Rainy Days And . . . Thursdays?

familiar, he's the Ironman - and should be 'Of The Year' in the AFL. That means he does it all - plays wide receiver, defensive back and returns kickoffs. He excels at all three. Some might have better stats in one category or the other. But combined? Pettis, hands down.

He should be known as the Iron-Ore Man.

There is more to him than just iron, especially for this team. Me, to this team and in this league, this 29-year-old playing his fifth AFL season is the La'Roi Glover of the Desperados. That good, that dedicated. You want one at every position. Can't give a player any higher praise in my books.

So keep an eye on him. He'll be the guy who likely leads the team Saturday night in receptions, and if he doesn't, then that means he'll lead the team in attention from the Destroyers. He'll be the defensive back they don't throw at much. And on kickoffs, when they don't give him a break there, he'll be the guy you think has a chance to go all the way every time he touches the ball in this reality video game of a sport.

The shame of all this is that he's never really gotten a legitimate shot in the NFL, and turning 30 in December probably means that possibility is fleeting. He signed on for a cup of coffee with the Saints, who robbed him of an opportunity of going to camp with the Cowboys a few years back seemingly just to prevent the Cowboys from grabbing a guy off their own AFL team. They told him to not even bother showing up until training camp. Nice.

Then in 2005, his camp experience in Atlanta was cut short when he furloughed home on an off-weekend with permission for the birth of his child. They called to tell him he didn't need to worry about coming back. Go figure.

A shame, I say, but the good thing is he's OK with it all. He's not bitter nor resentful. He's made a nice living playing football like six months a year, has a nice family now and told me earlier in the year while he'd like one last shot at the NFL, he'll be just fine if it doesn't come. Ever. That mature.

That's why it would be nice if Pettis could win a ring in this game . . . at the end of this season. Hey, a ring is a ring, legitimizing you were the best no matter the game or the level of competition. Satisfaction is a beautiful thing.

So don't take my word for all this. Check him out. Check out the Desperados, too, while it's slow around here - or until it quits raining, all making me wonder what will happen first. The Cowboys crank up or the rain cranks down?

All right, promise, there goes my rainy days savings. I'm out. But then we leave for camp two weeks from Monday. Can you stand it?

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