“The only thing I need you guys [the media] for is to help me get into the Hall of Fame,” Samuel said in a rare long sitdown interview with Geoff Mosher of the News Journal. “That’s what they tell me.”
Samuel gets a few things off his chest in the conversation. He thinks he’s vastly unappreciated and this partly comes down to his refusal to play the media game.
Yelling at reporters doesn’t help, but we think Samuel has a point. Players like Samuel and Randy Moss that treat media with disdain don’t often get the benefit of the doubt. I’m always surprised how many reporters openly admit they give breaks to guys who are “great in the locker room.”
Samuel isn’t a great tackler to put it mildly, but he has more interceptions (42) than any player since he’s entered the league. Samuel believes his lack of football pedigree and icy relationship with Bill Belichick have hurt his public perception.
“I ain’t never said it, but Belichick, I just felt like he had a thing
for me,” Samuel said. “He had something against me. I have no idea why.
He was going to start Troy Brown, a receiver, at nickel [corner] and
I’m over here sitting healthy and he don’t want to even play me.”
Mosher tracks down the example Samuel is referring to, and pokes holes in the theory.
We’re also not sure Samuel is so underrated. Samuel is a highly paid three-time Pro Bowler with plenty of postseason records. His legacy is doing just fine. He’s not Hall of Fame good, but only a handful of cornerbacks have consistently been better over the last five years. Of course, Samuel thinks he stands apart.
“I know in my heart ain’t nobody out there doing what I’m doing,” Samuel
said. “If you can’t respect that, you’re hatin’. Anybody else had those
stats, people would be going crazy.”