June. It's a glorious month, really. Summer starts. School ends. And my birthday happens.
It's also a relatively nutty time in the world of the NFL. It can be quiet, leading folks to sometimes take a Chicken Little-esque sky-is-falling approach to the news. Offseason happenings are magnified, subject to hyperbole, turned into headline-fodder and talking points.
And believe me, as a columnist who wants you to click on and read my work, as a radio and TV host who wants you to listen and watch and react to my show, as someone who gets paid to express opinions in all mediums, I understand the irony of my complaint. I'm usually part of the sell.
Stop the overreaction. End the nonsense. Unless injuries befall the young star quarterbacks or the fantastic coaches suddenly go on permanent and unprecedented vacations, there's nothing to see here. There isn't a drip or drop of news in the wild world of sports that can take San Francisco and Seattle off their perch as the two most talented teams in the NFL.
Did you hear the one about the Seahawks running back who maybe wasn't going to show up at minicamp ... but who then showed up at minicamp? Forget about rumblings of a holdoutor retirement. I think by the end, Marshawn Lynch was threatening to take his talents to South Beach and sign with the Miami Heat -- but only if LeBron James were to opt in. Unless I'm confusing things.
Of course Lynch showed -- as if he had any other options. But what if Lynch had skipped out? What if he'd said he was drawing a line in the sand or that he was done with the Seahawks?
It would have been a blow to lose such a great, physical back. And Seattle's win total would have dipped from 12 to 11.
And the defending Super Bowl-champion Seahawks aren't just strong at running back. Their roster is loaded. Quarterback Russell Wilson, who is entering just his third year, can get even better, which is scary but true. Receiver Percy Harvin, who missed almost all of 2013, is healthy. The defense is fantastic.
Just fine, actually.
This might become a significant deal down the road, when Davis and Boone -- who each have two seasons remaining on their contracts -- really need to dig in. Both are valued players, key cogs in the team's offensive machine. But for the 2014 Niners, it's a non-issue.
Davis says his absence from minicamp is all about "getting paid what you deserve." And I believe he believes that. I also believe that he'll show up for training camp or -- worst-case scenario -- the season. After all, that's kind of important to do if, you know, he wants to get paid.
And while coach Jim Harbaughseems perturbed by the no-shows and ensuing questions (frankly, I'd be concerned if Harbaugh weren't annoyed about something), the fact is, Davis will catch a boatload of touchdown passes from Colin Kaepernick. Boone will be blocking brilliantly at right guard. And the only debate will be this: Should they celebrate the (many) highlights to come by leaping into each other's arms or by offering a fist bump or high-five? At some point this season, you'll turn to the patron next to you at the sports bar and say, "Hey, remember how worried we were about these guys during the Niners' minicamp?"
Or maybe you won't.
In other news, CSN Bay Area has reported that the great Mike Iupati, who can become a free agent after this year, wants a new deal and is banging the drum quietly behind closed doors. All jokes aside, this is very important and could be huge for the Niners' future. But I wouldn't be shocked to see San Francisco find a way to pay the guard. Even if no deal is signed and Iupati is left to focus on playing well and winning in order to get paid in 2015, well, that'll still be great for the team this season. And Iupati could end up making more money.
All that said, there is one legitimate, looming concern for San Francisco: the Aldon Smith situation. After a series of police run-ins, the 24-year-old could be subject to jail time and/or a league-imposed suspension. This is real life -- not hyperbolic June fodder.
But obviously, this ordeal has been ongoing for quite awhile, and no time missed by the talented (but troubled) pass rusher will blindside the team. I trust the Niners are developing an effective contingency plan. Corey Lemonier flashed fine potential as a rookie last season, and while it's unfair to expect him to produce at an Aldon Smith-like level, it is fair to expect that San Francisco's outstanding defensive staff will put him in position to succeed. Similarly, I won't be too concerned if NaVorro Bowman, coming back from a serious knee injury suffered in the playoffs, isn't ready to go by Week 1. Like the Seahawks, the 49ers develop players to flourish within the scheme -- both teams have built depth to weather the inevitable storms that come with the NFL season.
Crabtree was (and still is) the Niners' best receiver, while Harvin was supposed to be the trade acquisition that lifted the Seahawks to the Super Bowl. But neither injury mattered. Crabtree played in just five regular-season games and Harvin made it into just one -- but it didn't seriously affect the win-and-loss totals for either team. Seattle and San Francisco, of course, met for an epic NFC Championship Game, with Seattle going on to capture the Lombardi Trophy.
The NFC is loaded. But no two teams in the NFL have the talent, depth and coaching of the Niners and Seahawks.
And no kind of June drama can derail their plans for January.