games DO Count
• NCAA Preview 2009
• Sideline: Time For The Talking To Stop
• Sideline: In Memory of Air McNair
• Sideline: Will Goodell Hand Out Hard Time?
• Sideline: Marshall's Not Joshing
• NFL Draft: No Rush To Judgment
• NFL Draft Analysis 2009 (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts
• Sideline: Will Play For Food
• Sideline: Wonderlic Scores
• Sideline: Manning and Sanchez
• Sideline: 2010 Leagues Sci–fi, or Fantasy? / March Madness
• Sideline: Break Out The Brackets
• Sideline: LaDainian Tomlinson On The Record
• Sideline: The Incredible Sulk Continues
• Sideline: Guildford Heat Fired Up
• Sideline: Super Bowl thoughts from the Valley of the Sun
• Sideline: I know I came in here for something
• Sideline: College Football National Signing Day
• Sideline: 27 Points — 27 Super Bowl thoughts
• Sideline: An Epic QB Matchup?
• Sideline: Appreciating Arizona for What They Were
• Sideline: NFL Divisional Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Bowl Season Hangover
• Sideline: Six weeks Later
• Sideline: Wildcard Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Santa's Sackings
• Sideline: A Weis Decision ...for Now
• Sideline: Eye on the Ticker
• Sideline: Lions — An Anagram of Losin
• Sideline: Ready for the Turkey
• Sideline: Making it to the Big Dance
• Sideline: Brighter Days Ahead for Chargers?
• Sideline: Unnecessary Hits To The Pocket / Upset: BYU
• Sideline: Romo's Pause / Seattle Seahawks
• Sideline: Weekend Prep: Red River and More
• Sideline: College Football's 'Crossroads' Weekend
• Sideline: Gramatical Error
• Sideline: Turning The Page
• Sideline: So Cal 'Quizzed
• Sideline: 3rd Tuesday Panic / Forté Yard Dash
• Sideline: Two and Oh; Oh and Two
• Sideline: No More NCAAffeine
• Sideline: Week 1 College Football
• Sideline: How To Spell Heisman / Chad Ocho Cinco
• Sideline: A Second Slice
• Sideline: The Favre story STILL won't go away
• Sideline: Olympic Notes / Ricky's Still Relevant
• Sideline: Committee Meetings
• Sideline: Let the QB Battles Begin
• Sideline: Slinging The Slinger — More Favre
• Interview: Clint Dempsey
• Sideline: Welcome to the 2008 season
• Sideline: Plus One
• 2008 NFL Draft Review
• Sideline: Draft: The Morning After
• Sideline: Draft: Thinking the Unthinkable
• Sideline: Draft: Ready For The Long Haul
• Sideline: Sofa–bound Sport
• Sideline: Post–Winter Wonderland
• Sideline: Six Impossible Things
• Sideline: Brady's Misdirection Play
• Sideline: Colorful Language
• Sideline: Let the Romo–bashing begin
• Sideline: Bowl Bites: The Wrap
• Sideline: All About The Coaches
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 3
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 2
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 1
• Sideline: Coach Situations Vacant
• Sideline: For Some, The Playoffs Are Now
• Sideline: A Certain Lack Of Welcome
• Sideline: Unrelated Notes
• Sideline: Two Thanksgiving thoughts
• Sideline: Halftime: NFC
• Sideline: Halftime: AFC
• Sideline: London / A Tale of Two Chads / Intimidation
• Sideline: Damp Squib / Other London Notes
• Sideline: Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em / Dolphins – The Aftermath
• Sideline: The Dolphins Did What?
• Sideline: Notes on the Defenses
• Sideline: Habits to be Broken
• Sideline: Overtime
• Sideline: This Week's Starters
• Sideline: USF: Covering The Spread / Fantastic Football
• Sideline: Grossman: The Final Act? / McNabb, the Epilogue
• Sideline: Eagles QB in Slight Controversy
• Sideline: Leftwich's Parting Gift / Boos cruise
• Sideline: Notre Dame M.I.A.
• Sideline: Looking Beyond NFL Wk. 1
• Sideline: Best Hope For Heisman
• Sideline: Coaching Hot Seats / AP Poll Feeling ’Appy
• Sideline: The NFL’s Prime Cuts
• Sideline: Michigan Falls to Killer Apps
• Sideline: Look Out Couch / The Taint's On You, Bud
SPORTS

SIDELINE
Observations, Opinion & Occasional Silliness by Richard L Gale

Now I know I came in here for something...?
March 3, 2009

PREVIOUS SIDELINE NEXT SIDELINE

Now let's see: college all–star games, Super Bowl, Pro Bowl, the combine, the start of free agency, and in the middle of it all, producing a magazine or two... was there anything I've forgotten? Oh, yeah, to write a column (must be my age — forty and fatherhood makes for a bad combination).

