This is the first time in my life I ever drove an hour just to listen to a conference call. And, somehow, it wound up being worth it, sort of.
"Â¿CÃ³mo estÃ¡," 85 said, to start the proceedings, which was also a first for me. Someone immediately asked if he had big TD celebration plans; "Why are you asking a question you already know the answer to?" he said. "What's going on? How's everybody doing?"
There was some boring broccoli--85 said Ray Lewis was his "spiritual father" but that he planned on hitting him in the mouth on Monday Night, he referred to himself in the third person as "85," he said three people couldn't cover him, and he said playing the Ravens was "one of the only games where I really, really have to focus and really understand what's going on in front of me," he talked about how he would pay the fine if his celebration was "something that rubs the supposed-to-be National No Fun League wrong."
Then he was asked if he had any favorite trash targets on the Ravens. Bart Scott, he immediately answered.
"You know, when you see Bart, you tell him he don't have to be so damn rude," 85 said. "It's true. [Laughter.] No, I'm serious. I'm trying to talk to everybody, Bart's cussing me out, telling me to get back in my huddle. I'm just trying to make friends man. That's it. [More laughter.] No, I'm serious, Bart is mean."
How so, he was asked.
"He's cursing me out," 85 said. "I'm just trying to talk friendly and he's just cursing me out, telling me to get my [bleep] back in the huddle, [bleep] me, you know, [bleep] like that. [More laughter.] No, it's not funny, I'm serious. And this year, if he try that again, I'm gonna hit him in the mouth."
He was asked whether he's talked to Ray about this.
"No I didn't tell Ray, because I'm going to hit Ray in the mouth too," 85 said.
So, inevitably, the media [yours truly included] scurried off to the Ravens practice field, gigglingly waiting for Bart Scott's response. It's like the WWE without the steroids! Oh wait. Anyhow, here's what Scott said, when asked whether he's rude to 85.
"No, I'm a nice guy," said Scott, who was sporting a "Madbacker" t-shirt. "This shirt is actually an oxymoron. I'm actually the 'Nice-Happy-Backer,' and whenever I see Chad I'm always shooting him comments, like 'Nice gold,' 'Hey you look good in blond,' 'Cool mohawk,' 'Gwen Stefani's mohawk is nothing compared to yours,' all that good stuff....I love his golds. I love his mohawk, and I think he's bringing the dark man back in this world. He's the football version of Taye Diggs."
What about 85's "hit him in the face" threats?
"Oh, that's Chad," Scott said. "He's such a nice guy. He wouldn't bust a grape in a food fight....I always call him the Dave Chappelle of football, non-stop entertainment, and I wish him the best in his career outside of football when he gets to that comedy stage."
Well anyhow, back to 85's conference call. Unprompted, near the end, this is what he said.
"Man, Monday, y'all don't understand the type of show it's going to be Monday. This is going to be so fun. You've got the best offense, in my eyes, going against the best defense. It's going to be ridiculous.
"Oh, I'm going to give you a show. I don't know if y'all allowed to have popcorn wherever y'all sitting at, but you need to get some. You need to get some popcorn. It's going to be a show. It's like going to the movies. When you watch a horror movie, you sit on the edge of your seat and you don't know what's coming. That's the same thing when I'm playing, you don't know what's coming. You know something's gonna happen."
Does he have a name for this movie, someone asked, naturally.
"You know what?" 85 said. "Let me see. Nah, I don't. I don't. I love you all, peace."
And that was that. No Spanish sign-off. Disappointing. This all makes better TV than blog; serious sports fans will be like "Wahhh, wahhh, why do they talk so much, wahhh," and other people will be like me, and like Ray Lewis, who make the obvious point, which is so obvious it's hardly worth quoting, but since everyone else will include this quote tomorrow, here it is:
"A lot of people try to complicate the game and take the fun away from it, but that's why the fans pay their money," Lewis said. "The fans pay their money so that people can come have fun. You know, you can't send players out there and say, 'Hey, be robots. Just do this, just do that.' Chad does nothing different than quarterbacks do when they run down the whole field with their fist in the air, jumping in people's laps. It's no different."