Well, okay, it's more like I broke my glasses, but I blame Larry Fitzgerald. You see, he threw me a pass that Larry Fitzgerald could catch, but Fitzgerald is a beast of a man - he's a good six inches taller than me and, I'm sure, has double my vertical leaping ability. The point is, this pass was about five feet over my head, but there was no way that I wasn't going to make every effort to make a Larry Fitzgerald-grade catch on it.
I jumped about as high as I can remember jumping in my life, tipped the ball down toward myself, juggled it off my face, did what I think was a full flip as I fell to the ground, and couldn't hold on. When the ball hit my face, my glasses popped right off and fell to the ground; I fell on top of them. It's also possible that I landed partially on my face. And that's why they pay Larry Fitzgerald to catch the ball.
Also, those footballs were overinflated. I'm taking that excuse to the grave with me.
Yep, this is how you know it's the NFL offseason, when guys take time off from playing for my fantasy teams to go make public appearances. This was the last of the events of one of the longest, most exhausting, most memorable mornings of my life. Let's back up to the beginning.
I came to The Sports Center at Chelsea Piers in New York City on Wednesday with a change of pants and a pocketful of insecurities. Seven or eight other journalists and I had been invited to attend a media event for the EAS Unstoppable Tour, which is the rare PR campaign that's actually totally worth checking out. EAS, one of the biggest brands in sports nutrition, hooked up with Sam Tickle, a former Lieutenant Commander in the Navy and one bad mother of an athlete, to create the Unstoppable Tour, in which Tickle went on a 30-day bus tour in which he engaged in 30 different sports (everything from baseball to sepak takraw) in 30 different towns and cities across America. The videos on their website are more than worth watching, and they're releasing one a day through March 26.
One of Tickle's stops was in Arizona, where he did football drills with Fitzgerald, and the two reunited in New York to show a group of young journalists just how out of shape they are. In one morning, we learned how to fence, went rock climbing, and engaged in a watered-down version of the football drills, after which Fitzgerald hung me out to dry with his overthrown pass. (You'll never hear the end of this from me, Larry. Never.)
Of course, even our watered-down versions of the events were amazingly taxing. I never knew how insanely tiring fencing is, or how climbing uses muscles in your forearms that you apparently don't use at any other time, because wow, I've never felt soreness like that.
Anyway, this is a fantasy sports website, so maybe you're looking for an answer to a question like "who's going to be the Cardinals' quarterback next year?" The answer is that Fitzgerald has no idea, and he's not the sort of guy who's going to make waves by criticizing his quarterbacks, even in Wednesday's very informal setting. He did have some positive things to say, particular that rookie QB John Skelton, who started the team's last four games, "can throw the ball a mile," but we're still talking about the same John Skelton who threw for a 62.3 quarterback rating last year and two touchdowns in four starts.
Fitzgerald also came out strongly against an 18-game season - just as his union head did the same day - saying that he didn't know any player who was in favor of the idea, which has been proposed by the NFL owners.
I was hoping to get a sleeper out of him at wide receiver, someone whose skills he particularly likes, and just maybe I did - he put Johnny Knox in a class with Dwayne Bowe and Calvin Johnson. Knox is a name you don't expect to hear in the same breath as those two - not just because he's never produced like them, but also because he's not nearly their size. Something to think about in the offseason, though.
And no, he's never played fantasy sports.