Tight end John Gilmore caught his first touchdown as a Buc last week. Today, he takes on his former team in Chicago, where he spent the past six seasons. If any of his teammates want to know where to eat, he's their man.
So, you were a good javelin thrower in high school? Don't think I've ever met a javelin thrower.
I wasn't the greatest javelin thrower. I probably should have corrected that misinformation a long time ago. I think I've gone from district champ to state champ, and every time I look at (my NFL bio), it says something different. But, yes, I threw the javelin kind of as an outlet to stay in shape for football. I wasn't bad, I guess. But don't believe everything you read.
You went to Penn State. Tell me one thing about Joe Paterno I might be surprised to learn.
I think as a player that's played for Joe, you gain a greater respect for Joe after you leave there. He demands a lot. But it's more than just coaching. He's trying to teach you how to be a gentleman. He's trying to help you become a man. And he's very strict. Here's the thing: He's not easy to deal with. In fact, a lot of people didn't like some things he might say. To this day, I remember his saying: "If I tell you the truth, will you still be my friend?" He used to drop that on us all the time.
From my one trip to State College, the thing I'll always remember is the famous Penn State creamery. Were you a frequent customer?
Well, I'm lactose intolerant. But I did have my fair share (ice cream). Did you know they actually have a flavor called Peachy Paterno?
Every week we ask this: What Web site do you visit most?
Actually, right now, I'm probably checking Yahoo finance the most. And I check out real-world issues, the headlines and stuff. Thing is, I really don't have time. I start the day at 6 (a.m.), and it ends at 6 (p.m.). A lot of people really don't understand the demands.
Don't most people think you just stroll in and play on Sunday? They don't know about meetings and walkthroughs and treatment, etc.
You're right. A lot of people do. You should see people's reactions when I say, "I have to go to work tomorrow." They say, "Work?" Nobody understands the demands.
The other weekly query: What's on your iPod?
Man, I couldn't begin to tell you. I have over 18,000 songs. I can't cover it all. I have from Coldplay to Lil' Wayne, but I'm also getting into a lot of jazz lately. I'm listening to Coltrane, Miles Davis. I've been downloading a lot of smooth jazz, too. I can sit and listen to Kenny G. on a flight home after a game, something to relax me and take the edge off. I was just thinking about what playlist I'm going to put together for this trip to Chicago. Just depends on what kind of mood I'm in.
You spent six years in Chicago. What are your recollections?
It was a good time for me. That city is electric. I think moving down here, it was good timing. But as far as Chicago, the culture, everything, it's amazing. It's a good town and a unique town. But I'm starting to embrace Tampa. The weather, we have a back yard, all that. My wife and I lived in downtown Chicago, so this was perfect timing. My son is 18 months, and now we have the house with the white picket fence.
One thing you'll probably miss about Chicago is the range of food. What were you into?
Oh, man. You're talking to a self-proclaimed foodie. I really got into the restaurant scene in Chicago. We weren't big clubbers, so our outlet was to go to a restaurant and spend a few hours. I experienced everything from sushi to Mexican to Italian. That's one thing I will miss. There are over 10,000 restaurants in that city. And we're talking about world-renowned chefs. When I got down here, the first thing (Brian) Griese told me is, "You're not going to be eating like you were eating in Chicago." Griese was my food buddy. We'd go out to eat all the time. Also, my neighbor was a food journalist, so he'd turn me on to all the hot spots. We became real good friends.
Last one and you're off the hook: Name a bad habit of yours.
One that I'm trying to get better at is not hearing my wife. I listen, but it doesn't register sometimes. She's starting to call me out on it nowadays. I give her the nod and say "Uh-huh," but she got smart and started quizzing me. When I started failing the quizzes, I realized there was a problem. I'm working on it.
Stephen F. Holder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.