Ha Ha Clinton-Dix Hoping for Another Last Laugh
LAKE FOREST, Ill. — When Ha Ha Clinton-Dix went to Washington earlier this season to play the team he finished last year with, he came up with his only two interceptions of this season.
So now the Bears safety is going back to Green Bay to play in the stadium where he started his career for the first time since they dealt him to Washington last season. Two more interceptions of Aaron Rodgers?
"If A-Rod decides to bless me and throw me the ball twice I'll be happy as hell," Clinton-Dix said. "Unfortunately A-Rod doesn't work that way.
"He's the best quarterback in the game. We just have to go out there and execute and eliminate big plays."
It is sure to be an emotional day for Clinton-Dix, interceptions or not.
Clinton-Dix was the 21st pick of the 2014 draft and had 14 of his 16 career interceptions with the Packers, but over the course of his final two seasons he absorbed some criticism and then the trade.
He's operated in Chicago this season on a one-year prove-it deal and it remains to be seen whether the Bears will want to pay out top dollar for a free agent safety when they already have to do the same after this season for Clinton-Dix's friend and former Alabama teammate Eddie Jackson.
"There were things I did the past five years that put me in this situation," Clinton-Dix said. "I had a chance to correct it. I've been doing it throughout the year."
Clinton-Dix won't be trash-talking the Packers.
"Green Bay and Chicago are (two) of the most prestigious organizations in this business," Clinton-Dix said. "High, top-quality places to play.
"So I'm blessed to be able to play at both these organizations."
The only goal for Clinton-Dix besides winning and keeping alive his playoff chances is giving teams more to think about when considering him in the future.
"For me it's about turning the tape on," he said. "It's about finishing the season strong.
"It's about December ball and playing your best ball now."
The Bears limited Green Bay's big passing plays last game, but eventually a few led to 10 points and a 10-3 Chicago in the season opener.
"They're up 1-0 on us in the division," Clinton-Dix said. "We have to get it down to 1-1."
If Clinton-Dix didn't want to reveal any deeper feelings about being traded, at least his coach has empathy for him. He knew the feeling.
"I mean, on a much smaller spectrum, I've been traded away as a player and I know what that feels like when you play them again," Nagy said.
The media's curiosity piqued, Nagy had to tell the story of being dealt from the Georgia Force to the Columbus Destroyers.
"And then we played them in the NFC championship game of the Arena League and we dominated them," Nagy said. "I'll never forget that game."
The compensation for the deal?
"Like, one of the top-five defensive ends in the league," Nagy said. "So I was worth something."
The defensive end was Mike Sutton, but the important part was who decided they should trade Nagy.
"Doug Plank," Nagy said.
That's the same Doug Plank, the Bears legendary one-man destruction crew at safety in the 1970s and early 80s, the man Buddy Ryan whose jersey number was the basis for Buddy Ryan's 46 defense. He was the coach of Nagy's Force.
When Nagy quarterbacked the Destroyers to the conference title, they beat Plank's team 66-56.
Did Nagy light it up?
"I'll just say we won," Nagy said.
Actually, he went 23 of 34 for 209 yards with five touchdowns and one interception.
As for he and Plank, that could have been uncomfortable when they have Bears alumni functions.
"But we're good friends," Nagy said.