You went to Dunbar High in Washington, D.C., and you have a lot of competition when it comes to who is the best player to come out of there, right?
There's a lot of talent. And we're all competing. It's guys like Vernon Davis (49ers), Vontae Davis (Dolphins), Joshua Cribbs (Browns). And there are a lot of others who are still in college and making their way up to the next level. We're all these big-bodied guys, which is very abnormal for our positions, trying to be big and dominant.
Do you take a lot of pride in having so much talent come out of one school?
Definitely. A lot of pride. We all still wear Dunbar gear. And guys always want to be the face of a program. We all love each other, but we still get into arguments about who is the best and who had the best numbers and who did what. But it's a great feeling. We're all from the same area. To be in the shoes we're in now is like a dream come true.
You and Vontae Davis were best friends, and you grew up together. Are you still very good friends?
We grew up together, went to high school together, college together.
Did you ever talk about your football dreams when you were growing up and what it might be like to make it?
Oh, yeah. And a lot of things we said we were going to do have happened. We said we were going to go to Illinois and change the program around. And we said we were going to be in the (NFL). Not (be) just anybody. We said we were going to be some guys who were at the forefront and were going to contribute and be Pro Bowl (players), top-of-the-food-chain types of guys. And we're all making our way up there.
So, you're still having some of those conversations about what the future is going to be like?
Oh, yeah. No doubt.
Every week we ask this question: What's playing most often on your iPod right now?
A lot of things. (Rappers) Kid Cudi, Wale — that's a D.C. guy — Gucci Mane, a lot of Young Jeezy.
Is there anything on there that's out of the ordinary?
Nothing really. Well, I listen to the Beatles from time to time. I listen to oldies.
What sparked that?
I don't know. It's something different. It's not the rowdy music I usually listen to before a game. It's something that can calm me down a little bit.
The other question I always ask is, what website do you visit the most?
I go to the (University of) Illinois website a lot to check up on my brother. (He plays for the Illini.) I'm a shoe and a hat fanatic. I love Nike shoes and hats. So, I probably go to the New York and L.A. flight club (website) for stuff like that.
So, you're a sneaker guy?
Yeah, I'm a sneaker guy. I'm a fashion guy. I love to get dressed sometimes. I'm big on clothes and that kind of stuff.
Everyone refers to you as Rejus. Is there a story behind that?
I don't know. It's just something I've had since I was younger. My father's nickname was Redus. So they just called me Rejus. I have no idea where it came from. It just stuck. Ever since I can remember I was Rejus.
Who would you say has been the most influential person in your life?
I would have to say my mom, and my brother, too. My mom, she's been my mother and my father. And my brother, (it's about) learning from my brother's mistakes. If I didn't have anybody I could learn mistakes from, I might be in the same position (his brother served time in prison).
Your mom was a really good athlete, wasn't she?
My mom ran track; she played flag football. She's well-known around the D.C. area.
Was she a sprinter?
Yes, she was a sprinter. It's kind of funny, actually. She was real skinny. I got her legs. I have big legs. So, I probably get my speed from my mom.
You're part of a receivers group here that's really young. You guys seem to have a lot of fun. Who is the guy who gets cracked on the most?
I'm real quiet, so I don't say too much to put myself out there. I'd say Preston Parker. He says some wild stuff, man. When somebody says something, he'll just go completely against it. He keeps everybody going. The great thing about it is we all support each other. There's no jealousy. We're all out here trying to win and do what we're trying to do. It's just a great group.
Stephen F. Holder can be reached at email@example.com.