For NFL players, dealing with the media isn't always easy or fun.
Losses and controversies have a way of making certain players less cooperative than others, even if cooperating is a basic requirement as spelled out in a standard NFL contract.
Then you have players who, regardless of the circumstances, consistently give their best when it comes to facing cameras and microphones. They handle the tough questions with as much patience as they do the easy ones. They are earnest in their efforts to provide meaningful quotes, to help media members share their take on a particular topic with the rest of the world outside the dressing room.
Sometimes they inject a little humor. Sometimes they find the absolute right words to sum up a game, a play, a season. We call them the "go-to guys" of the locker room.
For the third year, I have consulted with a panel of national NFL writers and broadcasters -- ones who regularly deal with a fairly broad range of teams -- to assemble a list, by position, of the league's most cooperative players with the media.
Our 2003 NFL All-Interview team follows:
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis; Brett Favre, Green Bay; Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia; Steve McNair, Tennessee
Clinton Portis, Denver; Jamal Lewis, Baltimore; Tiki Barber, New York Giants; Shawn Alexander, Seattle
Torry Holt, St. Louis; Chad Johnson, Cincinnati; Hines Ward, Pittsburgh; Keenan McCardell, Tampa Bay
Jerry Fontenot, New Orleans; Kevin Mawae, New York Jets; Matt Birk, Minnesota
Ray Brown, Detroit; Marco Rivera, Green Bay; Brian Waters, Kansas City; Adam Timmerman, St. Louis
Willie Anderson, Cincinnati; Brad Hopkins, Tennessee; Kyle Turley, St. Louis; Bob Whitfield, Atlanta
Shannon Sharpe, Denver; Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City; Chad Lewis, Philadelphia; Todd Heap, Baltimore
Marcellus Wiley, San Diego; Jason Taylor, Miami; Mike Rucker, Carolina; Simeon Rice, Tampa Bay
La'Roi Glover, Dallas;Richard Seymour, New England; Brentson Buckner, Carolina; Sam Adams, Buffalo
Zach Thomas, Miami; Derrick Brooks, Tampa Bay; LaVar Arrington, Washington; Chad Brown, Seattle
Ty Law, New England; Troy Vincent, Philadelphia; Ronde Barber, Tampa Bay; Fred Smoot, Washington
John Lynch, Tampa Bay; Darren Woodson, Dallas; Corey Chavous, Minnesota; Aeneas Williams, St. Louis
Mike Vanderjagt, Indianapolis; Morten Andersen, Kansas City
Darren Bennett, San Diego; Craig Hentrich, Tennessee
Dante Hall, Kansas City