Rams receiver Brandon Lloyd was midway through a conference call with 49ers beatwriters today when he suddenly stopped short and busted out laughing. A few of his teammates - four to be exact - were trying to distract him by pressing a certain part of their anatomy against the glass where he was conducting the interview.
"They're teasing me over here," Lloyd said over the phone. "I need to eat, it's after practice. I'm having trouble thinking anyway, so bare (redacted) up against the window is definitely a distraction."
That alone should tell 49ers that the receiver has changed since the beginning of his career. When Lloyd was in San Francisco, he was ridiculed by teammates. In St. Louis, he is the subject of friendly teasing.
After leaving the 49ers, Lloyd suffered through bad seasons in Washington and Chicago and seemed destined for the scrap heap of receivers. But he remade himself in Denver under the tutelage of then head coach Josh McDaniels, and he and McDaniels have been reunited in St. Louis.
Lloyd said the roots of his struggles were never on the practice or playing field. Instead he said his problems had to do with poor relationships with teammates and coaches, which are well-documented in San Francisco and in Washington. Has Lloyd consciously tried to improve the way he deals with people? You be the judge. Here's his answer:
"It was conscious, but I think it was more of a maturity thing," Lloyd said. "When you guys were dealing with me in San Francisco, I was like 23 years old. I was trying to carve my path and build my career and give it a foundation. So it's tough as a 23-year-old person, when you're giving all your heart and putting everything into your career, and then you're getting criticized by people who have no idea, really, how to do this. (Laughs).
"So it's a lot to take, a lot to swallow. And then that's compounded by your teammates that you respect and you hope respect you. And I felt I kind of got dog-piled on out there. So my natural reaction was to defend myself with words. And it definitely wasn't the right way to go about it. But I chose to do it and it was a conscious effort. I did it on purpose. It wasn't as if I said anything I didn't mean."
-- Matt Barrows