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Mike Shanahan Demonstrates His Sense Of Humor

Posted by Matt Terl on November 10, 2010 – 6:01 pm

Head coach Mike Shanahan’s press conferences will never be mistaken for stand-up comedy routines. He tends to keep his answers short and his information close to the vest. Author Stefan Fatsis, who spent a training camp as a kicker on a Shanahan-coached Broncos team, summed this up in a recent piece on Slate.com by saying that “Mike Shanahan is normally a two-tool quote, empty and dull.” And while that’s a bit harsher than I think might be warranted, you won’t see Shanahan telling long, elaborate stories like Jim Zorn, and you’re not particularly likely to see him dress up as an opposing coach like Rex Ryan did.

Which is not to say that he doesn’t HAVE a sense of humor, just that he rarely chooses to indulge it during media availabilities. But he does make the occasional exception, and today’s presser featured two.

The big news coming out of Shanahan’s talk was that injured kick returner Brandon Banks might be able to return for Monday night’s game. “He’s doing a good job,” Shanahan said. “He’s doing a good job in rehab. He’s working, getting three or four treatments a day. He’s made some strides. I’ll probably get a good feel on Friday if there’s a chance.”

(“We’re keeping our fingers crossed,” he added. “There’s a chance, though.”)

This prompted ComcastSportsNet’s Kelli Johnson to ask, “What is Brandon doing right now?”

“He’s sleeping on the couch inside,” Shanahan said. “He actually is. It’s a very small couch, too, I might add.”

Any day that the head coach makes a short joke about the diminutive kick returner is a good day in my book.

His other good line came later, and dealt with a much touchier subject.

Read more »

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Ma'ake Kemoeatu On Watching His Brother

Posted by Matt Terl on November 10, 2010 – 3:59 pm

Redskins nose tackle Ma’ake Kemoeatu has a younger brother named Chris, who plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers. (He was, in fact, one of the Steelers who wore Russ Grimm Redskins jerseys when Grimm was inducted into the Hall of Fame.) Since both brothers play in the NFL, it’s not every workday that they get to see one another play, but this two-week stretch seemed to break down pretty well for them: Chris was playing on Monday night first, then Ma’ake the following Monday. Two chances to watch each other play sounds pretty good.

But in the second quarter of a game that saw an inordinate number of Steelers injured, Chris Kemoeatu was on that list, a second quarter leg injury that has turned out to be a sprained knee.

Today, Ma’ake Kemoeatu talked a bit about what it was like watching that happen to his kid brother. Read more »

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Art Monk Uses Too Much Ketchup At Ray's Hell Burger And Other Links

Posted by Matt Terl on November 10, 2010 – 11:44 am


The biggest — and most shocking — revelation in this video is probably the amount of ketchup that Hall of Famer Art Monk puts on his burger. But it’s not a video that’s interesting because of its revelations; it’s interesting because it’s two of my favorite D.C. area institutions in one place: Monk has always been one of my favorite players, and his enshrinement in the Hall of Fame one of the most incredible Redskins moments I’ve been a part of. And Obama hype aside, Ray’s Hell Burger is just a terrific establishment. Nice work by Lindsay Czarniak and NBC Washington bringing the two together.

(Hat tip to Mister Irrelevant.)

And here are a few other links to occupy your time: Read more »

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An Elementary Q&A With Clinton Portis And Brian Orakpo

Posted by Matt Terl on November 10, 2010 – 10:05 am

Yesterday’s NFL Rush event was primarily about honoring Claremont Immersion Elementary as a Play 60 Super School, an award that carries a $10,000 grant to improve their health and wellness resources. That check was presented to the school by Tanya Snyder, Brian Orakpo, and Clinton Portis, and Orakpo and Portis answered questions from selected students as part of the assembly.

These Q&A’s with kids can range from the ridiculous to the redundant to the riveting pretty quickly, as kids’ questions don’t always follow the same line of reasoning as adult questions, nor are they as restricted by social conventions of what’s a worthwhile question to ask. Things can get pretty random, and the players are often more than just a little relieved to answer questions that don’t deal with the Scandal Of The Week.

So of course the first question was about Donovan McNabb. Specifically, it was about if he’s gotten used to the team, and they’ve gotten used to him. (It was asked by a fourth-grader, which is useful to remember the next time you find yourself thinking that the mainstream sports media is acting like a bunch of elementary schoolers.)

Portis fielded that one: “We’re used to Donovan, and I think Donovan’s used to us. I think just as a team, we’re going through the growing pains of learning a new offense, so it’s gonna be better the second half of the season. So look forward to seeing Donovan.”

This was greeted with raucous applause.

Next up was Billy, a fourth-grader sporting a mohawk and a Rock The Red T-shirt, who asked — clearly influenced by the theme of the event, and probably by his teachers — what the best way to stay fit was.

Orakpo answered, without mentioning chains or running mountains. “Well, I think the best way to stay fit is to be active outside instead of playing Xbox and Playstation all day,” he said, causing general chaos and tumult in the room. “I know a lot of you guys like to do that. So you go outside, play basketball, kickball, and at the same time you gotta eat healthy. That’s the most important thing.”

Third-grader Renny asked how many yards each player had run for. Portis’ answer was somewhat surprising.

“I really have no clue,” he said, “but over my career I think I’m at a pretty good pace. I have a nine year career, and I think I’m almost at 10,000 yards. So I feel pretty good about that.” Portis grinned, then added, “And Brian Orakpo, I think he’s got one interception for five yards, so he got a long way to go.”

Another workout question, this one from fifth-grader Sophie, another Brian Orakpo answer. It varies,” Orakpo said. “In the offseason, I would say I work out five days a week. During the season, you kinda want to maintain and break it down, so we’ll say maybe two to three times a week throughout the season.”

And then fifth-grader Bruno offered what was clearly supposed to be an on-message softball — “What’s your favorite fruit or vegetable?” — until Portis misheard it as “favorite food” and ran with it.

“They don’t want me to tell you my favorite food,” Portis said, smiling, “’cause this is about eating healthy and I love pork and [something inaudible that sounds oddly like cantaloupe]. But … Frosted Flakes. They’re great.”

Orakpo took the mic for his answer, and received the largest round of applause for the word “Pineapple” that I’ve ever heard, which ended the Q&A.

“That’s CP bein’ CP, man,” Orakpo said afterward, regarding Portis’ culinary choices. “He’s just being very honest.”

And Portis did clarify one thing to me about his answer. “I mean, I just said I eat pork. I love Frosted Flakes,” he said, but “Not together — at different times, man. I ain’t that crazy.”

It wasn’t until the media got ahold of him that Portis discussed his recovery from injury, and those answers were interesting as well: Read more »

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