Sammy Baugh was my kind of quarterback. I wished I could have watched him play.
Baugh died Wednesday night at the age of 94, and all I could think of was that we lost one of the first great passers in NFL history.
The man was ahead of his time. He helped make the NFL more of a passing league.
In 1937, as a rookie, he led the Redskins to a championship and in the title game against Chicago he threw for 335 yards and three touchdowns. Most teams didn't even throw it 10 times a game back then and he came in and revolutionized offenses. "Slingin' Sammy" Baugh would have fit in nicely in today's NFL.
He'd put up some amazing numbers. He did so during a time when pass truly was a bad four-letter word.
Baugh was also a great punter -- he still holds the league record for average in a season -- and a good defensive back.
But everything I've read about Baugh raved about his ability to throw the football.
Without him, the game wouldn't have evolved.
Who knows, that stupid Wildcat formation might have been the norm rather than the trick stuff.
---Fred Taylor expected to have surgery on his injured thumb, an injury that forced him to go on the injured-reserve list last week.
As it turned out, that wasn't the case. Taylor went for surgery Monday, but instead the surgeon decided that a cast on the left thumb for three weeks would be the best course of action.
After wearing the cast, Taylor will be in a splint for another five weeks. The Jaguars would like to keep Taylor on the roster, but they will do so at a reduced rate. He will be paid a salary of $5 million next season, with a $1 million roster bonus due in March.
It's likely he'll have to agree to a cut to stay on the roster. How much will factor in the decision whether he returns or not. Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio wants Taylor back, but he understands the business side of things.
It's doubtful a team with declining ticket sales will be able to let the face of the franchise leave. The Jaguars haven't had any blackouts this season, but that's because owner Wayne Weaver has purchased some of the tickets, according to team sources.
---Things will get sappy Saturday night at Texas Stadium. The Cowboys are playing their last game ever at the stadium before moving to their new digs next season. Texas Stadium has always been special to me because it was built when I was a kid who rooted for the Giants. I hated that place. When I became a journalist covering the NFL, I hated it for different reasons. It was more dump than palace. The press box is cramped. The elevators are always full of happy Texans in real cowboy hats. But I have to admit. I will miss that place. As I walked out of it for the last time last Sunday, I took a look back. It's been a big part of the NFL during my life. Am I sad? You know better. But I will be watching Saturday night to see all the sappy goings-on.
---Redskins linebacker London Fletcher complained loudly Wednesday about not making the Pro Bowl. "I understand they can take only two middle linebackers, but to have it happen year after year after year after year after year. I'm an eight-time alternate. I'm the Susan Lucci of the NFL," said Fletcher. Lucci, who is on All My Children, was nominated for an Emmy 18 times before winning.
Sorry, London. You are not the linebacker who has a beef with not making it in the NFC at the inside position. That goes to Tampa Bay's Barrett Ruud. If you want to argue against the two players who did make it -- Patrick Willis and Jon Beason -- it's Ruud who has a better case.
That's not saying Fletcher hasn't played well. It's just Ruud has played better.