The insulted rabble lined the players’ walkway to the practice field and waited to give Swilley the business as he strode past.
“We love Mankato, and it ticks me off. I didn’t like the article at all,” a middle-aged woman said.
“We never miss a Vikings game. Never. And the turkey has to go and say that?”
When the players appeared to be tardy in exiting the locker room, a group of people started a chant: “Chickens, chickens. C’mon. You’re big boys now.”
Moments later the players lumbered out and the yokels craned their necks to draw a bead on their guy.
But Swilley pulled off an end run by donning his face-obscuring helmet and shucking the number 67 jersey he normally wore in favor of number 64.
He strolled right past by his antagonists, and when they learned they’d been duped they got doubly miffed.
The Peeved Ones pressed their mugs against the field fence and took up another chant: “64, we want you! 64, we want you!”
What they’d do with him had he obliged remains unclear to this day.
Brian Ojanpa is a Free Press staff writer and columnist. Call him at 344-6316 or email email@example.com