Now that the dust has settled from opening weekend, I'd like to take a moment of silence for the fans in Green Bay, Oakland and Tampa Bay.
Ok, that's enough…
The bizarre saga of San Diego linebacker Steve Foley is about a half a step away from becoming one of my all time favorite Professional Sports Screw-Ups.
Not quite as intriguing as O.J.'s song and dance, but anytime you get three Menza rejects in the same brawl, you know you've got a winner.
Initial police reports were pretty cut and dry. Saturday evening Sept. 2, 2006, Officer Aaron Mansker witnessed Foley driving erratically, Subject refused several times to stop for police, Subject appeared aggressive reaching into his waistband, Subject was shot.
That's not even the worst part. Less than twenty-four hours after the cops nailed him, the Chargers took their shot, placing the veteran on the non-football injured reserve list, meaning he's done for the season and, based on the current collective bargaining agreement, will be forced to forfeit nearly $1.6 million in salary and bonus money for the year.
Ok, now fast forward – it gets better.
News reports begin to surface that indicate that the patrolman that shot Foley, a former campus cop at Palomar College, was off-duty, driving an unmarked car and wearing street clothes. While he supposedly had a badge hanging on the right side of his belt, no one is willing to say whether or not he actually showed it to Foley during the confrontation.
Then came the admission by San Diego authorities that Foley was unarmed when Mansker fired on him.
In his defense, the officer claims that he felt trapped in the cul-de-sac that he had chased Foley into, so he got out of his vehicle, identified himself, and then fired a warning shot into the bushes as the 6'4" suspect was walking towards him.
At this stage Foley's passenger, Lisa Maree Gaut, got behind the wheel, revved the engine and drove in the direction of Mansker, whose natural response was two quick shots into the oncoming vehicle.
Dirty Harry then turned his attention back to Foley, who appeared to be reaching inside his waistband. Mansker knocked off three more, striking Foley in the hand, the upper thigh and the lower inner thigh.
So you've got an off duty police officer in plain clothes, involved in the high speed pursuit of a possible drunk driver, with absolutely no backup in sight, capping two shots into a 1971 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme and three more into a San Diego linebacker.
Then you've got Foley, with a record of five arrests since 1999, and a kamikaze passenger, wanted by authorities on a fugitive warrant, squaring off with So. Cal's version of Barney Fife.
Count on this one to play out even crazier – preliminary hearings for Gaut continue throughout the week in downtown San Diego. Foley, who's getting tagged with a misdemeanor DUI charge, will have to wait his turn – he's still recuperating.
…. Listening to Warren Sapp singing in the new "NFL RePLAY" commercial is seriously painful, but the visual of his head suddenly popping up next to an attractive brunette in a Broncos jersey is too much to handle.
…. After suffering the first shutout in his illustrious sixteen-year career, Green Bay quarterback Brett Farve may have finally come to his senses. Addressing the post-game media mob Farve stepped up to the plate and admitted, what anyone over the age of twelve already knew, the Packers are freaking terrible.
"I was optimistic going into this game, I really was," Favre said. "Maybe I was the only one, but I really felt like we could surprise these guys. Obviously, that was not the case….yeah, give them credit - maybe we just ain't very good."
…. The current resume of Denver Broncos tight Chad Mustard is well worth the reading. Unfortunately, I haven't read it, but I did catch Frank Schwab's piece in the Colorado Springs Gazette that credits Mustard as spending the 2002 season as a member of the Omaha Beef of the National Indoor Football League. Mustard was the teams starting tight end but occasionally substituted at offensive guard when their regular starting guard (the local sheriff) had to work.
…. And how could I close out an article without mentioning my 32nd favorite football team the Oakland Raiders?
Bay Area papers are claiming that deactivated wide receiver Jerry Porter was seen pumping his fist and cheering while fellow quarterback Aaron Brooks was getting laid out for the umpteenth time by the San Diego Chargers.
Porter admits the allegation, but claims he was simply responding to what the some of the fans around him were saying and NOT the fact that the Raiders were getting their shorts handed to them in front of a world wide audience.
"I wasn't even paying attention to the game," Porter told ESPN reporter Colleen Dominguez.
Can you blame him?
Michael John Schon has covered the National Football League and the Denver Broncos for the past ten years. As a member of the Pro Football Writers Association he has published and syndicated columns to both newspapers and magazines throughout the United States and Canada. His syndicated radio broadcast: "Schon Live" airs weekly on various radio stations around the country.
Schon can be reached at Schon@prostarmediagroup.net
Schon: Rumors, Rants & Raves 9/14/06
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