No, of course I didn't really forget about you, dear reader. Though, if I had, I'd hardly be alone in ownership of a short memory. A glance at the sports headlines of recent days suggests there's a lot of it about.

• Baseball fans seem to have a short memory when it comes to steroids, for example. The finger–wagging at A–Rod lasted all of one spring at–bat before he slugged one deep amid sparse boos but predominant cheers. Ah, all is forgiven. No word yet what — if any — suspension he is going to serve with MLB, and as I write he is preparing to appear for the Dominican Republic like nothing ever happened. So much for the public sense of outrage.

• Meanwhile in the NFL, Albert Haynesworth has signed a 7–year $100m contract with Washington, the biggest even contract for a defensive tackle. The team is elated with their free agency signings of 'Stompy' Haynesworth and defensive back DeAngelo Hall, nicknamed 'MeAngelo' in the sports press. Now they have the free agent talent in place to break through and win the big one. Of course, if you have any kind of memory, you'll know Washington have been through this before during the high–spending Dan Snyder era, half a dozen times, with no rings to show for it. Last year, the hoopla was because they signed Jason Taylor. Remember him?

• This past fortnight, we had the NFL combine, the annual event dedicated to football amnesia, offering an opportunity for all the in–game evidence of recent college seasons to be swept away by guys in shorts leaping around cones like performing pooches, college careers upstaged by a scout with a stopwatch. Post–combine, Mark Sanchez' value as a QB commodity seems to be the equal of Matthew Stafford, yet before the draft, one of the reservations on Sanchez was that we had only seen him play one season. A few non–contact work–outs and it seems like that reservation has been tossed aside quicker than shares in HSBC. I'm not suggesting this is Ryan Leaf vs Peyton Manning again — but such non–game stock shifts are how these things happen.

• So convincing was Sanchez' showing at the combine, that it might have affected the market value of Matt Cassel (another USC QB with only one season in his football portfolio), who was being shopped around by the New England Patriots. In the end, the Chiefs gave up only a high second round pick for both Cassel and defender Mike Vrabel, a KC–sided deal that had commentators swearing that Bill Belichick had lost the plot. That is, as long as you ignore Belichick's track record over the past decade, and forget that Matt Cassel arrived as the 230th pick and left as the 34th pick. Let's remember that returning starter Tom Brady was the 199th pick — do you suppose this Belichick guy is panicking about how he's every going to lay hands on another good QB?

• There's a whole lot of senior moments going on in Denver this week. The Broncos clearly forgot for a moment that Jay Cutler threw for 4,526 yards and 25 TDs, reportedly asking the price tag on Cassel. They must also have overlooked that Cutler is the kind of guy who gets riled when he feel under–appreciated. However, you'd be forgiven if you don't recall something a little similar back in the Elway era: remember when Dan Reeves drafted Tommy Maddox as a replacement for Big John? Elway ended up as one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the NFL, while Maddox ended up as one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the XFL. To be honest, it's hard to believe Denver seriously investigated parting with their no.12 pick for Cassel when the Patriots settled for the no.34 pick a day later. Still, Jay Cutler caught them looking, which should make Denver–KC games extra spicy in 2009. Cutler won't be forgetting in a hurry.

But hey, maybe this stuff is what the offseason is for. Maybe the DUIs and the 40 times and the contract posturing is all part of forgetting the failures of last season for all but the reigning champs, like episodes of The Jerry Springer Show or Celebrity Dancing On Ice, distracted our attention from news of economic meltdown.

And speaking of distractions, here comes Michael Vick. Vick will be praying for short memories as he returns from jail. Memories that forget dogs being killed, that forget secret compartments in drink bottles, that forget that any gambling aspects to dog fighting (good luck on that one — the NFL tends to remember the G word particularly acutely). Plus, is everybody supposed to forget that despite all those rushing yards, Vick never hit 3000 yards as a passer. Matt Ryan did that his first year with the Falcons. Think they care to remember Vick?

The Falcons have already stated they have no interest in keeping Vick and are trying to find a trade partner for the 29 year old, his massive contract, and the PR baggage. Which means finding some other team that has the patience to rehabilitate, repackage and perhaps even reposition Vick.

Forget that!

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