Q: What were the odds of you showing up to Giants Stadium with two touchdowns while Tiki has none?
A: Oh, man. Well, with Donovan McNabb the week before, the odds were pretty good. I'm kidding. I'm only kidding. Hopefully we don't play them in the playoffs this year. No, I'm only kidding. It's kind of rare. I think I've only out-done him in touchdowns once in my career and I think the next week he came back and was ahead of me again, so it's a very rare occurrence.
Q: It seems like every time Tiki is asked about it, it seems more and more that he's going to retire. What is your perspective on it, and if you think he is sincere at this point, do you think that there will be anything that could change his mind?
A: I don't ever want to say there's nothing that won't change his mind, because Tiki is a smart guy and he obviously considers all options before he speaks. You guys know that about him. I think he's had a feeling for a year now, at least, and I saw it, to tell you the truth, in the off-season when we were working out. He just wasn't the same. The passion to get up and get ready wasn't the same. It didn't stop him from doing what he had to do, obviously, in the off-season, because that's just the kind of guy he is – he's well-prepared. But you can just tell that it's taking its toll. He gets a lot more punishment than I could even imagine, and I think going in 10 years he obviously had some things he wanted to accomplish. I think he's gotten all of those. I think he's accomplished everything that he wanted to do, except for obviously winning a Super Bowl.
Q: Tiki said jokingly that you expect to play forever.
A: My legs will eventually give out on me. I don't know when that will be, but it'll happen sooner or later. I have a lot of things that I have left to accomplish, at least in my mind, I do. I have absolutely no intention of giving up any time soon. They've rewarded me – or we rewarded each other, I guess you could say – with a contract extension this off-season down here, so I intend to play it out and try to do the things that I think I can still accomplish here.
Q: You have played against your brother before, but given the circumstances of his pending retirement, how special is this one?
A: This is definitely a nice one, not only for us, but for the entire family. Obviously our close friends are all going to be there. It's been a maddening week getting tickets. It is kind of special. We have not talked at too much length about it, just kind of jokingly that yeah, this is going to be a special one. Unless we both make the playoffs and we see each other, this will probably be the last time that we see each other on the football field. It's a big deal for us. It's something that obviously we have taken a lot of pride in succeeding in our careers and to see it finally start to wind down, it's nice, but it's a little sad in the same vein.
Q: Why did you end up as a defensive back and he wound up as a running back?
A: He just had a little more skill than I did, as far as running the ball. He scored more often than I did when I was little. To tell you the truth, I don't know when it came about. We were both running backs in junior high. He went to high school and he started right away. I think probably they saw a little more talent in him. I just tried to get on the field where I could get on the field, and that was on defense. I think I was probably, to tell you the truth, going into college I think I was the only defensive back that had played defensive back solely in high school. Everybody else was a running back or a receiver, or some other offensive skill position and switched over. I've just been a defensive-minded guy my entire life.
Q: How difficult is it to tackle your brother, or is it something you look forward to?
A: I definitely look forward to it, but anybody else in the league can attest to how difficult it is, and it's difficult because he's such a smart runner. He understands defenses and he understands his blocking schemes so well that he knows where guys are going to be and where he can slip through gaps and make guys miss. It's amazing to watch how smart he is as a runner. It's not necessarily all about his physical gifts, which are many. It's more about him understanding how to make those big plays and when to make them.
Q: On a personal level, is it hard to tackle someone you're related to?
A: No. It won't be. On Sunday, he'll be 21 in blue. It was interesting getting the scouting report from Monte (Kiffin) this morning. Obviously he was talking him up, and I'm like, ‘Yeah, yeah, he's still the slappy that I knew.' In the back of my head, I'm going, ‘He's still the slappy kid that I knew. We shared the same room for 21 years.' He's a special player. It is definitely difficult to tackle him, but like I said, on Sunday I have a job to do and he has a job to do. He'll want me to tackle him.
Q: With all of this retirement talk, Tiki said he's not going to stick around just to pad the numbers, but he said that you'd love to have 30 sacks and 30 interceptions. Where did that mentality come from?
A: Tiki has accomplished a lot. The dynamics of being a running back in the NFL are way more complicated than being a defensive back, I think. I like to think that runners are…You can find them anywhere. There are a ton of great running backs in the league right now. Where they match out in history is something entirely different. Tiki will probably get to 10,000 yards by the end of this year, and that's somewhat of a milestone for all running backs – for all great running backs – to get to that number. As far as defensive backs, you can pile on stats all you want. Interceptions are usually the key, but I'm in somewhat of an unusual position because I've gotten to 20 sacks in my career. I've already got to 20 interceptions, I'm at 30 – And it's just something that no one has ever done, at any position, on defense. It's been a goal of mine for a long, long time. It took me nine years to get to 20. I don't know how long it will take me to get to 30, but in the back of my head, it's something that will always drive me. Even if I don't get there, I have to do something that no one has ever done.
Q: Some of the Giants receivers in talking about you say you're not the fastest guy, maybe not the most athletic defensive back in the league, but you may be the smartest, and that is why he makes so many big plays. How much pride do you take in your intelligence as a player?
A: My physical skills definitely started to erode a couple of years ago. I had a couple of knee injuries, a couple of surgeries and that youthful explosion is long gone. I get by obviously on what athletic ability I have still and what speed and quickness that I maintain, but being a smart player and playing above the neck is what's gotten me everything that I've had in the past couple of years. I've been able to really dissect myself and see where my weaknesses are and understand them, and know that I have to compensate for them in other ways. That's really understanding our game plan on defense and how teams might try to attack us on offense. It's helped me tremendously in my career.
Q: Do you think you're a Hall of Famer, and do you think Tiki is a Hall of Famer?
