My niece walked into the room and announced, almost deadpan, that Ben Roethlisberger had just been seriously hurt in a motorcycle accident. For a few moments, I went numb. I could feel an odd mixture of joy, regret, hope, and shame blend together into an icy cocktail in the pit of my stomach.
A major rival devastated by senseless injury? And not just any injury, but one so similar to the thoughtless gaffe that sidelined Kellen Winslow, Jr., a year ago. Karma is a bitch, and there was no doubt in my mind she was riding shotgun when Big Ben went sky in the middle of that intersection.
But then, the entire 2006 off-season seems to be about the Browns gaining karma. Whether it's finagling a sixth-round pick from the Ravens to land an impressive nose tackle prospect in Babatunde Oshinowo, or watching the human train wreck that is Chris Henry in Cincinnati, I've been shocked at our good fortune.
Of course, we all know that karma is a two way street, and you abuse it at your own peril. After all, Kellen Winslow earned himself a spot in the Gary Busey Motorcycle Hall of Fame™ for his near-death experience in a west side parking lot last summer. And while Reuben Droughns hasn't been plying school girls with liquor (the old Marcus Vick Special), the hard-charging RB can't seem to stay off the police blotter.
Still, I take a perverse satisfaction in the travails of my enemies. I love the thought of Santonio Holmes racking up multiple arrests scant weeks after the Steelers traded up in the first round to get him. I hope Carson Palmer's knee takes three years to mend. And I absolutely count on an untimely crime wave to decimate the Ravens sometime between now and September.
I know that admitting these thoughts may draw the ire of the football gods. These are the same gods, after all, who turned collegiate stalwart Courtney Brown into a broken down wreck, and transformed William Green's life into a lurid, drug-and-alcohol fueled soap opera. But when I look at the balance of it, I think the gods owe me. Big time.
So I will continue to draw pleasure from the vehicular antics of Ben Roethlisberger, the social degeneracy of Chris Henry, and the periodic imprisonment of Ravens players. But I'll do so very quietly.
That way, just maybe, the karmic gods won't hear me chuckle.