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There is another side to big John Matuszak

OAK CREEK, Wis. -- Big John Matuszak is not going to quit going into bars or date women, but fair warning: he's getting riled at the narrow view people have of him.

The 6-foot-8 defensive lineman for the Oakland Raiders says he is not the same wild man who once was going to conquer the world -- one bar at a time.

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He says he plays Santa Claus, and that doesn't get press.

He goes to a Christian camp in North Carolina and teaches kids football and reads the Bible with them at night, and that doesn't get press.

He regularly visits his sister, Dawn, 22, who is in a Milwaukee hospital with cystic fibrosis. Two of his brothers died of the same disease.

But his scuffles do get press, he said. 'I'm a mark,' he told William Janz of The Milwaukee Sentinel.

Recently, he said, he has been walking away from confrontation. 'Literally thousands of times I've walked away from people who say, 'You stink.' I kill 'em with kindness.'

How does he explain two scuffles in the past several days -- brief fights in bars in Oak Creek and Milwaukee. He was charged with disorderly conduct in one and no charges were filed in the other.

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'You have to defend yourself,' he said. But then added, 'diplomacy is the way to handle most situations.

'It takes some people five years to learn. Others never learn. But I've learned. What's that old saying about never arguing with a fool because someone walking by might not know who's the fool?

'In one week, two ridiculous things happen to me. I won't go into a place anymore unless a suit and tie is required.'

But then he amended that to say, 'I'll stay out of bars when women cease to go in.'

He will try to limit his mayhem to the football field, which he said was 'like dodgin' cars on the freeway. Once in a while, you have to tackle one.

'Earl Campbell's a bus and Walter Payton's a Porsche. They have trucks in front of them, and you get rid of the truck to get at the Porsche.'

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