October 11, 2002
One Word Describes Sunday's Game: She
BY: Bob George/BosSports.net
Bill Parcells isn't the master motivator for nothing.
And if you forced Terry Glenn to submit to a polygraph test, he'd tell you that Parcells was the father he never had, and was the best thing to ever happen to him.
As fates would have it, Patriot Nation gets a quick look at the next chapter in the sad NFL story that is Glenn. Shipped off to the Green Bay Packers in the offseason, sonofagun if the schedule maker didn't bring the Pack to Foxborough right off the bat in Glenn's first year in Cheesehead Land. It's been five games in the "official" post-Glenn era, and already he's back to try and haunt his former teammates.
The Green Bay Packers. As a Patriot fan, you should be thinking nothing but Super Bowl XXXI. Brett Favre is the most dangerous quarterback in the league. Gilbert Brown is the largest player in the league (at least he still seems to be). Vonnie Holliday will be there to remind the Patriots of what they could have had, but Tebucky Jones will try and debunk any such thoughts.
Favre's last visit to Foxborough was the year after Super Bowl XXXI, and the Pack made the Patriots look even more inept than in the big game the year before. Green Bay won on a Monday night, 28-10; Pete Carroll and Larry Kennan were fitted for dunce caps after that game.
The trouble is that that defense which did such awful things to Warner, Stewart and Testaverde has gone on vacation. Taking their place is a bunch of tired, old guys who still can't deal with a league that has finally figured them out. So, if things go the way of the last three weeks, Favre will overshadow Tom Brady to the point that everyone will think that we're where we were supposed to have been last year at this point, with Drew Bledsoe's injury sealing the deal on the 2001 Patriot season (Bill Belichick wasn't here at this typewriter to tell me not to write that).
Add all that up, and you get the one real reason to watch Sunday's game with great interest. She's back.
She. The Monkees did a song by that name. Brady's having "she" problems now, as Tara Reid has dumped the Patriot quarterback, presumably so she can find someone who parties harder (we sincerely hope that two measly losses wasn't the relationship backbreaker). Yours Truly deals with "she" every Sunday; in this case it's this fine woman who's still married to me but can't stand football any longer. Sigh.
When you think about it, if calling someone "she" was the linchpin to a rookie record for pass receptions in a season, that speaks lousy for that player. And when the coach who called him that splits after that one year and the player becomes a basket case manchild upon his departure, you have someone who is two steps above Randy Moss on the NFL's list of Players Who Ought To Be Made To Answer To Their Almighty For Abusing Their Innate Talents.
This column has chronicled the problems that Glenn suffered here in New England several times. In any essay on Glenn, you cannot discount the problematic childhood Glenn had to endure. What makes it so hard for everyone to maintain a sympathetic stance on Glenn is what he has had given to him (talent, money), what little he has done with his talent, and how poorly he portrays himself to the sports public.
You can look high and low and come up with hundreds of people who have had to deal with adversity and have risen above it. By most anyone's standards, overcoming adversity and going on to realize success and happiness is one of life's most noble and endearing qualities. As reggae singer Jimmy Cliff once crooned in his classic You Can Get It If You Really Want, "…but the harder the battle you see…it's the sweeter the victory".
Unfortunately for Glenn, the one thing he really "wanted" wasn't so much success in the NFL as it was a male father figure to kick his posterior and light a fire under him. When his mother was murdered in Columbus while he was still a youth, his father, who abandoned his family, never came by to comfort him. Glenn sought refuge in the family of fellow Ohio State player June Henley, but the lack of a father figure in his life was the main reason why he went on to be such a head case and a total problem for the Patriots.
In his one truly successful year, Parcells planted the seed for that 1996 season at Bryant College. Glenn had a sore hammy, and Parcells made his immortal "she" reference. It was right up there with Red Auerbach's "local yokel" remarks in 1950 and Dick Williams' "We'll win more than we'll lose" declaration in spring training of 1967. Glenn went on to catch 90 passes, the rookie record that still stands. Bledsoe rode Glenn, Shawn Jefferson, Ben Coates and Curtis Martin all the way to a 35-21 loss to the Packers in New Orleans in January.
Parcells left the Patriots abruptly after that game, and Glenn went totally downhill from there. Nagging injuries, failed drug tests and his time AWOL last year defined his Patriot career more than his rookie season did.
But the biggest lingering memory everyone will have of Glenn will be that astonishing interview on WBZ-TV's Sports Final last November. On that show, Bob Lobel and Steve Burton grilled Glenn for about 15 minutes. Glenn completely trashed any semblance of good feelings towards him when he suggested that his hamstring injury was "nagging" because the Patriots still owed him part of his signing bonus (which they were withholding pending league hearings on failed drug tests). His "you do the math" remark will be embedded clearly in the minds of every Patriot fan that comes to Gillette Stadium on Sunday to watch Glenn's return to Foxborough as a Packer.
Favre has already done his work as a team leader. He has counseled Glenn on how to deal with this game. Glenn knows what he is in for. He will be the target of more boos than Bill Laimbeer, Roger Clemens and Ulf Samuelsson combined.
And the Patriots will want to send a message to their former problem child. If you think about it, the Patriots should have had a team picture with rings on their middle fingers made up and sent to Glenn rather than what the ex-Dolphins did. Glenn will be a marked man on Sunday, make no mistake.
What the Patriots have to be careful about is that Glenn is not their number one problem. Favre is.
Favre is the one who will get Glenn the ball. If the Patriots pay too much attention to Glenn, Favre will simply find other receivers and get the job done. Or, Ahman Green will join the distinguished list of running backs who treat the Patriot defense like Shedd's Spread or Blue Bonnet.
The Patriots have too many things to think about versus being hell-bent on sticking it to Glenn. The players just need to win the game and get back on track. Let the crowd handle Glenn.
Or, simply let Glenn handle himself and wait for excuse number 3,424 as to why he should not play Sunday.
Oops, I meant "she".
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