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Kickin' Back with Bucs receiver Tiquan Underwood

Bucs receiver Tiquan Underwood began growing his hi-top as a dare a little more than a year ago. The most common question he gets about it: How do you put a helmet on? “It’s just hair, man,” he says. “It’s soft.”

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Bucs receiver Tiquan Underwood began growing his hi-top as a dare a little more than a year ago. The most common question he gets about it: How do you put a helmet on? “It’s just hair, man,” he says. “It’s soft.”

Let's get this out of the way. You know I have to ask about the hair. How long have you been growing the hi-top?

I've had it now for over a year.

And how did this start?

It started out pretty much as a dare from my friends. I was talking to one of my boys, and he bet me that I wouldn't get an old-school haircut while I was young. I said, "You know what? I'm going to do it." And it's different. It's really unique, and people really take a liking to it. It's been pretty cool.

It really is a throwback cut. Are you a throwback in any other sense?

I would say in my music. I have this old-school playlist on my iPod. And I listen to a lot of artists who were big when I was growing up: 2Pac, (Notorious B.I.G.), Jay-Z, who actually is still doing it. I just like that '90s era of music. Things were good then. They were speaking about real life and real things.

So when people ask you about the hair, what's the craziest thing you've heard?

I wouldn't say there's been one that was really out there, but there is one (comment) that is the most common: How do I get my helmet on? People always ask me that. Sometimes I'll be walking somewhere and people yell out, "Yo, Fresh Prince!" or something like that. I get (called) Kid 'n Play, too. But that helmet question, I literally get that every day. It's just hair, man. It's soft. You put the helmet on. You take it off. It's not that hard.

You mentioned music earlier. We ask every week what's playing the most on your iPod?

For me, every morning when I'm driving to work, I bring up my gospel play­list. Every morning. That's how I get my mind right. And I'm grateful every day for another opportunity. Now if it's before a game or practice, I'm listening to more upbeat music, probably Drake, or 2 Chainz, 2Pac, Jay-Z, music that gets you going. But I do think it's important to start your day off right. Like when I wake up, I make sure to pray. And then my gospel playlist really helps me put everything in perspective.

Another weekly question: What website do you visit the most?

I would say HotNewHipHop.com. That's where I get a lot of music from. Other than that, I'm probably looking at NFL.com. You always want to see how your peers are doing and how you stack up.

Is there a reality show you are sure to never miss?

I'm not a big reality show guy, but when I was in college, I could not miss an episode of that Flavor Flav show, Flavor of Love. I was hooked on it. I was kind of excited about that Eve and Ocho show (with Chad Johnson and his thenwife, Evelyn Lozada) that was supposed to be coming. He told us about that when I was in New England. I would've tuned in for that for sure. He never got the chance, unfortunately. (They divorced in September after Johnson's domestic violence arrest.)

I'm wondering something: What are your nonfootball aspirations, maybe after football's over for you?

Well, I've been playing football since I was 7 years old. You learn so many life lessons from it that are so valuable. So I want to stay around the game. But I don't think I want to coach. The hours are just ridiculous. People don't really understand that. But I would love to be a player development director and help guys transition from high school to college or college to the pros. I've done it. I've been in their shoes, and it really is a big transition. Maybe I could help shorten the learning curve for those guys.

Everyone always associates you with being cut the night before the Super Bowl by the Patriots. If and when you make it to another Super Bowl, what will it mean?

Football is just a game, and life is bigger than football. But it would mean everything to get another opportunity. Personally, I truly believe everything happens for a reason. It's humbled me tremendously and made me have more of a drive. Quite honestly, that one year in New England helped me grow as a person and a player so much. Depending on how these next few years go, I can look back one day and say that going to New England saved my career. It's expected to win and to play well and to put in the work. If you don't, you're going to be gone. I'm trying to carry that on here.

>>BIOGRAPHY

Tiquan Underwood

Position: ReceiverAge: 25

Hometown: New Brunswick, N.J.Height/weight: 6-1; 183

College: Rutgers; made 32 starts for then-coach Greg Schiano; caught 132 passes for 1,931 yards and 16 touchdowns; had seven 100-yard games.

Pro: Drafted in the seventh round by the Jaguars in 2009; appeared in 13 games over two seasons; appeared in six games for the Patriots in 2011; has eight catches for a career-high 149 yards in four games with the Bucs.

Kickin' Back with Bucs receiver Tiquan Underwood 10/24/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 9:14pm]
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