Our offseason Four Downs series continues with a division-by-division look at each team's biggest remaining holes and their most notable UDFA signings. In the NFC North, quality wide receivers and defensive backs are in short supply.
25 Jan 2007
compiled by Alex Carnevale
"I think even more important than that to me, I know the type of person he is, and Lovie has the same Christian conviction that I have. He runs his team the same way. I know how those guys are treated in Chicago and how they play tough, disciplined football even though there's not a lot of profanity from the coaches. There's none of the win-at-all-cost atmosphere. For two guys to show that you can win that way, I think that's just as important for the country to see."
-- Super Bowl-bound head coach of the Indianapolis Colts Tony Dungy
"I know I probably didn't get a couple of jobs early in my career because people couldn't see my personality or the way I was going to do it. One guy did ask me, you know, in an interview, 'If you get this job, is this going to be the most important thing in your life and are you going to treat my team as the most important thing?' And I said, 'No, I'm not.' I didn't think I was going to get that job, and I didn't."
"I know Lovie does that. I know Herm [Edwards] does that. I know Mike [Tomlin, the new Steelers coach] is going to do that. Rod [Marinelli, his former assistant who now runs the Lions] is going to do that, so to have that resonate -- that you can be good, that you can win, that you can be successful, and you don't have to live and die and eat and sleep football -- I'm proud of that, too."
-- Dungy, on giving his coaches time to be with their families.
"He's among the finest people I've ever met."
-- Colts QB Peyton Manning, on his head coach. (New York Post)
"I'm not saying my way is the best way or the only way. It's just the way I was raised."
-- Dungy (Boston Globe)
"It was like 30 years of emotion. I looked over at my wife and she was crying."
-- former NFL assistant Al Lavan, 70, on watching two African-American head coaches come out with wins in their respective championship games.
"After a couple of them were over I felt like, you know, I should have."
-- Dungy, on whether he walked out of interviews in the past. One team asked him if he'd be willing to shave his beard.
"It gives people an opportunity to present themselves, their ideas, their visions. Maybe the rule opened a door for me."
-- new Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, 34, on the rule that forces organizations with a head coaching opening to interview a minority candidate.
"We have guys applying for jobs in different areas, and they have as much chance as a snowball in hell. It's been that way for quite some time."
-- Willie Donerson, the coach at Compton Dominguez High for 24 years.
"It makes me think about the guys who were in the league when I came in. There were some good guys, some guys that were exceptional and never really got the chance to do what Lovie and I have gotten the chance to do."
-- Dungy (Los Angeles Times)
"Bill was not a wonderful athlete. He was a great help to the coach, telling the others what to do. But he was slow, like his mother ... He knew where he was supposed to be, but it was hard for him to get there."
--Belichick's mom Jeanette Belichick (Baltimore Sun)
"I'm glad that creepy Belichick is gone."
-- comedian Jerry Seinfeld, in an e-mail to WFAN host Steve Somers.
"Bill was only 9 or 10 years old and he'd be breaking down film. Steve [Bill's dad] would go over it and tell him this could've been better or that could've been better. But usually there was very little room for criticism. He understood football at a very young age, even his father was surprised."
-- Jeanette Belichick
"I probably wouldn't say two words to him. I definitely wouldn't."
-- San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson, on the possibility that Belichick will coach him in the Pro Bowl.
"I was pretty disgusted with Belichick. I've interviewed him on my MSG show. It's hard. It's really hard. I don't think he does it on purpose. I just think he doesn't know any better. I just thought it was unprofessional."
-- talking head Boomer Esiason, on Belichick's postgame interview with Solomon Wilcots.
"You're very happy for him. He deserves it. It sure didn't come easy for him."
-- former Baltimore Colts coach Ted Marchibroda. Belichick drove Marchibroda and the assistants to work everyday. (Indianapolis Star)
"I'm surprised you didn't strangle him."