A: You know what, that is entirely up to someone else's opinion, to tell you the truth. Whether I think I am or that Tiki is is irrelevant. A lot of our friends and people who root for us will say that now, especially now that Tiki is in his final year and I've put up some of the numbers that I've put up, but if that happens, great. If not, the Hall of Fame will not ever define me. It's just nice to be known as a great player. In this era, in our era, I guess, these 10 years that we've been playing, it's nice to have your peers, the guys that you've been playing against and the guys who cover you know that you were a good player and you put everything you could out there.
Q: I remember a story last year where Tiki said when he first came up here, he wasn't exactly a New York guy and now he can't see himself as anything different. Do you think if he didn't play in this market that things would have progressed for him the same way, as far as his off the field stuff?
A: It's hard to say. Tiki is obviously very…What's a good word for it? Cerebral. He's a very intelligent guy. Way more so than myself, and he's very heady about everything that he does. A lot of thought goes into everything that he's done in his career, on and off the field. I think New York has kind of fostered that, helped him foster that to the opportunities that he has now. If he's staying in Green Bay, I don't know necessarily that he gets those opportunities, but he's probably looking for those opportunities in Green Bay. It just might be in a completely different way. It's impossible to say. Fate puts you where you are for a reason, and I think New York is supposed to have a guy like Tiki in it.
Q: What do you think he'll be doing in five years?
A: What will he be doing in five years…Probably getting ready to watch my last year. I don't know what he'll be doing in five years. Tiki will have moved on from this, divorced himself from this completely, and probably be succeeding well in whatever he's doing. To tell you the truth, it's hard to know what that will be. He has so many diverse interests. He's not scared to try anything or attempt anything, and he believes in his head that he'll be successful at anything that he tries, and that will take him wherever he wants to go.
Q: Maybe he'll be the owner of the Bucs and he'll cut you.
A: He's going to have to get some rich partners. He hasn't made that much money.
Q: When you look at the Giants on offense, they present some problems, don't they?
A: Absolutely. They are, if not the most talented, one of the top talent teams in the league at every position. Obviously, having the second best run offense in the league, they have great skill positions, they have wide receivers and tight ends. They have the biggest damn back-up I've ever seen in my life at running back. They have an offensive line that's playing really, really well and understands how their runners run. It makes them tough to defend. All Eli (Manning) really has to do is not go out there and mess up, and they are a really good football team.
Q: So you think another five years for you?
A: I'd like to think so. I'm being optimistic, of course. Like I said, my legs and my knees will tell me when it's all said and done, but in my head right now, I have absolutely no intention of slowing down. I'm still having a lot of fun doing what I'm doing. I love getting up and going to work, going to practice even. When that starts to wane, yeah, then maybe I'll be on the same plain as Tiki. At this point, I'm very comfortable in where I'm at.
Q: Is this strange for you, because you and Tiki are such great fans of each other and your teams, when you're not playing each other. You know the Giants so well and he knows the Bucs so well. It's almost like more than just brother and brother, isn't it?
A: Yeah, it is. I'm probably the biggest Giants' fan there is. I know a lot of people say that, but I get the inside scoop on it. I obviously watch the games, and I watch the tapes of their games. I follow them in the press and whatnot, what's going on. I have a pretty unique perspective on the New York Giants, and I love watching them play. All of that has to do with Tiki playing for them, and when he leaves, I don't know necessarily that I'll continue to be that big of a fan of New York. It will be interesting to see how that dynamic changes.
Q: Obviously the way the Giants are playing now, they're thinking some big thoughts. You guys are coming off two wins, but you still don't have a very good record and now you have a kid quarterback. Do you see yourself as a contender?
A: We have to continue to win football games. The good thing about our two-game winning streak – and it hasn't been pretty. We've found two ugly ways to win both of these games, but at the same time, it is two games that we've won after starting out 0-4. Now we have an opportunity to go play another good football team. Cincinnati was a good team in the AFC, probably one of the best teams in the AFC. Philadelphia is the most explosive offense in the NFL, and now we have the second most explosive offense, in New York. It's an opportunity to go play another good football team and try to get a win. We've been digging for two weeks, trying to get out of this hole that we've put ourselves in. I don't see us…I don't see anybody on this team that doesn't have the willingness to compete and keep digging. And if we continue to win, if we find a way to get three in a row, yeah, we'll be right back in it. I don't know how many years when Tony (Dungy) was here we started out the season 3-4 and still made it to the playoffs. I think that's given a lot of guys hope, some perspective that it can be done. That's all we can do, is try to go out and play.
Q: When Eli was growing up with Peyton, he said he remembers how competitive he was with his older brother. Were you and Tiki like that, or being the same age was it just more like brothers?
A: It's more like brothers. We were competitive. The only time we were really, really competitive was when, for whatever reason, we ended up on opposite teams in a pick-up game. Organized ball, or whatnot, we were never on opposite teams, but pick-up games if we were on opposite teams, we hated each other. We both wanted to win so fervently. I think that's probably the only time I've really disliked Tiki. For the most part, sports was just a way for us to get after people together. It was always that way, until we had to separate.
Q: So you hated him in pick-up games, but you don't hate him on Sunday?
A: No, I don't hate him come Sunday.
Q: Do you think he could have had any more exposure this past week?
A: Yeah, I think I'm sick of – I told him I had a great game last week so I could try to take some of the pressure off of him, but I guess it didn't work. They're still talking about him.
Q: Has anyone ever told you you sound like him?
A: No! Tiki has a much higher voice than I do.
Q: You have more of a manly voice?
Q: Defensive player.
A: Yeah, exactly. I have an image to uphold. I have to get deep.
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