J-E-T-S. Shut up, shut up, shut up …

When I was but a lad of 8 or 9, my mother offered some advice I’ve never forgotten.

“Boy,” she said, “if you’re ever a mediocre NFL cornerback who gets burned every third play …”

Yes, mother?

“… and if you position yourself significantly too far off the line of scrimmage …”

Yes, mother?

“ … and if slants eat you alive …”

Yes, mother?

“ … and if your last team traded you for being a Clifford-sized mutt …”

Yes, mother?

“ … and if you’ve fathered nine children with eight women …”

Yes, mother?

“ … and if you need your team to front you $500,000 for child support payments …”

Yes, mother?

“ … don’t talk trash about the opposing club’s quarterback. Especially if he’s one of the greatest to ever play the game, and especially-especially if his team humiliated yours, 45-3, earlier in the season.”

Yes, mother.

With that information, I leapt from the couch, anxious to flag down my mittens and launch snowballs at cars as they passed our house.

Mother, alas, wasn’t done.

“Boy?”

Yes, mother?

“If you’re ever a portly NFL coach with a taste for Carvel triple-scoop and nary a second’s professional playing experience …”

Yes, mother?

“ … and your team has no real shot of reaching the Super Bowl, despite your boasts …”

Yes, mother?

“ … and your sweaters look as if they were extras from the Cosby Show …”

Yes, mother?

“ … and much of your ceaseless trash talk has backfired …”

Yes, mother?

“ … and if you struggled to squeak past Cleveland and Detroit …”

Yes, mother?

“ … and if the franchise you’re about to play destroyed you, 45-3, earlier in the season …”

Yes, mother?

“ … and if you cut one of the opposing team’s best players in order to open a roster spot for David Clowney …”

Yes, mother?

“ … and if the world knows you and your wife enjoy playing footsie …”

Yes, mother?

“ … well, if that’s ever the case, Boy, please do your mother one very big favor.”

Yes, mother? Anything.

“Anything, Boy?”

Yes, mother. Anything.

“Shut the %$#@ up.”

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