Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton was asked Wednesday what he's learned in the aftermath of postgame comments from Monday that followed the Bengals' 10-6 home loss to Houston and involved Texans defensive end J.J. Watt.
“What I did wrong was that I responded to what somebody (in the media) said to me about it," Dalton said. "I never even heard (Watt’s) interview, so I don’t even know the context of what was said. I don’t know what he said before or what he said after."
Watt said in his nationally-televised postgame interview following Monday's win in Cincinnati "that our goal was to come out here and make the Red Rifle look like a Red Ryder BB Gun, and I think we did that."
Red Rifle is a nickname given by a local Cincinnati broadcaster to Dalton, who has red hair.
The Red Ryder BB Gun has been around for nearly 80 years, and has become part of the fabic of American pop culture after bing introduced in 1938. It resembles the Winchester rifle of Western movies, and is named for the comic strip cowboy character Red Ryder. The Red Ryder BB gun was featured in the film A Christmas Story, during which the character Ralphie Parker requests a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas. He's rebuffed repeatedly, with the warning: "You'll shoot your eye out".
Dalton was in an eye-for-eye mood when he first got word of Watt's comments:
"I'm disappointed. The integrity of this game -- I have a lot of respect for him. He's a really good player," Dalton said. "There's a lot of kids and a lot of people who look up to him. For him to make comments like that, he's showing that's acceptable to do that kind of stuff, to say that kind of stuff. It's disappointing for one of the best players in this league to come out and say something like that. That's all I'm going to say about that. I think J.J. is a good player, but for him to be one of the best in this league and to show that integrity, and to show that type of ... it shows what he's about, which is disappointing."
Dalton rarely gets into strong personal public discourse, so this was something that took him by surprise.
“For my part, I shouldn’t have reacted how I did without hearing what he said. I was responding to what someone told me he said," Dalton told the media Wednesday. "From that standpoint, my reaction wasn’t warranted."
Dalton said he doesn't know exactly what the Texans' two-time MVP said after Monday's game, and, with all due to respect to Watt, he pretty much doesn't care. He's thinking about the Bengals' next opponent -- Arizona.
"I still haven’t seen it, I’m not going to watch, I don’t care. I have no ill-will towards J.J. (Watt)," Dalton said. "There is no feud between me and him. We lost the game. He said what he said. And we are moving on. It’s in the past now."