Front Burner

Chris Hovan's football-first attitude is firing up the Vikings.

Updated: October 13, 2003, 11:58 AM ET
By Seth Wickersham | ESPN The Magazine
Warning: this is going to turn R-rated real fast. There will be lots of (bleeps) and X&%#s. No, the rating isn't because we've discovered a story in Chris Hovan that's unsuitable for children under 17. And no, it's not because of nudity (thankfully). It's just that we're dealing with someone who is who he is, says what he says, acts how he acts, and doesn't go all Nick at Nite for your sake. Not that the Vikings defensive tackle deserves a Parental Advisory stamp. He isn't a purple-and-gold Marshall Mathers LP, and he's not a "homo"-dropping Jeremy Shockey. He just talks, as he once described himself, "like a white-trash kid" from Cleveland. Because if he can't be himself, why bother being anything? "If you know me at all," Hovan says, "I'm a straightforward mother(bleeper)."