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updated: 10/30/2012 3:53 PM

NFL players and coaches say the darndest things

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  • New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski had a funny description for his touchdown celebration at Wembley Stadium in London on Sunday.

    New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski had a funny description for his touchdown celebration at Wembley Stadium in London on Sunday.
    Associated Press


The quote from New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski after his team's 45-7 victory over the St. Louis Rams at London's Wembley Stadium was hilarious, although it makes you wonder about his education.

After a TD catch, the Gronk's end zone celebration was intended as an imitation of the guards at Buckingham Palace, but not everyone got it.

Asked who he was impersonating, Gronkowski said: "That little nutcracker dude that's guarding the house."

That line brought back memories of some of the funniest quotes I've heard from Bears over the last 20 years or so.

After a lackluster 20-6 loss to the Bucs in Tampa closed out the 1999 season at 6-10, linebacker Barry Minter was asked if such a defeat was especially bad because it would linger throughout the off-season.

"Yeah," Minter said, "A loss like this really sticks in your crotch."

A couple years earlier, after another loss in Tampa, running back Raymont Harris was asked a long-winded and convoluted question in a group setting. Harris, a bright and well-spoken Ohio State grad, was flummoxed, so he asked for clarification. The do-over was even more verbose and confusing.

A puzzled Harris looked up and said: "Is it me?"

No, Raymont, it wasn't you.

Just after he was signed as a veteran free agent by the Bears in 2001, 340-pound defensive tackle Keith Traylor met the media after his first practice, basically a go-through-the-motions light workout.

"I just wanted to get out there and break a little wind," said Traylor, who quickly realized he meant to say "sweat" instead of "wind" and laughed harder than anyone.

Guard Todd Burger, a tough kid from a tough part of Jersey, played at Penn State, spent five years with the Bears from 1993-97 and was a starter for two years. During one of the almost-annual disparagements of the Soldier Field playing surface, Burger was asked for his thoughts.

"I don't know what everyone's complaining about," he said, "the field we played on in high school was covered with used condoms and broken beer bottles."

It was suggested to Anthony Marshall, a free-agent safety from LSU, that he should be starting after playing a couple good games, and he agreed.

"Yeah," he said, "I might have to put a bug in the coach's eye about that."

Defensive end Alonzo Spellman was a master of misspeak.

After a particularly rough stretch during the Dave Wannstedt years, Spellman decided it was time to "Circle the horses." Circling the wagons works better, and it doesn't offend those animal-rights activists as much.

Spellman was once asked during training camp in Platteville, Wis., what his sacks goals were for the coming season.

"High double digits," he replied. He didn't really think he had a chance to get 90 or so. We assumed he meant high teens.

The 1992 first-round draft pick did have a total of 23 sacks over three seasons from 1994-96 before a bipolar condition and other personal problems derailed his career.

Former quarterback Jim Miller was suspended for four games for violating the NFL's policy on banned substances in 1999. But it really seemed like he made an honest mistake. Wanting to lose some unwanted weight that he accumulated while a free agent, Miller purchased a product over the counter that contained an ingredient on the NFL's banned list.

At his news conference, Miller, still a bit on the pudgy side, sought to shoot down any notion of steroid use.

"You guys have seen me in the locker room," he said. "No one's trying to stuff dollar bills down my shorts."

Finally there was the interminably taciturn Dick Jauron, a good man but a bad quote.

When asked about an injured player, Jauron, as usual, declined to discuss specifics. But then he suggested the media consult Tim Bream, the team's head trainer.

Jauron was informed that, per a new organization policy, the media was not allowed to speak to the training staff.

"Well," Jauron said, "there's a conundrum."

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