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Big-talking, hard-hitting Ravens safety Bernard Pollard actually keeps it clean.
Well, for the most part.
Pollard – who may be the last guy you would expect – has a no-cursing policy.
“That’s how I live my life,” said the deeply religious Pollard. “Me and my wife, we used to cuss like cats and dogs. When you make a decision to change for the better, you live your life for the better.”
Pollard does cut some slack on gamedays, however, because that’s when emotions run high and he’s playing “pissed off.”
“I cussed 17 times last year. I count them,” Pollard said.
“The bulk of them came in Cleveland. I gave up a wheel route and I just sat there and cussed myself out. But that’s not justified. I asked for forgiveness. I need to be able to control my mouth.”
Pollard can remember every one of his 17 curses, who he said it to, how he said it, and what he said.
The most notable came against the Arizona Cardinals last year. Pollard decked tight end Jeff King on the Ravens sideline. He stood over him and let out a long, not so clean, roar.
It just so happened that it was extremely ill-timed. A ref was standing right behind Pollard and hit him with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Teammates still tease Pollard about it.
“It was funny as heck,” cornerback Cary Williams recalls. “I was right there on the field and I couldn’t do anything but start laughing.”
Pollard actually made the decision to stop cursing altogether after a similar incident in 2010 when he was with the Texans. It was the first game of the season against the rival Indianapolis Colts and wide receiver Reggie Wayne caught a pass for a first down.
Wayne appeared to have said something to Pollard, and the safety got right up in his face and starting cussing him out. A nearby television microphone picked up the whole thing and broadcast it to the world. Don’t click this link if you don’t want to hear foul language or are under the age of 18.
After that, Pollard decided to focus on changing.
“It’s on film and you can’t take it away,” Pollard said with regret. “I can’t conduct myself like that. Somebody’s kids are going to hear that. My kids are going to hear that. I have to be an example for not only my kids, but everybody’s kids.”
Pollard tries to spread his message, but in a locker room full of young, intense men, it’s a tall task. He gets on linebacker Terrell Suggs especially. He said he’s not lecturing anybody though.
“I struggle, just like everybody is going to struggle,” Pollard said. “But I think it’s about learning and accepting knowledge from other people and gaining wisdom.”
Some other guys who don’t cuss altogether (or at least very little) are Ray Lewis, Haloti Ngata and Dennis Pitta. Ed Dickson remembers hearing Pitta say, “Gosh darnit.”
“I was like, “Dennis, what’s going on with you? This must be serious!’”