Gone Fishing?

Any hope Red McCombs had have recouping all or most of the money he paid Dennis Green to buy out his contract may have gone up in smoke -- or down in water -- Wednesday.

If it wasn't true, we couldn't have made this one up.

Wednesday morning, VU got word that Denny Green was going to have a press conference to announce a new employment opportunity. At the time, we thought Green was going to put up a "Gone Fishin'" sign until the sweet gig he wants opened up -- which anyone who knows Green realizes is in the Bay Area, where Jon Gruden has been denied a contract extension with the Raiders and Steve Mariucci has become increasingly disenchanted with the ownership in San Francisco.

As it turns out, that's exactly what Green has done. While not officially saying he won't take a head coaching job in the NFL, he's made the fodder for columnists far too easy by accepting a job on a fledgling fishing show on the PAX network, best known for its Christian-based programming -- which ranges from shows like "Shepherd's Chapel" to the ever-popular "Supermarket Sweep" and the Dick Van Dyke vehicle "Diagnosis Murder."

Green has accepted a position with a fishing program under the auspices of Minneapolis financier Irwin Jacobs -- a weekly show that will cover fishing and fishing tournaments. Green will provide commentary on the shows, giving his insight into fishing as a celebrity guest star. Just when you thought it was safe to pick up a Twin Cities newspaper without Green being bashed, this happens.

Green set himself up for the multiple shots that are sure to follow. After "taking the high road" and saying that his life is based on the "Three F's" -- faith, family and football -- he amended that to be a different Three F's -- faith, family and fishing.

While VU has been told directly that Green isn't through coaching football and that Oakland and San Francisco are the top landing spots, this latest career move has us shaking our heads and Red McCombs looking at paying out at least one of the two years remaining on his contract. We just report, we can't make this stuff up.

THURSDAY NOTES
* Green II -- Those of us at VU that made light of Sean Salisbury for being a color commentator on "Battle Bots" -- a show devoted to the cottage industry of creators of mechanical mayhem in gladiator competition -- don't extend a full apology, but at least a shoulder shrug and an acknowledgment that a paycheck is a paycheck, regardless of the source. Hopefully, Salisbury got points on the show.
* Green III -- When VU was first informed of the press conference, expletives as action verbs followed -- as in you're (expletive)ing kidding?" and "you're (expletive)ing me." However, it was quickly confirmed, but, when VU staffers watched a local Twin Cities TV station (no names mentioned, let "Daunte out for two years" suffice) and saw its report, we were stunned. The reporter stated Green has a "fishing Jones." For those unfamiliar with the term "Jones," a group apparently including the editors at said TV station, "Jones" refers to a condition among males that, if malfunctioning, can be temporarily cured by Viagra. Hopefully, this won't be used in the future. But, then again, as long as junior high school events play the Village People tune "YMCA" during time outs -- not aware the meaning of the song -- ignorance will remain bliss. Fill in your own jokes about Denny having a Jones for fish. We're in town all week. Tip your waitresses. We recommend the veal.
* In real news, Mike Tice continues to be placed in the position of head coach with the organization, strengthening the contention by many that he will be named head coach. However, VU finds it curious that an announcement hasn't already been made. The Tony Dungy contingent is still getting some credence, but, for now, Tice remains the frontrunner.
* On the subject of Dungy, VU has received word from a Tampa Bay source that the reason Steve Spurrier made his retirement announcement could be tied to a deal struck with Bucs upper management. His perfunctory meeting with McCombs went nowhere because his demands were too outrageous. The same may be true with speculated talks with the Panthers and Redskins. While nothing is certain, the Bucs still have Bill Parcells as a trump card and, if the Bucs don't win a couple of playoff games, Dungy will get the axe -- unfortunate for him and the team, but perhaps good news for the Vikings and their fans.
* As reported earlier in VU, the Vikings are re-establishing the front office duties of personnel that took a back seat when Green was handed full control of the team. Frank Gilliam is being asserted as the player personnel director, while Scott Studwell is seen as the team's college scouting director and Paul Wiggin is in charge of evaluating current NFL talent. However, VU wanted to caution Vikings fans that, if you think Gilliam isn't the first and last word on college talent, you're fooling yourself. He has been with the team for 30 years and has gleaned multiple gems on draft day -- which is why when the team would hold draft-day press conferences, Gilliam is always at the table fielding questions. While duties are expanding, come April 20, you will see Gilliam again explaining who and why the Vikings made their draft choices.
* VU would like to make a correction to a piece that ran yesterday. As some VU readers pointed out, the Vikings' seventh overall draft pick was the result of having the toughest schedule of the three teams -- along with Dallas and San Diego -- not the worst. In the case of tie-breakers for draft choices, the question is "who sucked worst?" not who was the best of the tied teams. VU thanks those who pointed out that error and, the intern who posted that bit was beaten with a large stick and, once it was realized he would survive, was summarily fired by Lurts.

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