Admit it: You’re going to turn off Sunday night’s Cowboys-49ers game when they yank the starters, writing off whatever just happened because the NFL exhibition schedule is meaningless.
Tell that to Cowboys fullback Tyler Clutts, who celebrated a running tumble into the end zone with a flash-mob celebration at a recent training camp practice in Oxnard.
Explain that to Saints rookie defensive lineman Tyeler Davison, who looked as if he lost the Super Bowl when he flung himself and missed on a tackle against Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco the other day.
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Sell that to Rams rookie offensive lineman Cody Wichmann, who is dying to get over a calf injury because nobody makes the club in the whirlpool tub.
If you want to call your game ticket to the Cowboys-49ers exhibition worthless, that’s fine – though Ticketmaster would disagree, given the bidding began at $54 a printable.
For every Peyton Manning cruise-controlling his way to the regular season, there are a dozen Seyi Ajirotutus and Fresno State alums like him holding on for dear NFL life.
Just don’t think these games are meaningless, because for every Peyton Manning cruise-controlling his way to the regular season, there are a dozen Seyi Ajirotutus and Fresno State alums like him holding on for dear NFL life.
How long does the Average Joe make it in these parts? Try 3.3 years. The rest of us have all our adult life to carve out a successful career. Most of these guys are done before their 30th candle gets lit.
It’s no wonder, then, that Clutts was beside himself on his touchdown run against his own team. You’d think he’d never done it before – well, he hasn’t. Clutts has zero NFL carries after four years of scratching together a living.
You better believe that touchdown mattered, enough so that Cowboys coach Jason Garrett pitched a fit at his defense for letting a fullback score on a cutback run.
Know what Clutts had to say after practice to the local reporter in town? Nothing. He sprinted straight from the closing whistle to the weight room, racing to hit the weights because he isn’t going to talk his way onto the roster.
Remember that when you write off these exhibition games as a waste of everyone’s time.
Clutts isn’t making millions to bang his brain against a wall on every run block. He’s working on a one-year, $585,000 contract that isn’t guaranteed until he makes the opening-day roster.
Cover the NFL long enough, and you’ll appreciate that ex-Fresno State linebacker Sam Williams concussed his way through eight seasons in Oakland as much as you’ll admire what Raiders QB Derek Carr will do as a star.
Of course he stays late after practice. You better believe he races past reporters to work even harder after a hard day’s work.
Cover the NFL long enough, and you’ll appreciate the fact that former Fresno State linebacker Sam Williams concussed his way through eight seasons in Oakland just as much as you’ll admire what Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is going to accomplish as a star.
We love that Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins has his name on the sideline turf of Bulldog Stadium. But don’t forget Patriots guard Ryan Wendell, successfully protecting Tom Brady’s front side for six years running.
Every year tight end Bear Pascoe cashes an NFL check is a victory for the Everyday Guy in a league of superstars.
And there is nothing meaningless about that.
- 1. If the Giants are going to be serious about catching the Dodgers in the National League West, they need to give serious thought to hitting Madison Bumgarner fifth to protect Buster Posey. After his latest home run, just who does Madison Bumgarner think he is, Madison Bumgarner?
- 2. Dear Fresno State apologists: When you point out that the “other FSU” hasn’t named a starting quarterback, either, I offer a swig from the cup of perspective – Florida State is playing eeny meeny miny moe with high school All-Americans. That’s what we call a nice problem.
- 3. Amazing stat: Your Fresno Grizzlies are 19-1 in August. More Amazing stat: Some 11,000 of you showed up on a simmering Friday night to see for yourself what a winner looks like. Just what does Fresno think it is, a sports town?