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On the Trail: Ronald Johnson Gives Lloyd Carr a Pen.

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[Phone Rings.]

[Recording.] Hi, you've reached the Johnsons. We're chillin' somewhere else right now, so leave a message and we'll call back. Thanks!


Ro? Hey Ro. It's Lloyd. If you're there, just pick up. I know you're there, Ro. I know your flight hasn't left yet. Pick up.

I just wanted to say...I just think...I haven't given up on you. We have three days. I think we have a chance. If you haven't signed anything, we can still work this out. We're good together, Ro. You can't deny that. Hell, we're great together. I know your friends don't like me, don't think I'm cool enough or good-looking enough. They don't think I'm good enough, period. I have a temper, outbursts. They think I have no future. But you know the truth. I'm not perfect, but neither are you. We're warped. Twisted. If ever two fucked up people on this fucked up planet belonged together, Ro, it's us.

Don't think I don't understand where you're coming from. Nobody's saying L.A. is not an amazing place, especially for a kid who grew up here in the cold. It's a cliche, really. I mean, Pete Carroll, he's a fun guy, We've all known Pete a long time, and he's a good guy, Ro, I can't deny that. It's so obvious to see what attracted you. He probably told you about his vacation in Costa Rica, and the literacy work he does there with the children of Alajuela. I didn't think that kind of shallow game would rope you in. I never thought that was you. But I get it.

Think about this, though: What happens when the next cornerback comes along, Ro? Where will you be when Pete rolls up in his convertible alongside his newest stud? He doesn't know you like I know you. You're just another hard body in his secondary.

Face it: we both know you're running. Running from what you know. Running from where you belong. From home. Running from your heart.

Is this is about Donovan? I'm not going to lie, Ro, you hurt me, you hurt me bad. This was a chance to get back at you, at Pete, in his own backyard....god, listen to me. You must think I'm a dick. But when I started to realize it might be over between us, and I couldn't get to you, you wouldn't even let me in your house, I panicked a little. I admit it now: I freaked. And I thought if we were over, and I had a chance to, like, get back on the horse, or, I don't know, a good thing with a bad thing, like, convergence, or...I thought I could recreate what we had, Ro. But Donovan's not you. I'm not going to lie and say I don't like him. We, you know, we get along. But he didn't grow up down the road. He doesn't do that little thing with his forehead, furrowing his brow in that plaintive, skeptical way that makes you look so much older. He didn't cry when J Dilla died. I don't even know if he knows how to get ice off his windshield, for god's sake.  It's not the same.

Don't look at Lloyd like that, Ronald. Please.
- - -

Was it the letter? Look, I'm sorry about the letter. I knew I should have never...I know that maybe I'm not the most eloquent guy sometimes. I keep it all pent up, and then let it all out at once like that, and I didn't really, you know...I let a couple other recruits read it, and they said they dreamed of a letter like that from a coach. But you're different. That's the whole point. I should have known it would never...I should have remembered that you're different. So nuke it. Destroy it. It hurts me to know it's out there. At least before your mother...

Your mother didn't find it, did she? The letter, I mean. Is this about your mother? I don't even care if she's there. Everybody has to deal with family issues. The influence of our parents sometimes is something we all have to overcome; that's growing up. That's life, Ro. Maybe that's what drove you away, your mother. I know it's what has kept you apart from what you always wanted most in the world. It's what has kept us apart. And that's why this is crazy, Ro. Nineteen hundred miles? Is that far enough? Can you finally be free from her there? Will you finally be out of her reach? Because all that distance, and all that sunshine, Shelly Smith, none of it can change the past. It doesn't change who you are. It doesn't change what was meant to be. And it doesn't change her influence on you, Ro, because she's in your head. Oh, she's in deep, man. You can party, toke with the coach, you can meet stars, chill on the beach, and it will all look different, it might even feel different, but she's part of who you are. And you can't run from who you are.

But I know who you are, and I want you anyway. Not just someone, no just some six-foot, 4.4 lockdown corner, Ro, but you. And I think you still feel the same way. Don't let other people stand in our way. It doesn't have to always "make sense" to the rest of the world. All that matters is that you're happy, Ro. And that I need you. I can't go on without you. Leon Hall is graduating and I just...I can't...

Prepare for greatness, Lloyd.
- - -

I'm sorry...okay, I'm just...just call...just call me, please.

[Click. Dial tone.]