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It Will Be Like Old Times for Delhomme

October 11, 2003|Sam Farmer

Sam Farmer, pro football specialist for The Times, is spending some of his time this season swapping e-mail with NFL personnel. This week, Farmer was online with Carolina quarterback Jake Delhomme, whose 4-0 Panthers play at 5-0 Indianapolis on Sunday. The game will be a reunion for Delhomme and Peyton Manning, who competed against each other as high school quarterbacks in Louisiana.

Farmer: You and Peyton Manning have been friends for years; what do you give each other a hard time about?

Delhomme: It depends. When we work at [Manning Passing Academy where Jake is a longtime counselor] together, we give each other a hard time about everything. After the Jacksonville game this year, he called me that Sunday night after the win and gave me a hard time about celebrating after throwing a touchdown pass in the third quarter when we were down 17-0. He said I acted like I had hit a winning home run in the World Series.

Farmer: How could it happen that the two of you were overshadowed by Cleveland backup Josh Booty back in high school?

Delhomme: I don't know how much Peyton was overshadowed. I was the low man on the totem pole. Josh Booty threw the ball a great deal. Peyton and I didn't play a schedule that was quite as easy as his, but he was the guy -- the marquee name in the state.

Farmer: When Dallas came knocking, did you seriously consider staying with New Orleans, even if it meant not starting?

Delhomme: When Dallas came knocking it was actually between Dallas and here. I pretty much knew I wasn't going to go back to New Orleans once the free-agency process began because it looked like I would have an opportunity to start with Dallas or Carolina.

Farmer: Jim Haslett says the first time he saw you, fresh off your eye surgery, you were "tripping and falling and stumbling" in an agility drill. Was it really that bad?

Delhomme: It wasn't as bad as he said but I was in some of the worst pain I have ever experienced. I didn't know what was going on -- I thought my head was going to explode. I had laser surgery 2 1/2 weeks before and there was some swelling of an optic nerve that hadn't gone down yet. I guess the jolting of jumping up and down made it hurt so badly. I was trying to impress a new coaching staff, but I'm sure they weren't too high on me after that.

Farmer: What's the most unusual dish you might find on a menu in your hometown of Breaux Bridge, La., that you wouldn't find in Los Angeles?

Delhomme: I guess you'll maybe find rabbit on a menu somewhere, or frog legs. I don't know if people in California eat frog legs.... Nobody eats raccoons or anything like that -- that's all just made up.

Farmer: You've said you'd be out of the league right now if Haslett and Mike McCarthy hadn't given you a chance. But don't you think someone else would have done the same?

Delhomme: Maybe they would have. I'm not sure. I know I said that, but I think the thing is that they helped me grow in terms of being a smarter football player and learning the game a little bit more. Maybe I would have gotten an opportunity somewhere else, but around NFL circles I wasn't much of a hot commodity back then.

Farmer: Where did you watch the Colts-Buccaneers game on Monday, and did you start channel surfing when it looked as if it was going to be a Tampa Bay blowout?

Delhomme: I watched the first half at a friend's restaurant and I watched the second half at home in bed. I watched every single play because, naturally, I wanted to watch the Colts defense play but I also enjoy watching the Bucs and I enjoy watching Peyton play.

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