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Culpepper walks into sunset

September 8, 2008

by Stephen Wiblemo

I was doing some early morning reading online last Thursday when I chanced across the headline that former Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper announced his retirement.

There were several things about this that I found hilarious, the first of which was that he did it via e-mail to a sports reporter that he must have had some sort of relationship with, Adam Schefter of NFL Network.

That just sets the mood, but once I dove into the message, that was when the real comedy started.

Here is a sample of some of what his e-mail said:
“Since I do not have a team where I can do a press conference, I chose to write what I would have said . . . Farewell NFL. When free agency began this year, I had a new sense of excitement about continuing to rebuild my career in the same way that I had rebuilt my knee after my catastrophic injury in 2005. Unfortunately, what I found out was that the league did not share any of the optimism about me as an Unrestricted Free Agent that I expected . . . “

This was just the opening of his retirement e-mail, which sounded similar to a suicide note, or a letter somebody running away from home would leave. It almost makes you feel sorry for him, but then the e-mail continues and he begins to complain about how the stance he has taken on his “rights as a person and a player” are what is hurting him in free agency.

He says “after a long look at my career and my personal convictions” he cannot continue playing in the NFL.

Que the tiny violins.

“The decision I made in 2006 to represent myself rather than hire an agent has been an invaluable experience . . . ,” his e-mail says. “The NFL has become more about power, money and control than passion, competition and the love of the game.”

Sounds like Culpepper has been watching too much Jerry Maguire.

He finishes with thanking his family and friends for the support.

The only reason I’m sharing this in my column is because of how absurd Culpepper sounds and how comforting it is for me knowing he isn’t in purple anymore .

While I’m still skeptical about what kind of quarterback Tarvaris Jackson is, it’s comforting to know Culpepper won’t be breaking any fumble records as a Viking.

Any way, no hard feelings Daunte. I wish you the best in whatever you decide to do with your life. Might I suggest doing paintings on a grain of rice? Your tiny hands would lend themselves perfectly to this intricate craft.

Or how about party planner? I heard you threw a doozy in Minnesota.

Hurry home Twins

The Republican National Convention is over, and the Twins can finally return home after a 14-game road trip that nearly drove a nail into the coffin of their playoff hopes.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was hoping for at least a 7-7 split in the journey, but when you are facing dismal teams like Seattle, Oakland, and Toronto, every knew they could come out ahead.

Instead of going 9-5 like they should have, or even 7-7 like Gardenhire wanted, they wimped out with a 5-9 finish.

Its hard to understand why a team can play so well at home, but then stink so bad when it is away. I understand the home-crowd advantage, but half the teams the twins faced couldn’t even fill the lower deck at games.

That only leaves one other excuse, their youth.

It takes awhile to get used to playing in the big leagues, even when you are at home. Playing away is a different piece of pie all together.

I still think Minnesota has as good a chance to make it to the playoffs as it did before the road trip, but the Wild Card is quickly getting out of reach, so overthrowing Chicago in the division might be the only way.

The three games at the end of September when the White Sox come to town will be do-or-die for the Twins, and I know I’ll be at one that week.