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Mike Francesa says he 'can be a pain in the neck'

(Credit: Watchdog)

Mike Francesa and Chris Russo consistently have taken the high road in public comments about one another since their breakup in August.

Both also seem happier and more relaxed on the air since the split, and Francesa in particular seems to be acting (gasp!) nicer to callers.

Click below for the big guy's thoughts on these matters.On Russo and Francesa publicly taking the high road in discussing one another:

“Neither of us have knocked each other publicly, and I’ll tell you right now, I don’t think we have anything to knock. Our relationship is good, but you get pulled into the campaign. I was more mad with the suits. As far as on a personal level, maybe the fans don’t think that. Hey, have we had fights? Hell, yeah, anyone who works together 20 years, passionate people who work together 20 years are going to have brawls, and we had some massive brawls.

“I’m not the easiest guy to get along with. I’ll be the first to admit that I can be a pain in the neck. And you know what, I think for the most part we got along really well and had a great run and I think our relationship is really good right now, I really do."

On the perception that both seem happier and more relaxed since the breakup:

“I had to do my job and be who I am, but also you fit into certain roles on the show when you do a two-man show. There were times when I had to play the heavy, play the bad guy. That was my job on the show in that role. Now when I’m doing the whole show it’s more me, more who I am. People say, ‘You give the callers a lot more time.’ The callers have a lot more time because it’s a one-man show versus a two-man show. There’s more discourse now.’’

On seeming nicer on the air now:

“Maybe I am nicer. This is more me. The other way I had to be the bad cop, good cop a little bit. We did play that a little. It’s true. So that is true. Is this more me? Yes. Do I feel relief? No. The reason I haven’t had a person with me yet is because in essence, and it’s a compliment to Dog, I haven’t found the person yet that I have that comfort level yet. I was in a very good team. I was in a great team. I know what it feels like. I know what it has to feel like. And I haven’t felt it yet. When I feel it, I’ll know it."

On the lack of a single, smoking gun problem that brought down the show:

“When you’re part of team for 20 years, there’s always a dynamic where it’s tenuous, where what if I went on my own, what if I did this, what if I did that? You’re always fascinated by that. What if it’s only me instead of 20 years of always having to deal with or answer to the other person? But it’s a team. You have act like a team. It strains things sometimes, and there’s a curiosity, and it probably was for Dog, a lot of things at work, all the things we discussed that happened at FAN, all the things going on with corporate, it was probably the worst year he and I had experienced personally in about a decade.

“Add all this up, now our contracts are coming up at a time when someone comes to him with a wonderful, lucrative offer that looks tremendously fascinating with a man he believes in in Mel Karmazin and has had success with before. All that adds up, and that’s what it was.

“The idea that he and I had some epic battle, not true. That he and I had some hatred where we couldn’t be in the same room, not true. Hey, I wouldn’t have brought him on the last show if that was the case, and he wouldn’t have cried on the last show if that were the case. This was a tough breakup. It was for me, I know it was for him.

“That Bar A show was torture for me to do. That show was the hardest show I’ll ever do in my life. That week I didn’t even want to work. I had to work. It was tough. It was a hard breakup. I admit that. There were a lot of people tugging at us in a lot of different directions. There were a lot of forces saying you guys are crazy to break up, including my wife, who was always against the breakup, vocally against the breakup.

“It was very emotional, there’s no question. But for everybody out there the idea that, a., there was something happened that destroyed the relationship, not true. And b., that there’s any bitterness, no. Dog and I are both very competitive. We can fight. We fought on the air when we were on the same team. We can fight when we’re on a different team. But there is clearly a relationship there and clearly a chemistry there and a link there that links us for 20 years.

“We had 20 years of something that was great. We’re linked forever. There is no way to separate us. We are linked forever, even if we never see each other again, we’re linked forever, that’s just life. So the idea that people want to paint Mike vs. Mad Dog, who’s the good guy, who’s the bad guy, you know what? There is no bad guy.’

“He has a campaign; he has a team he needs to promote. That’s his job. I understand that. I have a team I have to promote. That’s my job. We’ll both fight hard to do that. I think he and I understand that better than anyone else because we know what has to be done to promote our teams and make our teams successful. That being the case, we don’t take that personally, so no one else should.’’

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