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Kickin' back | Adam Hayward

Kickin' back with Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Adam Hayward

You don't live a dull life. Would you say you're a thrill seeker?

I try to be a thrill seeker to the extent that I can be. I've bungee-jumped, I go whitewater rafting — I've done all that stuff. In New Zealand, I rode down a giant hill in a big air bubble. You just bounce all the way down. It's a big clear bubble. It's crazy.

So, what's the craziest thing you've done?

Probably the bungee jumping. I did that in New Zealand, too. It was over water, too, so it was pretty cool. I did it off a bridge. I was like, "Let's go!"

You said you snowboard, too. What's that feeling like when you're on the slopes?

Man, what's the word? Exhilarating. You're going down a mountain just flying and it's beautiful. You can see all the way over the mountains. Sometimes, I have to tell myself, "Man, I'm going too fast. I need to slow down." And I'm heavy, too, so I have to slow down and gather my thoughts. I'll stop and take a deep breath and tell myself, "Remember, you're getting older. Do I really want to do this? Yes!" It doesn't take me long.

You're into motorcycles, too, right?

Yes. I have a chopper that I ride around on a little bit. It's chromed out. I got rid of my street bike, though, because I almost killed myself. I was out trying to do tricks and all that stuff. I was fortunate to get up and hobble away, but I was doing really dumb stuff. … I sold my bike to my boy, but I miss it. I'm tempted to get another one. But I know me. I'll want to see if I can do a stand-up wheelie again.

You like to go to the gun range. Is that a release for you?

It's such a release. Whenever I'm ready to let off some steam, I call my boys who own the (gun range) Shoot Straight. We get all the toys out and go to work. We shoot some MP5s, and they have some crazy guns like this sniper rifle with a silencer on it. We just have a lot of fun. My favorite is the MP5 and my PS90. It looks like a space gun. I've always known about guns because my dad was in the military and I grew up with tons of guns in the house.

So, do you have a lot of respect for guns, unlike somebody who is just messing around?

You have to respect guns. If not, you'll end up like Plaxico Burress, doing something real stupid. I have a concealed-weapons permit and a Class 3 permit, so I can own stuff that most people can't. So, I have some assault weapons and some fully automatic weapons.

They told me you were really jacked up for the paintball team-building outing in the offseason. True?

Oh, yeah. I had (general manager) Mark Dominik running from me. He was scared. You should ask him about it. He was hiding behind a tree. I had to go over there and catch him.

One of my weekly questions: What do you play most on your iPod?

Jay-Z, man, all day. That's what me, Stylez (White) and Geno (Hayes) listen to all day.

What would I be surprised to hear?

Probably a little country music or some classical. I have some Beethoven on there, actually. Sometimes I just need to relax.

What Web site do you visit the most?

Probably Facebook. I have to be honest. Other than that, NFL.com to find out what's going on.

Your mother died a few years ago from breast cancer. How did that change you?

It hit in the worst way. I lost my best friend. I was a mama's boy. I stopped playing football. I went around fighting everybody. I got arrested a few times. I was doing dumb stuff during that year I took off from football (during college). But over time, I started to realize that it wasn't the end of the world and that she's in a better place. She was my No. 1 fan. I figured, why stop playing if she's still up there watching me? She gives me my motivation to play. I don't know if you've ever seen me on game day, but every game, before kickoff, I just talk to her a little bit. That's my tribute to her.

You visited some troops in the Middle East earlier this year with some teammates. Why did you go?

I wanted to do that because my brother was stationed overseas and I know I only talked to him maybe twice, so I wanted to experience some of what he went through. We went to Bahrain and all over the Middle East. We saw a lot of crazy stuff. We were in the middle of some action. I was scared. They had to get us out of there, and we had to fly out at night (for safety). They're over there doing stuff that a lot of us can't do. They're definitely heroes. I'm very thankful that they do that because it gives us the freedom to do what we do here.

You have an appreciation for the military because of your father's Navy career. Did you learn any lessons from him that carried over to football?

For the most part, I learned discipline and respect. I slack on it sometimes because I like having fun, but in my house — like any military brat — you couldn't get away with much. When your dad came home, you'd get the belt. But I appreciate it because it made me a better man.

Fast facts

Adam Hayward

Position: Outside linebacker

Age: 25

Height, weight: 6-1, 240 pounds

Hometown: Long Beach, Calif.

College: Portland State; Division I-AA All-American, Big Sky Conference defensive player of the year in 2006.

Pro: Drafted sixth round in 2007; appeared in 32 games in career.

Kickin' back with Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Adam Hayward 10/17/09 [Last modified: Saturday, October 17, 2009 4:01pm]
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