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Sirius reminisces with Raymond Clayborn

For the hard-core football fan, it doesn’t get much better than Sirius NFL Radio. A personal favorite is the “Movin’ the Chains” program with Pat Kirwan and Tim Ryan, and imagine the surprise Friday when all of a sudden Raymond Clayborn appeared on the program.

That’s what you get with Sirius.

One day it might be Bill Belichick as a guest, the next it could be someone like Clayborn.

Listening to Clayborn brought me back to my youth, as he was a cornerback for the team from 1977-89. Clayborn played in 191 games (165 starts) and his 36 regular-season interceptions tie with Ty Law for the top spot in team history.

Clayborn talked about being in retirement and taking joy in raising his children (25, 15, 12).

Here are some soundbites from the interview:

Thoughts on the current-day Patriots and if Tom Brady has another Super Bowl in him. “He definitely does. I think the defense let him down a little bit last year in that playoff game against the Jets. It’s the management, the people at the top. We had the talent a few years while I was there, but we just never had the support of the management, the ownership. It was really lacking. It seemed like they were taking out of the franchise and not investing into the franchise when I was there.”

Reflecting on leaving the Patriots for Cleveland in 1990 and if regretted it. “The Patriots were in turmoil. Total chaos. I was so happy to get out of there. The league was threatening and eventually took over the payroll because the Sullivans had gone into bankruptcy. Mr. Kraft had bought the stadium in ’87 in bankruptcy after the Michael Jackson fiasco.”

Thoughts on the NFL’s rules to protect defenseless receivers. “I think it’s great. You have to remember, I was on the team when Darryl Stingley was hit by Jack Tatum and paralyzed in 1978, out there in Oakland. Darryl was defenseless; he was in the air, jumped up for a ball that he couldn’t catch, and as he was coming down without the ball, Jack hit him. [Jack] hit him head on and actually put his forearm into him and trashed him. [Darryl] was defenseless. Any time a guy is in the air, I can see where you have to put more shoulder into him and go below the waist, the shoulder pads or whatever. You can do that. I think that particular rule change has done some good. But looking at what they’ve done with these guys just tackling guys head on, with both feet on the ground, when a guy is running and you run into a guy – some of the calls against the kid up in Pittsburgh [James Harrison] was ridiculous, I think.”

Best receiver he covered, and quarterback he went against. “The one that lined up across from me. Every time one lined up across from me, I gave him the respect that he deserved, and the quarterback also. Any one of them could burn you. But being in the AFC East with the Miami Dolphins, those Marks – Mark Duper and Mark Clayton – and Dan Marino, oh boy, they put the fear of God into you. Then looking outside of that, I think the toughest challenges I had – other than Wesley Walker with the Jets, and a couple guys in Buffalo – I played against James Lofton. Boy, you talk about giving you fits. The long strides, quick moves, he could go deep on you. He was the best, I believe, that I had to face. I’m glad I didn’t have to face him [a lot], but every once in a while [laughing].”

Which of his 36 interceptions he remembers most. "The one in the AFC Championship Game against those Miami Dolphins, and Dan Marino, and those 'Marks Brothers.' I got one to stop a drive they had going, and it just really felt great to get at that particular time and to lead us into Super Bowl XX."