BR.com caught up with Ravens wide receiver Mark Clayton, who talked about growing up a Cowboys fan, playing in the last game at Texas Stadium and how he changed when he became a father.
BR.com: What were some of the biggest games you played in when you attended Oklahoma?
"We won the championship in 2000. That was my freshman year. I was blessed to be in three National Championship games. We had Florida State, LSU and then USC. The one that had the most controversy was the one vs. LSU, because we lost the Big 12 Championship game, but still made it to the championship. The one that had the most hype around it was the USC game. They had Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush, so the four finalists for the Heisman, with our Jason White and Adrian Peterson, were on the same field for two really good teams. They handed us a butt-whooping, but it was a fun game."
You grew up in Arlington, Texas. Were you a Cowboys fan?
"Yes. I was a big-time Cowboys fan. I loved Deion Sanders. When Deion came to Dallas, it was tight. I had this poster that was the coolest poster. It said, 'Water covers two-thirds of the earth, and 'Prime Time' covers the rest.'"
What does it mean to you to be playing in the last regular season game at Texas Stadium?
"It's an iconic place, no doubt. I've always looked up to the Cowboys, so Texas Stadium is certainly a place that I've always either imagined or wanted to play. The environment will be electric. With it being the last game, I know they'll have all the Hall of Famers, all the greats out. It will be exciting, and I'll have all my family there, of course."
How do you feel about the new stadium being built in your hometown of Arlington?
"That's right down the street from where my mother stays now. That stadium is going to be outstanding. I'm sure there are going to be a lot of great games played there."
If you could go back to one place while you're in Dallas, where would it be?
"I'd actually go to a little bitty spot called Crispy's. It's in Arlington, down the street from my high school. They have the best chicken. I think they put sugar and honey on their chicken."
How has being a father changed you?
"It's changed my perspective about everything. The decisions I make, they affect my next generation. And, I'm trying to make sure to set a foundation that's strong, that will withstand time. My family has been good, and I've had great family support. But the foundation of my family has been broken throughout history. I want to start something that hopefully will, from my generation on, be sustained and a solid foundation for the Clayton family name."
Talk about the play that you support, called "The Proverbs."
"My best friend Moses Washington, he wrote it, directed it, did all that. We've been tight since college, but I was able to be a part of him putting it together. It's such a powerful play that I said, 'People need to see this play.' It will impact lives. It will change people's perspective about life. It's powerful. It's a Christian-based play, but it covers a broad array of situations and things that happen in people's lives, and in church, and outside. It touches different groups of people. It's centered around the life of a pastor and the members of the church, but I can't go into detail, or we'd be here forever. I just know it was really powerful, and it struck me so much that I said, 'I'm willing to do whatever it takes, financially, talk to whoever, to get this play seen by more people.'"
What's the coolest scar that you have and the story behind it?
"This scar on my cheek. I got bit by a pit bull. He almost bit my eye. I was six years old. The dog was mine, but I was teasing it. It was hungry, and I had the food. I kept putting it in his face and snatching it back, putting it in his face and snatching it back. I guess he got frustrated with that. He figured he'd get a piece of meat somehow and took it off my cheek. The cut from the bite opened up really big, and my eye was swollen shut. It took 13 stitches or something like that to close it up. I love pit bulls still though, to this day. I'd get a pit bull in a minute. If I hadn't teased him, he wouldn't have reacted. It wasn't his fault."