"I think it's cool because you'll be the unique Dad.''
-- Channing Miller, the 8-year-old daughter of Jacksonville scout Marty Miller, reacting to the news that her dad had Parkinson's Disease, in a story by Ryan Robinson on Jaguars.com. Miller, 43, was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2009 but continues to work at finding players.
Miller, the son of long-time NFL personnel man Les Miller, comes off as a good scout and a better man. He told Robinson he would let GM Gene Smith know when he is becoming a detriment to the organization, which seems to be far off: In 2011, his 10th season as a scout, he wrote more player reports than during any other year of his scouting career.
"My knee just isn't the same anymore. It's never going to be the same."
-- Chicago linebacker Brian Urlacher, to FOX Chicago, about the status of his balky left knee, which he injured late last season, re-aggravated early in camp, and had surgery on Aug. 12. He swore that he'd play in the season opener against Indianapolis.
"I was hoping it would have been just an all-out college party. It would have been worth it. I would have been there all night. I would have gotten hammered. I'm not kidding."
-- Patriots All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski, in the illuminating story by Chris Ballard in the Sports Illustrated NFL preview issue (shameless plug here).
Now, that's going to make Gronkowski sound like a stupid party animal, but read the story. On the day The Gronk went out to a paid appearance at a 21-year-old woman's birthday party, he was limoed home to his condo near Gillette Stadium, and, on a prime Saturday night in the offseason, went to work out for two hours and then, apparently, straight to bed.
The Patriots may have read the story and rolled their eyes at Gronkowski chugging beers and playing beer pong with total strangers for money, but I wouldn't worry about it too much if I were Bill Belichick. Gronkowski's 23. He's living the dream. He realizes where his bread's buttered. And I doubt he's going to mess that up.
"The first pass I threw in Denver was to Helton. I did not want people seeing me. It becomes a private, sensitive deal. It was not good. He actually thought I was joking when I threw it to him. The ball nose-dived. He was like, 'That's funny.' I was like, 'You don't understand.' ''
-- Denver quarterback Peyton Manning, in New York Times NFL writer Judy Battista's strong Sunday story about the return of Manning. Manning was referring to the summer of the lockout, when his shoulder and neck hurt, and he couldn't throw the ball well, and he had no one to confide in about the weakness of his arm, and so he went to Denver to visit good friend and former Tennessee football teammate Todd Helton, the first baseman on the Rockies. They threw privately, and you can understand why Manning was throwing privately: He didn't want anyone to see what a disaster his right arm had become.
Now, of course, Manning is throwing the ball nearly as well as he did before he got hurt. (I didn't say nearly as well as he did in 2000, but nearly as well as he did three years ago.)
One other thing: I like that Manning told Battista, a respected national writer for a top newspaper, a very good nugget like that. He realizes that when the New York Times comes to town to write about you, you shouldn't just rehash the same stuff you've been saying for six weeks. That's a good thing.
"You have to blow me away. You called me."
-- Miami general manager Jeff Ireland, on his cell phone after hearing from the Indianapolis Colts, who were interested in cornerback Vontae Davis, on HBO's Hard Knocks last week. Then Colts GM Ryan Grigson proceeded to blow him away, giving Ireland a firm second-round pick and a conditional sixth-rounder in the 2013 draft for the underachieving but talented 24-year-old Davis.
"I never coached a smarter player. He goes down as one of the great all-time Eagles.''
-- Philadelphia coach Andy Reid, at the retirement-as-an-Eagle celebration of Brian Westbrook Wednesday in Philadelphia.
I don't think I've ever heard of a team that had such a major roster turnover from one year to the next as the Rams from 2011 to 2012.
Exactly 60.4 percent of the roster is new: 32 of 53 men.
Exactly 60.4 percent of the roster is comprised of first-, second- or third-year players.
That means of the Rams' 53-man opening day 2011 roster, 20 players are still on the team this morning ... while 24 are out of the league. (The 21st Ram on the roster both years wasn't on the roster opening day last year -- Justin Cole, a linebacker signed from the Chiefs' practice squad in November.) So apparently a very young team in 2011 was not very young and talented if one year later, 45 percent of the men on the opening day roster aren't in football a year later.
GM Les Snead and coach Jeff Fisher will have one honeymoon season and another season where progress must come quickly. And then Missourians will want results, and they'll want them now.
More a slice of New York life than a true travel note, mostly because I didn't travel over the long holiday weekend:
I was walking in Manhattan on Friday afternoon, approaching the corner of Park Avenue and East 54th. A young family, apparently, with a 35ish couple and a boy and a girl (I'm guessing the girl was 9 and the boy 5 or 6, and it was their mom and dad with them) climbed into their Range Rover after loading a few bags in the trunk. Going somewhere for the weekend, I guessed. Before the left rear passenger door was closed, and just as I passed within a few feet of the vehicle, the boy climbed into his backless car booster seat and said to his mom: "Can I have my phone?''
I did a near-double-take. A phone for a 5- or 6-year-old? And the mom pulled out what appeared to be an iPhone or an Android phone, with a rectangular screen, and handed it to the boy.
Not to show that I'm in the prime of my hey-kid-get-off-my-lawn life, but do 6-year-old kids have iPhones in America? It can't be.
"The Arizona-Toledo game featured no huddles and a remarkable 182 plays. Only once was the qb under center.''
-- @Thebaumerphx, Associated Press sports reporter Robert Baum, after covering a college game in Tucson Saturday night.
"Don't feel bad, my black a-- messed up, I made the bed now I gotta lay n it.''
-- @ochocinco, former NFL wide receiver Chad Johnson, responding to a sympathetic tweet over him getting cut after having a domestic dispute with his wife.
That's ... so mature.
"Something that just struck me: If the Saints go 16-0 this season, who wins coach of the year? Joe Vitt? Aaron Kromer? Both?''
-- @JeffDuncanTP, New Orleans Times-Picayune columnist Jeff Duncan. Vexing question, one I'm sure the franchise would love to have answered.
"Thanks for relighting the shortman torch @DangeRussWilson congrats & best of luck this season''
-- @DougFlutie, and you've got to believe Russell Wilson loved that. In fact, Wilson re-tweeted it.
"Forget 40 lashes for the guy who came up with idea of 9 p.m. cutdown deadline. Boil the [expletive] in oil."
-- @pdomo, long-time Philadelphia football writer Paul Domowitch, covering the Friday night cuts on deadline, tweeting at 8:51 p.m.
Penguins squeak past Ducks in shootout
Johan Franzen scores two as Red Wings pound Devils in Detroit