"When he sent in that Pigeon, I think all of us were thinking, man, what's that Pigeon gonna do out there?" asked WR Javon Walker. "But then he got down there and made a big play for us. I then turned to [special teams coordinator John] Fassel and said, dang son, Pigeon got some wings."
It was exactly what the Oakland Raiders could ask for. Looking atthe prospect of dropping to 1-5 on the season, the Raiders knew now was the time to make some bold moves.
"I was very impressed by Pigeon in training camp," said GM Al Davis. "After a few injuries this week I knew I had to sign someone to the roster. It was either former MVP Shaun Alexander, or Pigeon. I made the obvious choice."
It was the first time a member of the bird family played in the National Football League, and only the second animal to do so. William "Refrigerator" Perry broke the animal barrier in 1985 when he became the first elephant to play pro football.
"Would I call Pigeon a Jackie Robinson-like character?" asked QB JaMarcus Russel. "Absolutely. Jackie was an inspiration not only to myself as an African-American, but to young boys and girls everywhere. But Jackie has a pair of arms and knees. Pigeon is only 11 inches tall and
has no arms, hands, knees, or shoulders. So in a way, Pigeon is really the greatest sports hero of all time."
Eagles head coach Andy Reid was less enthusiastic.
"First of all, the Raiders lined up with 12 men on the field. The refs should have called them for too many men on the field, but Pigeon isn't a man. He's a pigeon. So that's a hole in the rule book right there! But more importantly, pigeons shouldn't be allowed to play football. They're genetically inferior to traditional human players."
Reid petitioned the referees to ban Pigeon from the game, but in true Air Bud fashion, there is no rule that says an animal can't play football.
The Raiders next game is this Sunday at 4:05 pm PST versus the New York Jets. Tickets are on sale at the Raiders box office. Autographed balls signed by Pigeon will be available for sale starting Wednesday at the Raiders team store for 100$. Fans are encouraged to line up as soon as possible, as are expected to sell out within ten minutes.