SHELTERED IN PLACE, Texas – So we've been told one of the only two things in life we can't avoid is paying taxes.
Yeah, well we certainly could have avoided paying today, April 15, the annual deadline to file our income tax returns, especially for those who wait to the last minute to pay what's owed.
But lo and behold, we find another American institution postponed by COVID-19, the filing and payment deadline now pushed back to July 15. Hopefully by then, we also pray all these postponed athletic events and leagues will have resumed.
But again, nothing has stopped the NFL Draft, scheduled to go on, be it in an entirely different format, cranking up a week from Thursday, April 23-25. God bless the internet.
And once again, nothing has stopped our weekly dose of shots.
- Good Answer: In case you didn't catch the video snippet of the Cowboys virtual interview with Alabama defensive tackle Raekwon Davis, the 6-6, 311-pounder was quick on his feet when asked which one of the guys on his Crimson Tide team would he like to play with in the NFL. Not wanting to offend any of his buddies, Raekwon says, "Nick Saban." Broke up the Cowboys attending personnel. Think I saw Mike McCarthy smiling.
- Local Ties: Might the Cowboys, certainly in need of a receiver in this draft, someone versatile enough to play inside or outside, keep an eye out for Colorado's Laviska Shenault, 6-1, 227, who in 2018 as a Buffalo sophomore led the nation in receiving yards per game. Viska, as he's called, played for the DeSoto High 2016 6A Division II state champs. One draft guru called him "the best athlete in the draft." He's coming off core muscle surgery, so who knows, might be there in the second. Gil Brandt had him ranked 61st in his top 150.
- Katrina Coincidence: This, to me, is rather amazing. Three potential first-round picks in this 2020 NFL Draft next week actually played together on a Houston area junior high youth football team called the Fort Bend Express: safety Grant Delpit, wide receiver CeeDee Lamb and linebacker Kenneth Murray. That's like one of those no-ways. And further coincidence, the families of Delpit and Lamb are from New Orleans, and both evacuated to the Houston area in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina. Talk about having to start lives over at such a young age. And now 15 years later, look where these former kids are today.
- History Lesson: Seem to be going back in history a lot with some recent deaths, and here are two more: Washington wide receiver Bobby Mitchell (84) last week and Wednesday Green Bay defensive lineman Willie Davis (85), both Pro Football Hall of Famers. Mitchell was the first Africa-American to play for the Redskins, but both were included in this iconic picture from back in 1967 when a group of 11 black athletes gathered to support Muhammad Ali's protest against enlisting in the military during the Vietnam War. In the front row of the picture sat Ali, Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), Jim Brown and Bill Russell. The back row included the likes of Mitchell, Davis, Curtis McClinton, future Cleveland mayor Carl Stokes and one time Dallas Cowboys scout and pro personnel director John Wooten. In fact Wooten, at the time a guard for the Cleveland Browns who in the recent past headed the Fritz Pollard initiative in the NFL, was the Cleveland office director for the Negro Industrial and Economic Union and organized the group. Davis, you might recall, played for those Packers who beat the Cowboys in consecutive NFL title games in 1966-67, denying Dallas an appearance in the first two Super Bowls.
- 30 Years Ago: Ran across this while researching the backstory of the 1990 draft. Almost to the date of this year's NFL Draft, Cowboys former cornerback Everson Walls, second in franchise history with 44 interceptions, announced his decision to sign with the New York Giants. Walls had played nine seasons with Dallas, but the Cowboys decided not to pick up his $605,000 option, and he was not protected in Plan B free agency. Walls had interest from not only the Giants, but also Seattle and the Rams. "Cubby" made the absolute right choice, the Giants going 14-2 that 1990 season and defeating Buffalo to win Super Bowl XXV.
- Ed Too: Two days after that same 1990 draft, another long-time Cowboys defender, Ed "Too Tall" Jones, after 15 years of service, didn't necessarily retire, but decided he no longer would play for the Cowboys. He, too, saw the writing on the wall, saying, "Coach Jimmy Johnson wants to go with younger players. You don't make those changes and keep an older player." Too Tall eventually retired.
- Could Have Been: You know, if you look at the numbers over the entire decade of the 2010s, a case could have been made for Jason Witten to be included on the All-Decade Team. Over those 10 years, Witten playing in nine of them, he started 144 of the 144 games he played. Witten was selected to five Pro Bowls and once was named first-team All-Pro. He finished the decade with 692 catches for 7,012 yards and 45 touchdowns, He also had that 112-catch season in 2012 and produced two 1,000-yard seasons. No problem with Rob Gronkowski's choice, but wonder if Kansas City's Travis Kelce makes it if he hadn't won this past Super Bowl. He finished the decade starting 89 of 96 games, with 507 catches for 6,465 yards and 37 touchdowns but four 1,000-yard receiving seasons. Five Pro Bowls, too, and two All-Pro seasons. At least a close call. Witten has agreed to terms with the Las Vegas Raiders to play another year, and their general manager, Mike Mayock, had this to say why the Raiders would want to sign a 37-year-old tight end who will be playing his 17th season in the league: "If there's a Mount Rushmore of NFL tight ends, he's on it. I know he's 37 years old and I know we have a pretty good tight end room, but when you talk about bringing in a guy like him, not only can he still play – he had over 60 catches, can block the backside C-gap, still a competitive football player – but on top of that, he brings this wealth of knowledge about how to be a professional. You guys got tired of hearing me talk about foundational players last year and the locker room and culture. That's who this guy is. He's the quintessential culture guy. … We plug him in our locker room and we have one more veteran that can look around the room and tell people what to do and what not to do."
Got some more shots, but better save a few for next week, the day before the draft begins.