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Monardo: An NFL players’ Christmas list (Dec. 5)

By Joseph Monardo | Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Yesterday this column described the most sought after Christmas wishes of every single NFL team. The organizations included on their wish lists everything from good luck to Andrew Luck, white Christmases to A.J. Greens.

But what about the players and coaches? Surely Roger Goodell’s little helpers have a few holiday wishes of their own.

For one, Alex Smith wishes he had never suffered a concussion. His plan to take the 49ers to new heights with his impressive set of skills hold onto the starting job with above-average play probably would have worked for a while longer had he only been able to stay healthy enough to take the field. Now it looks as though Colin Kaepernick – whose features suggest he could be an abnormally tall Christmas elf bringing cheer for fans in San Francisco – has kicked him to the curb.

Michael Vick wishes much the same as Smith. Before officially losing his starting job to rookie Nick Foles on Monday, Vick was held out of two games due to a concussion. Or at least that is what the Eagles say – Vick said he thought the concussion was an excuse to sit him.

Tony Romo wishes Dez Bryant would grow up and string together his flashes of brilliance with both consistent play and legal behavior. He also wishes Jerry Jones would stop acting like Jerry Jones and thus make the Cowboys less of a parody organization and more of a respectable contender.

Ndamukong Suh just wishes all the quarterbacks in the NFL have a rotten Christmas. Maybe Santa can bring Suh a kickboxing bag along with his lump of coal so he can get all his leg jitters out of the way before stepping within range of signal callers.

It is better to give than to receive, but Larry Fitzgerald wishes it were possible to do the latter on the Cardinals. He wishes Arizona would bring in a quarterback who is at least halfway worthy of his talents to do the former.

Ben Roethlisberger hopes Santa will clear him to return to action, but if he does indeed return he will be wishing for help on an injury-plagued offense.

Ed Reed wishes the NFL would forget about the whole “safety” thing because it is making life hard out there for the safety. He hopes maybe the craftsmen at the North Pole can come up with some advanced equipment to protect offensive players and thereby allow defenders to play the way they know. Or at least he hopes the league office stays away from his checkbook and the men in stripes keep the flags in their pockets.

The Falcons’ Mike Smith and the Lions’ Jim Schwartz wish the NFL had never imposed a crippling punishment for throwing the challenge flag at the wrong time. The Falcons escaped after Smith’s error several weeks ago, but tossing the little piece of red fabric cost the Lions a game on Thanksgiving. With games against Green Bay, Atlanta and Chicago remaining in his team’s final four outings, Schwartz needs to start wishing he makes it to Epiphany in a seat that is growing increasingly hot.

On a more profound note, absent Colts coach Chuck Pagano is wishing for his health. Away from the team this season after having been diagnosed with leukemia, Pagano’s team has provided him with a bit of a winter miracle under interim head Bruce Arians.

Tom Brady has no Christmas wishes. He has it all.

Which is good, because now Brady is free to donate his wishes to the Jets’ quarterbacks, all three of whom have plenty to wish for. Firstly, Greg McElroy just wants to stay on the bench if he knows what is good for him. He can either stay the likable, silent reserve player or become the next one to step in to receive the ire of Jets fans. Mark Sanchez wishes the spotlight would give him a break. And Tim Tebow, well he has the biggest wish of all – that everyone have a blessed holiday.

P.S. If you could figure out a way to give Tebow a start sometime, Santa, he would like that too.

Contact Joseph Monardo at jmonardo@nd.edu.

The views expressed in this Sports Authority are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.