I notice you're from San Francisco. What's with all you California guys on the team: Doug Martin, Carl Nicks, Mason Foster and some others?
It's actually funny because me, Carl and Mason all played in the same conference in high school. We talk a little about that every once in a while.
Did you ever play against any of them?
Not that I remember. But I'm sure that if we did, we probably won.
How big a deal is high school football in San Francisco?
It's pretty good, but it's not as big as maybe some other sports.
What is the most popular sport?
Uh, actually, nothing. It's probably hanging out. It's California.
What's the best thing about San Francisco most people don't see?
I just like that San Francisco has a lot of diversity. So if you want to explore anything, you have the freedom to do that. Growing up, I was exposed to a lot of different things. I'm able to relate and deal with all kinds of different people because I have that background.
When you go back home, what's the first stop?
Well, I go home pretty often. But when I do, I only maybe stay for a few days at a time. But I have my foundation set up in my old neighborhood. I have a mentorship program at the local YMCA. And I also always go to my grandmother's house to see her. And of course, my mom's house.
These are our weekly questions: First, what's playing the most right now on your iPod/iPhone?
Well, (rapper) Lupe Fiasco's album just came out, so I'm playing that all day. I'm a big fan of his. But I listen to a lot of different music. I like N.E.R.D., Chromeo (a Canadian alternative group), Bob Sinclair (a French house music DJ), all kinds of stuff. I used to be in a band for a long time back in the day. I played trumpet for six years. I just like music, period.
Did you play when you were in school?
Yeah. That was in junior high and high school. We had a concert/jazz band.
Were you pretty good?
Yeah, I was first trumpet. I played most of the lead parts in the songs. I was a soloist sometimes.
Do you still have a trumpet now?
I actually do. A few years ago, I tried to pick it up again, but I don't have much time to practice. Usually when I pick it up, I start by playing scales. And then I just find myself playing the music that's out on the radio just by ear.
Next weekly question: What website do you visit most?
Probably my Gmail account. I like YouTube, though.
What are you usually looking at on YouTube?
It could, literally, be anything. I listen to a lot of music. So a lot of times, it starts with music. Then it turns to interviews, then to documentary stuff. Anything.
What reality show do you watch without fail?
I like Love & Hip Hop. I watch all of them. My wife usually (records) them, so when I'm chilling, watching TV with her, I watch all of the Housewives shows and all that stuff.
Speaking of your wife, if I asked her about your worst habit, what would she say?
Probably that I have this habit of making piles for her, piles of clothes. It's usually right by the bed. Usually, I'll take my clothes off and leave them in a pile.
So you're like my son?
Yeah, basically. What it stems from is that I went to an all-Catholic boys school in high school, and we wore uniforms. So you only have two or three pairs of pants and a few polos. I think I used to just wake up in the morning and just put on the same pants. I usually switched my polo, though.
What does she say when she gets home and finds these piles of clothes?
At this point, she says nothing. She just picks them up. She's like a big neat freak.
You played running back in high school. Did you get a flashback with the ball in your hands against the Giants (on a 60-yard interception return for a touchdown)?
Yeah. It's just instincts. (Running back) is what I played since I started playing football all the way to college. I always joke with our running backs how I'm probably better than them at running the ball.
Did you miss it?
Yeah. All the time. I was extremely productive playing the position (he rushed for 1,166 yards as a high school senior). It's fun to think back on all the plays that you made.
And when you think back, what's the greatest memory you have?
Probably back when I was in Pop Warner. We went to overtime in a playoff game, and I had a walkoff touchdown. I reversed field two times and shot right up the middle for the game winner. Everybody was so happy. They picked me up and carried me off the field. That's a big, big memory for me.
Stephen F. Holder can be reached at [email protected]