What's in a name? Fun if you're Vince Young

Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 10:08pm
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As detailed in a recent profile in a national magazine, Vince Young and his girlfriend are expecting their first child.

When the time comes the couple – presumably with much aforethought – will settle on a name for the child. That name will be scrolled on a birth certificate to make it official.

What the Tennessee Titans’ quarterback actually calls his child, though, is anybody’s guess.

In addition to his many physical gifts, Young has an uncanny knack for creating nicknames and for making them stick. In face-to-face conversations, in interviews or any other possible context Young calls his teammates by almost anything other than their given names.

“He’s always called me ‘Catfish,’” third-year offensive lineman Leroy Harris said. “I think that’s part of the fun and the and the good character of football that a lot of people don’t know about. I like mine, ‘Catfish,’ it doesn’t bother me.”

Harris added, though, that he has no idea why he Young has elected to call him that unlike some others, from whom the inspiration is obvious. Another offensive lineman, Jake Scott, is known as “Santa Claus,” no doubt because of the beard he maintains year-round.

Running back Javon Ringer said he answers to any number of names around the locker room.

Most of them – ‘Ring’ or ‘J,’ “a lot of little names,” he said – simply were derived from is given name. Young, however, went well beyond the obvious and came up with ‘Pinball.’

“It don’t bother me,” Ringer said. “He calls me ‘Pinball,’ I guess, because of my ability to break tackles. … I just kind of roll with whatever’s given to me.”

Young insists that he does not spend a lot of time trying to ponder the most appropriate nickname for his teammates. Instead they just sort of roll off his tongue.

“It’s whatever comes to me,” he said. “I did it in college and even back in the neighborhood when I was a kid.”

Tight end Bo Scaife, a teammate of Young’s at the University of Texas and with the Titans, knows as well as anyone that the quarterback doesn’t rest once he offers up an alternative to someone’s name. He constantly comes up with others.

“He’s always been one of those jokesters,” Scaife said. “He’s just spontaneous – one of those quick-witted guys.

“I think we have a lot of nicknames for each other. … I don’t like any of the ones he’s got for me.”

Scaife opted not to disclose any of those names because “that stuff can get around the league.”

He laughed when he said it, though, which – of course – is the point.

“We spend so much time up here around each other,” Harris said. “We’re kids so you have to keep it fun.

“(Young) is just funny. It’s all in good fun. None of it’s serious. It’s just joking and comical.”