Ravens kicker Matt Stover, a 19-year veteran and the last remaining "original Brown" on the Ravens roster, talks to BR.com about his life off the football field.
BR.com: If you could have a field goal duel with any kicker, past or present, who would it be?
Matt Stover: "I've never thought about that. I've gone and dueled with a lot of good ones. You've got to admit that whenever you play another team, you're playing their kicker, too, so you duel every Sunday. But a heads-up duel? Gosh, I don't know. You'd want to go against the best to see if you're one of the best, and Morten Andersen, back in his heyday, that'd be great."
Have you seen the "I'm Matt Stover" YouTube video that parodies the Daughtry song "It's Not Over"?
"Yeah, that's so funny. We had a ball with that. Somebody showed that to me, and I went, 'No way!' We just had a lot of fun. We sent it all around to the family, and they had a great time with it."
What's the most valuable thing that you've learned as a player rep in the NFLPA?
"You have to be willing to lead your players. Sometimes, that means making hard choices like any leader has to. You have to be able to make hard decisions and choices that may not be popular, but you've got to lead and stand by your decisions. These guys trust me. I continue to maintain their trust by how I lead them with the collective bargaining agreement, with working conditions and that type of stuff. I continue to strive to get better. It's a unique dynamic in this locker room to be able to do that. I'm trying to learn how to be a leader in a position that I believe is a microcosm of the entire United States right here out of 60 guys. You have to learn how to lead and gain trust."
How'd you like being a guest conductor with the Baltimore Symphony a few years ago?
"Governor [Martin] O'Malley and I were doing this [when O'Malley was Baltimore's mayor], and we had a good time. It was promoting a younger generation of people to come and enjoy the symphony, and they asked me to do it. I absolutely agreed because I think there's huge value in it. My daughter and my littlest son play the piano, and my middle son plays the saxophone and drums. So all of them are musically inclined."
Your two oldest kids have the same birthday. How did you pull that off?
"That was a unique situation to have them both born on April 26, a year apart from one another. You just have to be an accurate kicker to get that done. They used to get the same party before they turned five, but after they turned five they wanted their own."
Are you a fantasy football player?
"No, but I have a lot of people tell me they're drafting me, and they keep me as their top kicker. Sometimes they've got to draft me sooner than they would like to in the draft because you always take the kickers last. My brother plays, and sometimes he says, 'Hey, is [Willis] McGahee up this week?' He wants to know the inside scoop."
Your recollections of living in Cleveland?
"I think the city gets a bad rap because the winters are just brutal. It's on Lake Erie, and that used to be dirty, but it's not anymore. But when springtime comes, it's absolutely gorgeous. You've got the valley through there, and some great golf courses. The people are authentic. You get what you see, and that's what I like about it. You don't have any pretentiousness in that city, so I really enjoy it. I came from Dallas, and Dallas is a mini-Los Angeles, but Cleveland isn't. I appreciate that."