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Front Office Fiction: The Art of the Deal

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Could the great Philadelphia - Spagnuolo complex bring Asante Samuel to the St. Louis Rams? Probably not, since the great fan buzz killer, in the form of the Salary Cap, would rear its ugly head. Yet it actually isn't totally out of the question either. Ok, the odds are like two jillion to one against, but that isn't a no is it?

Steve Spagnuolo has a well documented history with Philly and Andy Reid. He worked for the organization for eight years, so his parking space may have had his name painted over by now, but they will still take a phone call from him...

"Hey Andy! This is Steve, you got a minute to talk about Asante Samuel?"

"Who is this?" Andy covered the phone and yelled for his assistant. "Who am I talking to and why would I know anything about water made by Samuel Adams. I didn't even know they bottled water..." He heard whoever was calling mumble something, "Sorry, I didn't hear what you were saying. Let's start this again. Who are you?"

"It's Steve for crying out loud. Steve Spagnuolo. I used to work up their and now I'm the coach down here with St. Louis." Steve looked across his desk at his boss, Rams General Manager Billy Devaney. The call was on speaker and Steve scrambled to hide his embarrassment. Billy hid his mouth as he chuckled.

"Short guy, with a face that looks like he's shocked all the time? Didn't we call you "Boo" when you worked here? Yeah, Steve, of course how you doin' Steve... You need some tickets? No wait, you wanted me to buy some water... You moonlighting and selling water on the side? Let me just tell you guy, it doesn't work. Take it from me. My first year here I tried selling Philly Cheese Steaks on a stick and..." His effort to impart his folksy, what he thought of as Twain-esk wisdom, was interrupted by Steve and someone laughing in the background.

"I'm not selling water, you Walrus looking bowling ball. I'm calling to talk to you about your Cornerback Asante Samuel. What's it going to take to get a deal done?" Steve could feel Andy smiling on the end of the line. His friend of many years loved making a deal more than eating. He ate like he believed a round body attracted Victoria Secret models. "Before you try and steal my wallet, you better know the cupboard here is kinda' bare." He rubbed the top of his head in a slow circular motion as he waited for Andy to finish savoring the moment.

"Well Steve, even though it's nice to hear from you, we're kind of busy around here so I'll cut to the chase. No sense wasting your time or mine. Would you like me to do that for you?" He didn't wait for the Rams head coach to reply, "Well good, that's what I like about you . All business, all the time. No dancing around when you want something. Your a man who knows what he wants and knows that value isn't something to bargain over. You pay for quality, hang the price. Damn, I miss you Stan..."

"It's Steve damn it. Steve Spagnuolo. Just tell me what you want for the guy before your face swells and your mustache begins to look like Porcupine quills..." He liked and admire Andy Reid, but he hated being around him when he went into "wheeler-dealer" mode. Steve remembered going with his friend years ago to buy a car. Andy spent seven hours ranting about the price till the car dealership's general manager finally folded on the $13.81 Andy thought needed to come off the car to make the deal "work".

"Ok, Here's the deal and it's only for you. You tell anyone I did this and I'll deny it. Ok?" Andy spoke as he browsed a lunch menu. Seeing nothing he wanted, he threw the menu at his assistant who stood near by and mouthed,"Pizza". The over worked assistant mouthed 'ok fat boy" to him as she fled the room to place his order.

Steve gritted his teeth and squeezed the pen he'd been holding so tightly his knuckles were white. "Mums the word my friend. What's it going to take?"

"Two second round picks for this draft and the next or two First round picks, this year and next and that assitant of yours Derinda. She make me laugh, but I know she drives Billy and you crazy. I'd be doin' you a favor..." Andy heard something crash in the background and a woman yelling something about "Trafficking in women ain't legal" then he heard the same person crying as she said, "I thought you liked me..?"

"Could you hold on a minute Andy. I have a call on the other..." He never finished. He hit the mute button and ran around his desk to help Billy wrestle Derinda out of the office and close the door. They hadn't noticed Derinda when the call began, which was unusual because the tall, blonde and chatty Derinda was hard to hide from, let alone miss. Steve and Billy returned to the desk and stood as they resumed the call. The line was dead. Steve noticed the phone line light was still lit. Then it hit him, "Oh my God!" was all he said before he sprinted to his office door, a bewilder Billy Devaney close on his heals. The door wouldn't open. He tugged on it, then looked fevorishly around the room before he began to pound on the door with his fist. "That wacko assistant of yours is talking to Reid", he said over his shoulder to Billy, who joined him in pounding on the immovable door. They stopped when they heard voices behind them. Derinda had turned on the sound so they could only listen to her conversation with the Eagles head coach.

"...and another thing Andrew Reid. I'm going to make this deal. Ya hear me! If I get up there, the first thing I'm going to do is put you on a diet. When you put one of those green shirts on you look like a giant green hairy basketball. How could you do this to Sheila! She's had to tote and carry you all these years..." When she stopped for a breath and refuel her rage, Andy interrupted.

"Now, now Derinda. We were just kidding. Come on, you don't think Billy and Steve would ever let you leave do you? They love you! Stan Kroenke loves you. He told me that at the last NFL meeting. He says you're the key to his team winning the Super Bowl. So calm down and put Steve back on the phone, ok?" Andy had been sitting straight backed in his chair ever since Derinda came on the line and began screaming at him.

"Nope! You are making this deal with me or I'm calling a reporter friend of mine and tell him you're trying to buy and sell women. So what's it going to be? Me or you being the lead story on every news show on the planet?" Derinda brushed her hair out of her eyes as she looked up at the ceiling.

"Ok, I'll talk about a deal, but you have to understand the value of Asante..." Derinda cut him off.

"I wasn't third runner up in the Miss Missouri pagent for nothin'. I ain't stupid. I would have won the dang thing if the Gaza Strip was the name of a Clint Eastwood movie... Anyway, you ARE making a deal. Not just sayin' you tried too, hang up and eat a box of Scooter Pies. Ya hear me! We'll give you that lineman Goldberg 'cause he laughed at a dress I wore to the company picnic and a 7th round pick. Which is a higher pick than those 1st and 2nd picks you guys were talking about. I'll even throw in that nice young man Mardy Graw. Everyone says he's like that Jackson guy you have, so now you'll have a matching set." She had said all this while she searched her carry-all for a hair brush. "Now say you agree and if you try and back out I''ll be carvin' me some Reid ham by the evening news."

Andy stared at the phone. He couldn't bring himself to speak. His mind whirled with both the desire to scream a stream of profanities at the woman on the line and thinking of the bad press that would blow up in his face if Derinda followed through on her threat. Red faced, he whispered, "Deal, now put Steve back on. Please?"

Derinda hit a few buttons and Andy Reid was gone from her life. She listened at the door and could hear Reid calling Spagnuolo and Devaney what sounded like every foul name known to mankind, then quiet. She sighed and shook her head as she wondered what in the world the Rams needed with a waterboy. Her phone began to trill, "St. Louis Rams headquarters. How may I direct your call?"