Monday, July 21, 2008

Celebrity Profile: Darren Woodson

Against the dark blue blur you can barely make out the number 28 as it frantically grows larger and larger until, with a blast of sweat and malice, you are staring up at the hole God looks through and wondering why your teeth feel swollen. Darren Woodson disappears back into the defensive huddle and you get no high-fives. Your children will probably see you on ESPN tonight.

At 6-1, 219, this five time pro-bowler lead a talented Dallas defense that controlled the National Football League in the early nineties and deprived Steve Young of more jewelry than any self-respecting Mormon could ever justify wearing in the first place. He was one of the new, archetypal, hybrid players; good in coverage and strong against the run. Easily placed anywhere on the field by savvy, experience laden coaches, he was a sniper's scope, honed in upon the subtle gaps found in any offense's Kevlar vest. But, this is understatement. Or, maybe, it isn't. I really liked this guy though.

In an interview that never took place in the wondrous Cowboy's facilities at Valley Ranch, I asked Darren some questions about those Halcyon days and what effect they had on his love of painting.

PP: How would you describe your early years in Dallas? Did they exceed your expectations?

DW: I had a lot of very good, talented, driven people surrounding me. Haley (Charles) was a mentor to me and the coaches really helped me grow. Who are you with again?

PP: Sports (inaudible).

DW: Huh?

PP: Yes, and three Super Bowls in four years; that must have given you a sense of super-human invincibility, as though you were a God placed upon this earth to help shine light on the lives of quiet desperation that most men lead.

DW: I wouldn't go that far. Who are you with again?

PP: Right, and how did this commitment to football excellence effect you as a painter?

DW: Oh, I don't paint. I can't even draw a cat.

PP: I see.

DW: Troy (Aikmen) could draw caricatures though. He could draw you in a dune buggy. You like dune buggies, don't you?

And who doesn't? Yes, these were heady times for the Cowboys and for human society in general. What man cannot look back at the toe-headed waif he was in 1992 and not shed a tear of joy at that simpler, happier era?

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