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Kickin' back with Bucs guard/tackle Jamon Meredith

Bucs guard/tackle Jamon Meredith grew up with long services at a baptist church in South Carolina. Now he’s part of long — and expensive — dinners with his fellow offensive linemen.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Bucs guard/tackle Jamon Meredith grew up with long services at a baptist church in South Carolina. Now he’s part of long — and expensive — dinners with his fellow offensive linemen.

Whenever we've talked, you always emphasize the importance of your faith. How big a part of your makeup is your religion?

It's big. I grew up in the church, and faith was big in my family. My whole family has always been centered around that. Generally, I grew up trying to do the right thing. Occasionally, you slip up. But you just try to stay grounded and keep it a part of your makeup so, even if you drift, you always come back to your foundation. Without God, none of us would be here.

You're from South Carolina. Did you grow up going to the typical ol' Southern church?

Pretty much. I should give a shout-out to Cedar Grove Baptist Church. We had some long services, but they were heartfelt and genuine. You'd kind of forget what time it was.

You've been around. How many teams have you been on?

Six. I got drafted by Green Bay in the fifth round. I got cut and put on the practice squad then got signed by Buffalo. I played there a year-and-a-half, got cut. Then I played at Detroit for about two weeks. I don't even remember that. I didn't really have a chance there. Then I went to the Giants for about a year. I got cut there after the (following) preseason. Then I went to Pittsburgh for a year. But I didn't get cut in Pittsburgh. I had a chance to go back, actually, but I chose to come down here.

That's a crazy ride. But it's hard to stick around in this league, isn't it?

I know a lot of people who haven't even made it a year. Hey, I'm blessed.

Do you have a memorable story from all those experiences, something you look back on and laugh about?

Yes. I wouldn't have (rented) all those apartments, man. Every time I'd go somewhere new, I'd get an apartment. And then you get cut or have to leave and you have to pay to get out of your lease. You lose thousands of dollars doing that. If I could do it all over again, I'd definitely change that.

What do you do? Get a short-term lease?

Now I do. I learned from my mistakes. And my wife's been with me all through that. But it's not all bad. She enjoys seeing different places.

These are my weekly questions: What's playing most on your iPod right now?

Well, I used to listen to a lot of rap. But about two months ago, I really stopped listening to a lot of that stuff. It's actually a funny story. Me and (tackle Demar Dotson) are really close, and we talk about our faith a lot. He was just telling me one day about how the things you listen to can corrupt your spirit. I had never thought about that. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized he was right. Now when I listen to a lot of that stuff, it just sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard. So I listen to a lot of gospel and R&B now.

What website do you visit the most?

Probably Facebook. I have a lot of friends, but I only accept the request if I know them personally.

And what reality TV show do you never miss?

My wife is big on this. I don't mind watching The Real Housewives of Atlanta. That's okay. I used to be into the Basketball Wives shows, but I decided they just portrayed black women terribly and I can't watch it anymore. I'll watch The First 48 a lot, too.

Does the offensive line still do those weekly dinners? If so, I have to ask: Who eats the most?

(Guard) Roger Allen. In fact, make sure you put that in the paper. He eats the most, and he orders the most expensive things (laughing). But his time's coming. Be sure about that. (They take turns paying.)

What was the damage when it was your turn to pay?

Oh, man. I can't talk about that. I tried to erase that from my brain. I paid the bill and tried to forget about it. Maybe I can write it off on my taxes or something. I might try.

It must be an interesting experience with a room full of offensive linemen at the dinner table?

Yeah. We laugh and joke a lot. We don't talk about a lot of football, though. And it's not like people are (hounding) us asking for autographs. Nobody knows us. Except when Davin (Joseph) comes along with his long dreads and having his face on the side of the stadium. That's a little different. The rest of us are pretty much under the radar.

How do you decide where to go? I guess the person who is paying gets to pick, and then we have like a council that approves it.

Yeah. (Jeremy) Zuttah, Davin and (Donald) Penn, they get together and see if the restaurant is acceptable. Or something like that.

Stephen F. Holder can be reached at sholder@tampabay.com.

.Biography

Jamon Meredith

Position: Guard and tackle

Height/ weight: 6-5; 312

Age: 26

Hometown: Simpsonville, S.C.

College: South Carolina; started 34 games, playing tackle and guard.

Pro: Drafted in the fifth round by the Packers in 2009; has seen action in 26 games for four teams (Bills, Giants, Steelers and Bucs) and briefly was with the Lions; signed by the Bucs in March and became the starting right guard Oct. 14.

Kickin' back with Bucs guard/tackle Jamon Meredith 11/30/12 [Last modified: Friday, November 30, 2012 9:30pm]
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