It was 10 years ago Thursday that I had perhaps the weirdest conversation I've ever had with an athlete - that athlete being Curtis Enis, the enigmatic sled of a tailback who lasted only three years in the NFL after the Bears made him the fifth-overall pick in the 1998 draft.
As a rookie, Enis was mostly unproductive on the field before hurting his knee. He was known more for being a soft-spoken, self-described Christian who had gotten horrible advice from his agent than for being a star on the rise.
Now, as training camp 1999 opened, a different Enis had arrived. As I wrote in my column from that day:
"Enis barreled into Platteville in his gigantic, customized, seven-miles-per-gallon Hummer, rap-music blaring, horns sounding his arrival. He wore a New York City cabbie shirt with 'Abdule' stitched over the right pocket, khaki shorts tugged down just enough to reveal the waistband of his red Hilfiger briefs, and a pair ot Chuck Taylor hi-tops over his sock-less feet. This is Curtis with a 'tude. ... He has dumped his agent. ... And, hold your ears: Enis has changed linguistic styles, too. A half-hour chat with the media included multiple damns, hells and other colorful words."
OK, now that you've got the picture, here was the exchange he and I had (with another half-dozen or so media listening in):
Me: "Don't take this question the wrong way. Do you still consider yourself a Christian?"
Enis: "Do you consider yourself one?"
Enis: "OK then."
Me: "I'm Jewish."
Enis: "Well, I have no problem being Jewish. I like to get money and make things happen."
What? No reference to my big nose, my love of bagels or the way I singlehandedly control the media? So disappointing.
After his playing career ended, Enis bounced around from job to job. According to newspaper accounts, he has landed with the Miami (Ohio) County Sheriff's Dept., where he is a deputy. He also is doing some volunteer coaching with a local high school.
There were no updates about his views of Jews (or any other religion, race, creed, color or nationality), which is probably a good thing.
Anyway, how a decade flies when you're having fun.
Happy anniversary, Curtis Enis. And shalom.