Passing on the chance to trade for quarterback Rob Johnson, who eventually went from Jacksonville to Buffalo for the ninth pick in the draft, Beathard gave Arizona owner Bill Bidwill five minutes to accept his proposal of a No. 1, No. 2, No. 1 in 1999, Eric Metcalf and Patrick Sapp to move from the third position in the draft to Arizona's spot at No. 2. It should have taken Bidwill five seconds to accept, but he actually paused and wanted more time.
Beathard said no way. He told Bidwill that he had a chance to trade a second-round pick to the Jets for defensive lineman Hugh Douglas. Bidwill accepted, Douglas went to the Eagles for a No. 2, and although there was a league-wide sigh at the high price paid by the Chargers, they had a chance at a franchise quarterback.
"Has Bobby gotten gun-shy because of the criticism or some of the things that have happened?" Devaney said with a laugh. "All I can say is, if you only knew.
"We drafted a bunch of guys from small colleges last year, including two from North Carolina A&T, and we took a lot of criticism for that. Well, this year there was a player we were discussing from North Carolina A&T, and Bobby didn't bat an eye. He had the coaches look closer at him, and we might pick him again, and why not if there's a conviction there? That's the thing about Bobby, he's fearless."
A cautious Beathard would be such a letdown, but it's early, and there's no way the draft ends with Beathard maintaining the status quo and making only three picks after the first round.
"Am I on the spot?" said Beathard. "If we don't do well and [owners Alex and Dean Spanos] say, 'Hey, we gotta make a change and you're out,' it happens. It's not something I'd ever think about. I'm thinking we're going to be better, and no one can convince me that we're not better already.
"I'm so excited about this draft and doing everything we can to make this a better team. Playing it safe, well, that's not me. And that's not fun."
Playing it safe would probably mean selecting Manning, which Indianapolis is expected to do. Beathard has no choice, but it shouldn't be much of a surprise to learn that he prefers Leaf, and all that untapped potential and the risk in letting everything ride on it.
If he's right in his assessment of Leaf, 10 years from now no one will be dwelling on what he gave away for the quarterback, but instead voters will be using it as additional ammunition to induct Beathard into the Hall of Fame.
If he's wrong and Leaf doesn't pan out, I'll blame it on Gilbride.