Not a year ago, we learned that Los Angeles Rams (then of St. Louis) defensive end Williams Hayes has an interesting stance on the prior existence of dinosaurs.
"No, I don't believe dinosaurs existed," Hayes told ESPN in 2015. "Not even a little bit. With these bones, it's crazy because man has never seen a dinosaur, we can agree on that, right? But we know exactly how to put these bones together? I believe there is more of a chance you will find a mermaid than you will a dinosaur because we find different species in the water all the time."
According to his friend and fellow defensive end Chris Long, fossils are all part of a worldwide conspiracy … to do what, no one is exactly sure.
"He thinks archaeologists place bones underground like a parent would place Easter eggs," Long said. "They just planted them. It's some large conspiracy. He does not believe that dinosaurs ever existed and he thinks that mermaids are real. I love dinosaurs, so we have a big point of contention."
But you know what? I can respect Hayes' show-me stance on dinosaurs. I'm not nearly distrusting enough to agree with it, but some Claire Danes-in-Homeland sliver of me can get on board with not believing in a creature never seen before by humans.
Which brings us to mermaids.
Again, there's some logic behind his argument—that the ocean continues to unveil creatures never before detected by humans. But that there exists a mythical creature who theoretically doesn't live in the deepest crevices in the ocean and is half human—and that this scenario is more likely than one in which every scientist ever isn't in on a global conspiracy to, I don't know, sell DVDs of Jurassic Park—is where he loses me.
In a clip from HBO's Hard Knocks, which is following the Rams this preason, Hayes doubled down on his disbelief in dinosaurs and his hope for mermaids.
“I just can’t fathom a T-rex walkin’ around here, something that man ain’t ever seen,” said Hayes, who is 31.
— NFL (@NFL) August 16, 2016