For Nick Foles, the past could be prologue. Or perhaps not

In the NFL, every snap is an invitation to brutality.

The rain of concussive blows transforms the strongest limbs and sinew into quivering, shredded protoplasm.

Once magnificent bodies hollowed by injury.

Gruesome physical trauma is not the only tribulation NFL players are subjected to.

The emotional trauma of trying to perform at the highest levels in a cauldron bubbling over with toxic pressure hollows once stout minds.

Survive and thrive in the midst of these trials and you can pocket riches and adulation, albeit relatively fleeting.

The effect is exponential if you are a golden-armed quarterback.

The Eagles’ Nick Foles now stands on the threshold of such a plush opportunity.

But it isn’t exactly like plucking low-hanging fruit.

Concocting a sequel to his do-you-freakin’-believe-this? 2013 season is akin to walking across a tightrope with the soles of your shoes slathered in Crisco.

Not to mention a little itty bitty thing like keeping most of his body parts intact.

If Foles truly is the anointed St. Nick, then he too could reap the blockbuster contracts next offseason that the Bengals and 49ers lavished on Andy Dalton and Colin Kaepernick, respectively.

Fortunately, Foles seems more laid back than Huck Finn on a Mississippi raft.

The pressure likely won’t fold, spindle or mutilate him.

Let us pray that neither will defensive ends and blitzing linebackers spewing fumes of destruction.

Brian Hoyer may defuse Manziel Mania all by his own self

Brian Hoyer is messing with the script more than a fussy director.

The Screenwriters Guild would not approve.

Johnny Football, aka Johnny Manziel and Johnny Selfie, was supposed to be the star of the Cleveland Browns this season.

Manziel, who oozes Hollywood star charisma and who performed all sorts of magical feats with his arm, feet, moxie and raucous partying while winning a Heisman Trophy at Texas A&M, eventually will be the Browns’ starting quarterback.

A top quarterback pick is handed that by divine right. He is, after all, the presumed heir and air to the throne.

Some become ascendant stars. Others fizzle spectacularly and burn down to mere ash.

Looks like Manziel may have to wait to get his star turn.

Brian Hoyer, — who never parties, who is duller than khakis, who spent three years in the Witness Protection Program backing up Tom Brady, who finally got his starting show with his hometown Browns and went a stuff-of-fairy-tales 3-0 last year before the damnable Fickle Finger of Fate shredded his ACL like so much linguini — is playing so well that unless Manziel puts on an astonishing aerial circus and stockpiles a supernatural string of death-defying and hearts-gulping-in-throats scrambles that belie rational belief during the preseason games, is going to be the starter.

If this shall come to pass, pardon the pun, Brian Hoyer will be Rocky and Rudy rolled into one.

An underdog as undercover as underwear will be basking in the neon white heat of the spotlight.

Bubonic plague climbs from the history textbooks and sprouts in China

Bubonic plague, it turns out, is not entombed in the past.

The same horror that killed tens of millions throughout Europe during the 14th century now has trapped 30,000 people in the Chinese city of Yumen.

Yumen has been sealed off from the rest of the country because a 38-year-old died from bubonic plague contracted from contact with a dead marmot.

Bubonic plague, not so affectionately nicknamed the Black Death, is a virulent bacterial infection.

Fortunately we now have antibiotics that can effectively treat the disease if administered in a timely fashion.

Which hopefully keeps The Grim Reaper from poaching the Yumen populace.

Under Sam Hinkie’s eternal reconstruction plan, the 76ers may be relevant by 2076

Compared to Sam Hinkie, a turtle is an Olympic sprinter.

Molasses, not blood, apparently flows through his veins.

If this guy built the Egyptian pyramids, they still would be under construction.

The Sixers GM specializes in acquiring long-term assets that can’t walk up steps, let alone play hoops.

George Allen’s motto was The Future Is Now.

Sam Hinkie’s motto is The Future.

That’s it.

There is no present in this guy’s world.

Only tomorrow.

He reportedly has never watched Today on NBC.

As a kid he must have spent way too much time in Disney World’s Tomorrowland.

He demands that Sixers fans be patient and wait and wait and wait to see winning basketball.

Some of those fans likely will be dead by the time the Sixers possibly reap the benefits of last night’s NBA draft.

The Sixers had a helluva draft. For 2017 that is.

Last year Hinkie took Nerlens Noel No. 1, a guy recovering from an ACL injury.

Apparently Noel is as slow as Hinkie. He took the entire season to recover.

Last night the Sixers took another incapacitated big man with the third pick in the draft, Joel Embiid — rumored to be the next Hakeen Olajuwon if you SuperGlue all his bones together.

