Last tears over loss of Dilfer take no time at all to dry up


October 17, 2005|By PETER SCHMUCK

It was maybe three minutes into yesterday's game when I realized that I didn't miss Trent Dilfer anymore.

The moment Dilfer fumbled the Browns' first snap of the game, I knew I was over him. Sure, there were a few nostalgic pangs as he peppered the Ravens with 4-yard passes, but it was clear that the time had come to let go ... and I was ready.

No more sleepless nights wondering if Mr. Right got away. No more anguished days waiting for the waiver transactions and hoping to see his name. We all can finally move on.

Of course, I still think the Ravens made a mistake when they let Dilfer go after the Super Bowl season, but hindsight is 20/20. Maybe they should have known that there was only one Elvis - and he wasn't a football player - but it wasn't entirely unreasonable for Brian Billick to believe he needed more from the quarterback position to win another Super Bowl.

The Ravens haven't found that marquee quarterback yet, but Anthony Wright stepped up yesterday with a solid performance that should - for now - remove any sense of urgency about Kyle Boller's toe injury.

There is talk that Boller could be ready to play as early as next week, but Wright earned another start or two with a steady and productive performance that included only one costly turnover.

Nice to see the fans at M&T Bank Stadium give Dilfer a standing ovation when he was introduced before the game. Almost makes up for those bozos in the end zone who cheered when Boller got hurt.

The Minnesota Vikings scored only a second-quarter field goal against the supposedly hapless Chicago Bears yesterday, but that didn't surprise my youthful colleague Rick Maese.

"I think the Vikings did all their scoring on that cruise last week," he said.

NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue traveled to Chicago to meet with Vikings owner Zygi Wilf yesterday to discuss the sex cruise scandal involving several members of the team, ordering the Vikings to form a security detail to keep better tabs on team-related activities.

Wilf has vowed to instill "high standards and high morals" in the franchise now that it's apparent that the departure of Randy Moss did not do the trick.

The Ravens obviously learned a lesson from their ugly loss in Detroit. When Ray Lewis was called for a questionable unnecessary-roughness penalty in the third quarter, he just laughed and walked away. He registered his 21st career interception on the next play.

Glad to hear Ricky Williams has returned to the Miami Dolphins' backfield. It has been months since I've been able to pepper my column with gratuitous drug references, but I always had faith Williams would return - especially after that arbitrator ordered him to pay back his signing bonus.

His first game back from a one-year layoff and four-game suspension didn't go all that great (five carries, 8 yards, no positive marijuana tests), but he'll be a big asset to the struggling Dolphins if he really, truly has regained the desire to play.

I'm confused. Plate umpire Doug Eddings said after Game 2 of the American League Championship Series that he saw the disputed third strike change direction, even though replays showed that any unusual movement happened after it was under the glove of Angels catcher Josh Paul.

So what happens in Game 3? Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski clearly interferes with Steve Finley's swing in a pivotal situation and plate umpire Ron Kulpa doesn't see it, even though it happened about three feet in front of his face. He should also have been able to hear the bat solidly strike the glove.

Instead of the Angels having a bases loaded, one-out situation, the Sox doubled up Finley on the tainted play and got out of the inning while the game was still close. Oh, well.

Confidential to Eddings: If I had X-ray vision, I sure wouldn't waste it watching a baseball game, if you get my drift.

Though it's painful to see a playoff series officiated so poorly, there was no conspiracy to eliminate the Angels. In fact, there is little question that the White Sox are the better team, especially after the injury knocked Bartolo Colon out of the Angels' rotation.

By the way, there is absolutely no validity to the charge that I've been trying to manipulate Orioles officials with subliminal messages (sign Konerko) in my column. You and I know that's ridiculous. I would never do something so underhanded as to try to influence Peter Angelos (hire me as GM) without his knowledge. Whatever he thinks is best for the organization and the city of Baltimore (sell the team) is OK with me.

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