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Stuff written about: “Where are they now?”

Church of The KGB

24
   March

Some might say that after the big contract Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila signed in 2003 (7 years, $37.3M, $13+M guaranteed), he’d been playing with house money.

After Biamila collected a few years worth of sacks and several sacks worth of cash, the Packers released him in 2008.  After being cut, he decided to stick around Green Bay, and now this devout Christian is really playing with House money.  As in God’s house.  Of money.

Growing up muslim, KGB had converted to Christianity shortly after he landed in White Bread, USA, and today he’s the coordinator of the local Celebration Church Bayside for Crown Financial Ministries.

I know what you’re thinking. I was thinking it, too. Financial ministries? What the hell are financial ministries?

As it turns out, God wants you to make money.  Says so in the Bible.  Uh-huh.  Does to.  That’s what they tell me in the intro video for Crown Financial Ministries.  And if I’m running a little short for the mortgage this month?  No sweat.  God’s got my back.  I’ll just ask for the $500 blessing like the woman in the video at the 4:29 mark did.

And here’s a funny little side note - God’s financial principles must include “Thou shalt not use your pricey bandwidth when Vimeo or YouTube will happily host your video for use on your own site, for free.”

God knows a bargain when he sees one.

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Lindy Infante - Where Is He Now?

09
   March

Since it’s the offseason, there usually isn’t much to write about the Packers, except for the occasional finding of old Brett Favre articles while throwing out the trash.  Or blockbuster free agent signings the Packers aren’t making.

However, since I pretty much mailed in the second half of the 2008 season, I feel like I owe it to my three readers to put in a little work in the off months - rehab the tendons in my brain so I’ll be ready for full contact at game speed come September.

Lindy Infante as Green Bay Packers head coachMy target today is Lindy Infante.  Ordinarily I like to take this time to lambaste the topic of the post, no matter if they helped or hurt the Packers; like everyone else on the planet (and me two times that), Packer players, coaches and staff have done something stupid at some point in their lives, and for some reason, prick that I am, I like to call attention to that.  You know, just for your entertainment.

And in profiling Infante, there ought to be plenty of laughs to go around.  During the early 80’s he enjoyed “offensive guru” status while bouncing around Ohio, serving as the offensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals (under head coach Forrest Gregg) and the Cleveland Browns.  In between those two jobs Infante held the head coaching position for the ill-fated Jacksonville Bulls, a USFL team that only saw two seasons of play before the league collapsed after the 1985 season.

But all that hoopla didn’t amount to much when he got to Green Bay.  There’s just got to be something about being a buck’s last stop, the head coach of an NFL franchise, that makes a person struggle to maintain those skills that got them the job in the first place.  Or maybe, some people are just built to be really good thinkers and schemers but not head coaches.  Not at this level.

When Infante took over as Packers head coach in 1988, he inherited a team from Forrest Gregg that had never lived up to Gregg’s promise to “field a winning team.”  In the end, after five seasons of fielding no better than a .500 team, Gregg left under cover of night to coach his old college team.  In the next two seasons Infante gave Packer faithful a reason to be hopeful, improving from 4-12 in 1988 to 10-6 in 1989.  Kind of like Mike McCarthy’s 13-3 record in 2007, expectations were high for the next season.  And kind of like McCarthy’s 6-10 record in 2008, Infante’s 1990 Packers proved a bitter disappointment, also at 6-10.

From there the Packers went into a tailspin, finishing the 1991 season at 4-12.  With less than a month on the job, newly hired GM Ron Wolf fired Infante on December 22nd, the day after the Packers’ 1991 season ended (with a Packer victory over the Vikings 27-7).

Infante presided over some really bad Packer years, there’s no denying it.  But I’m having a hard time beating him up for it.  In college I used to watch Infante’s weekend television show - I would usually be watching through a throbbing hangover and bloodshot eyes, trying to remember the name of the girl I was trying to kick out of my apartment from the night before,* but even through all that I recall that Infante seemed like a nice guy.  Someone I’d feel guilty about raking over too many hot coals.  I dunno - maybe someone slipped some Prozac into my Fruity Pebbles this morning and I’m just all soft and squishy.

Infante stayed involved with professional football after the dismissal in Green Bay, returning to the head coaching post for the Indianapolis Colts in 1996, getting the job after a managerial misstep saw the Colts popular and successful coach Ted Marchibroda leave the team when the contract offered him was far less than he was expecting.  Infante’s ‘96 Colts matched the previous year’s record of 9-7, but slid quickly, finishing the next year at 3-13, after which he was dismissed by owner Jim Irsay.

After that, the Lindy Infante file gets very thin.

Lindy Infante gets no cloer to football than the occasional photo op like this one.From my crack Googling I’ve found that he’s living right on the Atlantic coast in optical communicationCrescent Beach, Florida. It appears he’s become an occasional topic of interview around Superbowl time for a local St. Augustine, FL newspaper that has circulation in the hundreds. Okay, thousands. “But the newspaper extends far beyond the person who purchased it,” swears the website for The St. Augustine Record. Right. Like extending over the legs of the homeless person using it for a blanket. But I’m getting off track. It seems every so often the SAR trundles down to Crescent Beach to get a text bite from Infante about his time playing college ball in Florida and his varied tenure as coordinator and coach.

