by | Nov 21, 2008 | Detroit Free Press | 0 comments

If you want to know the truth, I’m much too busy to be writing this column, since, in addition to my duties here, I also serve as a professional football scout.

That’s right. I serve to spot those players the NFL overlooks in its annual draft.

Hey, it’s not that those NFL guys aren’t thorough. It’s just that, well, they sometimes miss some really prime candidates who suffer a teeny-weeny blemish on their record, such as double-homicide. I blame the media. You know how the media can be.

This is where I come in. I find the forgotten men. I point to the unplucked plums. I do this because I care. I do this because, as Miss America often says, I like helping people.

Also, I get 10 percent.

So listen up, NFL, as you get on with your draft today. When you come to that seventh-round pick, and you’re thinking of taking yet another big, tall, strong, boring stud out of Nebraska or UCLA — stop!

Why don’t you give some consideration to the unique prospects I have found?

Such as . . .

* Lobotomy Jones, Fresno Junior College: At 6-feet-8 and 315 pounds, Lobotomy
— known around campus as “the quiet one” or “Old Zipper Head” — has all the skills to be a Pro Bowl tackle. He is fearless. He is relentless. He is also clueless, but that’s a good thing in football, isn’t it?

* Johnnie (The Hat) Cochrane, Harvard Law School: A feisty receiver with a total command of the game. Coaches say he is the brightest player they have ever had. Unfortunately, his longevity is a question mark, due to his inability to find a helmet that fits his rather large head. And as Cochrane says, “If it doesn’t fit, I must quit.”

* Jerry Jones III, Dallas Prep: No real speed. No real size. Hands are weak. Feet are slow. Blocking is nonexistent. And he can’t throw the ball more than 15 yards. However, his grandfather owns the Dallas Cowboys. And if the world is really going to hell in a hand basket, wouldn’t you want Jerry on your side as a tour guide?

* Notorious P.I.G., unattached: By now you’ve heard of the hard-rapping, hard-hitting defensive back with the strength of five men and the appetite of six. They say nobody hits as hard as Notorious. Unfortunately, nobody eats as much as him either. His favorite play is the two-minute warning because it gives him time to swallow an entire fast-food meal. Or as he sometimes sings:

I ain’t got gold

I ain’t got copper

Hey, sweet thing,

where’s my Whopper?

* Zipped Lip Corleone, whereabouts unknown: Easily the most talented player in this year’s draft. Runs the 40 in 3.8 seconds. Capable of rushing for 200 yards a game. Is a “big” time athlete, which may explain the “grand” larceny charge, the “grand” theft auto and the “grand” jury. An impact player for this year, next year or whenever he gets out of the Witness Protection Program.

* No Neck Williams, Alabama State: You know how some football players are so developed it seems as if they have no necks? No Neck really doesn’t have one! This cuts down on chin straps and all but eliminates the threat of serious head injuries. Unfortunately, it also cuts down on Williams’ peripheral vision, and most opponents just go to one side or the other and push him over.

* Pop Gun Ismail, Iowa Tech: This kick return man is the youngest of the Ismail brothers, which include “Rocket,” “Missile,” “Torpedo,” “Projectile,”
“Grenade,” “Rifle” and “Musket.” His mother says Pop Gun might not be the biggest, fastest or strongest, but he always brought a lot to the table. Mostly the silverware.

* Reddor Greenman, Nevada State: The new prototype for kickers, 6-feet-5, 277 pounds, solid muscle, with blazing speed. The only drawback is his color blindness, which sometimes causes him to kick to the wrong team, since they all look alike. Excellent tackler, with a 50 percent chance of actually bringing down the right guy.

* (Neon) Deion Whitman, San Diego Tech: Like his hero, Deion Sanders, Whitman is a two-sport specialist. Unfortunately, his two sports are football and synchronized swimming, which leads to a lot of ribbing from his teammates. Especially when he puts on the mascara and starts flapping like a bird.

Well there you have it, NFL. Just a sampling of my list. And I haven’t even detailed guys like Safecracker Thomas, Nasal Drip Peterson or Eddie (The Messiah) Johnson.

Maybe you scoff. Maybe you laugh and say “these players don’t have a chance. Why should any team take any of these guys, even in the final round?”

To which I say, someone took Andre Ware in the first round.

And you’re making fun of me?


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Mitch Albom writes about running an orphanage in impoverished Port-au-Prince, Haiti, his kids, their hardships, laughs and challenges, and the life lessons he’s learned there every day.

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