Baltimore Ravens rookie guard Ben Cleveland has earned the nickname “Big Country” for multiple reasons.
One of them seemed to shock fans this week more than the rest.
The Georgia native is a big fan of the “Squirrel Diet.”
"Some squirrels in south Georgia, they'll taste a little bit more nutty," Cleveland said, via the Ravens. "Up here, our acorns and stuff aren't really as strong as the ones down south. Most of them up here, it just tastes like squirrel. If you put enough seasoning on it, you can make it taste like anything you want it to taste like."
While that sounds strange on the surface, the third-round draft pick said he and his dad have been hunting near their home in Toccoa, Georgia, for as long as he can remember.
"That's what we did growing up. That was our thing," Cleveland said, via the Ravens. "My dad, he took me in the woods before I could walk. Literally, he carried me up a deer stand."
One of the first times the former Georgia star ever tried squirrel, he said, was simply out of desperation.
Cleveland, according to ESPN, was at home sick from school one day and couldn’t find anything to eat in the house. So he opened up the window and shot two squirrels.
He admits the story is a bit overplayed now. He doesn’t regularly eat squirrels.
“I don't know if it's a specific diet. It’s more so one of those things where you eat what you got in the freezer from the fall,” he said. “Had a few squirrels freeze dried in there. Get a little hungry, ain’t got no deer meat left. Fry up a squirrel or two and just go eat that.”
For those hoping to give the “Squirrel Diet” a try at home themselves, however, Cleveland did issue a warning.
"[Squirrels are] very tricky animals to cook," he said, via the Ravens. "They've got really fine hairs on them, so it's really hard to get all the hairs off them when you skin them. It's very tricky to get that one figured out."
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