Skip to main content
Original Issue



On players voting him the dirtiest player in the league (poll, page 36)

I'm not dirty. I'm a hard-nosed football player. I play to the whistle. I'm not going to be your friend. I don't want to go to parties with you. I don't need you. But at the end of the game I'll pat you on the butt and say, 'Good game.' Guys think that I'm dirty because I play football the old-school way.

On his reputation affecting his Pro Bowl status

How could I only make it twice? Opposing fans may not like me. Opposing players definitely would never vote for me. But the QB and the offensive coordinator are always looking for number 37.

On his idol as a kid living near Chicago

Walter Payton. He wasn't blessed with a lot of speed, but no one worked harder. He had desire.

On going to Western Illinois

I wanted to get away from home and not end up like my buddies who were making minimum wage and hanging out on the streets. I said I'm going to get a scholarship and an education to make my mom proud. Western promised me that, and I played a little football and a little basketball for them in return.

On playing basketball

I was a point guard. I was better at basketball than football, but football suited me. If you knock somebody's head off on the court, it's a foul and you're probably going to get ejected. In football I can assert my personality.

On his wife, Erika

I met her at Western and had a mad crush on her. I'd follow her around, but she was seeing someone. One day we were walking to biology, and I said, 'You know class is canceled today.' I just said it for fun. So she went back to her room and missed it. Turns out we had a pop quiz that day, so she couldn't stand me for the longest time. But I was persistent, and eventually she opened her heart and the rest is history. Now 15 some odd years later we have one son, Christian, a baby on the way and a stepdaughter, Michale. I'm a family man.

On his Super Bowl XXXVIII win and the photo of him under a hail of confetti with his arm in a sling

I had it blown up, and it's hanging in my basement. Tears are flowing down my face, and my arm is broken: It signifies my career and life. There was so much pain and hard work. I remember days [growing up] it was 100 degrees. I would be running up and down the street in the neighborhood, and people would laugh at me, saying, 'Are you crazy? You're not going anywhere.' That motivated me. You're not going to outwork me. You may be faster, you may be bigger, you may be stronger, but you won't outwork me. And I'm not afraid. I don't care if you're 6'6" and 300 pounds, I'm going to try to make you pay. --As told to Lisa Altobelli



Photograph by Michael J. LeBrecht II/1Ddeuce3 Photography