It’s late at night, and I’m wandering the NFL back alleys with a flashlight. There is a fine drizzle in the cold, damp air and a chill is creeping up my spine.
Lifting the lids on trash cans and peeking inside the dumpsters, I hear a rustling down the alley. Who, or what can it be?
I cautiously approach a dumpster where the noises are emanating. I shine my light on the side of the dumpster where I see “Property of the Chicago Bears” crudely stenciled.
I hear soft whistling and the sound of bottles and cans being disturbed. Moving closer, I hear the tune “Gridiron Heros” being whistled slightly off-key.
I shine my flashlight beam into the open dumpster. There, wearing a pair of old, torn coveralls and a soiled Carhart jacket is Lions GM Martin Mayhew.
“Hey, Marty! How you doin'?”
“Hey, Mikey! I’m doin' good. Now, get that damned light out of my eyes!” I comply sheepishly. “You lookin' around, Mikey?”
“Well, sorta, Marty. I gotta tell ya that I found a Meriweather across the alley, in the Patriots' trash.”
“Yeah, Mikey, I saw it, too, but it didn’t interest me. You know how that Patriots trash turns out when you clean it off. Still looks like trash and has a fishy odor that just won‘t come out.”
We chuckle together and I ask him, “So, finding anything interesting lately?”
Marty’s eyes light up. “Yeah, man, you gotta see the great trash I found! Look at this! It’s a perfectly good Rashied Davis!” Marty continues rummaging, while whistling softly.
I ask Marty, “So why did the Bears toss out Davis? Couldn’t afford fresh batteries?”
“Naw, they found a new toy to tease poor Johnny Knox with. They picked up Roy Williams.” We share a good laugh at that. “Mikey, shine your light over there.”
I move the beam of light to the corner of the dumpster where Mayhew is pointing. “Geez, Marty, is that the first six volumes of Mike Martz’ playbook?”
“Yeah, Mikey, and it’s just as worthless now as it was when he was Detroit’s offensive coordinator.”
I help Marty climb out of the Bears dumpster and shine my light across the alley at a row of trash cans owned by the Seahawks. “You found some pretty neat square pegs over there, Marty.”
“Yeah, Mikey, it was nice to find Rob Sims, Lawrence Jackson and Nate Burleson in Seattle’s trash last year, but I think I cleaned them out pretty good.”
I spot an orange dumpster down the alley. “Marty, what’s that?”
"Oh, that’s the Cleveland Browns' trash. Let’s go have a look, Mikey!” We trot over to the dumpster where I throw open the lid. Inside is Eric Mangini, mumbling “I can too draft talent, dammit!”
Marty asks me for a boost over the high wall. He lands on something soft that goes, “Ouch! Watch where you’re jumping, man!”
I shine my light on the source of the outburst. It’s CB Eric Wright. Marty asks him, “What the heck are you doing in the Browns' trash, Eric?”
Wright points over at Mangini and says “I dunno. You better ask that idiot.”
Marty says, “Wright, we’re gonna get you outta here, clean you up and give you a new coat of paint in Honolulu Blue and Silver.”
Wright’s face brightens, then abruptly turns dour. “Uh, I don’t know, Marty. I was getting death threats from Browns fans.”
"Aw, it’s OK, Eric," Marty says, then adds, “Detroit fans didn’t even send death threats to my former boss, Matt Millen. You are gonna be just fine.”
I help Eric and Marty climb out of the Browns' dumpster. Daylight is approaching and I am soaked to the skin.
“Well, Mikey, I think I’m gonna call it a night. We found some nice pieces tonight, didn’t we?”
“Yeah, Marty, it was a hoot! Now I have to get home and see if I can get that fish smell off of me in the shower. Later, Marty!”
“See you tonight, Mikey!”