FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Man, I love Twitter.
I was sitting vacantly in the Super Bowl media center when Minnesota left tackle Bryant McKinnie tweeted that he was walking in the door. I hopped up and ran into him signing posters over on radio row.
We talked for about five minutes about his dismissal from the Pro Bowl, his combination of regret and defiance and his relative lack of sympathy for the players left to cover for him in the game.
Below is most of our Q&A. I’ll follow up with a few comments at the bottom.
Tell us what happened.
Bryant McKinnie: I understand I missed it. But they tried to make it seem like it was because you were at the club and you couldn’t get up. No. I had called [agent Drew Rosenhaus] and told Drew I wanted to withdraw.
I had taken a cortisone shot in my foot the week before the game. When you take that shot, it numbs whatever. You don’t feel like you’re hurt anymore. It was the New Orleans game. You feel like you’re good on Wednesday.
Yes, I did go out. I can go out and still get up the next morning. But my body started feeling a certain way. So I called Drew and I said, ‘I don’t think I’m going to be able to play anymore because my body was hurting.’
I was trying to push myself to play. It was my first Pro Bowl, it was in Miami, so I got to come back and play at home. He got in touch with the trainer. The trainer ended up calling me at 6:30 on Friday.
I told him over the phone my problems. He said, ‘Could you come see me in person?’ I said I was 30 minutes away because I was down at the beach. He said he going to dinner at 7 and could I meet him at 9:30. I said yeah. We were going to meet at 9:30. Then he called me and said, ‘I’m running late. I’m going to give you another time to meet.’
So me, in my mind, I already had talked to him, there’s no need to go to practice. There’s no reason to go to anything else.
What about the other days? Why didn’t you go to practice or meetings on those days?
BM: I had gotten sick. I was in the hotel. So he gave me medicine for that.
The league knew that’s why you didn’t show up?
BM: The trainer came to my room. That was Wednesday.
Given that, do you wish you had done anything differently during the week?
BM: Probably better communication to follow up with trainers and everything, or just withdrew earlier. But I don’t feel like it needed that much attention on it.
Do you think people will be quicker to assume the worst because of your history?
BM: But there wasn’t anything bad behind it. I just feel that they made it more than it really was. It wasn’t like I got locked up somewhere and couldn’t play in the game because I was in jail. That’s how they made it seem. I just didn’t know that it was going to be that serious.
Do you see where people might note that there were only two tackles left after you and that they had to play the entire game?
BM: Anyone who watched the game would know it wasn’t like they were going that hard. If you watched the game, they were stopping in front of the quarterback. I’m like, OK….
Have you heard from Brad Childress yet?
BM: No, not yet. Kevin Warren [a Vikings vice president], I talked to him. He was like, ‘Get off Twitter for a minute.' Because I was going in there and kind of responding to people. He was like, ‘Just don’t.’
People saw you tweeting about going to clubs and probably made a judgment.
BM: I’m off at the end of the day. I had a long season. It was a pretty decent season. You know what I mean? It’s all alright.
A few thoughts from me:
I appreciated McKinnie standing there and speaking to me, especially after what I wrote Saturday. (I’m guessing he hasn’t read it.) Nothing he said Thursday will change my original reaction. He would have had to be awfully sick during the week to make only one day of meetings and practices. Neither are taxing. And he absolutely erred by not addressing his foot injury earlier.
By “they,” I believe McKinnie was referring to the media and not the NFL.
This question will have to remain unanswered: Why was McKinnie too sick and injured to practice and play, but healthy enough to go out each night in Miami? At the end of the day, those two facts can’t be reconciled. I’ll leave it up to you to decide.
I don’t think many of his fellow Pro Bowlers are going to appreciate McKinnie’s indifference to the players he left to cover for him. I agree the game wasn’t taxing on a relative level, but that’s not the point. The less taxing the game, the more egregious it was that he considered himself too injured to play.