Super Bowl? He's never seen it

This Just In...

now, he's in it

January 19, 2001|By DAN RODRICKS

I CALLED RAVENS All-Pro defensive end Michael McCrary at his place in downtown Baltimore the other night. His mother, Sandy McCrary, answered the phone, said she was busy cooking dinner, then put No. 99 on the line for a little TJI Q&A.

DR: Your mother says she comes up from Virginia to cook for you. Is she good?

MM: She's a great cook.

DR: What does she make?

MM: I like her hamburger casserole, same thing I've been eating, I think, since I was born. Pork chops, too. Tonight she made meatloaf and lasagna.

DR: Michael McCrary, are you better off than you were four years ago?

MM: Yeah, I'm in the Super Bowl.

DR: Is it true you never watch the Super Bowl on TV?

MM: True. I never did.

DR: Not even last year?

MM: No.

DR: What were you doing when the Super Bowl was on?

MM: I might have slept. I like to go out on Saturday night, and Sunday I ... I never watch football. I like to play it, I don't like to watch it. Boxing is about the only sport I watch on TV.

DR: A sportswriter-type question now: That sack of [Oakland Raider QB] Rich Gannon, second or third play of last Sunday's AFC championship game, set the tone for the day. Did someone miss you, or did you just get to him in a hurry?

MM: I don't know - I haven't looked at the tape. All I know is I got there and, you know ... our whole defense is full of stars. You got to give credit to the Ravens organization for keeping us together. A lot of teams will release players and get new ones every year. But they kept us together, and we built a bond. You can see it in the huddle. No one wants to be the one who makes a big mistake. No one wants to disappoint the others.

DR: Do you listen to music before a game?

MM: Yeah, hip-hop and some rap on my MP3 player. I listen and try to visualize myself making plays.

DR: Oh, yeah? Have you seen yourself making plays in Madden 2001, the Play Station version, or Game Day 2001? That'll help you visualize yourself.

MM: No. I don't play those kind of games. I play computer games, the kind that come with thick manuals and take up a lot of space on your hard drive. I play Mech Warrior 4 and Unreal Tournament. I play online or against the computer.

DR: The biggest game of your life will be the Super Bowl. Do you sleep soundly the night before a game?

MM: I take an antihistamine, like Benadryl, or else I'd never get to sleep.

DR: Do you ever see Sam Adams or Tony Siragusa in your dreams?

MM: I see Siragusa because he stepped on my toe three years in a row and broke my toe each time and, when they fix it, they remove your toenail, and it's painful, and sometimes it grows in.

DR: That's not a dream, that's a nightmare. How do you know it was Tony that did it?

MM: Believe me, with Siragusa, you know when he steps on your toe.

DR: What are you going to do after the Super Bowl, and don't tell me Disney World.

MM: I'm going to find a nice safe-deposit box for my ring. ... I have [an off-season] home in Arizona - Scottsdale. ...I like jet skiing and getting out in the dessert in the early morning and maybe taking a ride.

DR: Hey, are you watching TV right now?

MM: I'm watching "Redskins Magazine."

DR: Ouch. I thought you didn't bother to watch football on TV.

MM: Yeah, but I like this because I hate the Redskins, and now their commentators have to sit there and talk about us. I love it.

Fan on a mission

If there's a battle ribbon for devotion to the Ravens, the team should mail one off to Lt. Col. Philip "Jake" Jakielski, U.S. Army, "serving on freedom's frontier" at Yongsan Army Garrison, Seoul, South Korea. A Baltimore native and loyal Ravens fan, Jakielski's mission last Sunday evening - Monday morning, Korea time - was to find a telecast of the AFC championship game, and therein lies today's tale of Ravens madness.

Jakielski, who lives with his wife, Mary, and two daughters at Yongsan, planned to get out of bed Monday at 5 a.m., Seoul time, to watch the Ravens-Raiders game an hour later live via the Armed Forces Korea Network.

Only one problem: Sunday night, his cable went kaput. "The weather has been the worst in 30 years in Korea with daily highs in the single digits and nightly lows in the mid-minus teens, and a lot of utilities have been failing on the numerous military bases," he says. "It was 2200 (10 p.m.) on Sunday night, and the next day was Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and the alternate places (the base gym, lodge and mess hall) I could go to watch the game wouldn't be available because they'd be on holiday schedule."

Jakielski rose at 3:30 a.m. Monday and the cable was still out. Panic time.

"And I couldn't go off post. There's only Korean TV! ... I'd just about resolved that it wasn't going to happen. I called my dad [in Maryland] to make sure that he was tape-recording the game for me."

Then, Jakielski's wife remembered something: There was a TV in the emergency room of the base hospital. It might be working.

"It's only minus-5 degrees. I'm a Ranger, WHOOAH!" Jakielski told himself.

He got dressed and hiked the half-mile to the hospital. And there was a TV, and it was still working.

Lt. Col. Jake plopped himself down in the ER for the duration. "Hallelujah! Game on at 0600! Go Ravens!"

Students need a boost

All the rah-rah is great for the city, but here's hoping the mayor of Baltimore takes time out from his Ravens boosterism to visit - and say something reassuring to - the kids and teachers at Lake Clifton High School, scene of Wednesday's fatal shooting of 17-year-old Juan Matthews.

A minor correction

Due to a bad head cold, I used the wrong pronoun in describing a teacher depicted in the movie, "Finding Forrester," in Wednesday's column. He should have been a she. The Son (of the former Rose Popolo) regrets the error.

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