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Kickin' back with Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle John McCargo

John McCargo began playing football in high school only after his best friend began doing so. Soon, he realized he was good.

OCTAVIO JONES | Times

John McCargo began playing football in high school only after his best friend began doing so. Soon, he realized he was good.

I know you played baseball, basketball and track and field in high school. When did you know football was your sport?

Actually, I didn't even like football. Football was the last sport I got into. I didn't really want to play. I played because my best friend started playing. I didn't really like it, but I'm the kind of person who isn't going to quit anything that I do. So when I got out there and started getting the techniques down, went to a football camp or two, you start to realize then what you can do. I started to see that I could move pretty good and do a lot of things that other top players couldn't. It hit me at the end of 11th grade, when I started getting those letters from colleges. Man, I had to get in there and turn my grades around and get all A's and B's my senior year (to qualify).

What football players did you admire when you were growing up?

I didn't. Like I said, I kind of hated football. I didn't watch it. I played it in high school, but I didn't really start watching it until I was in, maybe, 12th grade. I was into baseball and basketball. Plus, my mom was so protective, she didn't really want us to play. But if there was one football player I looked up to, it was Michael Vick. He was at Virginia Tech back then.

So was there an athlete in another sport you really idolized?

Yes. Sammy Sosa. I used to watch the Cubs every day on WGN. I used to get in my baseball stance and try to stand just like him.

Was that back during the days of the home run chase?

Yep. It was him and Mark McGwire going back and forth. And that was before Sammy dyed his skin, too.

Yeah, what happened to him? He looks like another person.

I don't know. He's basically someone different. It's worse than Michael Jackson. He looks pale.

Okay, on to my weekly questions: What's playing most on your iPod right now?

Right now, I'm listening to Drake. A lot of people don't like that he sings and raps. But I like R&B and rap, and it works. I mean, Chris Brown is doing it, too. I like it. He's not the greatest soloist, but he does enough singing to make the song work.

What website do you visit the most?

Actually, I do a lot of shopping on different websites nowadays. When I go to the store, you rarely ever find a Size 14 (shoe), so I get stuff online. I have to hit the big and tall sections online.

It's hard for bigger guys to find cool stuff out there, isn't it?

It is. But you know what? I'm losing some weight. I'm under 300 (pounds) now, man. But you're right. When you wear a 44 or 46 (waist), you are not finding nice stuff in any store. It's definitely hard. That's why I hate shopping. My ex-girlfriend used to always want me to go shopping with her. I would be like, "This is pointless." She'd find stuff, but I wouldn't be doing any shopping. I'd just be walking around saying, "That's looks okay. And that looks okay."

Okay, what reality show do you never miss?

I've glanced at some of them. I won't lie. If I know they're about to fight, I'll tune in. I admit that. But I don't watch them too much. I'm kind of a Golf Channel guy. I'm into golf. All I do is watch Big Break on the Golf Channel. I guess that's a reality show.

So how big of a golfer are you?

Well, I didn't start playing until I got into the (NFL). I went to this tournament that Torry Holt had in Raleigh (N.C.), and I saw all these athletes playing like Marshall Faulk and Steve Smith — so many people. And you know what? They (stunk), too. I was a little nervous, but after that, I said, "I'm going to get me some clubs and try to get better." Ever since then, I've really been a golf fiend. My first couple of seasons, I didn't play that much. But in these last couple of seasons, I've been playing a lot. I'm getting a little better. I'm still in the low 90s. It's relaxing, though. But at the same time, I've never played a game that beat me up like golf. I used to lose every ball in my bag when I started. But I'm a competitor. Anything I think I can do, I'm going to try and get better at it.

.Biography

John McCargo

Position: Defensive tackleAge: 28

Height/weight: 6-2, 307 *Hometown: Drake's Branch, Va.

College: N.C. State; started 29 of 30 games, registering 134 tackles and 29 tackles-for-losses.

Pro: First-round pick of the Bills in 2006 (26th overall); had a career-high 29 tackles in 2007; signed by the Bucs during the 2011 preseason, released at the end of camp and rejoined them as a free agent Nov. 8; has four tackles in two games.

* As listed by the Bucs; he says he's proud to be below 300 now.

Kickin' back with Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle John McCargo 12/03/11 [Last modified: Saturday, December 3, 2011 3:58pm]
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