Would you ever regret anything? I wouldn't. At this point, it put me right at about 12 weeks out from when I actually tore it, so that alone still gave me time. Once we kind of secured a spot, then it was kind of already written, and there was no need for me to come back and play a regular season game when I knew there was going to be playoffs.
Wow. One time they just got ready to introduce the defense, and they were going to introduce us together. This guy in my hometown named Kirby Lee, he used to always do this dance, and the dance was called 'The Squirrel.' I told him, 'I'm going to do that dance some day.' He was like, 'You're not going to do it.' I said, 'I'm going to do it.' Then one day, they introduced the defense, and I came out, and I just did it. When I did it, of course the crowd went crazy. After that, they were like, 'Oh, we need to see the dance again.' So, then it just kept on going, and I started adding music to it and movie clips to it. (laughter) So, it was a good time.
Everything I did to get back, if it wasn't for my team, it was for my city. That's one thing that I bought into from Day One. I'm not just here in this city to play football, I'm here to actually create real change in this city. If my effort can give you hope, faith or love, then so be it. I'll give everything I have, and today was about me giving everything that I had, showing people that no matter the circumstances that you may be going through, just push through it. If you can push through it, you will encourage somebody. Today, hopefully through what I did today, somebody was uplifted.
They are always classic, I will tell you that. It's just one of those chess matches. He knows me very well. I know them very well. He is dealing with a lot of different new pieces out there, but they are doing a heck of a job adjusting to his scheme and getting to playing real fast out there. So, I just think for me and him back colliding, because at the end of the day, it's not about me and Peyton. It's about their team against our team. I just like our team. I love our team right now, and I am really looking forward to going out there and playing them next week.
Once again, God to all glory, because I didn't feel one thing. I didn't hurt it one time. I actually argued with my equipment staff to take it off half way through the game, because I thought I didn't need it. I was trying to tell them it was stopping me from extending, but you know what, I've always trusted them with their advice. It was kind of important to keep it on, and for me to come out and not have a bruise, not tweak it, not do anything like that, is just really awesome.
That's easy. I've already turned my iPad in to get Denver film now. It's onto the next one. That's one thing about being in this business so long. I told them, 'We don't have the 24-hour rule now. We have a less-than-12-hour rule,' because we are back to work. We knew who we have next week. Denver is going to be well-rested. We saw them earlier in the year, but now we get them again with all of our guys back. We are really looking forward to it.
[Asked if his lap around the stadium was planned or in the moment]In the moment. I had nothing planned today at all. My total focus today was to come in and play my heart out and get my team a win. Everything else just came with it. Everything just came with it. There was probably no greater moment than seeing my kids, my mom, my dad, my family right there in the end of the end zone. That was probably when I lost it emotionally, because I knew that everything I have always done has always been for them.
Don't hold your heads down because we got something to finish and through all the injuries and through all the things that we've been through this year, every day I came by and told O.J the truth, My greatest motivation, because we won a super bowl together and to see him still fighting and to see us here today holding this trophy, God is absolutely amazing!
They called me up [in the locker room] at the end of the thing, and [head] coach [John Harbaugh] gave me a game ball. In 1996 when I came out, I was at the Dolphins' stadium, and I'll never forget the phone call that Ozzie Newsome gave me. I picked up the phone, and Ozzie said, 'Hey, how are you doing? This is Ozzie Newsome. I want to congratulate you, because we are going to draft you.' The first thing I said to him, I was like, 'Ozzie, what's our team name going to be? Who are we?' (laughter) We hadn't made the transition yet. We were still the Browns, and we hadn't gotten uniforms yet. We had none of that. It was all a huge shock. I was like, 'I don't know who I'm playing for. I don't know where I'm going or anything like that.' But, I've always told everybody that God doesn't make mistakes, and he knew that Baltimore would be a very special place to bring football back, and who knew that he was going to bring me and Jonathan Ogden back to be the first picks here. Like I said, I can only applaud my city, applaud Ozzie Newsome, applaud the Ravens organization for actually drafting me.
I called [general manager and executive vice president] Ozzie [Newsome] two days after I got hurt, and I said, 'Don't put me on IR [injured reserve].' He was like, 'What do you mean?' I said, 'Trust me, I will be back.' We've always had trust in each other, this organization and me. So, from that point, I had nothing else in my vision than to be back, to come back and play with my team and be back. Could I have played in the weeks before? Yes, but we had a good enough team to get us here, and that was the point, to get back in the playoffs. And now we go to the next level.
High school. I did play a little running back in high school, but when [head coach] John [Harbaugh] came to me and said that they wanted me to do that last play... The funnest thing about it - he never knew this - I've always wanted to do that play. I just never was bold enough to go to a coordinator and say, 'Coach, let me do that last play.' So, to go out there and do it and then messing with Jacoby [Jones], [director of security] Darren [Sanders] and all of those guys, they were like, 'I bet you won't do your dance in the middle after it's over.' So, it was just fun, and it was really a big congratulations to our fans more than anything. That's probably why I was so excited about doing it.
It probably won't. It probably won't sink in. You know what, the reason why it probably won't is because it's probably the last thing on my mind right now. Seriously, because the next thing on my mind is, as a team, we are poised to go do something. Whenever the road stops - ultimately God's will is God's will. As men, we made a commitment to each other, and that is to next week head to Denver to get a win.
I actually started to practice [during] [Washington] week, and I really just went hard in practice, and I started doing scout team and messing around. So, I really pushed myself to get the pace back up and the tempo back up. [Head] coach [John Harbaugh], [defensive coordinator] Dean Pees and [inside linebackers coach Don Martindale] 'Wink' came to me and said, 'Do you think you will be able to go a whole game?' I am like, 'Listen, this is it. This is why we do it.' I've been training so hard. Everything that I've done since I've been hurt has been to be back with my team, to be back clicking on all cylinders, not come back and have to go in and come back out. I've never played my career like that, so I was totally ahead of the game.
I just think it's one of those things that when you recap it all and you try to say what is one of your greatest moments... I knew how it started, but I never knew how it was going to end here in Baltimore. For it to go the way it went today, I wouldn't change anything. There were so many moments today, so many fans and just the things that were said, the tears I was seeing from people, and I'm trying to hold it in myself, because I'm trying to play a game. [It was] just a very, very emotional day.
That's the most physical football game I've ever played in my entire life, ... McFadden is a great back, especially being a true freshman, but they have a big, physical offensive line, too. For them to be a 2-5 team is unbelievable.