I always knew I’d finally get the call from the Atlanta Falcons

This is a difficult time of the year for me. The Super Bowl is over. College football season is over. Flag football season is over. I am officially in mourning.

Yes, I know there are other sports, but they are soooo many regular season games that it really just becomes a long road of elbow injuries and survival before the playoffs start, and I can start paying attention again.

Of course, even the playoffs in baseball, hockey and pro basketball can be excruciatingly long. As the great Southern writer Lewis Grizzard used to say, “If the NBA were in charge of World War II, Germany and Japan would still be in the hunt.” Those seasons just never seem to end.

All I can do now is pretty much wait for the NFL draft, free agency, trades and training camp before a real sport begins once again. Although, I did have an unexpected football encounter with the Atlanta Falcons last week.

I was driving my truck, alone, and the phone rang. This day and age, of course, that means the phone call begins airing through my truck’s audio system. I didn’t recognize the number and figured it was probably someone trying to get me to extend my vehicle’s warranty or give me a friendly warning that some sheriff’s office was going to arrest me for Social Security fraud or something. But I was bored, so I answered.

“Hello, this is Chris,” I mumbled.

“Chris, this is Jordan from the Atlanta Falcons.”

“Wow! I never thought this call would come,” I said.

“I’m sorry?”

“I think it’s only fair, though, to tell you that I’m not interested in playing football again. I mean, if folks think Tom Brady was too old and slow to keep playing professionally, wait until they get hold of me. He’s a child compared to me. He’s also Usain Bolt compared to me. I mean, his 40 time was what, 5.28 seconds? My 40 time was ‘Tuesday.’ I was the first person who had to take a water break after 20.”

“You played football?”

“Yes, a while back. But I retired and vowed never to come back no matter how much money the NFL threw at me. I felt like I had probably as much as any fourth string running back had accomplished at my high school.”

“Well, I’m actually calling because …”

“No, I know, I know. The pay is probably a little better than it was in the fall of ‘83. But money isn’t everything, Jordan. Besides, I pay a fortune in health insurance that is completely worthless, and if the Rams’ Aaron Donald ever got hold of me, I’d go bankrupt. Although, having my arms ripped out of their sockets might finally put me over my deductible.”

“Mr. Johnson, I’m calling because …”

“Yes, I know I already have a history with the Falcons, the 1978 Dairy Queen Falcons in Montezuma, Georgia. Yes, I was a wide receiver and I’m well aware of how badly Matt Ryan and y’all desperately need receivers right now. And, of course, my stats were legendary. I suspect no 8-year-old has since matched my season total of zero receptions.”

“Well, actually …”

“I’m gonna stop you right there, Jordan. I’m officially retired from football. My doctor will concur that’s probably for the best. I know Tom Brady is 44 and is in the shape of a healthy 27-year-old, but I’m 51 and in the shape of a hard-living 88-year-old pirate. So, I’m going to have to take a page out of my buddy Tom’s book and stay home with my beautiful wife. I doubt she’ll be as happy about that as Giselle is, but still.”

“Mr. Johnson, I’m calling because you filled out a form to get on a list to buy 2022 single-game tickets.”

“Oh yeah, I remember that now. I’d like two for the Bears at Falcons.”

“OK. And just to be sure, you’re not interested in playing for us. Correct?”

“Well, you never say never, right? Draft me and see.”

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