Tommy Maddox Press Conference

<b>Opening Statement:</b><br> It's been an interesting couple of days for myself and my family. There are so many people I'd like to thank. Everybody realizes, I think, how special the medical staff we have here is - the trainers, the doctors that we have. I'd like to thank all of the people down in Nashville, the nurses who were up all hours of the night with me.

There are so many people who did everything exactly the way you'd want them to do it. That's very special to me. I would like to thank the Rooneys and this organization for everything they've done, not only for myself, but for my family. It makes you feel really good to be a part of an organization like this. It's been an interesting couple of days, like I said, and I'm very excited to be able to walk up here and talk to y'all. It puts a lot of things in perspective, but with that said, I'm anxious to see what I can do. Anxious to see, like I said the other day, to get back on the horse. This is what I do and this is what I love to do. I've talked to all of the doctors and my only question was why?

I don't remember the hit, I've only seen the hit. I've been hit a lot harder. I've probably been hit where it looked a lot worse. My only question was, why this hit? I don't know it they have an explanation for that. You see guys get hit hard all the time and bounce right back up, and you see guys get hit not very hard and things happen.

I'm just very thankful to God that it has worked out the way it has worked out. I'm excited to be around my teammates. We're a family here and it's always good to be around your family. I know I'm forgetting a lot of people. There are so many people that I'd like to thank. Whoever you are out there, I'm very appreciative of the things that you have done.

Q: Michael Irvin said when he was hurt, he thought of his kids immediately, holding them, playing with them. Was that your initial thought? Or was it "I've got to figure out what's wrong with me"?
TM:
All those things flash through your head. The hardest thing for me was that I couldn't move anything for a while and I knew that. Then I could move my hands, but I still couldn't move my legs. That's when it really started, when it really started to bother me a little bit. It was hard. You think about your kids. My wife flew to Nashville. I was scared if she left, the kids would be upset. She stayed home and met me at the airport. Mr. Rooney got me back to Pittsburgh.

Q: How do you feel?
TM:
I feel good. I'm still a little weak. My upper body feels pretty good, but my legs are a little tired. It actually feels good to get up and move around. You'd probably have to ask the doctors, but I think a lot of that is probably from being on my back for so long. The legs and the tiredness, we don't know. We have to take it one day at a time and I'm going to try real hard not to over-push myself. The progress we've made in the last couple of days, hopefully, will continue.

Q: When you got the OK, was it an easy decision to make that you would come back to football, or was it more difficult than that?
TM:
No. It was never a question. This is what I do, this is what I love to do. If there would have been something that came back in the MRI that said "you're running a risk to get hit again", then obviously that's something that we'd have to take a look at. But it came back clean. That made the decision very easy.

Q: When did you get the feeling back in all of your extremitites?
TM:
Everything's kind of a blur. I remember being on the X-ray table and being able to move my hand a little bit. I think I was fully awake when I was in the MRI, which is kind of a scary place to wake up. That night I got most of the feeling back. My right foot and leg was still a little numb. But by the time I woke up Monday morning, I felt like I had everything back. I got up, walked a little bit. I feel like every time since then when I get up, I feel a little better.

Q: How much of a comfort was it that your parents were there and that some of the Titans, Jeff Fisher and Eddie George, stopped by to see you?
TM:
Like I said, there were so many people that I should thank. I was knocked out and they told me that Steve McNair was going to come and see me and Eddie George walked in. I was like, "Either you're not Steve McNair or I'm really knocked out." There's so many people. My parents were there. My brother was there. My best friends were there. It was like I said, we've gotten phone calls from everybody around the world. It's been great. And most of all, the support I've gotten from the fans has been overwhelming.

Q: Did your mom give you any advice about whether or not to play?
TM:
No. We've been a football family our whole lives. I think the last thing my dad told me was to take it slow, see what you can do and let's hurry up and get back out there.

Q: How did the fans show their support?
TM:
I got handed a stack of e-mails today, probably 1,000 of them. Driving in this morning and listening to the radio. And somebody told me about cards they have at malls that people have been signing. Anybody that I have come into contact with has been nothing but supportive. It really has been overwhelming, that part of it. I think you can deal with injuries. You can deal with working and knowing what you've got ahead of you. But those things like that, those touch you a little differently.

