Now that football–our dear, long lost friend whose absence made the warm summer feel so, so cold–has returned and the initial excitement over the beginning of training camp has faded to a more normal, moderate level of football frenzy, we’ve quickly been reminded of something.

The first week of camp before a preseason game has been played can be brutally painful at times due to the abundance of rash judgements being made about players as they stumble through the opening days. For example, the completion percentages of quarterbacks during scrimmages in shorts are tallied as if they have any meaning whatsoever. Please, my fellow football writing brethren, feel free to analyze how players are performing based on your observations, but don’t hold those numbers up as the holy standard of late July/August evaluation.

But there’s another reason why these earlier days of NFL bliss can become something less than blissful. The endless, baseless smack talk. For now, though, the salvos and barbs being tossed around are still providing quality entertainment, especially with Jerry Jones repeatedly expressing his desire for glory holes.

The latest fun really escalated quickly. It went beyond football, and beyond any battle on the field.

The entire state of California was insulted.

In reference to the Saints’ bounties that didn’t work during San Francisco’s playoff win over New Orleans, 49ers safety Donte Whitner told the Mercury News yesterday that his team doesn’t need to be motivated to smash opposing bros really hard. Whitner is a bit of a concussion salesman, as his hit on Pierre Thomas led to the running back’s early exit during the first quarter last January.

Whitner said money isn’t necessary to inspire such tough, but legal play.

“We don’t have to talk like that around here. … If you have the right type of guys in that (locker) room, you don’t have to set bounties and pay more for guys to play physical and hard.”

Saints linebacker Scott Shanle then strapped on his keyboard warrior mask, and went to work on twitter as he reminded Whitner how many Super Bowl rings are on his fingers.

“guy needs to shut his mouth and mind his own business. Don’t remember them winning the superbwl. U still ringless. We got one and working on two now. Try to keep up”

Meh. C’mon, surely there’s a bigger club in the bag. If only there was a way for Shanle to insult both the Niners, and an entire state population…

That’ll do, Scott. That’ll do.