The guy suffered a stress fracture in his back at the end of Kansas’ season and now he has a fracture of the navicular bone in his foot.

The latter injury for a big man sometimes can be almost as bad as a leg amputation.

It takes 6 months to recover from that type of injury and often the player never is the same. With Hinkie’s MO, look for Embiid to sit out the entire season.

Cross your fingers he doesn’t fracture his tailbone doing all that sitting.

With the 10th pick in the first round, the Sixers took Elfrid Payton, rumored to be more of a cab driver than a poor shooting point guard and then flipped him to Orlando for Croatian forward Dario Saric.

Apparently Saric has been eating up Europe with his excellent passing and ball-handling when he’s not fighting off the Russians.

But he recently signed a three-year deal with a Turkish team (did Putin put a guy to his head?) that many believe will keep him in Europe for at least two years.

So the Sixers likely will have absolutely no impact whatsoever this season from a draft in which they had two high picks.

And it could be 2017 until Noel, Embiid and Saric take the same court for the Sixers … if ever.

Until then, look for tumbleweeds to be blowing through the Wells Fargo Center Ghost Town.

Helpful memo to all you lawbreakers: Cops now need a warrant to search your cell phone!

I don’t know how often most of you get busted, but if it is something that could be a part of a routine day for you, listen up:

The Supreme Court endorsed digital privacy big time Wednesday, ruling that police officers must get a warrant before searching the contents of a cell phone seized during an arrest.

Just in case you can’t quickly reach your attorney the next time you get pinched.

And if you don’t own a cell phone, that’s a real crime.

Whether your line of work is legal or illegal, a cell phone needs to be in your toolbox.

I’m still immune to World Cup fever but the U.S. win did briefly raise my temperature

There are some among us who do not get a big kick out soccer.

Count me among them.

Unless you appreciate the subtle nuances of the game, and I certainly do not, soccer can be more boring than watching your Aunt Edna sort through her recipe box.

That’s because there hardly is any scoring. The few goals that are scored, it seems to me, come when the goalie falls asleep.

Married men score more often than soccer players.

Granted, I did watch a few moments of the U.S.-Ghana World Cup game last evening. And for a brief electric moment it was patriotic to see the Americans score a dramatic late goal for a 2-1 victory.

I was surprised to hear that Ghana of all godforsaken places had knocked us out of the last two Cups because Ghana doesn’t have enough to eat, let alone buy vitamins.

Perhaps America eventually will not be a global soccer doormat.

Our new coach is former German superstar Jurgen Klinsmann (his thunderous kicks helped knock down the Berlin Wall I’m told), who apparently is trying to reshape the U.S. game into a more up tempo, attacking style.

But with Ghana’s speed and ruthless attacking, Klinsmann had to go more conservative and clog the middle like authentic German Apfelstrudel blocks an artery, forcing Ghana to use a shoehorn to
play the extra pass through the midfield thicket or launch missile crosses from wings located in different zip codes.

OK, perhaps I am absorbing some of soccer’s tactical basics.

But please don’t tell anyone.

After all, I am Zeke — the peerless pro football prognosticator who devoutly believes that the NFL is America’s Game.

U.S. needs to totally ignore Iraq and let the Lannisters of Casterly Rock deal with it

Iraq has been a vile four-letter word in recent American history.

If they were handing out a Nobel Prize for stupidity, the U.S. would have won it for getting involved in Iraq.

We should have known that a country with a severe shortage of comedy clubs and strip clubs was no place for Americans.

We squandered precious blood and treasure fighting in a country that needs a savior like it needs more sand.

Not only are the Iraqis allergic to democracy, they are highly allergic to stability and civility.

Those folks fight each other much more often than they brush their teeth.

Of course, Iraq’s decay transcends mere tooth decay.

With Iraq once again imploding like the Miami Heat, White House officials say special forces may go there.

This bit of insanity comes barely three days after President Obama said the U.S. would not send troops into combat in Iraq.

Last I looked, special forces aren’t exactly file clerks.

Perhaps having some boots on the ground has been deemed necessary because targeting air strikes at the terrorists tearing Iraq apart like a cheap rayon suit has a slight problem.

We have no idea who we are supposed to hit.

American intelligence and defense officials believe that some of the people fighting with the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) are former U.S. allies who could be turned against the hard-core fanatics –- if they can be identified.

Slippery slopes are bad news unless they are ski slopes or aquatic park water slides.

We should avoid any engagement with Iraq as if it were poison ivy.

We’ve already scratched that itch.