Do fullbacks have a certain blue-collar personality that reflects the position they play?
When it comes down to the work ethic, yes, that's me. I know a lot of fullbacks who I see are like that. The work ethic always stands out to me. But, outside the lines of football, that's something else. There are fullbacks who are crazy, quiet, weird.
Where do you fall?
Outside the lines, I'm a chilled guy. I'm laid back. I'm a family guy. But I can get wild and crazy.
You have four sons. Are you already hearing about Christmas lists and all?
Well, my older boys don't really do the list. They know I've got it down pat, as long as they get the grades and behave and do what they're supposed to do. They know I'll get them what's hot.
So, what is hot this year?
I don't know. Well, I'll say this: My boys are really into these skinny jeans now. They want clothes and stuff like that. Maybe some jewelry. But it's cool. I'm starting to see them grow up, and it's nice.
With four boys, there must be some pushing and shoving going on. How do you handle that?
We have a little rule: If you fight, you have to fight me, too. That usually takes care of it.
Okay, this is a weekly question: What's playing the most on your iPod right now?
Right now, I just got the new (rapper) Scarface album. I'm a real Scarface fan. And I like John Legend because I like the R&B stuff.
What would surprise me if I started messing with your iPod?
Probably a lot of stuff. I listen to pretty much everything. I have country on there, gospel on there — everything. I don't even program it. I just let it play (randomly). I have a lot of stuff.
So, tell me about some country artists you like.
Well, see, I don't know specifically. But I know that if I scroll down to country, I definitely have some stuff on there.
Other weekly question is what Web site do you think you visit the most?
Well, I'm not really a computer guy. But I would think that, for me, it's probably Chase (bank). I have to check up on my money. I think that's definitely it for me.
You like what you see on there?
Oh, yeah. I'm good. I've been blessed.
Now, you being from Miami, what's your take on Florida football and how it compares to other places?
In Florida, we start with pee-wee football and go from there. It's different here. We have some real athletes down here in Florida. And we start early. I started when I was 6. My oldest son started when he was 5. That's normal. When I tell guys from other places how young we start playing here, they say, "Huh?" They think it's flag football. Flag? We play flag in P.E. Then, with me having some experience in Texas (while playing for Houston) and seeing my boys play there, I realize they have some real good coaching there, and I do like the fact that they have better structure.
At Southridge High, you probably played against a lot of future pros. Who are some of the best players you played against?
Probably the whole Northwestern High team. (WR) Antonio (Bryant) was on that team. (CB) Torrie Cox was on that team. (Former Bucs LB) Nate Webster was on that team. I say that because that was the only team that stopped me from running for 100 yards. Then, when we played against Killian, (former first-round pick) Derrick Gibson and all those guys were over there. There were so many guys I played against who went to the pros.
What do you spend your time doing when you're not cooped up here at One Buc Place?
I like to fish. It's just relaxing. That's how I rest my nerves. If there's water, I'm dropping something in it. I grew up in the 'hood where we had canals and stuff and we'd just drop a line in there and fish.
The last time you were with the Bucs, you were still at the old woodshed, as some have called it. How shocking was it to see this facility?
For the first three or four days, everybody was watching me and laughing at me. Derrick Brooks would watch me take wrong turns and wait until I made a mistake to tell me I was going the wrong way. It's a beautiful place.
Do you miss anything about the woodshed?
I love to lift weights, so my favorite place was the outside weight room. I could be outside and hear the planes taking off. It was great. We even had our own crowd noise. It gave us some edge, I think.
Jameel Cook has a simple solution to avoiding fights among his four sons. And he remembers to this day what happened the day his high school team played Antonio Bryant's.