Jan 28, 2008 04:30 AM
Meet Grey Ruegamer, New York Giant, who has castrated lambs with his teeth.
Whether or not he will have a similar effect upon the New England Patriots' Super Bowl aspirations come Sunday remains to be seen. But isn't it enough, for now, to know there are more dimensions to the 6-foot-4, 300-pound offensive lineman than meet the eye?
There is no rock too large or small to get turned over and microscoped, microphoned and televised during the two weeks leading up to the big game. The rocks removed (so to speak) in Ruegamer's case, though, are unprecedented.
"You grab the forelegs and pin them to the ground," he tells the East Valley (Ariz.) Tribune in an article receiving massive Internet exposure, "and then you grab the back legs and throw them on their back." With the targets thus exposed, "away you go. It's the way the Basques do it. ... You pull them out with your teeth, spit them in a bucket, next one."
Ruegamer, rest assured, is not still involved in such impromptu veterinary practices. A native Nevadan, he was helping out a rancher friend, a Basque, several years ago when asked to sink his teeth into the meat of the moment. "I was hesitant," he tells the newspaper. "But it is what it is. She (the friend) needed help. There was beer. Good times. It was worth it."
Added Ruegamer, an Arizona State graduate who won a Super Bowl with the Patriots in 2001: "It's just a little lamb. It's not a big animal. I have pictures. The blood on your moustache is the worst part."
What plays more or less harmlessly on ranches and in locker rooms (athletes are all the time trying to castrate each other, figuratively) is sure to be at odds with more mainstream, urban sensibilities. Already burdened with the horrors associated with Michael Vick's dogfighting convictions, the NFL is sure, too, to be getting the inevitable feedback this week from organizations such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. No one has suggested, at least yet, that the ancient Basque practice is illegal or any more or less humane that the alternatives.
A nine-year NFL veteran, Ruegamer is in his second year with the Giants and has proven highly valuable during their remarkable run to the championship by filling in at different positions on the offensive line due to teammates' injuries. He has also seen some time on the other side of the ball, at tight end, in certain short-yardage situations. He'll see plenty of action in Sunday's game at University of Phoenix Stadium, a contest some have characterized as the New Yorkers playing the roles of lambs to the slaughter.
For the time being, though, Ruegamer is the early, runaway leader in terms of weird countdown-to-Sunday curiosities. He's the Ozzy Osbourne (bites the head off bats) of the gridirons, the Iron Chef of the prairie oyster set, the Hannibal Lecter of cowboy caviar, fava beans and Chianti.
Ruegamer is, too, a reminder that it takes all types to play this sometimes vicious game. "Grey is not someone you want to mess with," teammate Shaun O'Hara tells the Tribune's Jack Magruderin in his excellent article. "He keeps all of his toenail clippings and callous shavings all season long in a cup, and if anybody wrongs him and he deems it necessary, he will dump that cup in a personal belonging of theirs. He's known for that."
And much, much more.
And now the follow up by the San Jose Mercury News:
If a lineman can do this with his teeth . . .
Compiled by John Ryan
Article Launched: 01/28/2008 02:07:19 AM PST
In the Easy Valley (Ariz.) Tribune, New York Giants lineman and ex-Patriot Grey Ruegamer shares the tale of a previous job: He castrated sheep.
By biting their testicles.
"You pull them out with your teeth, spit them in a bucket, next one. . . . The blood on your mustache is the worst part," he said.
This sounded too good to be true. But we Googled, and there it is; The method of removing lambs' testicles is common in the Basque region of Spain. Ruegamer said he performed the service for a Basque friend who had a ranch outside Las Vegas.
"She needed help. There was beer. Good times. It was worth it," he said.
OK. So either Ruegamer is telling the truth, or he did an inordinate amount of research for an all-time psych job against a Patriots defensive line that has received quite a bit of attention for dirty play.
We're thinking he actually did the deed. And we're also thinking Pats defenders might want to think twice about telling Ruegamer to "bite me."
I bet this will add some spice to this weekend's Super Bowl match.