Thursday, July 28, 2011

One Man's Trash Is Another Man's....

The explanation that makes the most sense is that some HBO executive called Bill Belichick last night and told the Patriots' coach the network was too going to make a season of "Hard Knocks" this month, but that they were only going to pick a team they KNEW would be as weirdly entertaining as the Jets had been.

Otherwise, Belichick's driving around the NFL neighborhood to pick up well-known veterans whose teams had left them out on the curb is a puzzler. It would seem to violate one of Belichick's main tenets of existence -- don't borrow trouble, even at a zero interest rate, unless the potential reward of your leveraged investment is great indeed, as in Hall of Fame-type season big.

Chad Ochocinco? OK. It's a little odd, but just quirky odd, not disturbing odd. Ochocinco is a professional character, but he's a cheerful exhibitionist, not a malicious one. Like all wide receivers, he has a tendency to take his behavior further out on the edge the less he gets the ball thrown his way, but really, silly touchdown celebrations are about the worst sin on his pro football resume. I don't think Chad has much left in the tank, but if Belichick disagrees, and he does, I'm not prepared to argue the point with him.

Albert Haynesworth? No. Sorry, I'm off that bus. There is in my opinion no good that can come out of acquiring a player who's awaiting trial on criminal charges. Haynesworth is evidently a sociopath with anger issues. That's not necessarily a handicap at his trade, more of a job description, but the 2009 and 2010 seasons indicate Haynesworth is a LAZY sociopath. What good is that to New England?

Haynesworth came cheap. That's a plus. Once upon a time he was an All-Pro. That's a plus, too. But pro ball is like fairy tales in this respect: once upon a time usually means a time that now is only imaginary. For the past two years, Haynesworth has been a useless tub of coach-killing goo. Belichick has the utmost professional regard for Mike Shanahan, the coach who couldn't wait to haul Haynesworth out of the garage for pickup. That makes this trade all the more difficult to fathom.

If either or both of these midnight discount acquisitions can play even a little bit, the Patriots' 2011 prospects, already bright, will cast an additional glow. If not, all that will glow is the top of Belichick's head.

Way back when, a magic and fantasy paraphenalia and book store in Lexington went out of business. My son was a steady customer in elementary school, so this had to be in Bill Clinton's first term. Alice and I went on the last day to say goodbye, and the proprietor pointed to a lovely, sturdy wall bookshelf unit and said it was ours for 20 bucks.

We have lots of books. We needed a bookshelf. We didn't have much money to toss around on furniture. A sale was made.

Then we tried to move the thing. It only took a half hour of inch-by-inch lifting to get in the car, and 40 minutes of sweat and strain to get it OUT of the car and into the garage. Up any stairs? Forget it. Which we did. The shelf unit is still out in the back of garage, a useless bargain that's too heavy to even get rid of. I just went out and looked at it, and I swear Albert Haynesworth's face was smiling at me.

Oh, well. I heard Belichick say once that training camp gets boring for everybody. That won't be a problem for him now.


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