MIAMI – Colts receiver Pierre Garçon wants to save Haiti.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees wants to save New Orleans.
I was hoping that Jeremy Shockey could save the media.
Given the abundance of virtuous, if familiar, storylines, Shockey seemed the last best hope to endow this Super Bowl with even a bit of controversy. I mean, you try getting a rise out of people by quoting Jim Caldwell. It's not easy.
So, in anticipation of a couple ill-advised remarks, a bunch of us parked ourselves at Shockey's table for Wednesday's media session. It was to begin at 11:30 a.m. and go for 45 minutes. Shockey didn't arrive until 11:51 and spoke for only 15 minutes.
And I don't really blame him. He knew the game, and didn't really feel like playing. He was going to be asked about the New York Giants, a team whose name he mentions only grudgingly, and the Super Bowl he watched while drinking beer in the owner's box.
"I have nothing but great things to say about the organization in New York," he said, convincing no one. "I just hope the fans up there understand that I wasn't forced out. It was more of an option. It was just my time to leave."
Like most things about Shockey, the chain of events that sent him to the New Orleans Saints is subject to interpretation. What seems clear, however, is that the broken leg that kept him out of Super Bowl XLII healed faster than his pride.
It's worth reminding you that Shockey wasn't the only Giant unable to play in the great upset of the Patriots. Running back Derrick Ward and defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka also had broken legs. Somehow, they managed to get on the team charter flight and travel to Arizona without incident.
But Shockey, whose matted blond hair and assorted tattoos affect the look of a professional wrestler, has a natural talent for drawing attention to himself.
The big star's absence became a big story. "It was just a miscommunication," he said. "I didn't give them an answer if I was going to come or not. Then, at the last minute, I was like, you know what? It's a special thing. I had a feeling they were going to upset the Patriots."
So he boarded a commercial flight from Miami and sat in a middle seat in coach. The passengers were mostly Patriots fans, who didn't distress him nearly as much as the pressurized cabin.
"My leg's broken, it was a painful experience," he said, before thinking to add that "it was well worth it."
For the record, Jeremy Shockey couldn't have been happier for his teammates. It was the media that ruined everything: "Everybody made it out to be 'Jeremy was unhappy about his team winning,' 'Jeremy was unhappy about the success his team had without him.' It was the complete opposite."
In other words, he was overjoyed to know that the Giants could win a championship with the unassuming Kevin Boss at tight end. That's why he skipped the victory parade and wasn't seen again until training camp, when he had a shouting match with the general manager and, according to Bergen Record columnist Ian O'Connor, marched into the owner's office and demanded to be traded.
By then, Shockey said, the damage had been done: "Even if I had my best season ever, it would've been a distraction because of ... all the stories that were being written before the Super Bowl. ... You write a story without a person's quote, it's putting words in other people's mouths. That's the only thing I didn't like about New York, the media and how they twisted words."
This is the guy who was supposed to save me and my ilk? Where's Jim Caldwell when you need him?
In fairness, Shockey -- who attended the University of Miami -- got off a couple decent lines. He railed against the injustice suffered by former teammate Plaxico Burress, who is now serving time for violating New York's gun laws. "Plax is a great guy. He made a mistake like all of us do," said Shockey, adding that the jail sentence would've been avoided "if only if the mayor was a Giants fan."
Another reporter asked, "Having lived here, is it hard to resist the temptations of this city?"
"No," said Shockey, "having lived here I've done every temptation there is."
In fact, he has been apprising teammates of the perils that await them this week.
"I was telling the all the guys: you're gonna be invited to every party, you're gonna approached by every girl, in every club. ... Resist that for one week and then we'll come back here and I'll pay for everyone's ticket."
One assumes they won't be flying coach.