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Kickin' back with Bucs running back D.J. Ware

Bucs running back D.J. Ware grew up in a Georgia town of about 4,000 then made his NFL debut in New York. After an initial culture shock, he says he grew to appreciate the city.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Bucs running back D.J. Ware grew up in a Georgia town of about 4,000 then made his NFL debut in New York. After an initial culture shock, he says he grew to appreciate the city.

You said you wanted to be closer to home, and now you are. What do you miss about Rockmart, Ga.?

I just like being able to get back and see all the people I grew up with from childhood. Those guys know me the best. I've really built some relationships with them, and being in Tampa allows them to get down here and get to see me play in games. When I was in New York, it was so far and they couldn't always make it.

Are there really just 4,000 people in your town?

Yeah, it's really small.

I had that many kids in my high school. Do you prefer the country?

Yes, and it's definitely country. I like everything about it. You just have so much space, so much land. You have so many things you can do outside. That gives kids so many more things to do other than sit around the house and play video games. And there's just a lot of love there. Everybody's close to everybody. And at nighttime, man, you can see all the stars. Trees and cows, that's what we have out there. It's just a peaceful place.

So as a rookie, you end up in New York City. What kind of adjustment was that?

It was definitely a culture shock; all those people everywhere. Then you got all those yellow cabs going fast. People drive a lot differently up there. And nobody says hello. Nobody opens the door for women or anybody else. There's definitely a different attitude up there. I guess it's the concrete jungle, so every man for himself.

Did it ever begin to grow on you?

It did. There's always something to do, especially in Manhattan. There's so many restaurants, and I love food. I used to go out to eat all the time in the city and go to different Broadway shows. That was great.

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

I like to listen to everything, but it's probably going to be (rappers) Young Jeezy or Wiz Khalifa or Gucci Mane. One of those three are usually playing.

What website do you visit the most?

I would say Facebook.

How much time do you think you spend on there?

Well, I used to be on it all the time, but I actually forgot my password. Man, I've got to take care of that.

What reality show do you watch the most?

I watch Love and Hip-Hop. I don't watch too much reality TV, though. There's just too much of it, and some of it is just stretched too far. It's not real. But I like Love and Hip-Hop because (character) Stevie J is hilarious.

I also asked Carl Nicks about this: When is the last time you wore one or both of your Super Bowl rings (from his time with the Giants)?

I haven't worn my first one since I got it. My dad has it. My second one, I wore it a couple of times, and then I gave that one to my dad, too. He's got them in a little case so we can put them out (on display).

What is an occasion to wear a Super Bowl ring, anyway?

I'm actually kind of scared to wear mine. Everybody wants to see it and touch it and hold it. Next thing you know, it'll end up in somebody's pocket. I leave mine put up. I don't even bring them out. Maybe I'll bring it out on my wedding day.

What's your fondest Super Bowl memory?

The after-party after the second one was cool. We had some guys that didn't know how to control themselves. It almost got a little out of hand, but it was all good fun. Nobody got in trouble. Guys were just having fun, celebrating, drinking. I think some guys were a little tipsy.

But you guys earned the right to let loose, right?

Oh, yeah. It was a direct example of how hard work pays off. We worked hard, and nobody believed in us. But we always believed in ourselves. We knew if we got past that first (playoff) game, we had a chance. Once we got to the Super Bowl, we already had it in our minds who the winner was going to be. And I think the Patriots had a little party planned for their celebration. We got wind of that, and we did everything we could to make sure they didn't have that celebration.

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

. Biography

D.J. Ware

Position: Running back

Age: 27

Height/weight: 6-0; 225

Hometown: Rockmart, Ga.

College: Georgia; 1,510 rushing yards (including a team-high 692 in 2004) with eight touchdowns; 28 catches for 357 yards and two touchdowns.

Pro: Undrafted in 2007 and signed with the Titans before landing with the Giants; spent five seasons with them as a backup, scoring his only touchdown in 2009; signed with the Bucs on Sept. 1, becoming the third-down back; has five rushes for 39 yards and four catches for 10.

Kickin' back with Bucs running back D.J. Ware 10/13/12 [Last modified: Saturday, October 13, 2012 6:30pm]
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