Beyond that, it appears Infante has left the world of football behind.  One interview remarks of how the inside of Infante’s home boasts no football memorabilia; no signed balls, no blown-up photographs or framed jerseys.  You get the sense that professional football can be an ACME-sized meat grinder that chews up humans and turns them into cheesy brats for Sunday consumption.  Maybe unhappy recollections of being inside the belly of that machine made Infante want to dispose of that life and purchase another.

Living in a coastal town with perpetual warm weather?  Looks like he made a good buy.

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*Okay, so that only happened once.  With a girl from Canada that you wouldn’t know.  But it happened, dude.  I swear.


Hillbilly Orchestra

05
   July

It’s been four months almost to the day since Brett said ‘no mas’ to football. There have been a few OTA’s and mini-camp in Green Bay, but for the most part there’s been nothing football going on that might make the waffling #4 decide he wants to come out of his four month retirement and play football again. But here he is, using his network of family media leakers, claiming he wants back in.

If you thought this was orchestrated, raise your right hand. Hmm. Looks like almost everyone. (For those of you who didn’t raise your hand, please turn in your anatomically correct, life-size Favre doll. Freak.)

Do you remember the things Favre said he wasn’t going to miss about playing football? Training camps and working out all the time. Now that he was retired, he was gonna love him some saturated fat and a deep ass groove on his favorite La-Z-Boy. Or his lawnmower. But when Cletus Favre, Brett’s Next-of-Kin styled PR agent, told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that Favre had been working out, that thing he hated to do, and put his comeback at 50-50, I knew the fix was in.

Cue Deliverance (that’s Cletus dancing at the 3:27 mark).

According to ESPN, Bus Cook, Favre’s agent and wash tub bassist for Favre’s hillbilly orchestra, contacted the Packers a few weeks ago about the potential for Favre’s return. At the conclusion of those discussions, Cook was reported as asking for Favre’s outright release.

I was born in Texas, which is less than 200 miles from Mississippi, so I believe I’m qualified to translate what’s going on here. Allow me a minute to fiddle with the facts: (Get it? Fiddle? Hillbilly Orchestra? Whatever. Whadda you know from funny?)

  • Favre really didn’t/doesn’t get along with Ted Thompson and the regime that’s in place. Maybe because Thompson studied astronomy in college and realized that the sun does not in fact rise and set on Brett Favre’s shoulders. So Favre still wanted to play, but he wanted out of Green Bay. But how is he possibly going to get out of his lifetime contract (ok, 2 years left, whatev) with the Pack? How could he leave these fans that love him so dearly? He had to hatch a plan. A plan that would allow him to get out of Green Bay but make him look like the good guy.
  • Favre announces his retirement. He claims over and over that it has nothing to do with the change in the climate at 1265 Lombardi Avenue, that’s he thought long and hard about it, and that he just doesn’t have anything to give to football anymore and “that’s it.” To quote Adrienne in Rocky III, “That’s not it!”
  • Favre waits until the team is moving along with their plans for life after Brett. Aaron Rodgers starts getting all the reps in mini camp (and starts making boneheaded, rookie PR moves - more on that later). Local sports talk radio is newly entrenched in what the Packers can and should do with the offense under the leadership of the new QB. Favre believes the team has reached the point of no return - they’re all in with Rodgers and they’ve even drafted two quarterbacks, so if Favre asks to come back, he figures the team will probably just say “no thanks” and cut him loose, giving him the freedom to play wherever he wants.
  • Hillbilly logic will burn you every time.
  • Bus Cook plays the only cards he has with Packers management - pay Favre BIG dollars and do things his way or cut him loose. They are banking on the Packers not being willing to budge with contract terms or the direction of the team, and they’re right. But the Packers are still holding every other card. They counter with “Shut the eff up. We own the rights to you, so if you wanna play for us, it’s on our terms. If you don’t wanna play for us, we’ll trade you somewhere else. Like Oakland. Or Detroit. If you don’t like that, sit yer ass on your Simplicity lawnmower and cut. And sign your retirement papers you charlatan.”
  • So they play the only other card left in the deck. Cletus Favre springs into action, contacting Milwaukee media and dishing about Favre’s itch and his workout regimen. Some fans go berserk, tears of misplaced joy streaming down their faces, taking their beer-stained #4 jerseys out of their frames to prepare for one more glorious run. The rest of us are all “Wait a minute. In the time it took for you to mow your lawn 4 times you decided you might want to come back, but you’re not man enough to own it, opting instead (like you usually do) to use your family as a backwater Pierre Salinger, leaking out your true feelings? And then deny it via text messages? Are you a twelve year old girl or a football quarterback?” Check this box for yes, this box for no.
  • The Packers are predictably tight-lipped, not wanting to spoil the progress made with Rodgers sans Favre, and not wanting to alienate the fan base by looking like big meanies, trying to make Favre look bad. Here’s the thing, Ted. When Favre is doing anything business related, he pretty much looks like the barefoot hobo I saw on the Wisconsin Central Railway a couple weeks ago. Even acquitted child rapists think Favre is screwing this thing up. So no worries, Ted. Favre has a remarkable football sense, but he’s got dingleberries where his reason and logic are supposed to be.
  • The only thing that remains to be seen is whether Favre will knuckle under and take the terms offered by the Packers, or accept a trade to wherever the Packers can send him. Or maybe sit his ass down on his Simplicity and mow.

And now you have the answer to the future Trivial Pursuit question: How did Brett Favre end up finishing his career with the same team he started with, the Atlanta Falcons?

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