- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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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.