Clayborn Wakes Lombardi Guests With Laughter

Dec. 8, 2010

UPDATE — Auburn University junior defensive tackle Nick Fairley was named 2010 Rotary Lombardi Award winner Wednesday evening.

HOUSTON, Texas — It might have been 7 in the morning, but University of Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn woke guests with laughter at the Sports Press Breakfast on Wednesday in the Hilton Houston Americas.

One of the most popular segments of the two-day Rotary Lombardi Award banquet is a question-and-answer session between the finalists and local sports radio talk host John Harris. Clayborn followed Jake Kirkpatrick of Texas Christian and Nick Fairley of Auburn and wasted little time getting the folks rolling.

John Harris: “If you could wear another helmet or play for another school, would you choose Michigan or Wisconsin?
Adrian Clayborn: “I would go with Wisconsin.”

Harris: “Do you play (the video game) NCAA Football 2011?”
Clayborn: “No, I don’t.”

Harris: “If you were to play NCAA Football 2011, would you play as yourself or would you play as somebody else?”
Clayborn: “I would play as myself.”

Harris: “Either, or: Three sacks in a game or an alley-oop dunk?”
Clayborn: (To Da’Quan Bowers) “What would you do? I would have to go with three sacks so I can do my sack dances. My sack dance is whatever comes to my head. I do a dance, but it’s always spontaneous.”

Harris: “What is more difficult, tackling John Clay (of Wisconsin) or tackling Denard Robinson (of Michigan)?”
Clayborn: “Denard Robinson. I can’t catch him. It’s hard to go back and forth all the time.”

Harris: “When playing (the video game) Madden 2011, will you play as the Houston Texans or the St. Louis Rams?
Clayborn: “St. Louis Rams.”

Harris: “Hot fudge sundae or chocolate chip cookies?
Clayborn: “Chocolate chip cookies all the way.”

Harris: “What do you hate worse, two-a-day practices or media interviews?
Clayborn: “I really don’t like the media, so media interviews.”

Harris: “South Beach in January or Iowa in February? Wait, don’t answer that. The Office or The League?”
Clayborn: “The League.”

Harris: “If you were ever to get in trouble, who would you fear most? Coach (Kirk) Ferentz or mom?
Clayborn: “My mom.”

Following breakfast, the finalists traveled by limousine to The Children’s Cancer Hospital at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and the Texas Children’s Hospital where they were interviewed by young cancer patients in a studio called Radio Lollipop. The Lombardi contingent then stopped at Rotary House International for lunch before the finalists were fitted for tuxedos by Johnny Vasquez.

The awards ceremony will run from 7:45 to 9:45 p.m. at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

Clayborn left the audience with many more tidbits of information, including:

He began playing football in eighth grade as an offensive tackle. He thought Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor was the toughest player he faced this season. And what will Clayborn do when he signs his first professional contract?

“Pay off my university parking tickets,” he said with a smile.