This time, Eagles' Mitchell tries tiptoeing up to his turn at podium

February 02, 2005|By PETER SCHMUCK

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Somebody got to Freddie Mitchell. Somebody got to him and told him to stop being entertaining right before I ran into him at Alltel Stadium yesterday.

This can't be the same guy who walked up to the podium after a big playoff performance 2 1/2 weeks ago and thanked his hands "for being so great." This can't be the same guy who sparked controversy when he called out Patriots defensive back Rodney Harrison and said he couldn't name any of the other players in the New England secondary.

The Freddie Mitchell who showed up for the Philadelphia Eagles' hourlong interview session yesterday was uncharacteristically subdued, perhaps because coach Andy Reid told him to put a sock in it.

"I wouldn't say [he was mad]," Mitchell said. "He didn't like the comment I said. That's his program. That's how it goes."

So the Eagles receiver tiptoed around Harrison like he hopes to do on Sunday and tried to keep his name out of the headlines for a day at least, but he did say something pretty insightful about the whole Harrison dust-up.

"Man, if it's about Freddie Mitchell and Rodney Harrison, it's going to be a crappy Super Bowl," Mitchell said. "I mean, you have two great quarterbacks in Donovan McNabb and [Tom] Brady, but it's not really on them each time you turn on the TV. It's kind of interesting how this is all playing out."

This is clearly one of those "Earth to Freddie" moments, as if he didn't know that his comments - whether inflammatory or facetious - would become bulletin board material for the Patriots. Either way, he is unrepentant.

"If you need bulletin-board material to be amped up for a football game," he said, "you shouldn't be playing."

You've got to feel for Freddie. He wants to be Terrell Owens so bad he can taste it, but T.O. is back - and apparently in regular communication with God - and how do you compete with that when you don't even rate your own podium on Super Bowl Interview Day?

Mitchell bemoaned the "politics" that have kept him from emerging as a marquee receiver and said he dreams of the day when he's sitting on the beach with a drink in his hand, far away from the pressures and pitfalls of pro football.

Of course, for a guy who just wants to get away from it all, Mitchell sure seems to go out of his way to get attention, as evidenced by the outrageous Afro-Mohawk hairdo he was sporting during the NFC title game.

Kevin Frazier, the former WBFF sports guy who now is the host of Entertainment Tonight, waded into the interview scrum yesterday to give Mitchell an ET award for "Most Innovative Game-Day Hairdo."

Mitchell kissed the trophy and mugged for the ET camera, but he kept his hair tucked up under his cap, so we'll just have to wait and see what kind of head game he will be playing on Sunday.

Frazier ought to know something about innovative hairstyling, since he worked with Fox 45 anchor Bruce Cunningham before going national.

Harrison couldn't help getting one more dig in on Mitchell during the Patriots' interview session later in the day, when someone asked him about defending Owens.

"It's not just Owens," he replied. "It's [Todd] Pinkston; it's Chad Lewis, it's Mitchell ... see, I know all of their names."

Patriots assistant coach Eric Mangini could be in line for a defensive coordinator role with New England or the Cleveland Browns, but he has a strong Baltimore connection. He's the son-in-law of high-profile attorney and sports agent Ron Shapiro and the brother-in-law of Cleveland Indians general manager Mark Shapiro.

That must make for some interesting conversation at family gatherings.

"It's great," Mangini said. "Those are two guys who can give you a lot of insight."

Strangest Super Bowl moment: Eagles reserve N.D. Kalu was stretched out in the stands reading Donald Trump's The Making of a Billionaire when a camera crew from The Tonight Show asked him if he would agree to be interviewed while covered from head to toe in bubble wrap.

He said yes.

Contact Peter Schmuck at




You don't have to be crazy to cover a Super Bowl, but it apparently helps.

"Pick Boy," a masked superhero from the kids cable channel Nickelodeon, joined the national media at Alltel Stadium for yesterday's giant interview session. There's just something about men in tights.

"Nice outfit," said Patriots safety Rodney Harrison. "I hope they pay you a lot of money for that."



Defensive? Do you think Jacksonville is being defensive? It's so funny that you would think that, because Jacksonville is not being defensive about the way the city is being portrayed around the country.

That's why there were only four prominent stories in The Florida Times-Union in the first two days of Super Bowl week bemoaning the perceived lack of respect that the Cold New City of the South is getting outside Florida.

OK, we like you. We really do.

(Peter Schmuck's Super Bowl ... Or Super Bore? article appeared in hard copy on page 3C)

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