Appetite for food, family

What was your welcome-to-the-NFL moment? When then-New England Patriots guard Damien Woody knocked me on my butt in my first preseason game in 2002. I had already had the sack, but I got greedy, and I went in there high, and he came up and blocked me. He knocked me on my butt.

What was your proudest moment in the NFL? My rookie year when nobody expected us to beat the Tennessee Titans and I intercepted Steve McNair in the end zone to lift the Ravens to a 13-12 win. That was a big game. I'm going to have him autograph the football. I'm serious.


What was your most embarrassing moment? My first time on special teams. I ran back there and stayed flat-footed, thinking that I could stop a freight train that's been running for 60 yards with my feet standing still. I got knocked right on my butt.

What is your favorite off-day activity? To shop and watch professional wrestling. I like shoes.


What is the biggest misconception the public has about football players? That they're unintelligent. That if they hadn't made it in football, they wouldn't be successful. There are a lot of intelligent, bright guys in here that do a lot of things in life. You see that with New York Giants running back Tiki Barber and guys ... who go on to do great things off the field.

Please finish the sentence: "If I wasn't playing football, I would be ... " A businessman walking around with a briefcase and in a suit.

If you were the NFL commissioner for a day, what would you do or change? I would really do something for the practice-squad players. I would give them more pay because a lot of these guys don't make it out of the preseason. They're just used as camp bodies. I would make sure that they receive at least enough money to get them through half a year until they decide what they want to do.

Where did you learn to talk so much? My father used to talk me to death when I was a kid. Whenever I got into trouble, he would sit down and talk to me and try to explain why what I did was wrong. And he always made me read books ... about people like Hannibal and great leaders like that. He always suggested books to me and made me read them.

What's the best on-field exchange you've had with another NFL player? The thing that made me feel a whole lot better about the whole Pro Bowl situation was after the Dec. 31 Buffalo game, quarterback J.P. Losman came up to me and said I'm a terror on film to watch, that I'm intimidating on film to watch. That's the ultimate sign of respect, that somebody can watch me play and respect the way I play and almost look at it as, "Hey, I've got to watch out for this guy." That's all you can ask for in this game.

Are you a mama's boy? I'm definitely a mama's boy. I make no bones about it. Football is something that me and my mother did together. She was the one who actually got me started in football, and football's been our thing. I love being around my mother. She's a beautiful person, a beautiful spirit and she cares a lot. I got a lot of my traits from her. If I could be half the person my parents are, I think I'll show the world justice.

What was life like for you with three older sisters? It was rough, man. They used to beat the heck out of me. Only two of them lived with me; the other one lived with my dad. But I used to get the mess beat out of me. They taught me not to back down from anything. When I was 8, my sister was 18, and I'm fighting her, and she's kicking my butt to toughen me up. I think if I had brothers, they would've tried to befriend me a little bit more. But my sisters are definitely the reasons why I'm so tough.

What's the best nickname you ever had? They call me "Mad Backer" here. That's kind of what I've used for my Web site and things like that. But the funniest one was "Meech." A lot of people used to call me "Big Meech." In urban communities, there's always a guy nicknamed "Meech," and "Meech" is usually a mean, bad guy. ... They used to call me "Meech" because I used to try and inflict pain in college on people. I think that was probably the funniest one I've ever had.


If you were U.S. president for a day, what would be your first order of business? Pull our soldiers out of Iraq and admit that I was wrong. Come up with an exit strategy to get them out and quit risking American lives for somebody else's mess.

If you were stuck on an island, what's the one material possession you could not live without? TV. I'll watch TV all day. I don't care what's on. I sleep with a TV on. That's why my electric bill is so high.

What is your favorite food? I'm probably the worst athlete in terms of nutrition. If I was a lineman, they'd probably put me out of the league. But I'd eat a corned beef sandwich all day, every day of the week. In Detroit, we've got a place called Coney Island. They make a 5-pound corned beef sandwich with sauerkraut and all of that good stuff. I can't live without it.

What is your favorite show on television? You'd get frustrated watching TV with me because I'm all over the place. But I would say the one thing that is the best show I watch on a consistent basis is The Wire. I like the realness, the hardness because it reminds me of my neighborhood. A lot of things that go on in that show, I grew up with and experienced every day in my life.

Provide an objective analysis of your acting skills on your commercial for Order Productions, a video production company. Chuckles I think it was natural. I'm a big wrestling fan, so I'm used to characters and things like that. It was no problem. When you're playing yourself, how hard is that?

What's the best gift you received this Christmas? The greatest gift I ever got was my son Bartholomew, age 1. That's the greatest gift any guy could ever have - a reflection of himself.