Zany tales from training camp

NFC South blogger Pat Yasinskas wrote a great blog post this week detailing interesting stories from his trips through training camp.

With camps getting started around the league, I figure it's a good time to share some of my zany tales from the AFC North.

  • Last year in Latrobe, Pa., some fans were screaming "James! James, we love you!" at the top of their lungs. So I walked to the roped-off area to say hello, and those same fans suddenly gave me this strange "Who the heck are you?" look. So I turned around and noticed Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison was standing around the same area that I was before. I walked away feeling really dumb and embarrassed.

  • I once stopped Cleveland Browns guard Eric Steinbach for an interview coming off the field and I greeted him with a handshake. When he opened his right hand, I noticed blood was on his palm. Having to make a quick decision, I didn't want to shun Steinbach. So I shook his bloody hand anyway and said "Hey, it's football." We went on with the interview, and I washed my hands soon after.

  • I don't get spooked easily. But one time I was interviewing Robert Geathers in Georgetown, Ky., about his micro-fracture surgery. Cincinnati Bengals teammate Tank Johnson suddenly crept from behind and grabbed me on the shoulder, causing me to jump. All three of us got a pretty good laugh out of it.

  • Two years ago, I got to Baltimore Ravens camp early when only rookies, quarterbacks and selected free agents were participating. They didn't have enough defensive backs to do team drills, so Baltimore used a couple of children who were no taller than five feet. I said they must be mimicking Cleveland's cornerbacks (Brandon McDonald and Eric Wright) in this drill, which people thought was pretty funny.