Interview with the Vampire: Al Davis (with Mike Singletary)
The NFL draft has come and gone. There were winners and losers. Some teams reached for picks while others played it safe.
Sorry, I was attempting to write as many uninformative, droning on draft recap statements as I could manage. I topped out at three. Couldn’t go any further. My brain would have short-circuited had I tried for more.
Lucky for you the fun doesn’t end here. I decided to do something productive with my evening and interview the two giants of the Bay Area; Oakland Raiders owner, Al Davis, and San Francisco 49ers head coach, Mike Singletary.
Both took a wide receiver in the top-half of the first round and as the story goes, Oakland chose Darrius Heyward-Bey (Why in the name of… ok… let’s withhold judgement on the pick until we hear from Al.) while San Francisco drafted Michael Crabtree.
While slightly fearing for my life (I thought Al might bonk me over the head with his cane), I decided to address what has been regarded as the most brainless pick in the 2009 draft, by asking Davis to walk me through his scouting department’s thought process in taking Heyward-Bey over many other actually decent football players.
“I’ll tell ya Brian, I’ve heard it all. Michael Crabtree could be a great receiver, but then again, he might not. Ultimately I decided the might not, was too big of a risk, so we went with a sure thing. Speed is real. It can’t be taken away. Guys don’t just lose speed, but guys do end up being busts. So we went for speed over a bust. The only logical thing to do.”
Aside from being called Brian, I was utterly confused by Al’s rational. His explanation didn’t seem to make much sense, but what do I know, I’m not the owner of the Raiders. I’m just a sports writer. I pressed onward, asking Al with speed being the x-factor, why bypass Jeremy Maclin? Especially for a guy whose own coach claimed although Heyward-Bey was no where near ready for the NFL, some team would be wowed by his awe-inspiring 40 time and drink the Kool-Aid.
Drinking the Kool-Aid is putting the pick very lightly. I’d liken it a bit more to filling a swimming pool with the ice cold beverage, pouring some gasoline on top for good measure, striking a match and tossing it in the pool, before shedding your trunks and nude-diving headfirst into the pool of blazing sugar with your mouth open, attempting to guzzle as much of the flaming liquid as possible.
“Let me ask you a question Brett; did Heyward-Bey not outrun Maclin at the combine? I’ll answer that question for you; he did. And Michael Crabtree didn’t even run at the combine. How can I draft a guy, if I can’t time a guy with my stopwatch, for my draft board, if he doesn’t even run? Does he realize how crazy that is? You must run to be timed, and you must be timed to know how fast you are, and you must know how to be timed to know how to run, and catch, and sometimes pass too. All to know how fast you are. Which is why I had to pass on Crabtree and Maclin, they simply didn’t know how to be drafted, so I didn’t draft them.”
My name’s not Brett, but point taken. For sanity reasons I then dialed up Mike Singletary to get his reaction on snatching up Crabtree after the Raiders took the second coming of Rocket Ismael.
As expected, Singletary was a tad more than thrilled. Plus he remembered my name, which was a plus. But he seemed to think I was asking about his tight end at first. Weird.
“Can’t coach him, can’t win with him. Won’t play him. Can’t and won’t coach to play him. I want to win, just not with him.”
I quickly reminding Singletary we were not talking about Vernon Davis. That seemed to clear things up.
“We were shocked and thrilled that Michael Crabtree fell to us at the ten, our entire draft team went nuts. Crabtree has a chance to be a special, special player. Whatever quarterback we draft next year will be more than happy to throw him the ball.”
Well that clears up how SF feels about Alex Smith and Shaun Hill.
How does Singletary feel about the way Al Davis runs ship across the Bay Bridge?
“Does Davis even have a ship? Where’s his staff? Seriously. The Niners would never make moves the way that organization does. It’s gotta be Al Davis and no one else. Just ask him.”
That was a halfway decent idea, so what the heck, I decided to call Al again and ask him; who did he have with him in that draft room?
“Who did I have with me? Come on Brock, quit pulling my chain, you know as well as I do that owners just pull camera friendly faces from their offices for the sake of TV.”
“Yeah, right before each draft I walk into our accounting department, and grab the first few people I see. First dibs, the way I see it. They all get free sub sandwiches and a pitcher of Dasani water. Lucky slobs, I chug that stuff, it’s all I drink. Well, that and scotch. I tend to drink a lot of scotch during the fall and winter months, for whatever reason.”
So Al, those aren’t scouts, or consultants, they are just random people you brought to the draft?
“Well what did you think was going on? Did you think I was consulting a bunch of gazelles? Speaking of which, gazelles are fairly fleet of foot, maybe I’ll draft one next year.”
After this interview I wouldn’t be surprised if he did.
So what have we learned today kids?
We’ve learned that the 49ers drafted a fantastic wide receiver and that Al Davis is a crazy old cane wielding, scotch drinking man, who likes speed… a lot. And he has a hard time remembering names. Perhaps he took Heyward-Bey by mistake and thought he was drafting Crabtree.
Or maybe it was because he is a football Loony Toon.
He’d probably draft your 13-year-old niece if she posted a fast enough 40.
By the way, how fast does she run?