Huddle Up is a weekly Q&A with Cardinals players on a variety of off-field topics. In this week's installment, running back Chris Johnson shares the story of his gold teeth.
Question: I read online that the reason you have gold teeth is because a car accident knocked some original ones out. Is that real or made up?
Answer: Naw, that's not real.
Q: So you just liked the idea of adding the gold?
A: It's more of a culture thing. Where I come from, all the people that we looked up to when we were younger, those guys had gold teeth. It's a thing in our culture, especially down south.
Q: Was there a certain guy that you saw with them that you wanted to emulate?
A: It was everybody. A lot of my friends, a lot of people I grew up with have gold teeth. All the older dudes that were successful, they had the old-school cars with the rims, they had the gold teeth, the jewelry, that's just what it was.
Q: And it's different than the (decorative) grills?
A: Yeah, it's different. Where I'm from, coming up it was never grills, it was gold teeth. And then once I started getting toward college, then the guys started wearing the grills. It's not the same thing as the gold teeth, because the gold teeth is individual gold. You put each one in your mouth (permanently). With the grills, they customize it, take a mold in your mouth and you can put it in and pull it out. It's totally different.
Q: When did you get them put in?
A: Like 12th grade. End of 12th grade.
Q: Oh, OK. I thought it might have been after a big contract or something, but you did it young.
A: I didn't do it because I ended up getting money. Even though we looked up to the guys who had money and were successful and had those types of things, it wasn't like all the younger people waited until we had money or anything like that. We just went out and did it, you know what I'm saying? It was a culture thing, especially where I'm from down in Florida.
Q: What's the process like? Do they have to pop out your teeth and put gold ones in?
A: Naw, you still have your teeth in your mouth. You've got to make a dentist appointment, and you can go to, like, an actual dentist. You make an appointment, tell them how many you want, and then they go in and take the numbing needle, numb your mouth up and shave your teeth down. Not all the way down, but they shave it down a little bit, put the cement inside and the gold. They fit it first, then they put it inside your mouth with the cement. After they put them all in, they tell you not to eat or drink for the next hour. Then after that, they're just in there.
Q: Are your gold teeth ever a topic on the field?
A: Some people are like, 'Oh, yeah, we're going to get those golds today,' or something like that, but nothing really too much.
Q: Do you have to care for them any differently?
A: You just brush them regularly. You've got to make sure you floss and all that type of stuff. They're just like regular teeth.
Q: Is it still popular where you're from?
A: Yeah, it's still popular. It's probably not as popular as it used to be, but people are still doing it.
Q: Do you like that part of what you're known for are those teeth? Does it matter to you either way?
A: Not really, because I've had them so long, I'm so used to them. They feel regular in my mouth and it feels like I've got regular teeth. I won't notice I have them unless I look in the mirror.
Images of Cardinals running back Chris Johnson