Seen & Heard 5/7

I MUST ADMIT THAT this column, my first of the new season, has been hijacked by the Mike Price fiasco. Initially I was going to make some observations about Bill Doba's great recruiting start, getting verbals from Mukilteo QB <b>Gary Rogers</b> and Coeur d' Alene linebacker <b>Alex Hamill</b>, and then offer up thoughts on the sensational spring practices turned in by <b>Jonathan Smith</b>, <b>Mkristo Bruce</b> and <b>Brian Hall</b>.

I was also going to regale in the glory of former Fab Five Cougar receiver Chris Jackson, who's development in Arena League Football has been something to behold. He's starred for the Los Angeles Avengers for three seasons but this year he's absolutely dominating in an MVP-like way, drawing comparisons in style to old San Diego Chargers Hall of Famer Lance Alworth.

Alas, I'm unable to delve any further into such notable notes in and around the Cougar Nation.

My attention, and therefore this column, has and have been overrun by the Price Affair. You can't escape it. The radio, the TV, the officer water cooler. Even non-sports fans are talking about it. As Kasey Dunn remarked this week, things have taken on an aura we haven't seen since the O.J. Simpson car chase and trial.

So without further ado, here are some thoughts on it all.

First and foremost, the thing I will remember most about Mike Price -- besides Rose Bowl berths, of course -- is the time he took before the Idaho game last season to chat with my son Joey. Kickoff was just 20 minutes away and he gave Joey his complete and undivided attention. For an 11-year-old kid, that was truly "Priceless."

Second, the stories about Mike seem to be growing wilder every day. I'm not sure what to believe and what not to believe, but I do know that the guy who led the Cougar football team for 14 years was not the guy I've been reading about in every newspaper and magazine in the nation. To me, this whole sorry mess screams out alcohol problem --- compounded by big money and a little newfound hubris. I just hope Mike gets the help he needs to get back on the straight and narrow.

Third, the outpouring of support Mike has received from former players, coaches and others has been unbelievable. From Jason Gesser to Jack Thompson, Bill Moos to Dave Iverson, it's been a powerful testament to the power of friendship, loyalty and a life, at least up to this point, well lived. The man may be flawed, but there's no doubt he's beloved by those who know him best.

OK, enough of my pontificating. Now it's time for a little fun with a few honors.

Bigggest Bunch of Bogus BS I've Ever Heard:
Sports Illustrated says Destiny was screaming "Roll Tide!" and Mike bellowing back "It's rollin' baby, it's rollin'!" Clearly Mike isn't a saint and he put himself in a compromising position, but to expect people to believe that the above phrases were actually uttered in the thros of passion is patently ridiculous. Just guessing, I'd say there's no way a stripper from Florida has any idea what Bama's battle cry is.

Quote of the Week::
From the Seattle P-I's John Levesque: "We can't prove that Price was flat-out chemically inconvenienced after a night of partying in Pensacola last month. We can only hope. Because if he was sober, his alleged involvement in private dances by a strip-club performer named Destiny and room-service charges of more than $1,000 by a mysterious woman in his hotel room would be the loudest cry for help since the Titanic went down."

Message Board Missive of the Week:
From long-time poster Kennewick Man: "After reading SI's story about Saint Mike's double-trouble sexcapade I was left thinking of the irony --- for the first time in his career Mike opts for the 2-person "backfield" and look what happens? He fumbles everything away."

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