Dwayne Johnson is on the cover of the latest issue of Sports Illustrated, and in the accompanying interview he looks back on his time playing football and how it changed his life and transformed him into the Hollywood star (not to mention PEOPLE’s Sexiest Man Alive and top of Forbes’ highest-paid actors’ list) we know him as today.
Before he starred on HBO’s Ballers and voiced a tattooed demigod in Disney’s Moana, Johnson played football in high school and later at the University of Miami. But there, he recalls, frustrated as his career on the team was faltering, Johnson lashed out when teammate Kevin Patrick heckled him, and was so mad he tried to rip out the other man’s tongue.
“Me and Kevin were in a coach’s office, and he was talking s—, as always, but this time I just lost it,” Johnson told SI. “It was like a movie fight — the desk got turned over, stuff was flying all over the place. We spilled out onto the weight room floor, still going at it. He wouldn’t stop talking, so I decided to pull his tongue out. I stuffed my big ol’ hand into his mouth, and I had a couple of fingers around his tongue, but it was so damn slippery! I was quite serious about pulling it out, but I couldn’t quite get a hold of it. Eventually I gave up, the fight ended, and two minutes later we were hugging each other. It was so dumb.”
Patrick, though, says that’s not quite what happened.
“I don’t give a s— what he says,” Patrick, who now coaches the defensive line at Texas Tech University, told the Palm Beach Post. “We got in a fight. There’s no doubt. We tore that place apart. But he never stuck his hand in my mouth.”
On Twitter, he added, “I love my brother but one thing is for sure. If he tried, he’d currently be a fingerless actor.”
Story differences aside, it seems no bad blood remains between the two former Hurricanes players. Johnson tweeted Wednesday that he and Patrick “tore our weight room up with our fight” but added, “He’s a f’n animal and I luv him 4 life. #Family.”
Head to Sports Illustrated to read Johnson’s full interview.