- Graham Bensinger, Contributing Writer, ESPN.com
- 0 Shares
Editor's note: Graham Bensinger spoke to Colts running back Dominic Rhodes for five minutes every day during Super Bowl week. Here is their conversation from Monday, after the Colts' victory parade in Indianapolis.
Graham Bensinger: How was last [Sunday] night?
Dominic Rhodes: Last night was long. It wasn't even a party. It was like a little luncheon, man. It was crazy. Everyone had their own table. You sat down, talked with your family and took pictures with people. Honestly, it really wasn't that interesting.
Bensinger: It wasn't a party?!
Rhodes: Heck, no! Most of my teammates went out to South Beach. I was sitting there with my family in what seemed like a little luncheon. We sat there until about 5 a.m.
Bensinger: Geez That's so strange. After I was in the Colts' locker room following the Super Bowl, it got me thinking. In MLB, for example, the World Series champion team goes crazy. The champagne is on hand and is sprayed everywhere. There's nothing even remotely close to that in the NFL.
Rhodes: I don't know what it is. We were just talking about it today. We didn't pop no [champagne] bottles. Honestly, I feel it's because we are so tired. I don't feel like you exert near as much energy in those other sports as you do in football. Football is a very violent game. After these last couple playoff games, I was basically spent, man.
Bensinger: Did your teammates have fun on South Beach?
Rhodes: I didn't really talk to them about it. I've just been trying to get as much rest as I can in between everything that we've been doing.
Bensinger: Have you gotten any sleep since the Super Bowl?
Rhodes: I've gotten maybe an hour of sleep so far. I was supposed to go to Disney World today. I tried to lie down and go to bed just after 5 a.m. I probably didn't get to bed until 6 a.m and woke up at 7:10 a.m. I found out that I didn't have to go to Walt Disney today. I went back to my room, laid down, and tossed and turned the whole time. I really haven't had any good decent sleep yet.
Bensinger: Just too much on your mind because of everything that has transpired?
Rhodes: Yeah, man. Everything is just flowing through my mind. I'm a real high-energy person. My mind is racing all the time. I go from thought to thought to thought all day long. Sometimes, I wear myself out but I still can't go to sleep.
Bensinger: What were you thinking about?
Rhodes: Life, my family, and all these opportunities that God has blessed me with. It's a constant football game that's being played in my head.
Bensinger: Why didn't you go to Disney World today?
Rhodes: It was because we had our parade today. The team said that I couldn't go and that I had to be here for the parade.
The parade was the coldest I felt like they were torching us, man! (laughs)
I know it was like zero degrees. My hands were numb. It was insane. Even people were outside waiting for us. They were there, so we had to go outside.
Bensinger: I would imagine it was slightly different weather than Miami
Rhodes: Slightly isn't even close to the term to use for that! (laughs) We're talking about a complete 180. We're talking about from warm to freezing!
Bensinger: So how was the parade?
Rhodes: It was all right other than the cold weather throwing everything for a loop. We went inside the [RCA] Dome at the end of the parade. Everyone was speaking, and that's when it got real fun. We had 50, 000 [people] in the dome, and it was wired up! I had a lot of fun with that.
Bensinger: What did you say to the crowd?
Rhodes: I got up there and said, "It is great to be back in the dome again. Thank you for your support. Me and Joe [Addai] love you."
Bensinger: What was it like going down the street en route to the dome?
Rhodes: It was a whole lot of yelling and people screaming for us. People were happy that we brought a championship back to Indianapolis for the first time. It was pandemonium.
Bensinger: Sunday night, I talked to the people who were coordinating your trip to Disney World. They were trying to fly you out to Orlando to go to the park today and still get you back to Indianapolis for the parade. Even with that plan, why did the team want you to hold off?
Rhodes: Everything was being cut too close. They just wanted me to come back with the team to Indianapolis. They said that they made the decision late Sunday night and that's why I didn't get to know about it [before Monday morning]. I was happy that I didn't have to go today even though I still couldn't get back to sleep.
Bensinger: When are you going?
Rhodes: I go Wednesday. Tuesday, I'm doing [ESPN2's] "Cold Pizza."
Bensinger: What's the plan for Disney World?
Rhodes: I go over there [to Orlando, Fla.] and have another parade. I do the parade, a couple interviews with sponsors, and that's pretty much it. I'll go back down there later this year and take my kids and family.
Bensinger: How cool is it to be in the "I'm going to Disney World" commercial?
