Redskins Tell Vomit Stories
But lots of football players have "gross" stories, it turns out.
"I broke my ankle in ninth grade," Devin Thomas told me. "It was crazy, man. I'm running the ball, I hear something snap, and my foot's down here like this," he said, holding a sandal at a 90-degree angle out from his leg, "and my leg's straight....I just heard crrrrreck. I just fell, I look down, my leg is straight my foot's like this," and again with the perpendicular sandle. "I'm like 'HOLY [COW]! AHHHHH!' Scared as [anything]."
That sounds gross, too. But for all-purpose every-day grossness, I still say it's hard to beat football field vomit.
"Oh yeah, I've thrown up on the field," Casey Rabach told me the other day. "That happens a lot, yeah. Guys puke all the time. It's funny when the guy across from you starts puking, that's the best part. Oh my God, so funny. You've never seen a player who puked on the field? It's pretty funny. The guy's sitting there puking in front of you, and you KNOW you're just gonna kill him the next play. It's awesome. Jansen, you ever puked on the field," he called out to Jon Jansen, one locker over.
"Yeah," said Jansen, who was in the middle of interviews at the time.
"I'll bet you everybody's puked on the field at least once in this locker room, definitely," Rabach concluded.
But it turned out he was wrong. Alex Buzbee said he'd never puked on the field. So did H.B. Blades. So did Anthony Montgomery. So did Kedric Golston. "No chance, nope, never," said Ryan Plackemeier, the punter. Fred Smoot also said no.
"Cornerbacks, wideouts, we feel like we're too, not pretty to do it, but I don't think we ever get that nauseous that we actually throw up," Smoot said.
But you know who DOES throw up? And gladly admit to it? Offensive linemen.
"Oh yeah, I threw up plenty of times on the field, in college and pros," Chris Samuels said. "I'm used to it, it's no big deal."
"Thrown up? Yeah," said Randy Thomas. "Especially the ones over 300 pounds....You do it in the trash can. That's what guys do when they've got a little money, they do it in the trash can. You've got millionaires running around on the field, you don't want to throw up on their feet."
"Fabini, if he starts, he usually pukes at some point in the game," Rabach said of Jason Fabini. "He's puked on the sidelines a couple times."
"Of course," Fabini acknowledged. "I think I vomited on Casey's foot maybe once last year. Or my own."
"He's got a gag reflex or something, more comical than anything," Rabach said of Fabini.
"Yeah, I do, but so does he," Fabini said of Rabach. "His is worse, I think. He doesn't throw up; it's like, 'Aggggh,' " he said, making gagging sounds.
And is it an advantage if your adversary starts to vomit?
"You hope so," Rabach said. "And that you don't get any on you, yeah."
But, I was told, that the locker room's ultimate vomit guy was the heart, soul and guts of the defense, London Fletcher.
"I'm a vomit guy," Fletcher admitted. "I'm SUCH a vomit guy."
This is probably common knowledge, and it's definitely been written about before, but Fletcher vomits on the sidelines just before games start. Like, every week. Like, more than once.
"Two, three [times], if I'm lucky," he told me. "Four, five if I'm not."
He never did it in college, but has been doing it for 11 years in the NFL. He's not sure why he didn't do it in college, or why he started doing it in the pros. Mostly, he attributes it to anxiety and nerves.
"By the time it's game day," he said, "my stomach's just so queasy, so to speak, that I have to get out some things before the start of the game."
He's also done it on the field. And even during huddles.
"That's probably why when he's in the huddle and he's calling plays he's always got spit hanging from his facemask," Montgomery said. "You want to be serious, you're in the middle of the game, but I be looking like, 'Man, get that spit off your face.' "
"I've seen London Fletcher throw up a couple times," Smoot said. "He'll probably play with a piece of corn right there on his mouth. That's just London."
Rabach happened to walk past while I was talking to Fletcher about his gut-wrenching habit.
"Casey used to see me hurl all the time," Fletcher said.
"People say they haven't puked," Rabach said to Fletcher, sharing the results of my research. "Everybody's puked at least once on the field, don't you think?"
"I would think so," Fletcher ventured. "That's just me. I puke every week, though."
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