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November 06, 2002

Outtakes with Hugh Douglas

Dan Patrick tries to golf with Hugh Douglas

UNCUT OUTTAKES: A condensed version of Dan Patrick's interview with Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Hugh Douglas appears in the Oct. 28 edition of ESPN The Magazine

Hugh Douglas
Are golfers athletes? Surprise -- Hugh Douglas thinks so.
DP: You used to say that Dan Marino and Troy Aikman were the toughest quarterbacks to sack. Who are the tough ones now?
HD: It has to be Brett Favre ... he moves around in that pocket so damned much it's tough to know where he is. He's just an elusive quarterback. I mean, very elusive.
DP: Do you ever yell at him? Do you ever yell at a quarterback to slow down? What kind of dialogue do you have?
HD: Most of the time, I really don't have too much to say to quarterbacks. I usually talk to the offensive linemen.
DP: I think you once sacked Ryan Leaf 4½ times in one game. Are you the reason he retired?
HD: No, man. I think the reason he retired is -- hell, I don't know. I guess he couldn't take the pressure of being in the NFL.
DP: Yeah?
HD: I don't know, man. I don't know that much about it.

DP: Who are the guys that you've borrowed techniques from? I'm not going to say "stole" -- but what you do now that you've borrowed from other defensive guys?
HD: Well, I really had to create my own style, because it's kind of hard being a 6-1 defensive end. I'm really like 6-4 -- really.
DP: Maybe in your shoes you're 6-4.
HD: Yeah, yeah.
DP: But did you borrow from anyone?
HD: I watched Bruce Smith a lot -- and Randy White and some of the older guys. ... Since I'm not the biggest, I have to play hard every down. That's important, because I think my biggest asset is that I can wear my opponent down. When I'm going against those 6-7, 300-some-odd pound guys, man, I think the biggest thing I have going for me is that I can wear them down as the game goes on.
DP: Have you taken anything from Warren Sapp or Jason Taylor?
HD: No, not really. I haven't really taken anything from Sapp's game, but I like to watch him play. He's a great technician with his hands. As far as Taylor, I really haven't seen him play too much.

DP: Give me the ugliest uniform in the NFL.
HD: I would have to say the Washington Redskins.
DP: Is that just because they're in your division?
HD: No, man ... don't get me wrong, I like the helmet. It's just the pants-and-jersey combination. I think they could have taken a little more time with that.
DP: A little too much maroon for you?
HD: Yeah, a little bit too much.
DP: But that's old-school stuff there.
HD: No, I'm saying I like the helmet. I love the helmet. But not the pants. The shirt is OK, but not the pants. The socks either, not the socks.

DP: What's the best uniform in the NFL?
HD: I like the Atlanta Falcons.
DP: Yeah, but when I think black, I think the Raiders.
HD: You know what? I forgot -- hey, scratch that. The Raiders, yeah, most definitely, the Oakland Raiders. I used to want to be a Raider when I was growing up.
DP: That was your favorite team?
HD: Yeah. Living in Ohio, I grew up an Oakland Raiders fan.
DP: How did that happen?
HD: Hey, man, I don't know. Maybe it had something to do with Howie Long or some of those guys.
DP: You were a Howie Long fan?
HD: Most definitely. You know why? Because Ray Hamilton was my first defensive-end coach in the NFL, and he used to tell me stories about Howie -- how Howie wasn't the most athletically gifted guy but he was the hardest-working.

DP: The toughest road stadium to play in?
HD: Got to be the Rams stadium.
DP: St. Louis is the toughest?
HD: Yeah, man, that's the toughest place to play. I mean, it's loud. I've never been in a stadium that loud.
DP: Does it get to the point where you actually can't think or can't hear?
HD: Well, you just can't hear, and their fans really get into the game. They go crazy, man, you can't hear nothing. I've never played in a stadium that was like that. I'd always heard about it and I kind of put it off -- you know, I don't care about that, man. Well, we got in there and we started playing, and they were behind, and the fans were trying to rally the Rams -- and, man, they got loud.

