- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 30, 2008

Did you hear Mr. Irrelevant has worked his way into the starting lineup for the Rams? Yup, David Vobora, the last player picked in this year’s NFL draft, will be St. Louis‘ middle linebacker Sunday against the Dolphins.

Just wondering: When Mr. Irrelevant becomes a starter, does he have to relinquish his crown to the guy drafted before him - in this case, cornerback Kennard Cox, who was taken 251st by the Bills (and subsequently cut)?

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The only way it could be better is if Mr. Irrelevant started for Team Irrelevant, the Lions.

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Trivia question: One Mr. Irrelevant is currently in his ninth NFL season. Who is he? (Answer below.)

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It’s pretty rare for a Mr. Irrelevant to start a game as a rookie. The last to do it before Vobora was linebacker Marty Moore with the Patriots in 1994. Two years before that, Matt Elliott started two games at center for the Redskins. And Elliott, let’s not forget, was drafted 336th, not 222th like Moore. (The draft was 12 rounds in Matt’s year. It was reduced to eight rounds in ‘93 and to the present seven in ‘94.)

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The coolest Last Player Picked has to be Jimmy Walker, No. 445 in 1967. Walker was an All-American basketball player at Providence, but the Saints spent their final-round selection on him because, well, NFL teams did stuff like that back then. He might have made a decent wideout, too - or cornerback, for that matter - if he hadn’t preferred to play for the Pistons.

Two picks before New Orleans took Walker, the Chiefs took David “Big Daddy” Lattin, 6-foot-7 star of Texas Western’s 1966 NCAA championship basketball team. The draft was so much more in those days.

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One last thing: Walker was the last player picked in the ‘67 NFL draft and the first picked in the ‘67 NBA draft. Let’s see somebody match that.

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Browns quarterback Brady Quinn, out for the season with a broken index finger on his throwing hand, is still mulling whether to have it operated on.

“I’ll just sound out all the different advice,” he says, “and make a decision once I feel confident about something.”

Something tells me he won’t be asking Charlie Weis to recommend a surgeon.

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Four years ago, Matt Leinart won the Heisman Trophy as a junior.

Two years ago, he was the 10th pick in the NFL draft (and second quarterback).

Three days ago, his coach, Ken Whisenhunt, said he didn’t send him in with five minutes left - and the Cardinals trailing the Eagles 48-20 - because “I didn’t want to concede at that point.”

Quite the career trajectory.

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Speaking of the Cards, it’s scary to think a team allowing 26.1 points a game is going to make the playoffs. In fact, only one playoff club in league history has had a worse defense scoringwise. That would be the 2000 Rams, who managed to go 10-6 and earn a wild card berth despite giving up 29.4 points a game.

How did they do it? By putting up 33.8 points a game themselves.

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The common thread: Kurt Warner quarterbacked both teams.

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Not that it takes much these days to win the NFC West. Heck, Boise State would have a shot at it.

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Boy, the Maryland football team caught a tough break last weekend, didn’t it? It had to play Florida State on one of those rare days when it didn’t have any players suspended.

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Of course, looking at the final score - Seminoles, 37-3 - it probably would have taken a dozen arrests, maybe more, for the Terps to have had much of a chance.

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Number of the Week: 24. (How many days it took Allen Iverson to skip his first practice with the Pistons, resulting in a fine and one-game loss of his starting status.)

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To Allen’s credit, he said he was sorry. I don’t have a transcript of his comments, but they were something along the lines of: “I apologize to my teammates, first and foremost, the coaching staff, the organization and definitely our fans. I’d also like to apologize in advance for the next time it happens.”

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Loyal reader Chris Krisinger of Burke e-mails: “DeShawn Stevenson of the Wizards had another ‘great’ night [Tuesday] against the Warriors - 0-for-7, I think, which is a touch worse than his normal 3-for-12 or 4-for-14 nights. His field goal percentage is the lowest on the team at .321. Is there someone in the NBA [who’s] a worse shooter than him playing on a nightly basis?”

Answer: After a 2-for-7 effort vs. Orlando on Thanksgiving, Stevenson had a .319 percentage going into Saturday night. And no, there isn’t a single guard in the league who takes as many shots as he does (8.7 a game) and shoots worse. The three closest to him are Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook (11.8 shots a game/.359 percentage), Philadelphia’s Louis Williams (9.1/.359) and Miami’s Daequan Cook (8.9/.359).

By the way, Chris, that’s the first time in a while, I suspect, that Stevenson has shared a sentence with the word “touch.”

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Answer to trivia question: Safety Mike Green, who signed with the Redskins as a free agent in October. Green’s 47 career starts - 45 of them with the Bears - are the most of any Mr. Irrelevant in the last 25 years. So he’s got that going for him, which is nice.

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What does it mean, you ask, this reportedly amicable split between Tiger Woods and Buick?

Look at this way:

1. Tiger gets married.

2. Tiger has a kid (and No. 2 is en route).

3. Tiger and Buick sever their relationship.

Pretty obvious, isn’t it? The man is having a midlife crisis - or at least an early 30s crisis. I’d be surprised if he didn’t already have a Maybach on order. (Color: Sunday Red.)

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And finally …

It was never an ideal match of player and product, anyway. “Tiger Woods and Buick” always sounded - to these ears - like “John Daly and O’Doul’s.”

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Or “Jack Nicklaus and Speedos.”

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