Flowery Branch – I’m beginnning to think it’s me. I show up and things go to Hades in a handbasket. I make my first pilgrimage of 2009 to (deep voice here) the Russell Atlanta Falcons Training Camp and I’m greeted by the news that Harry Douglas, who like my dad went to University of Louisville, is out for the season with a torn ACL.
You don’t ever want a guy to get hurt the first week of camp, but you especially don’t want it to be a guy who plays a position at which a Pro Bowler has gone missing. Roddy White, as you know, is holding out, and Douglas was seen as viable alternative should White get really ticked and decide to hold out into September. Now Brian Finneran, who has been here since Dan Reeves was coaching, suddenly becomes a key man.
And that, as you know, is the way it goes for Joe Btfsplk Bradley, who has become the world’s worst jinx. And to think: The original Joe Btfsplk, drawn by the great Al Capp, was only a cartoon. As best I can discern, I’m real. (Though sometimes that’s open to debate.)
Bear with me as I mosey out to practice and see if the Falcons still have a team left. And if I happen to meet Mr. Russell, I’ll say hello for you.
Update: Having watched a bit — but only a bit of practice — I can reliably inform you that the Falcons expect to have some news regarding their wide receiver position within the next couple of hours. (And no, it doesn’t involve Roddy White. It involves some free agents.)
Update No. 2: Talked to Tony Gonzalez. My first question: “How many points did you have against Villanova?” (Gonzalez was pressed into service on the Cal Bears’ basketball team in 1997 and was a key man in the upset of Villanova in Round 2.)
“Twenty-three,” Gonzalez said. (Not that big-time athletes ever remember their stats or anything.) “Tim Thomas had eight. We were guarding each other.”
I then, for the first time in my life, repeated a cheer. What can I say? The Cal cheerleaders kept chanting it at the end that Saturday in Winston-Salem, and obviously it left an impression. So here goes:
“You know it! You tell the story! You tell the whole damn world … ”
And Gonzalez finished it for me: “This is Bear territory!”
So now you’re up to date on this key development from a dozen years ago.