Sports columnist Sid Hartman was not hip to any humor Wednesday when he returned to the office less than a month after breaking his hip.
Cake and balloons awaited Hartman’s arrival in the sports department. Hartman wanted to get to work on his Thursday column with newsroom right-hand man Jeff Day. This was Hartman’s first column since the broken hip, an injury that required surgery.
When I asked why he didn’t know that one should deploy a mincing step while walking on icy surfaces, Hartman waved his hand at me and said, “No comedy. No comedy.”
So I dumped my playful question about those hormones that get professional athletes in trouble, plus another that might have been considered “comedy” and let Hartman go hard.
Hartman hopes to get medical clearance and to be back on WCCO-AM Sunday with Dave Mona.
Even greater media exposure is scheduled to come Hartman’s way: NBC’s “Today Show” is planning to do a feature on the longtime columnist, sports legend and nonagenarian.
Q: You seem to heal faster than Adrian Peterson?
A: I don’t know about that, I’m a long way from 100 percent. Adrian Peterson led the league in rushing after he hurt his knee, so [I] don’t compare myself to Adrian Peterson. It’s taking a long time. I don’t wish anybody, friend or foe, breaking your hip. The rehabilitation is very, very tough.
Q: I hear that new Gopher football coach P.J. Fleck kissed your ring?
A: He’s made a great impression so far. A lot of people compare him with Lou Holtz. We’ll see if he can coach like Lou Holtz. I didn’t want to see them fire [Tracy] Claeys, I thought that was a bad move. I thought he earned a couple more years, but they decided they didn’t like the image he gave the university. After the president originally wouldn’t fire him, they decided to get rid of him and bring in this guy who [is] a dynamo, as far as making a lot of fans maybe. Finally, the athletic director convinced [the president] to fire [Claeys].
Q: Has your friend Bud Grant brought you any chicken soup?
A: No. He brought me many other foods. We’ve had a good contact. He’s a good guy.
Q: Did you really sing at this birthday party for a 95-year-old, which is where you were going when you broke your hip?
A: Sing “Happy Birthday”? I sang “Happy Birthday.”
Q: Who’s doing the NBC interview of you: Harry Smith or Tom Brokaw?
A: I was told Tom Brokaw wants to do something with me at the Gophers basketball game. They are going to do that in the future.
C.J. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and seen on Fox 9’s “Jason Show.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not count.