Q: The doctors said it's up to when you want to return. Realistically, when do you think that will be?
TM: Hopefully soon is all I can say. I'm going to ride the bike today. I'm going to throw a little bit, try to do a little bit tomorrow. But I really can't answer that until I start doing stuff. The more stuff I do, the better I feel. Apparently, they put a lot of drugs into me. I've got to work all of that out of my system. From where I was Sunday afternoon, I feel pretty fortunate.

Q: Are you worried you're going to be gun shy at all?
TM:
No. That's the good thing about not being able to remember the hit.

Q: Do you remember when you first became conscious on the field. Do you recall that and do you remember what you thought or said?
TM:
The first thing I remember, obviously, they said I was talking to them on the field and in the ambulance. The first thing I remember is being on the X-ray table. Really, at that point, I just remember faces coming in and out. I remember talking to people. I remember seeing my brother there. At that point, I still wasn't moving a lot. They were still trying to get me to grip with my hands. I remember when I was actually able to give a little pressure back. I remember grabbing one of the doctor's hands and him saying, "All right, we've got something going." That's when I kind of got scared. I kind of felt like I'd just come to and would be all right. But then I realized I still wasn't moving my legs. That was a tough part.

Q: What was it like today coming in and seeing your teammates?
TM:
It was really the reason I wanted to get down here today. I wanted to see them. I wanted to tell them thank you for everything. All of the guys, all of the guy's wives calling my wife and being there for her. It was good. Another reason I wanted to do it was because we've got a big game this weekend. It sounds funny, but everybody's been asking me how I've been sleeping and I tell them not very well, but it's all been football stuff more than injury stuff. We've got six weeks left and this is a big game for us. I wanted to get all of this behind us so we can win some football games.

Q: Will you have a role on Sunday?
TM:
I don't know. Right now, it's just not even a day at a time, but a moment at a time.

Q: You remember being paralyzed. How can you put that out of your mind?
TM:
I think through talking to doctors and getting all of the information you can get. I've played this game my whole life and have never had anything like this happen before. So you look at the odds. Because this happened does this mean it can happen again easier? From all of the information I've gotten, it's been clear. Everything looks good. If I was worried about that to begin with, I shouldn't be playing this game. I really can say I'm not worried about that. I'm worried about getting back in shape. I'm worried about getting back out on the field. I've been through a lot to get to this point and I'm looking forward to getting back out there.

Q: Does your wife share that feeling?
TM:
Yes she does. She was the first person I talked to it about. She's the most imporant thing and if she didn't feel comfortable with it, I wouldn't be sitting here saying it.

Q: Kordell (Stewart) is going to start this week. Have you had a conversation with him? How do you think he'll do? What have you guys talked about?
TM:
We've just gone through meetings today like we always do. He'll go out there and do a great job. I haven't been able to see it, but apparently, he went out and played well Sunday. It's a big game for us, one that we need to go out and win. He's going to go out there and play hard and do a great job.

Q: Have you allowed yourself to think, "Why now?" After all of the stuff you've gone through in 10 years, for something like this to come now and interrupt it...
TM:
It's just another thing. I've said all along that the struggles that I've been through have made me stronger and I think this is just one more thing. It will make me stronger going through this. I really try not to ask why. I know God is in control of my life and that things will work out. I'm excited about the future. I'm excited about continuing to play this game and I'm excited to get out on the field again.

Q: Did your kids understand what happened?
TM:
My 9-year-old did. She knew what was going on. I wanted my wife to stay with her. My little boy, he just knew that I was gone a little longer than usual. My 9-year-old, she handled everything great. She's been answering questions at school, just like I'm answering questions here.

Q: What did she ask you?
TM:
I didn't get to see her until about 4:30 yesterday afternoon because of school, and she just wanted to give me a big hug.

Q: What did Keith Bullock say to you?
TM:
I don't remember. Everybody said he came up and said something to me, but I don't remember it. Everybody asked about the hit. I've seen it. It wasn't a bad hit. It's just something that happened. From the fans here to the fans in Tennessee to the Titans, it's nice to see that it's just a game.

--Dale Lolley


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