The Oscar nominee agreed with CBS's decision to pull his promotional piece from the NFL's season opener, but he remains a fan of the game, hopeful that the league does not go back to business as usual.
DAN PATRICK:Explain your role in the promo that CBS pulled before Week 1's Thursday-night game.
DON CHEADLE: Big-upping the game. Extolling the virtues and vibrancy of the game. In wake of the recent news, you can't go back and reshoot the thing to rebalance what's happening.
DP:Would you do that promo again if you knew what you know now?
DC: I don't think I would.
DP:So you agree with CBS's decision to delay the promo?
DC: I think it was appropriate to put the issue front and center. We're going to see if that continues and what will happen. Do we just go back to business as usual once the heat dies down? Hopefully not.
DP:As a fan, what concerns you?
DC: How much was known? When was it known? What are the teams doing about it? Is this a culture of Don't ask, don't tell?
DP:Has the brand been damaged?
DC: We'll see. Do they have some housecleaning to do? Absolutely. Fans want to root for the whole thing, not just the play on the field.
DP:How does everything that is happening compare with a Hollywood script?
DC: You can't make up a lot of these things that are happening. But they keep happening.
DP:If we walk down the street, what movie do people bring up?
DC: It depends on the street.
DP:In New York City, walking down Broadway.
DC: It might be Rebound, the HBO thing I did about Earl Manigault, a New York baller. If it's a kid, it's probably going to be Iron Man.
DP:How's your hoops game?
DC: Before I tore my knee up playing on asphalt, I had a good game. I was fast. I was at the front of the break all the time.
DP:But Manigault was a legendary leaper.
DC: When you do that, they put a trampoline down or you jump off someone's back. I had incredible hops in that movie.
DP:You jumped off someone's back?
DC: They paid him. He was happy to do it.
DP:Do you normally bring home things from a movie set?
DC: No, but my wife always wants me to grab something.
DP:What if you just brought George Clooney home from the set?
DC: I don't want to talk about that. I could talk about it—but we have a restraining order.
DP:Are you going to his wedding?
DC: He's getting married?
DP:You weren't invited or you don't believe it?
DC: I'll see it when I believe it.
Lions running back Reggie Bush addressed the hype that surrounded him when he came out of USC as the 2005 Heisman Trophy winner. "Because of what I was able to accomplish in college, people were expecting those same things in the NFL," Bush told me. "The league will humble you very quickly. It doesn't care about expectations. I've learned a lot." ... Former NFL linebacker Brian Urlacher talked about why he decided to step down from his spot as an analyst for Fox. "I just got tired of all the travel," Urlacher said. "I wanted to feel like I was retired and when I wanted to do something, that I would be able to do it. I just had a change of heart." ... I asked Fox studio analyst Howie Long if the Raiders of today could collect the kinds of characters they did when he joined the team in 1981. "Not that locker room I walked into," Long said. "It was like the Star Wars bar."
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (PATRICK)
FRAZIER HARRISON/GETTY IMAGES/DGA (CHEADLE)
EZRA SHAW/GETTY IMAGES (BUSH)
NAM Y. HUH/AP (URLACHER)
ROBERT BECK/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (LONG)