DP: Would you rather play in real hot weather or real cold weather?
HD: I would say in real cold weather. Well, can't I get a happy medium here?
DP: No, it's either going to be very hot -- you're playing in Tampa or Arizona -- or it's very cold, like in Green Bay.
HD: OK, very hot, then.
DP: You'll take very hot?
HD: Yeah. Is there a lot of Gatorade?
DP: Yeah, there's a lot of Gatorade, but you can't say you like hot weather because you get to play against a bad team like the Cardinals.
HD: No, I'm not saying that.
DP: OK, I just wanted to make sure that you weren't factoring that in.
HD: No, I'm not factoring that in. I'm just saying, OK, as long as we have a lot of fluids there that can help me keep hydrated, I'd rather play in the heat.

DP: Do you think the Patriots' Super Bowl win was a fluke?
HD: No, I really don't. I believe on any given Sunday in the NFL now, especially with the way everybody moves around and all the parity, any team can win. So I think it was just their time. They did everything right to get there. The biggest thing, I think, is to stay healthy and make the fewest mistakes, and then you can win. ... The margin of error is so small in the NFL, so if you can do those two things -- keep your team healthy and make the fewest mistakes each Sunday -- you have a good chance of going to the Super Bowl.

DP: Do your teammates make fun of the fact that you went to Central State?
HD: As a matter of fact, me and Troy Vincent have had this conversation. ... He was killing me about going to this tiny black college, and how abnormal the situation was and how I was in the 'hood and all this other stuff. And man, you know what? I got kind of mad. I was a little upset, you know. And I was trying to jump back on him, like how did you get to Wisconsin from New Jersey? But it's just not the same thing.
DP: Yeah, it's tough to argue that.
HD: It's tough to argue that point, but it's OK, man. You know, that's where I'm from and I wouldn't change a thing.

DP: What's the one TV show you don't miss?
HD: Well, when I'm in training camp, I can't really say there's a show that I don't miss because we don't really have good television up here.
DP: They don't let you watch TV?
HD: No.
DP: They don't let you watch SportsCenter?
HD: We're not allowed to watch it when we're in the cafeteria. We have to watch it in the room, and it's kind of hard to get it up in the Lehigh Valley. It's probably the only place in America that doesn't have SportsCenter.

DP: You've gotta be a Sixers fan. What's your take on Allen Iverson? What did you think of his comment about practice? "Man, we're talking about practice."
HD: What did he say?
DP: Everybody was complaining that he would skip practice ... coach Brown wanted him to practice but Iverson didn't want to practice.
HD: You know what, man? I don't want to practice, but I have to practice.
DP: What if he played football with that attitude? What would you guys do to him?
HD: I don't think -- OK, are we still in Philadelphia?
DP: Yeah.
HD: I don't think he would be in Philadelphia with that kind of attitude. You know what I mean? They wouldn't have drafted him no matter how much athletic ability he had.
DP: Yeah?
HD: Big Red (Eagles coach Andy Reid) is a stickler for that ... you've got to go with the team, because the team's trying to get somewhere. We're trying to all be on the same page.

DP: You, I think, worked out in the offseason once with Shannon Sharpe. Did he ever stop talking?
HD: No, not really. I'll tell you one thing about a guy like Shannon -- you let him talk first, because he can out-talk you. He's been around a lot longer and he has a lot more savvy clichés and stuff to say than you do. So you just let him do his thing. And he also has, what, three Super Bowl rings?
DP: Yeah.
HD: So, I mean, Shannon can say whatever he wants, and I'll just listen.

