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SI article sheds light on Carroll situation...

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by TomAllen, Aug 22, 2006.

  1. TomAllen
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    TomAllen Cheesehead

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    Everyone in Packerland should calm down about the Carroll situation. This is a normal, everyday, occurance in NFL training camps!

    Camp Stinks!
    Enduring his 15th NFL summer, Giants tackle Bob Whitfield dishes on the sights, the sounds and the smells of pro football's dog days

    Whitfield turns up his nose at slob roommates, crazed coaches and frantic fringe players.
    John Iacono/SI

    Guys come into training camp civilized, and they leave uncivilized. I'm a prime example. I forget sometimes to change my clothes -- I just pick up whatever's closest to my bed -- and end up wearing the same outfit for two or three days in a row. The problem is, even when you take a shower, as soon as you get out you start to sweat. Thus, the funk does accumulate. Eventually you take a whiff of those things and realize how nasty you are. You've been walking around with funk in all kinds of places, conditions you would never tolerate in the real world.

    When I played for the Falcons there was this big defensive lineman who stunk so bad we nicknamed him Mr. Funk. He was so funky -- I mean, cheesy funky -- that even the flies wouldn't mess with him. Mr. Funk was hopeless. He'd walk by, and you'd try to squirt cologne or air freshener on him, but it was no use.

    The key to training camp is to get a good roommate. Kareem McKenzie, another tackle, has been great the last two years. He's a clean dude, and we keep a nice, tight ship in there. But I've had my share of tough roommates. My most memorable was Chuck Smith in Atlanta, my best friend. As good a pass rusher as he was, that's how bad he was to live with. The problem with Chuck was he liked to wake up at the crack of dawn, and the first thing he did in the morning was open every drape in the room. It's one thing to be a slob -- when he'd eat a snack, the part he didn't finish would still be there two days later -- but when he started waking me up, that was too much.

    Another problem with camp, especially for a veteran like me, is sitting through the meetings. It's like being in remedial school. You have guys who don't know anything, and you have to sit there while the coaches teach you stuff like how to break a huddle. I mean, I'm 15 years deep into my career, and I've got to sit there listening to everything I've already learned -- about 7,000 times. It's like working at McDonald's and the fry guy is saying, "Rip the bag open, pour the fries in the grease and push the big red button." There's a poster in locker rooms with a football man teaching the basics of the game, like how to put on a helmet. That dude's in our playbook, along with every other stupid thing you already know. As you're sitting in those meetings, you get groggy; workplace psychology tells you that after an hour a person's attention starts to fade. You get that blank stare: You're not really asleep, because your eyes are half open, but you're sort of dreaming, at least until the coach asks you something and you answer, "Uuuuh, I've got the outside guy," and hope you're right. You've got a 50-50 chance.

    I've learned not to dread practices. Hell, we used to have two-a-days, in pads, with full contact, damn near every day under Jerry Glanville in Atlanta, so it isn't that bad now. But there are a few things that piss me off. The first is when a coach goes off on me just to hear himself yell. Since we're all in this together, I respect my coaches. But don't just yell some crazy stuff at me and think I'm going to take it without saying something back. If you say something that makes sense, if I make a mistake and you correct me, I'm O.K. But if I mess up, don't yell, "What the f--- are you doing?" Because I'll yell, "I'm going the wrong way, that's what the f--- I'm doing!"

    I also hate those fringe players who are desperate to make the team and treat every practice like it's a damn war. So I go after those guys right at the start of camp and try to take the will out of them. I tell those guys straight out, "Y'all better step up because I'm going to be hard on you." This game is about intimidation. Once we reach an understanding out there, it becomes a lot easier. We can both do our jobs without being overly aggressive. If he pushes one way, I'll push the other, and we don't have to go full speed. If I'm leaning, he might pop me, but he isn't going to drive me into the ground. You know those wrestlers who lock up on each other but aren't really fighting? It's like that.

    The bottom line is that camp isn't as hard as it used to be, but we used to have a lot more fun, too.

    Oh, I almost forgot. Ask any veteran player what's the worst thing about training camp, and you'll get the same answer. When I play a regular-season game it costs the team about 75 grand for my services. But four times during the preseason I have to go out there and give my all -- well, almost my all -- for $1,200. If you want to be candid, the biggest problem is that the check ain't right.

    Giants left tackle Bob Whitfield was a first-round pick of the Falcons out of Stanford in 1992 who played in the Pro Bowl following the 1998 season. He owns a recording studio, PatchWerk Recordings, in Atlanta. Whitfield spoke with Michael Silver for this story.

    Issue date: August 14, 2006

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