When my editors asked me to tune into "The View" on Thursday morning to watch Ravens offensive tackle Michael Oher talk about his new book, "I Beat the Odds," I said, "Sure." After all, I never miss an episode of "The View."
OK, fine, not really.
As I was forced to sit through another annoying interview with Jennifer Aniston, I got some grief from passers-by in The Baltimore Sun newsroom, who made fun of the sports staff for watching "The View" like a bunch of soccer moms and house husbands. See, being a sports writer can be tough sometimes.
When Oher finally got on camera, there was nothing flashy about the interview. He said nothing about his background that we haven't already heard (that's what happens when you're the subject of a best-selling book and an award-winning film). And he didn't even ask Whoopi Goldberg and Elisabeth Hasselbeck if they wanted to play a game of cornhole, which was a total bummer.
But after watching Oher make the media rounds to promote his new book, which Oher hopes will "change a lot of lives," it's clear that he has become much more comfortable in the spotlight the past two years.
I remember interviewing the 2009 first-round pick before the start of that season -- I was doing a story on how he and Matt Birk would beef up the Ravens offensive line -- and Oher was soft-spoken, shy and didn't give me much to work with. And he mean-mugged his way through the entire five-minute interview, which was kind of intimidating since he towered over me.
Flash-forward to today, Oher seemed very calm and collected on "The View." (Side note: It was amusing to see that massive man crammed on the couch between Barbara Walters and Joy Behar.) Wearing a black sport coat, a white-and-red plaid shirt and dark blue jeans, Oher was styling, smiling and engaging. Consider those soccer moms and house husbands charmed.
Oher said he was inspired to write "I Beat the Odds" by the thousands of letters he has received (I can attest to his crammed mailbox). "[The book] sends out a great message," he said.
There were a couple of interesting moments, though. Talking about the strained relationship with his birth mother, Oher said, "Hopefully we got the bond back that we once had.” And he listed Michael Jordan as his main role model growing up. "Watching him, he gave me hope."
I read "The Blind Side," so I am eager to get the new book for Oher's take on his incredible success story.
I am not eager to watch "The View" again, though, despite what some of my new colleagues have suggested. Thankfully, I don't envision another Ravens player making an appearance anytime soon.