Rhodes: It was pretty cool. I still haven't seen it and heard everything, but you get taken back because you see the guys before you that have done it. I was watching the New York Giants when they played against the Denver Broncos [in Super Bowl XXI] and [QB] Phil Simms kept saying, 'I'm going to Disney World!' It's a dream come true. In my mind, I'm really not thinking that I'm going to Disney World. I'm just thinking about helping my team win and that I want to try and become the MVP. It's a great feeling.
Bensinger: In the postgame interview room, it was funny watching the camera crew tape you saying the lines for the Disney World commercial. What do you recall from it?
Rhodes: I was thinking, 'Make sure you read it right!' I just wanted to make sure that I did it right and that I didn't mess up. I didn't want to embarrass the guys who did it before me.
Bensinger: They made you reread the lines a few times. They wanted more emotion! More enthusiasm!
Rhodes: Yeah, yeah, man. That's usually not a hard deal for me, but I wasn't getting what they wanted. I know now that when I go to Disney World they're going to want me to raise my emotion level very intense!
Bensinger: What have your children had to say about all of this?
Rhodes: I really haven't gotten to talk to them about all of this. For them, I think they're going to become superstars at their schools. They become the popular kids with the teachers and everybody. They love seeing their dad be successful.
They see that dreams can be achieved. Shoot as high as you can shoot and then go get it. Don't let anybody tell you that you can't do it.
Bensinger: I'm sure they're excited that they get to go to Disney World later this year.
Rhodes: Oh, yeah. My little girl called today and said, 'Hey, Dad, ask my mom if I can go to Disney World. Please!' She wants to go so bad. They're very excited.
Bensinger: What else is going on over the next couple days?
Rhodes: My agent is telling me that there are a couple opportunities that are going to be coming up. There are some things set up for me. I understand that I've got a lot of responsibilities now with accomplishing what I did in the Super Bowl. I'm just trying to soak this up and live in the moment. It may be a once-in-a-lifetime deal. I'm trying to take it all in and do the best job that I can to represent my team.
Bensinger: I know you would have liked to have won the MVP. Aside from that, you couldn't have a better situation. You had your biggest game on the biggest stage. You're heading into an offseason where you're a free agent. How great do you feel about the position you put yourself in?
Rhodes: I'm just happy with myself that I persevered through all the issues and went out and showed what I could do. I delivered like I know I can do all the time. I'm a big-game player. These kinds of games don't scare me. I play well when everything is on the line, and I showed that. I'm now going into free agency. Teams have seen that it doesn't matter the time or the place -- I can play some football. I just wanted to make sure when I went into this
free-agent market that there weren't any doubts out there.
Bensinger: How much thought have you put into being a free agent?
Rhodes: Oh, man. It's been weighing on my mind for a couple of weeks now. I haven't thought about it for probably the whole year. I've tried to put it to the back and focus on helping my team win. When you're a free agent and you know your future and your kids' future is relying on what your job is, I'm just happy that God blessed me to perform the way that I did [in the Super Bowl]. We're going into free agency now with hopefully a lot of people looking.
Bensinger: What do you think happens?
Rhodes: I don't know, man. I'm just going to let my agent do his work. He's a big-time believer, so I know that he'll put me in a great situation. We'll go out and do what we have to do. I hope the Colts think enough of me to try and get me back. I love playing for the Colts. If it doesn't happen, I understand everyone has to part ways sometimes. I've been there for six years now. It's like a marriage that is going real well and then in the end you get tired of each other. They may be tired of me. I'm happy with playing here [in Indianapolis], but I don't know how they're feeling right now.
Bensinger: Obviously, you were a starter this year, but you split time with Joseph Addai. Next season, to what extent do you want to be the man that's getting all of the carries?
Rhodes: I would love to have the shot to do the things that people like LT [LaDainian Tomlinson] are doing. When given the opportunity, I really feel like I can be one of, if not the, best back in the league. That's just the confidence that I have. I would love to have the opportunity to get the ball every down and catch it and do everything that these other backs are doing. I just hope that God blessed me with that opportunity.
Bensinger: If the Colts didn't offer that and another team did, would that be the point where you'd say it's time to go elsewhere?
Rhodes: I can't say that for sure. It depends on the situation. I love playing for the Colts, and I don't want to take a step down. I want to stay with an organization that I know is a winner and they compete every year. I consider myself a true professional, and I take this game seriously. I would never put myself in a situation where I'm going to play for a team that doesn't prepare the way that the Colts do.
Graham Bensinger is a regular contributor to ESPN.com. Visit his Web site at TheGBShow.com. You can e-mail him at email@example.com
In the final Super Bowl conversation, Dominic Rhodes talks about Indy's victory celebration, his pending free agency and more.