This is an article from the Nov. 18, 2013 issue
The two-time Pro Bowl linebacker has nine sacks and four forced fumbles to help the Chiefs remain the sole undefeated team in the NFL. He made an appearance on a rap song by Kansas City recording artist Steven Cooper.
DAN PATRICK:When did you first watch football?
TAMBA HALI: Probably [when I was] 10. I didn't understand the game.
TH: It seemed like everybody was running into each other. I thought, Why don't they try to run around them.
DP:Did you watch sports growing up in Liberia?
TH: We didn't have TV. When we moved to the Ivory Coast, there's TV and you could catch a little [soccer].
DP:Did you worry for your safety in war-torn Liberia?
TH: I worried. People were dying. You knew people were going to die. You just hoped it wasn't people you knew and people who were close to you.
DP:Do you want people to jump on the Chiefs' bandwagon?
TH: Whatever people choose to do, that's up to them. We're just focused on what we're doing.
DP:How has having Andy Reid there made a difference?
TH: Coach is a natural born leader. From Day One we set our goals. The goal wasn't to rebuild the team. We knew we had talent.
DP:Were you hazed?
TH: I'd rather not use the word hazed.
TH: I had to bring in donuts for the guys.
DP:What are your thoughts on facing Peyton Manning in Week 11?
TH: I think the world of the guy. Any player in this league would like to model himself after Peyton.
DP:What are you listening for when Manning is barking audibles?
TH: I don't listen to him.
DP:You don't try to pick up anything at the line?
TH: You don't want to get caught up with what he's doing at the line of scrimmage because then you'll get thrown off your game.
DP:How long have you been rapping?
TH: I've been rapping for a long time. I started rapping when I started to rhyme. I took it more seriously in college. When I got to the league, I understood my profession was playing football. It's my hobby. It's a way I can express myself. I believe that I'm very good at it.
DP:I've been known to rap a little. Think you could take me?
TH:[Laughs.] I'm not into battle rap.
DP:Who is your idol in rap?
TH: I grew up on Jay-Z, Biggie, Tupac.
DP:Biggie or Tupac?
DP:You gotta go Biggie.
TH: In the sense of flow, yes.
DP:What do you think of Eminem?
TH: The world. I just got his new CD. He's going off.
DP:Which would you rather win, a Grammy or a Super Bowl ring?
TH: Super Bowl ring. Can't get that one wrong.
Seahawks receiver Golden Tate told me coach Pete Carroll isn't afraid to mix it up. "He's like a big kid in a 62-year-old body," Tate said. "Every single day at practice he comes out wearing receiver gloves and plays catch. He's all over the place. It's really fun." ... Although Steelers safety Troy Polamalu is in his 10th season, he still won't put an end date on his career. He did admit, however, that he jokes with teammates about when it will be time to quit: "When your knowledge for the game becomes more than your athleticism for the game, it's time to start coaching." ... Golden State's Mark Jackson believes he is coaching the best-shooting backcourt of all time with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. I asked Jackson where the Pacers' backcourt from his playing days ranked. "Reggie [Miller] held me down too much," Jackson said. "If Reg's jumper was a little better, we'd be in the discussion."