Hugh Douglas
DE Hugh Douglas says he's never heard a running back cry.
DP: Is Corey Simon the best athlete on the Eagles?
HD: No.
DP: I thought he was pretty amazing.
HD: I mean, Corey is a great athlete, but he's not the best athlete.
DP: All right, who's the best athlete?
HD: I would have to say Donovan.
DP: Just because he can play basketball?
HD: Well, he plays basketball and he plays baseball. And I think he was a swimmer too.
DP: Donovan was a swimmer?
HD: Yeah, and he used to do ballet.
DP: He did not.
HD: Donovan did do ballet, in high school.
DP: Donovan was a ballet dancer?
HD: Donovan was a cheerleader too.
DP: Did he wear a Speedo when he was a swimmer?
HD: (To McNabb:) Donovan, did you wear a Speedo when you used to swim? (To Patrick:) He said yeah. Real tight around the edges. And he used to be a cheerleader for Mount Carmel High.
DP: No, a guy is called a "yell leader." He's not a cheerleader.
HD: OK, he was a yell leader.
DP: See, I thought Corey Simon was the best athlete on the team.
HD: You did?
DP: Yeah, that's what somebody told me.
HD: Corey's a great athlete -- I mean, he's like a Weeble you know.
DP: Yeah, you can't knock him over.
HD: No, you can't knock him over. He has great athletic ability. Now if we were talking about probably the team's top five best athletes, Corey would probably be No. 2.

DP: Do you have nicknames for players on other teams? I know you have them for your own teammates.
HD: Not really. It takes a little bit of creativity to think up all those nicknames, man.
DP: Yeah, but you're around. Let's say you play against the Cowboys. You have a nickname for Emmitt Smith?
HD: No, not really. What nickname could you give Emmitt Smith besides The Man? You can't really joke with Emmitt Smith, man, because he's got the rushing record and he'll go into the Hall of Fame as probably the best running back of his time. You know what I mean? So you really can't make fun of guys like that.
DP: OK. You don't have conversations, you said, with quarterbacks. Do you have them with running backs? When you tackle somebody, is there any conversation whatsoever?
HD: No, not really. No conversations.
DP: Have you ever heard a running back cry?
HD: (laughs) No. Have you ever heard of a running back crying?
DP: Jerome Bettis has said he's hit people before and he can hear the air go out of them, and he can just hear them, you know, almost moan.
HD: Is that right?
DP: Yeah.
HD: Well, I've never heard that.
DP: You've never hit somebody so hard that you could actually hear them moan or weep?
HD: I've been hit so hard that I've had snot bubbles come out of my nose.
DP: Somebody hit you so hard you had snot coming out of your nose? Who hit you? Do you even remember?
HD: Brian Dawkins.
DP: Your own teammate hit you? Oh, that was one of those when you weren't looking?
HD: No, he wasn't looking. We were playing in the NFC championship game and Tiki Barber caught a little out pass or something. He was running down the sideline and he saw Dawkins coming. But I didn't see Dawkins coming -- I was going to tackle Tiki. Tiki ducked down and Brian cleaned my clock. He was like, are you OK, are you OK? Sure, I'm OK.

DP: If you were commissioner for a day and you could take away one rule, what would you take away?
HD: Man, that damned encroachment rule. You can't be in the neutral zone anymore or they're going to call it as offsides ... man, that's crazy. And that damned penalty I got fined for last year. I mean, $35,000 for something the referee didn't even throw a flag for. That's crazy, too.
DP: What did you get fined for?
HD: For roughing -- I think it was for unsportsmanlike conduct or something. The Jim Miller hit.
DP: Oh, and that cost you 35 grand?
HD: 35 grand.
DP: Now, how do you explain that when you go home? You know, when you tell your wife, "I've got to write a check for $35,000"?
HD: Well, I didn't have to write a check. It was money that I never saw.
DP: Oh, they just deducted it from your paycheck?
HD: Yeah, when you get fined, the league deducts it from your paycheck.
DP: Is that a tax write-off for you?
HD: I think it is ... if it is, I need to look into that. I definitely need to look into that.

