Jeff Schultz

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not

Charles Barkley pulling for pal Freeney and Falcons in Super Bowl


When the Falcons defeated Green Bay last week to win the NFC championship and advance to the Super Bowl, few were more excited than Charles Barkley. Yes, Charles Barkley.

"He was so was excited, you would have thought he was going to the Super Bowl," Falcons defensive end Dwight Freeney said.

I spoke to Barkley for a column on Freeney that will be posted Sunday on MyAJC.com (Monday's print edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution). He and Freeney have been friends for several years and both live in the same midtown hotel -- Freeney during the season, Barkley when he is in town for his TNT work.

Barkley did not make a prediction for next Sunday's Super Bowl between the Falcons and New England, but he said, "I'm rooting for the Falcons and I'm rooting for two guys: Dwight and Julio Jones (an Alabama native). I would love to see both those guys win it."

Asked if he just became a Falcons fan, Barkley said, "I root for the Falcons because I’m from Alabama and they’re our pro team. And I was pleasantly surprised when Dwight came to Atlanta after a year in Phoenix. I met him at Michael Jordan’s golf tournament a while back and we’ve been friends since. I just respect him as a player, but I like him a lot as a man."

Barkley joked that he hoped to parlay his friendship with Freeney into tips on improving his conditioning.

"The thing I was hoping to utilize was, it’s amazing how well he takes care of his body, and I was hoping to use his knowledge to get myself in better shape, to be honest with you," he said. "I just want to be walk-around skinny. He has this really convoluted, amazing, time-consuming regimen that he does to take care of his body."

I'll have more from Barkley in the Freeney column.

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About the Author

Jeff Schultz is a general sports columnist and blogger who isn't afraid to share his opinion, which may not necessarily jibe with yours.