August 2012 Archives

THE BLACK UNICORN

Last year’s NFL lockout prevented me from enjoying one of my favorite August rituals: visiting the New York Giants’ training camp in Albany, New York. But this year, the Giants returned to Albany, and thus, I did, too, with my son and my friend Peter Richmond in tow. Peter and I, who co-host a “miserabilist” Giants-fan radio show that now has its own Facebook page, are always on the lookout for a training-camp character to become enamored of. Three years ago we found one in a personable fringe prospect with the awesome name Leger Douzable. (Douzable, a defensive tackle, has since bounced around the NFL, getting a few starts with the Jacksonville Jaguars; he is currently a Tennessee Titan.)

This year “our guy” turned out to be a non-fringe guy: Martellus Bennett, who may very well begin this season as the Giants’ starting tight end. Bennett was signed as a free agent after playing four years in the shadow of the Dallas Cowboys’ star tight end, Jason Witten. In Dallas, where he was a second-round pick, he is considered something of a bust, more of a talker than a producer. But Bennett, who has exhibited his art and is married to a fashion-blogging Sarah Lawrence grad, is already worth his roster spot as a fine run-blocker, and, more importantly for our purposes, as a Darryl Dawkins-style quote machine. Early in camp, he talked up his physical condition by saying, “I’m stronger than I’ve ever been, I’m faster than I’ve ever been. I could run all day. I’m kind of like a black unicorn out there. It’s amazing to watch.”

Martellus.jpg

The “black unicorn” comment has inspired fan art and gotten a lot of play in the press. It also prompted me to seek out Bennett at camp. On the practice field, he did indeed stand out: at a rangy, powerful-looking 6' 6”, he looked, if not like a mythical hornëd creature, then at least like the sort of big, power-forward-style tight end that the New Orleans Saints have in Jimmy Graham. Off the field, he was the only Giant to proceed past us in non-athletic gear, in his stylin’ t-shirt (a leopard-print bomb?) and straw hat. Bennett happily posed for a photo with my half-his-size son (see photo above). I asked him, “Did you really call yourself a ‘black unicorn’?”

“Yeah!” he said. “That’s pretty good, don’t you think?”

August 16, 2012  Link  General Posts  Share/Bookmark

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