Fred Taylor, Brian Westbrook, and Warrick Dunn are that rare breed of NFL player who do their talking on the field. You won’t see them in endless commercials, or courting the media to watch their well choreographed touchdown dance, or trash talking their opponent on ESPN. They represent the class of the game. They’ve got a job to do and they get it done.
We Saints fans have had a player like that for nearly seven years now. He’s a country fella born and raised in Lena Mississippi who goes by the name of Deuce McAllister. But the thing about “warrior players” like Deuce, is that their sword of class cuts both ways. As a fan, you adore it. You love knowing you won’t see them getting fined every week by the NFL or costing your team yardage in ‘personal foul’ or ‘unsportsmanlike conduct’ penalties. But as an interviewer trying to get some juice, dirt, or maybe even a little witty repartee, the strong, silent type vibe can be a killer.
I recently got a taste of just that after a long awaited interview with the man himself. I’ll admit, getting him to say anything other than the “canned sports dude answer” was like getting Michael Strahan to agree he needs braces. He was obviously in his car when I called and multi-tasking in a way that assures me this wasn’t his first time answering and driving. Still, I did manage to ask one question in the 7 minute phone call that made the baby-faced back laugh out loud.
Below is my Q &A with a world class NFL stud who is big on talent but short on words.
Nola Chick: So Deuce how are you recovering from the injury?
Deuce: I’m doing good, real good.
Nola Chick: Do you think you’ll be ready to play come the start of the season?
Deuce: Yeah, I’m doing real well. I expect to be back.
Nola Chick: When you went down in that Titans game and realized your injury was bad, what were you thinking?
Deuce: It was tough. You know, I’d put so much time and work into preparing for the season. But I had to bounce back and stay focused on recovering for the Saints for 2008.
Nola Chick: Reggie Bush took a lot of heat in 2007 from the media and the fans. Do you think that was a character building year for Bush?
Deuce: Yeah it was. You know, he wants to play well and do well. He’s working on improving and I think he’ll be fine for the upcoming season.
Nola Chick: As you look at the new class of athletes at the combine, which running backs stand out?
Deuce: Darren McFadden (ARK) and Rashad Mendenhall (ILL) have great potential. It’s all about whether they can get into the right system and be surrounded by the right guys.
Nola Chick: Any advice for the rookies?
Deuce: Stay humble, don’t get overwhelmed. Hopefully they’ll have someone on the team who can help them out wherever they end up. (This would have been a great moment for me to ask him about how he played the part of role model for Reggie Bush and how Ricky Williams treated him like crap when he joined the Saints. But I’m admittedly too star struck and I blow it.)
Nola Chick: What should the Saints focus on in the off-season?
Deuce: Well, we just need to focus on defense and upgrade positions on both the defensive and offensive sides. (At this point I’m tempted to say, “Oh just say it. Our corners suck.” But again, I chicken out.)
Nola Chick: The Saints had a sort of disappointing year last season. What’s the plan to bounce back?
Deuce: Our ultimate goal is to get back into the playoffs. Once we do that, anything’s possible.
Nola Chick: So when you’re at the games, I’m sure you’ve heard the chants of “Deuce up side your head…I said Deuce upside your head” and “Deuuuuucccceee!!!” Which do you prefer? (Thanks to Chef Who Dat for that insightful inquiry)
Deuce: I don’t really have a preference. I just want to stay focused on doing my job. (Oh c’mon Deuce, throw me a freakin’ bone here!)
Nola Chick: But doesn’t it motivate you when you hear the crowd?
Deuce: Oh yeah, definitely. It’s great when the crowd gets into it.
Nola Chick: So rumors are swirling all over the internet that you’re engaged. Is it true? Have you set a date?
Deuce: (He chuckles for a few moments…yay!) You know, I kinda like to keep my personal life personal.
Nola Chick: (Giggling.) That’s probably a good move.
(Translation: Sorry ladies. We hear the much anticipated nuptials will take place next week.)
So no breaking news, no dirt, no scandal…just a straight up interview with a straight up guy whose classiness isn’t just for show. And you know what, we wouldn’t have it any other way.
For more Q&A with Deuce that we didn’t ask because someone else already did, check out the “get to know Deuce” section of his website. We promise it will make you love him more!