At Last! The Long National Nightmare Is Over!!


At 4:00 this afternoon the Carolina Panthers will hold a team meeting.  That means only one thing – the team has finally assembled for training camp!

The players were arriving this morning at Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC.  I found some of the tidbits thrown around in the Charlotte Observer interesting.

First, Steve Smith has spoken again.

“Jake’s our guy,” Smith said. “Jake’s my guy. Anybody else, I’m not interested.”

Smith was asked why the Panthers might have been mentioned as a potential destination for Favre.

“That’s (the media’s job),” he said. “Or maybe (the media) just thinks we’d be interested because we can’t have too many weapons. We just got another offensive lineman (Charles Spencer, acquired on Wednesday).”

You might think the media members would be asking Steve about something important but they choose to ask about a waste-of-time subject like Brett Favre.  I hope they’ll take Steve Smith’s answer and move on about it!  They’re all standing around a dead horse with sticks in their hand waiting their turn to get in another shot.

Even Jake Delhomme got asked about it, for goodness sake.

“You do hear about it, you’d have to be living under a rock not to,” Delhomme said Friday. “I’m just glad all that’s not going on in our camp. So far we’re distraction free. That’s a big positive.”

Do we need to school these reporters or just find new ones?

I doubt seriously I would run up to them when they were heading into work and ask, “I hear the Observer might be bringing in Mike Wilbon.  Do you think you’ll lose your job to him?”

Everything else that was reported from the morning that the world began to turn again was more filler but still nice to hear.

Among the first players on hand were running back DeAngelo Williams and cornerback Richard Marshall, who cruised up on motor scooters.

Have the players gone “Green?”  Maybe they’re feeling the pinch of that $4-a-gallon gas.  Maybe this is the new thing – to ride a scooter.  I guess the women love those?

Smith is doing a video diary of training camp for the NFL Network, and he walked up the sidewalk into a group of television cameras with his camcorder rolling right back at them.

Want more bang for your entertainment dollar?  Here ya’ go!  I assure you if Steve Smith is the one behind that camcorder this video diary will be worth watching.  In fact, it could be the single best reason to tune in to the NFL Network.

They weren’t done talking about Smith.

Smith also had a few ball boys help him move his stuff into the dorm. Meanwhile, about 20 yards away, linebacker Adam Seward schlepped his own belongings, including a television set with a cord dangling perilously close to Seward’s feet as he walked.

Steve!  C’mon, man!  Ball boys?  Most of them don’t weigh 70 pounds soaking wet.  They can’t carry that stuff.  What did you have with you?  Let me guess – about four bags of luggage, a laptop, a video game console (do you go Wii, Playstation or XBox?), and like 50 pairs of sneaks.  Just a guess.

Also, did you notice that Adam Seward didn’t bother the ball boys.  Maybe they didn’t want to bother with him.  Shoot, they probably didn’t even know who he was.  Either way, he was carrying his own TV into that dorm.  I wonder if it was like some 17-inch tube set or a 75-inch HD model.  (Somebody has got to teach these reporters to bring us the facts!)

Of course, they weren’t done following Steve Smith around like lost puppy dogs.

When Smith was asked about Favre, he said he was more worried about the stock he has with two Charlotte banks “plummet.” One of those banks happens to be a major team sponsor and a team spokesman quickly moved in to stress to reporters that Smith was just joking.

We all know exactly what Smitty is talking about here.  Charlotte is a banking city and it’s dominated by both Bank of America and Wachovia.  He likely has stock in both and is watching his investments plummet in value – especially the latter.

Why would a team spokesman step in like a schmuck and tell reporters that he’s only kidding.  Hell, there ain’t nothing to joke about.  One bank just lost like $9 billion in a quarter.  I’d say that’s not a joke, pal.

And I’d be a lot more worried about losing my money than I would be about some washed up quarterback who should still be in the backwoods of Mississippi clearing the back forty.

The final piece of news I took from the Observer Disturber:

Not there: First-round draft picks Jonathan Stewart and Jeff Otah, who remain unsigned. General manager Marty Hurney continues to negotiate with their agents today.

They failed to mention here that the CBA is still getting in the way.  It will be more difficult to negotiate contracts because the league’s deal with the union will run out before the contracts will.  Bonus money has been the sticking point for at least a few of the draft picks signed from the first two rounds so far.

I’m too lazy to type it all, so if you are heading to Spartanburg, the Gaston Gazette has a nice story on the festivities that will be taking place tomorrow.  I won’t be there.  Did you know that gas is $4 a gallon?

Finally, there will be real news to report for a change!  The players have arrived at training camp.

At last, the long national nightmare is over!