-- Esiason, in an answering machine message to Solomon Wilcots. (Newsday)
"It's just so disappointing for the season to end up the way it did. It's like a plane when it crash-lands -- there's just no easy way down. You just hit and crash and it's all over. You're a few yards away or a few minutes away or a play away from having an entirely different result, and it just didn't turn out that way."
-- Bill Belichick
"I don't think there was, to be honest with you, a lot of emotion or energy left to express anger. Everybody put their energy into their playing, and we played hard. We played against a good football team. And in the end we came up a play or two short."
"I appreciate the opportunity to be on. You guys are great to work with and the support from the fans has been awesome."
-- Belichick (WEEI)
"There are a lot of people that don't coach football and aren't with the team and they probably spend 21 hours of their day following it, watching it, wanting to be a part of it. I love what I'm doing. I don't really worry about the pressure, just try to go out there and be competitive and do a good job and win. So it's disappointing today, after yesterday's game, but in the big picture, do I love football? Do I love what I'm doing? Do I love the team, the organization, the support that Mr. Kraft has given us, the players and their effort and their cooperation? Yes to all of those. That's why I love coming to work every day."
"I think if they [the Saints] get to the Super Bowl, you'll see a lot of talk of rebirth, but the numbers just aren't there, in terms of people living there and in terms of the business there."
-- Forbes magazine editor Michael Ozanian (Jacksonville.com)
"We want the Saints to succeed in New Orleans, but the business community, especially, has to step up and continue to support them. We already have the best revenue-sharing plans in sports, and that helps teams like New Orleans in a small market."
-- Joe Browne, NFL executive VP
"Pull the team out or guarantee revenues to the owner."
-- Mark Rosentraub, a Cleveland State University professor.
"It's very satisfying. I have this piece of paper in my locker room that had probably 10 analysts, and they picked the other team both games. Like, 12 out of 12 picked the Saints to come in here and beat us. I'm really happy that we proved a lot of people wrong. But, more importantly, we proved ourselves right."
-- Bears DE Adewale Ogunleye (Boston Globe)
"The Bears should try to manage the situation. Lovie should address it the first part of the week, and Tank should address it and then say that's it for the week. I would recommend they get it done one time."
-- Ravens media director Kevin Byrne, on the Tank Johnson situation.
"The Super Bowl was a piece of cake for me. I couldn't wait to see all those guys. It just takes an hour of your time. I'd say embrace it. Who knows, maybe a star will be born on media day."
-- former TE Shannon Sharpe (Chicago Tribune)
"You think we'll get a 30 rating for this?"
-- CBS talking head Shannon Sharpe. They didn't get a 30 rating for the Colts-Patriots AFC Championship Game, as it scored a 26.4. (New York Times)
"That's my thing."
-- Shannon Sharpe, on "his admiration for Judges Judy, Joe Brown, and Mathis."
"I'm not supposed to be phonetically correct or enunciate perfectly."
"In the NFL, talent isn't everything. It couldn't have been any more evident than in that game Sunday. The best coaching wins and getting guys who are coachable. It doesn't matter if you run a 4.4 (40-yard dash). What matters is if you run a 4.7 where and how you're told to do it."
-- Bengals QB Carson Palmer
"But the thing we continue to find is they've got to be constantly policed and corrected ... They long for that from me to be that way to be, I guess, the hard-ass all the time in certain areas. So we'll make sure I give them what they want. They do crave discipline."
-- Bengals coach Marvin Lewis (Cincinnati Enquirer)
"The most important thing for me is to show them I'm not a bad person. Coach Bruno has been saying that NFL people know I can play, but there are the off-the-field issues. I've never had any real problems with the law. I made what I thought was a little mistake but it was a really big one and a dumb one and I know that now. I feel I have something to prove, and I'll do the best I can. I want to get back on that field. I've been missing it."
-- former Florida Gators DT Marcus Thomas, who was dismissed from the team last season and is entering the NFL draft.
"Everybody can speculate it would be him or me. At this point, I don't know, other than that it's a decision he made and I'm looking forward to the next coach."
-- Terrell Owens, Cowboys WR, on Bill Parcells' retirement from coaching.
