Shutdown Corner - NFL

Sometime during the mid-90s, media day devolved from an overcrowded mess of a mass interview session into the faux freak show/fraud convention we now know and endure.

But even amid the absurdity, every once in awhile, there are touching moments. Such as when 10-year-old Claire Jordan of Gilbert, Ariz. conducted interviews for Weekly Reader, disarming muscular football players with her shy manner.

Well, most of them, at least.

At one point I was standing in the University of Phoenix Stadium stands, preparing to ask a question to Patriots linebacker Adalius Thomas, a 30-year-old man who stands 6-2 and weighs 270 pounds, when Jordan and a woman who seemed to be her mother (We'll call her "Mom") approached.

"Would it be OK if she interviewed you for Weekly Reader?" Mom asked.

Thomas nodded yes.

"Do you have any superstitions?" Claire asked.

"No, not really," Thomas responded. "I used to call my mom and grandma before every game, but I don't really believe in that stuff."

Claire looked down at her notebook and asked a follow-up: "Do you have any nicknames?"

"Well, 'AD,'" Thomas replied. "And 'Day-Day.' Those are probably my two main ones."

Claire wrote them down.

"Oh," Thomas added, "and 'Pimp Juice.'"

Say what ?

Instinctively Mom, who was standing behind Claire, reached down and covered the girl's ears, a la Vince Vaughn in "Old School," though belatedly.

And yet, even after the obvious awkwardness, Thomas didn't pick up on the social cue. Claire asked another question, he answered, and Mom and I were left to ponder on how many levels what Thomas had just said was inappropriate -- and how it never once seemed to dawn on him that he might have made an error in judgment.

I can just picture the car ride home.

Mommy, what's pimp juice?

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