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Rams LB Connor Barwin reminisces about the times he got in trouble during his younger days in the NFL.

By Jimmy Traina
December 01, 2017

Rams linebacker Connor Barwin joined the latest edition of “Off the Board” with SI.com’s Jimmy Traina for a fun chat about football and much more.

Barwin, who will be sidelined for a few weeks after under going forearm surgery, gave some insight on how NFL players deal with injuries and went into detail about the time he broke his ankle, an injury similar to the one suffered by Celtics guard Gordon Hayward earlier this season.

With the 8-3 Rams being one of the NFL's best stories, Barwin also talked about not being surprised by his team's success this season.

"I knew when I came here I was joining a very talented defense. I had played with [defensive coordinator] Wade Phillips before, so I know he would bring his magic which he has done. I didn’t know much about the offense. I knew Jared Goff was a No. 1 overall pick. Didn’t know what Sean would be like a as a head coach. but right away you could tell Sean was special and he’s been the whole season. He’s a great leaders, he’s obviously great at what he does on offense and play-calling, but more than anything as a head coach he does a great job balancing the ability to communicate with is players and listen but also controlling the room and having that command you need as a head coach."

Barwin, who came into the league in 2009 with the Texans, also told some funny stories about getting in trouble during his early days in the league.

"We got in a trouble a couple of times in Houston when I was young. One time, it was OTAs and Cinco de Mayo, of course, me and Sean Cody went out and had a little too much fun and didn't make it the next day. We got yelled at for that, but Sean Cody got yelled at more because I was a rookie, so I didn't get in that much trouble [head coach Gary] Kubiak just yelled at Sean Cody like it was all his fault and he was molding me to be a bad NFL player."

"The only other time I can think of a decent story was when there used to be hazing, I think my third year in the league, me and, again, Sean Cody, there was one rookie D-lineman who was a pain in the ass and he would never do anything, so we showed up in training camp real early and just kind of put a bunch of shit in his locker and we put Icy Hot in his helmet and maybe in his mouth guard and then somehow we decided to do it to a lot of the rookies, which was all fine back in the day when this kind of stuff happened. But Kubiak got pissed because we did it to one of the free-agent centers and he couldn't practice because the Icy Hot got in his eyes and he couldn't see. That was the real problem. Hazing was fine, but as soon as the guy can't practice in training camp, that's a real issue, so we got in a bunch of trouble for that. Luckily he ended up being OK, but I was scared for like 10 minutes. Everybody else was fine, but I was like 'this kid's gotta be OK. He can't actually be going blind.' I think maybe he just didn't want to practice, I don't know. But he ended up being fine, thank God."

Barwin also revealed on the podcast whether he ever saw J.J. Watt get in trouble during the time they played together for the Texans and weighed in on many other issues:

On Carson Wentz: 

"You knew as soon as he got there. He’s super talented. Guy is very serious. got great poise. What I noticed just his rookie year and what you're seeing now is how great an athlete he is. How’s he’s making plays off schedule and doing things with his feet if you’re a guy who can stand in the pocket and make throws off schedule like that, that’s really hard for a defense."

On how players feel about the Pro Bowl:

"Players a hundred percent really care about making the Pro Bowl. Guys that have never gone always go their first time. But actually going to the game? I don’t think guys really care a about it. But making it, guys wanna make the Pro Bowl. They want that recognition because it says they’re popular and had a good year, but physically going to the game, I don’t think guys are really interested in that."

On Eli Manning's benching:

"I guess when I found out, I was shocked. I was surprised of course. I don’t know why they did it. But the end is never clean for anybody in the NFL. When your career ends with a team, it’s never happy on both ends.That’s just something I’ve realized from being around. I left Houston. I wasn’t happy about it. I left Philly. I wasn’t happy about it. And I’ve seen countless teammates end their careers or end their careers in cities and never be happy about it. That’s just the way it goes. ...There’s just never a clean break up. It’s just the way it is."

On Josh Gordon saying he would do shots and taking "the biggest bong rip" he could before games and whether he's ever heard of players drinking and smoking weed before games:

"I’ve never heard of guys getting drunk or getting high before a game. I’ve heard people joke about it but I’ve never seen it. ... I think maybe the shot or two might be good for me, but a big bong hit definitely wouldn’t help me play football."

On the craziest thing he's seen a player do a before a game:

"In Houston when I was with Brian Cushing, he used to throw up before every game. In the beginning, it was not on purpose. Our rookie year, he just had to throw up. Maybe nerves or took too many protein supplements or caffeine and stuff and he would throw up, but then we all expected him to throw up, so we would make him throw up before the game. He would be over the garbage can hurling and we wouldn’t move on until he threw up and he would throw up blood and it was all fun. It was all fun and we got into it in Houston, but he used always have to throw up and it was a big old deal in Houston."

On football in L.A. and whether fans are into the Rams:

“There is Rams fever. People are getting excited. We’re winning. And there’s more and more people at every home game which is nice and I expect there to be even more at the Eagles game in two weeks. But you have to realize that LA, let’s just compare it to Philly, the Rams were here but they weren’t here the last 20 years. This is their second year here. You can’t compare a fan base for a team that’s been in the city for two years to a fan base like Philly where they’ve been there for like 90 years. It just takes time. Everyone wants to say LA is a fickle town, if we win they’ll come and if we lose they won’t. Yeah that might be true, but we’ve only been here two years. Give the team some time to build up their fan base. Don’t compare them to the Eagles or Giants or Steelersor some of these other teams that have been in towns for 80-90 years.

The other point people aren’t talking about is that L.A. is a very transient city, right? So a lot of people that live here aren’t from L.A., so whenever we play, like, the Colts, all the people that are from Indiana that live in LA wanna come to the game and they’re cheering for the Colts. When we play Philly, all the people from Pennsylvania that live in California now are gonna come down and come to the game and root for the Eagles so that’s one of the tough parts for the Rams right now. You get a lot of opposing fans coming to the games. I don’t think they’re really traveling here to go to the game. They just live here because they moved here at some point in their life and this is their only chance to see their hometown team play. And then we don’t have an NFL stadium. We’re playing at the Coliseum which his kind of cool, but it’s not up to par with other NFL stadiums. I just played at the Vikings stadium two weeks ago. That place is unbelievable." 

Barwin wraps up his interview by explaining how Off the Board's recent podcast with Scott Van Pelt has led to him quitting Twitter.

You can listen to the full podcast below or download it on iTunes, SoundCloud and Stitcher.

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