Q: Curtis, how are you?
CM: I'm fine, how are you doing?
Q: Well. It's good talking to you as always.
CM: Alright. Likewise.
Q: Is it special to play against the team that was your starting point in your pro career?
CM: It's always special playing against them. Especially considering the fact that I still know a lot of them. Many of them are still my best friends. I still talk to them a lot and I'm still in touch. I've actually been on vacation with a couple of them. We all have good relationships, and as always, it's like playing against your brothers.
Q: Who are your best buddies on this team?
CM: Ty [Law], Lawyer [Milloy], Willie [McGinest], you know, a lot of them. Those three, [Roman] Phifer, [Anthony] Pleasant, I mean, I can go all the way down the list.
Q: You've got a lot of brothers over here, then. Tell me about the feelings you had about them going to the Super Bowl and winning it the way they did.
CM: Well, for one, I thought that they set a good standard for the meaning of teamwork. New England, they may not be the most talented at every position, but as a team, they were the most talented. I think that's even more significant. I think that they set a great standard not only for themselves, but for everyone about what team is about. If we weren't there and they're in the running for the Super Bowl, they would definitely have my vote. They had my hope and everything. I wanted them to win the game. I was interviewed a couple of days before the game when everyone was banking on the Rams, and I told them, look, if New England beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, they are going to win the Super Bowl. They're not going to go to the Super Bowl twice in New Orleans and lose.
Q: This is a big game early in the season where they're the Super Bowl champions and you're trying to get to that point.
CM: Yeah, definitely. They're a good team. You can't escape that at all. The way they play together, that's where their strength is. So we've definitely got our work cut out for us this week.
Q: Is Herm Edwards the kind of coach that he seems to be from our vantage point? He's very intense, yet has empathy for his players?
CM: You know something, what I really appreciate about Herm is that he doesn't just understand the players, but he also understands how to be a coach. He understands how to be a leader. He understands how to keep that separation and that respect from player to coach. He's very balanced. Sometimes you find guys who are just too coachy, and sometimes you find guys who are too nice. But Herman has a very good balance between the two, and he demands respect without yelling and without being in your face. He gets the respect that he demands and I think the team is excited about playing for him, because of the leader he is.
Q: Quite honestly, you've always had a good relationship with every coach, and that's one of the things that make you the antithesis of the modern-day athlete, because you work well with everybody.
CM: I think that you've got to be able to adapt, but at the same time, it's not only me who feels that way about Herman. Most of the team, if not all of the team, feels that exact same way. That's rare, because usually you've got guys who are one way or the other, but here you have everyone right around that same level like I just explained.
Q: You are 1,000 yards away from being the second player in NFL history, next to Barry Sanders, to have 1,000 yards rushing in the first eight years if your career. There's a whole bunch of that stuff that you've got going. Those numbers are going to be very telling once your career is over. Do you stop and think about that at all?
CM: From what I've learned, you can't help it, because it's always an issue. A lot of reporters and a lot of the guys doing interviews with me, they bring it up a lot. For me, I try to keep my mind off of it as much as possible. But, it isn't bad luck or anything, I love just focusing on the little things, the details, and then I'd like to look up one day and see how the big things were taken care of by just focusing on the little things. I appreciate things like that. So, that's where my head's at about it. I don't say, well, I want to be the second guy in history to do… no, it's not that. It's just let me focus on the little, everyday things in practice and then when I look up one day, then I'll see what I've accomplished.
Q: I'm looking at the Jets right now, and I see three wide receivers that are some of the best in the league with great speed, I see you, I see Vinny [Testaverde] still playing at a high level, probably more comfortable with the offense this year than he was last year. On the flip side, the defense looks very talented, the front guys, you've got some new faces there. What kind of team are the Jets? I seem to think that they're going to fight the Patriots for the division.
CM: Well, hopefully. Hopefully we'll be able to win it, but at the same time, I think this season is bringing us closer and closer together. We made a few minor adjustments in the offseason, which I think were definitely great for us. I think that we have a team that understands that we all have one common goal. I think that we have the fight, the will and the talent to do it. The chemistry, I think, is important, and that's something that we have, but it's getting better and better as time goes on.
Q: Do you think you have some of the same traits that you touched on about the Patriots?
CM: Yes, I definitely do. I think that we have the right outfit to come together in that way, and to play as a team very well. So yeah, I would have to say I do.
Q: I wonder if it's more important to have that intangible, that chemistry, that teamwork kind of attitude than it is to have talent?
CM: You don't even have to wonder about that. I can tell you that at least from my point of view and from what I've seen, more so than talent, it's that chemistry, that special intangible quality about a team that wins championships. It's not the most talent. It's about how whatever talent you have comes together and creates one force. I think I've believed that my entire career; for my entire life, in fact. You see a lot of teams that are so, so, so, so talented. You look at Washington, that year when they had everyone and they didn't have a good season. Talent isn't everything. Chemistry is more.
Q: Physically, are you okay? I know you have an ankle problem. Are you all set for this week?
CM: Yeah, I'm getting better.
Q: In facing the Patriots defense, you saw what they did Monday Night. Jeez, were they on top of it against a so-called talented team. It's a big challenge for you, I suppose, going up against that defense.
CM: Well, it's always a big challenge, because they've always had a good defense. And they always put pressure on you and they've always played with a lot of fire, so it's the same challenge as it's always been. It's not like the Patriots have just started playing good defense. They've been playing good defense.
Q: Curtis, when you were watching the Super Bowl last year, did you think, 'Jeez, I wish things had worked out there and I was still there'?
CM: No, I didn't think that. What I was thinking, I mean, I wasn't there. Just fun bets, not really betting anything, I was betting like that the Patriots would get first downs and that Adam Vinatieri would make the field goal and things like that. I wasn't thinking, 'I wish I was there today.' I'm happy where I'm at and I'm happy for those guys.
Q: Were you with a lot of friends watching the game?
CM: Yeah, I had some friends around, but everyone was dressed up in Rams jerseys and things, so I was one of the only ones rooting for the Patriots in that situation.
Q: Was it at a private home?
CM: No, it was a private Super Bowl viewing or something.
Q: And you were one of the few guys who was rooting for the Patriots.
Q: You didn't wear any Patriots paraphernalia, did you?
CM: No, I wasn't going to go that far.
Q: Can you tell us what it's been like in New York this week and especially today?
CM: Well, I think it's like this. We're pretty much, it's hard to say, over 9/11, because it means so much to each and every one of us, and for us, it hits home, but I think that what we've done, not just as a team, but I think New Yorkers have strived to make things normal again. I've seen the city recover very fast from that. And it's such a devastating thing that it's something that you kind of don't want to think about, especially if you knew people. It makes it hard, but I think it's something we've been able to gain strength from, versus allowing it to be a distraction for us.
Q: When you went on vacation with some of your pals from up here, where did you go and who did you go with?
CM: Ty and Troy Brown, we were all in Jamaica together. They teased me at times, saying that they were the Super Bowl champs. We were talking sometimes and they would say, 'Look, if you're not a world champion, you can't talk to me.' So I'd call them idiots and stuff, but we had a good time.
Q: Sounds like you had a good time. Maybe you'll be in Jamaica next year giving them the business.
CM: Yeah, hopefully.
Q: Well, Curtis, thank you very much. It's always great talking to you. Keep up the performance level you're at.
CM: Alright. Thank you.