It was his performance in a 2005 Monday Night Football game against the Eagles when I first became impressed with cornerback DeAngelo Hall.
Only in his second year as a member of the Falcons, Hall drew the responsibility of covering Terrell Owens one-on-one, which was a difficult task considering the game would be nationally television and T.O. had just helped lead the Eagles to a Super Bowl appearance the year before. While Owens did rack up 112 receiving yards that night, Hall held his own in coverage and kept the Philly receiver out of the end zone. For a player that young and inexperienced, Hall’s performance was impressive.
But that memory has faded over time, mostly due to the fact that Hall’s talent has never matched his oversized ego. Yes, he’s talented, which is why he’s gone to three Pro Bowls and is still a top-12 corner. But it’s his manner that has always rubbed people the wrong way.
Take his latest outburst for example. While appearing on a radio interview for WJFK-FM in Washington, Hall called the Bears’ Jay Cutler “a clown” and went on to talk about how “unreal” it was to intercept the QB four times during a mid-season victory in Chicago last season.
Granted, Cutler did fuel Hall’s comments by stating, “I’ve played against [Hall] before, there’s no reason to shy away from him...I’d go at him every time if we could,” after the game. Still, if you’re Hall, where’s the benefit of calling Cutler a clown now? You’ve already bested him - let your four interceptions do your talking. Calling him a clown (six months after the fact, no less) does nothing good for your character. What’s wrong with being modest in that situation?
For the record, I like DeAngelo Hall. Given enough opportunities, he’ll make plays. But every starting cornerback in the NFL can average four interceptions a year when they’re constantly going for a pick. Hall is just as liable (if not more liable) to having a pass completed on him as he is making a play on the ball. That’s just his style and it hasn’t changed dating back to his days in Atlanta.
This is the same Hall who went off following the Redskins’ second half collapse against the Texans last year by saying, “This is my team. This is my defense,” before adding that Jim Haslett’s opinion on the subject “don’t matter.” As a member of the Falcons, he also tried to intercept a Hail Mary pass at the end of the second quarter in a game against the Saints a few years ago, only to have it go through his hands and into the waiting arms of a receiver for a touchdown. He’s “me” first and “team”...ah, “team” is in there somewhere.
Every time Hall opens his mouth, it makes me long for the days of Darrell Green, who would have never called an opposing quarterback a “clown.” He didn’t need to. He was respectful of the game and of those around him. He too went to multiple Pro Bowls (seven, in fact) and unlike Hall, he also won two Super Bowls.
Darrell Green was a winner in every sense of the word. Too bad he isn’t around the Redskins now to give Hall a lesson in class and professionalism.