Martin Fennelly Columns
Gruden-Galloway Episode Makes For Low Comedy
TAMPA - Joey Galloway was deactivated for the big loss to the Falcons on Sunday. As if we could tell. "He's a friend of mine," Jon Gruden said of the late Joey G. "I love the guy. I'm sickened that he's not a part of this." Travel tip: When Gruden says he loves you, it's time to get the big travel luggage down from the attic.Galloway, for whatever reason, is Gruden's new Nowhere Man. And you thought it only worked that way with quarterbacks. We're down to the slapstick portion of the program. First and always in GrudenSpeak is that Galloway plays split end, the same position as Antonio Bryant. Then it was that Galloway isn't comfortable coming off the bench. Sunday in Atlanta, Gruden said Galloway sat in part because the Bucs were strapped for bodies on special teams. What's next? The dog ate my Galloway? When Gruden needs you, he needs you. When he doesn't, you might as well see if the International Space Station is getting up a football team. Thing is: Why wouldn't you need a Galloway? Bryant is sure to gain double teams as this team goes down the stretch, especially if the Bucs make it into the postseason. Hey, you worry about Michael Clayton. I know Galloway gets hurt, that he's coddled (Gruden did a lot of the coddling) and he has some of the shortest arms on Earth on that rare occasion when he goes over the middle. But don't you think he would come in handy? Don't you think that Gruden's offensive mind, which can figure out a way to get nine tight ends on the field, could maybe think of a few plays where both Bryant and Galloway could play? It's called adapting. He is either all in with you or all out. It's a criticism often leveled by players who leave the Bucs. Galloway gave Gruden three 1,000-yard seasons, but Bryant is hot. Bye-bye. Maybe Galloway knows as much and deactivated himself. But don't count Gruden out. Write this down: If Brian Griese had stepped in for Jeff Garcia on Sunday and beaten the Falcons with three touchdowns, bet your house that Garcia would be hard pressed to get back into the lineup. On the other hand, Garcia was in the doghouse earlier this year. Remember when he and Gruden weren't even speaking? But when Griese went down, and Garcia was needed, well, there you go. We can't always explain Gruden's world, where a Luke McCown can be good enough to back up Garcia, but when Garcia gets hurt, McCown isn't good enough and gets to back up Griese. Tell me that logic doesn't make your eyes cross. Then again, there's always a chance Bryant will get hurt. All the Bucs are doing it these days. Don't deactivate those street clothes, Joey.