"I said yes, OK? I don't know how I can answer you any clearer."
-- Jerry Jones, on whether or not Owens will be back.
"He was a great coach. A coach of his stature will be greatly missed. Jerry [Jones] gave him the option when things settled down in his head to do what he wanted to do. It was very admirable of Jerry, especially of a coach of his stature."
"I feel like this year, I was underutilized. Even though I didn't play up to my standards, I admit that for obvious reasons. But I feel like if I can be put in a better situation, I can help the team win."
-- Owens. Parcells referred to him as "Your Highness" in meetings. (CowboysPlus.com)
"The one thing you do know when you change is you don't want to go backwards. I think some people think you have to go backwards. I don't believe that. Now you might become a little younger, but that doesn't mean you can't be a good football team."
-- Chiefs head coach Herman Edwards (KCChiefs.com)
"I really don't care if we're in the top five in offense. I really don't. That's real good, real good stats that you can put up when you don't go to the playoffs. We've got this circus out here and it makes everyone feel good. But I'd rather go to the playoffs than have the top offense. I'm not about stats. I'm about winning and getting to the playoffs. That's what I'm about. I think every player knows that in this organization."
"Is it on me? Put it on me. Did the players struggle a little bit? Yeah, they struggled because I'm the new head coach. I'm not going to pat them on the back when they score touchdowns. They're supposed to score touchdowns. And when we stop them from scoring I'm not patting them on the back."
"I do it in my way and I think the players now that they've been with me for a year they understand. They understand that when I say, it's OK, it ain't OK. When people hear me say, it's OK, it ain't OK. When I tell you OK you've got issues. I'm telling you in a nice way. I think they understand that."
"With the volume of things [the crime lab] has passing through, they really don't have the time to take an intellectual jaunt as to what he was carrying around."
-- Ed Griffith, spokesman for the Miami-Dade state attorney's office on the magical Michael Vick marijuana bottle that could. (Miami Herald)
"NutriSystem was a perfect fit for my wife Mary Anne and I. We are both very active seniors who needed a weight loss program that could fit into our busy lifestyles. The foods taste great and are easy to travel with. We still can't believe that we can eat Blueberry Muffins and Double Chocolate Chip Almond cookies while shedding pounds. I'm back to my playing weight and feel 10 years younger!"
-- former Dolphins head coach Don Shula
"I know Jeff and I know how he is. After the way he played -- what was he, 6-1? -- and then he won a playoff game. He's not going to be happy being a backup again. He's way too much of a competitor for that. He should be going to the Pro Bowl the way he played. He knows that. Now, you want him to be a backup, and get paid like a backup. That's not going to happen."
-- unnamed former Jeff Garcia teammate
"The best value for high-quality players, if you pick right, is the second half of the first round."
-- Patriots owner Bob Kraft
"Fit-wise, it couldn't be more perfect. I could care less about money. I'm a loyalist. They were good to me at a time the game of football wasn't."
-- Patriots FB Heath Evans on returning to the Patriots in 2007.
"At the college level, you can get away with natural ability. At the next level, you've got to know what you're doing and take care of yourself and be ready week to week. I took that advice to heart and said, 'Thank you.' It's a business. It's a fun game you've been playing all your life, but you have to be at the top of your game."
-- Boston College OG Josh Beekman (Rivals.com)
"Watching our [film] and some of the things that have happened, we're ready for some breaks ... They have all these computerized statistics, you would think they could figure that out a little bit better. For anything to come down to a coin flip, that's pretty prehistoric if you ask me."
-- Bucs coach Jon Gruden, on the coin flip that will determine whether his squad gets the third or fourth pick in this year's NFL Draft. (St. Petersburg Times)
"It is important that the NFL and its players continue to be leaders on the issue of illegal and dangerous performance-enhancing drugs in sports. These latest improvements will help ensure that we continue to have a strong and effective program. As we have done in the past, we will review and modify the policy on an ongoing basis."
-- NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, on the new drug testing policy. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
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87 comments, Last at 29 Jan 2007, 6:39pm by Chippy