When Jake Plummer left the Arizona Cardinals to play for the Broncos in Denver, it seemed like an odd fit.
Not on the field. Broncos coach Mike Shanahan was someone who seemed like he would get the best out of Plummer and now, Plummer has the Broncos at 5-1. He hasn’t thrown an interception in his last 107 passes.
What didn’t fit was Plummer in the NFL fishbowl of Denver. Fans elevate their Broncos to a level Plummer had never been around in Arizona. And Plummer never liked the limelight anyway.
With the Cardinals, he uttered the infamous "I don’t give a rat’s ass" comment when talking about the fans. Last season, he flipped off a Denver fan after being booed for an interception. He didn’t like the scrutiny that came when he grew a shaggy beard last year.
So it wasn’t a surprise that, after showing up at a recent charity function with a new girlfriend, Plummer got angry when a local newspaper celebrity columnist figured out she was a Broncos cheerleader named Kollette Klassen.
After Klassen was razzed on the radio, Plummer called the columnist, dropping profanities and ripping the local fans. That too made the paper, and Plummer had to explain himself.
"I’ve never been a fan of things written about your personal life — whether it’s about your wife, your children," Plummer said. "I just don’t think that’s part of what we’re doing here. What we’re doing here is playing football. . . . We’re not Hollywood superstars."
That may be true. But as the Broncos quarterback — what John Elway was giving away as Halloween candy was once a huge story in Denver — Plummer should know that his entire life will always be front page news.
VIKINGS COMEDY WEEK
For all the troubles for the Minnesota Vikings these days, the problems have at least provided for some humorous comments.
Vikings center Matt Birk, who has been on injured reserve all season, wasn’t part of the infamous bye-week boat party. But the veteran had some things to say about his team, mentioning, "I think we put the ‘fun’ in ‘dysfunctional.’ " Birk also brought up the fact that the strippers at the alleged sex party were flown in from out of state.
"I think it’s a slap in the face to Minnesota strippers," Birk said. "Don’t they have a union?"
But the best line belonged to Vikings coach Mike Tice.
"Sometimes you wake up and you say, ‘Man, I didn’t have anything to drink last night. I didn’t have anything fattening. So why do I want to puke?’ " Tice said. "Then you realize, ‘Oh, that’s right.’ You start remembering what’s going on in your life."
WESTBROOK TO WALK?
Philadelphia running back Brian Westbrook was one of the main reasons the Eagles made the Super Bowl last season. This year, as he plays angry about his one-year, $1.43 million contract, the Eagles are for some reason using him less.
"If I was used properly," Westbrook said, "I could be the best."
Westbrook has 25 catches, which ranks third among NFL backs. But he has only 231 yards rushing, 33rd in the NFL, and it doesn’t seem like it will get much better for a team throwing the ball 76 percent of the time.
"A lot of things are going to play into my decision (where to sign), not just carries," Westbrook said. "But there are 32 teams in this league and it’s possible I could end up with one of the other 31."
• Raiders running back Lamont Jordan, on Oakland’s 1-4 start: "The bottom line is we have the players, (and if) we don’t make the playoffs, we will be the most underachieving team in the league. And, quite frankly, it will be an embarrassment."
• Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden, on being "fortunate" that starting quarterback Brian Griese got hurt before the bye week, giving the Bucs time to regroup: "I don’t feel fortunate at all when I look at Peyton Manning and Brett Favre playing all these games in a row. What are they if I’m fortunate?"
• Panthers coach John Fox, on his team’s many close outcomes: "My cholesterol level’s going to have to be a lot better and I’m going to have to start working out a lot more if we’re going to do this for these next 10 games."
• The Patriots’ defense has forced only three turnovers and its cornerbacks have yet to make an interception. Meanwhile, ex-Patriot cornerback Ty Law, allowed to sign with the Jets, has three interceptions.
• Two quarterbacks with a passing rating higher than 113.0 face each other for the second time since 1990 today when the Bengals’ Carson Palmer (113.6) meets the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger (123.8). Peyton Manning and Daunte Culpepper did it last year.
• Falcons running back Warrick Dunn has been the star of the Atlanta offense with 577 yards rushing and is on pace for career-highs in yards (1,538) and carries (296).
• Indianapolis: The undefeated Colts now run more than they pass, with running back Edgerrin James leading the NFL with 142 carries.
• Dallas: The Cowboys get huge test today in Seattle.
• Shaun Alexander: Seahawks running back, who will be a free agent after the season, has piled up 715 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns already.
• Houston: Colts fodder today? According to Elias Sports Bureau, the last time a winless team defeated an undefeated team after five weeks was in 1965, when the Patriots (0-6-1) beat the Chargers (5-0-2).
• Detroit: The Jeff Garcia era may be about to start today — sorry Joey Harrington.
• Tommy Maddox: His collapse as the fill-in Steelers quarterback cost his team a win last week and probably means Charlie Batch is Ben Roethlisberger’s new backup.