NFL notebook: Remembering Al
BY Associated Press
Sunday, November 18, 2012
11/18/12 at 6:44 AM
Saints interim coach Joe Vitt said a trip to Oakland this week brought back memories of longtime Raiders owner Al Davis.
Vitt and suspended Saints coach Sean Payton made a point last year of visiting Davis in his suite before an exhibition game about two months before Davis died. But it was Vitt's first meeting with Davis 30 years earlier that still resonates.
Vitt had just been fired as Colts strength and quality control coach in 1981 and went to the NFL combine looking for work. He ran into Davis in the locker room during player weigh-ins and introduced himself.
"I go up to him, I say, 'Hey, coach, my name is Joe Vitt. I'm only 26 years old, but I've been in the league three years. I was the strength coach, I was the quality control coach, I gave out the tickets on the plane. I told him all the wonderful accomplishments I had over my three-year-period with the Baltimore Colts,'" Vitt recalled.
"He looked me in the eye and said, 'Son, when I was 26 years old I was the commissioner of the AFL.' I crawled out of the locker room. And he never forgot that, and I never forgot that."
Davis actually didn't become commissioner until he was 34 and was a college assistant at The Citadel when he was 26.
Manning's slide: Peyton Manning has caught a lot of grief for his ungainliness at Carolina last Sunday when he didn't kick his cleats up high enough on a feet-first slide after a 6-yard scramble.
His left cleat got stuck in the grass and he rolled awkwardly to the ground in the second quarter of Denver's 36-14 win over the Panthers.
Linemen Manny Ramirez and Orlando Franklin, tight end Jacob Tamme and running back Ronnie Hillman surrounded him immediately. But their concern was quickly assuaged when Manning bounced up, straightened out his left knee brace and returned to the huddle.
It was something they all had a good laugh over later on.
"It's not even worth explaining what happened. It looked bad, and the fact that my knee brace got caught, nobody wants to hear that," Manning said.
Tuned out to Thursday: George Wilson has no issue playing an occasional game on Thursday night. Just don't ask the Buffalo Bills safety if he's ever watched any of the weeknight, prime-time games since the NFL made it a regular part of its schedule.
"I don't have the NFL Network," he said days before Buffalo's victory against Miami on Thursday night. "So this is all new to me."
Wilson, the Bills' NFL Players Association representative, can understand the reason the league has made Thursday night games a mainstay despite the short break players have between games.
"The league is trying to boost its viewership and commercial opportunities," Wilson said. "It's tough, but this is what we signed up for. This is what the job calls for, and we're not going to make any gripes or complaints about it."
Waiting his turn: Minnesota Vikings rookie wide receiver Jarius Wright was inactive for the first nine games, but the fourth-round draft pick from Arkansas made quite the impact in his debut.
Filling in at the slot position for injured star Percy Harvin, Wright caught a 54-yard pass from Christian Ponder on Minnesota's first possession to set up his own short touchdown reception from Ponder. Wright was open for another potential score later in the game, too, when Ponder tripped at the beginning of his backpedal and fell down for a sack.
Randy Moss is the only Vikings rookie to catch two touchdown passes in his first NFL game.
No more holes: A.J. Green won't be giving any more scouting reports.
Cincinnati's Pro Bowl receiver created a stir in New York a week ago when he told a radio station that the Giants "have a lot of holes" in their defense. Turned out he was right. Green caught a 56-yard touchdown pass on the fifth play of the game, and the Bengals pulled away to a 31-13 win.
The low-key Green was surprised his observation became big news in New York. He won't make that mistake again. Asked about an upcoming game in Kansas City, he refused to make the same comparison.
"No, no, definitely no holes in their defense," Green said.
Green and some of the Bengals' other young players are learning that an off-the-cuff remark can have a long shelf life in the NFL.