DP: Do you prepare your own meals at home? Are you a chef?
HD: No, I'm not a chef. I have my meals delivered ... you know what I like? Chicken and rice. ... But the problem with being a defensive lineman is, if we get out of hand with our eating, we balloon up to, like, 300-some pounds. So I really got to watch what I eat.
DP: What are your big plans after you retire?
HD: After I've run my feet through the carpet for a few years, I'm going to get a job driving a UPS truck. They say the UPS drivers have the nicest legs in the shipping business. And I have pretty nice legs.
DP: I don't know, you're kind of beefy. Can we get you in one of those UPS outfits?
HD: I'll get a uniform tailor-made for me, but I want the shirt to be a little small, to show off my chest.

DP: Who's got the worst tattoo on the Eagles? Because some guys do some stupid things with tattoos and don't realize you can't take a pencil to it and erase it.
HD: I haven't seen any bad tattoos in a while.
DP: Does Donovan have a tattoo?
HD: No, he doesn't. His mother won't allow him to get one.
DP: Oh, he's a momma's boy?
HD: You can't tell?
DP: Well, he is a quarterback, after all.
HD: Yeah, he's a momma's boy, but that's my man ... he's a little bit of a momma's boy, though.

DP: What coach would you like to play for (who you haven't had a chance to play for)?
HD: Bobby Bowden. I've heard he's a great coach. I've heard he's a little mean but a great coach. But if there was one coach that I would want to play for, probably Bowden ... and Dick Vermeil.
DP: But do you want to see your coach cry?
HD: Well, it just lets me know that he's human and he acts silly, too.
DP: Does Andy Reid cry?
HD: Yeah, right, man. He doesn't even smile.
DP: He used to be a pretty good quarterback, you know that? He can throw the ball.
HD: I heard he had an Afro or something, like big hair.
DP: Yeah, he used to look like Carrot Top.
HD: Man, that's great.
DP: But Favre will tell you that Andy Reid, he could throw the football.

DP: Do you think they're going to put skirts on quarterbacks one of these days? Because the league keeps saying they're getting hit too hard.
HD: That's been happening for, what, the last few years. I mean, they changed rules to put more points on the board and then to protect the quarterback ... it's just crazy.
DP: One of these days they're just going to say, well, we've got to put a different color jersey on the quarterback, and you can't hit him.
HD: Yeah, that could happen. And you know, we take the same risk as they do and we're trying to do the same thing they're doing. We're trying to feed our families. But you know, they don't say anything about the chop block or hitting in the back ... they don't do anything about that. They always say every year, the chop block is still illegal. But hell, it still goes on.

DP: Who's the dirtiest player in the NFL?
HD: Man, you know what? Everybody is dirty. Because we all do our little things and don't get caught for it.
DP: So you consider yourself dirty?
HD: Well, I don't consider myself dirty -- I consider myself pretty clean.
DP: You're choosing your words carefully here.
HD: Yeah, I've got to think about it. Tagliabue might read this ... I don't think I'm a dirty player. I think I do what is needed.
DP: Are you opportunistic? You take advantage of the situation?
HD: Yeah, that's a good word. We'll go with that one.
DP: You're not dirty, you're an opportunist.
HD: Right.

DP: Do you consider golfers athletes?
HD: Do I? Yes, because I tried to play golf one time, man.
DP: Well, that doesn't mean that they're athletes just because you can't.
HD: You've got to give them their due, though ... they don't have to worry about muscle tears or torn ligaments in their knees or anything like that. But yes, they're athletes. But to me, wrestlers are not athletes.
DP: No, I think wrestlers are.
HD: I think golfers are. Except when I see some of those fat guys out there playing golf.
DP: But see, my problem is, if you can't pull a groin, I don't think you're an athlete.
HD: Is that right?
DP: Yeah.
HD: Have you ever pulled a groin?
DP: Yes.
HD: Man, that's the worst feeling in the world. It's kind of an odd feeling, because at first it feels kind of orgasmic. But then it doesn't feel that good. You feel kind of weak.
DP: I guess there's a special kind of tingling.
HD:When you first pull it, it's like, ah, ah ...
DP: Yeah, it's like oh-ho-ho -- ow. Then you've got to live with it for the next few weeks.
HD: That's the worst of it.
DP: Absolutely.

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