Talking trash still big part of NFL games, with some players using Twitter to ramp things up

By Dennis Waszak Jr., AP
Friday, October 8, 2010

Say what? Trash talking alive and well in NFL

NEW YORK — The insults spread around the Jacksonville Jaguars’ locker room within minutes.

Tight end Marcedes Lewis overheard an Indianapolis Colts player during warmups call their game against the Jaguars last Sunday “an easy one.” Lewis passed the message along to his teammates, and the furious Jags took it out on the Colts on the field.

Jaguars 31, Colts 28. So much for that gimme.

“Obviously, whatever was said was something we saw as disrespect and we just wanted to come out and play ball,” running back Maurice Jones-Drew said. “It kind of added a little fuel to the fire, which is good because we got after them.”

Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio stopped short of giving that unidentified Colts player a game ball, but wanted to “thank the guy.”

“Against the Colts last week, we felt a little disrespected,” he said. “It worked.”

Yep, trash talk still comes through loud and clear, with some players just unable to keep their mouths shut on the field.

Guys like Chad Ochocinco, Terrell Owens, Darnell Dockett, Philip Rivers, Bart Scott, Joey Porter and Cortland Finnegan do it. A lot of it. They’re Pro Bowl players with championship-caliber material.

“You’re ugly.”

“You’re old.”

“You’re too slow.”

“Your team stinks, and so does your breath.”

And, that’s just for non-expletive-filled starters.

“On the field, I’m a different person,” Tennessee linebacker Stephen Tulloch said. “I’m in a different zone, so I might say some things just to get myself fired up or to get into the opponent’s head.”

Coaches get into it, too, with the New York Jets’ Rex Ryan and Denver’s Josh McDaniels known to speak whatever’s on their minds.

“Hey, I’m just going to be myself,” the brash Ryan has said many times since being hired in New York in January 2009.

From pregame warmups to the final snap, insults and jokes are shouted between players with each looking to get under the other’s skin.

“When somebody talks trash, it gets me going, naturally, because I grew up around it,” Dallas running back Tashard Choice said. “It just makes me more fiery, man, it brings you out. I grew up talking trash. I grew up in the ‘hood. That’s what we do.”

Jets defensive end Trevor Pryce says a lot of quarterbacks talk during games, including Rivers and his new teammate, Mark Sanchez.

“But, you know who runs their mouths a lot? Special teams guys,” Pryce said. “On kickoffs and kickoff returns, they are jawing back and forth. That’s where you hear most of the talk.”

Trash talking in the NFL is certainly nothing new, with Deion Sanders and Warren Sapp known as much for their mouths as their outstanding talent. It has all been ramped up the past few years by players using social media such as Twitter to intimidate and distract.

“Twitter has taken trash talk to a whole new level,” Pryce said. “It’s personal. They know where your mom lives and all kinds of craziness. That’s why I don’t have a Twitter account. I don’t want anybody talking to me about any foolishness.”

Owens and Ochocinco are among the biggest trash talkers of athletes on Twitter. Ochocinco has got into playful “tweet-offs” with Darrelle Revis, Louis Delmas and Jay Cutler among others.

“I’ll hear stuff that’s said about me and I’ll go on attack and I’ll go on a little rampage,” Owens said. “People can never really grasp the context of which I’m texting, so they take it that I’m (angry) and stuff like that. There are things that you do hear and you take offense to it, but I think Twitter and all these social networks are a way of really getting your point across and really giving your side of the story.

“So for myself and I know Chad, I have a lot of fun with it.”

Finnegan prefers to keep his trash talk on the field.

“It’s just for Sundays,” he said. “I mean, really it’s one extra thing you do to get under someone’s skin. … Anybody who knows me off the field knows you love what you do so much, you try to take it to the next level, and that’s what I try to do.”

Some players use it for motivation, while others simply ignore it as much as they can.

“It’s entertainment, really,” Cowboys linebacker Keith Brooking said. “For me, I think there’s a line there, as far as the amount of trash that you talk. It’s good entertainment. It’s fun. But when I step on the field, it’s not motivating for me to stop a guy because he’s talking trash.”

Looks, abilities and speech are all fair game. Just one rule: Mothers are off limits.

“I don’t talk about anyone’s mom,” Giants safety Deon Grant said. “That’s personal. That’s personal when you talk about the moms and wives and kids. That has nothing to do with football.”

Many players still go at opponents through the media, just like the old days. Revis called Randy Moss a “slouch” in January and said he put “his foot on the brake” the last time the Jets played against him. Should be fun when Moss, now with the Vikings, plays Revis and the Jets on Monday night — the second time in less than a month they have met.

A day after Houston’s 30-27 overtime win over Washington, Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall said he should’ve been assigned to cover Andre Johnson, who caught a 34-yard touchdown pass from Matt Schaub to tie the game in the fourth quarter.

“I gave him a lot of props during the game,” Hall said. “During the game, he didn’t scare me. He didn’t do anything that looked spectacular. He didn’t do anything to make me feel like he was the best.”


“I don’t really get caught up in that, but me and him still have some years left in our careers,” Johnson said a few days later. “I’m pretty sure we’ll meet some time again, and if he wants to play me one-on-one the whole game, he can talk to his coach about it, and have his coach put him out there to play me one-on-one. Then, we’ll go at it and see what happens.”

Detroit center Dominic Raiola has a long trash-talking history with Green Bay linebacker Nick Barnett.

“It’s competitive,” he said. “At first, I just didn’t like him. When you lose as much as we do, you don’t really like anybody.”

Added Lions offensive tackle Jeff Backus: “A lot of the stuff Dom says is funny. It’s so off the wall.”

So, what of the conversations between Raiola and Barnett could be printed?

“Nothing,” Raiola said. “Seriously. I don’t think there’s a lot said that you could print.”

Pryce, a 14-year veteran, will just let everyone else yap while he’s playing — and being entertained.

“It’s too hard to breathe and I don’t want to waste any energy, not an ounce of energy talking to anybody,” Pryce said, laughing. “The last thing I need is to tell some guy that he’s not worth anything and now he’s coming after me with everything he has. I don’t need that problem. I’m good, thank you very much.”

AP Sports Writers Jaime Aron in Irving, Texas; Tim Booth in Renton, Wash.; Tom Canavan in East Rutherford, N.J.; Chris Duncan in Houston; Joe Kay in Cincinnati; Larry Lage in Detroit; Mark Long in Jacksonville, Fla.; Teresa Walker in Nashville, Tenn.; and Steven Wine in Miami contributed to this report.

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