NEW ORLEANS -- They play for opposing teams in Sunday's Super Bowl and play opposing positions, and both had their seasons ended by ACL tears, so getting together 49ers wide receiver Mario Manningham and Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb seemed obvious.
Manningham arrived at our temporary studio on crutches, having just had surgery on his torn left knee two weeks ago. Webb, three months removed from the same surgery but still wearing a knee brace, got here soon after and the first thing he asked Manningham was what he injured. Manningham then pointed to his knee.
"Oh man, you too?" Webb said.
This was Webb's second ACL surgery, and he gave notes to Manningham on what to expect. Matt Ufford co-hosted the roundtable with me, and suggested this was in essence an ACL Support Group. They both loved it, while acknowledging its necessity.
The resulting conversation with these two was one of the best I've had since coming to New Orleans with any athlete. They were smart, engaging, and after we wrapped, they both stuck around for an hour, ordering some food, talking about the fastest players in the NFL (Ted Ginn is another level speed) and they tweeted photos. Two cool guys in bad situations with the same injury, two guys on opposing teams in the Super Bowl, two guys who play opposing positions but Manningham's story differed in one large way -- he's got the Super Bowl ring. Webb is hoping Sunday will bring him his, even if he can't play for it.