That's according to the New York Times, which today published a brief profile of Bernard Pollard that may have been the result of an unpleasant encounter between Bernard Pollard and the author of the profile. Though the piece is at pains to point out that Pollard is "confident" and, according to a former opponent, "one of the most sure tacklers" in the league, the praise basically ends there. Patriots fans are fond of portraying Pollard as a goon, because Pollard is fond of injuring Patriots players (Brady in 2008, Welker in 2010, Gronkowski in last year's playoffs and Ridley last week), and while stereotypes are rarely useful or accurate in the context of professional athletes, Pollard seems like kind of a goon. Pollard, reports the Times, is usually quiet compared to Ravens teammates, and speaks up only to menacingly joke-yell at reporters. To wit:
"This is a violent sport," he said, adding: "I ask you the question: If I came to your house with the doors locked, and I just kicked it down and tried to steal stuff, you're going to defend your house, right? So that's the stand I take. We got grass behind us, and we have an end zone that we have to defend."
Pollard does not try to intimidate people, he said. It just seems to happen. This week, when he discovered that a television reporter had borrowed the chair from his locker so he could interview another player, Pollard glared at him. "I'm going to use my fist on you!" he said. Then he smiled. "I'm joking, man. Don't sue me." (The reporter, for the record, looked terrified.)
Ha! Jokes! I'd have wet myself. The best line of the profile, however, comes when the reporter describes Pollard's approach to the locker room dress code:
Pollard's confidence reveals itself in the locker room, where he has no qualms about being naked. He will conduct full interviews in the nude. Pants are the enemy. When local journalists gave Pollard their "good guy" award after the 2011 season for being accommodating, they presented him with a pair of boxer shorts, in the hope that he would wear them. His own teammates have encouraged him to use a towel or two.
Pants are the enemy. Don't forget: Compared to Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs and Ed Reed, Pollard is the shy, retiring type.