I know when you signed with the team you said you wanted to meet John Lynch. Did that happen?
I did. He did our game in Miami (on Fox), and I went up to him and introduced myself. He was like, "I've been hearing about you from my friends." He actually said he had some friends who called him up and asked him if he was playing for the Bengals now. (Lynch was with Cincinnati in the preseason.) And I also saw him at the Seattle game, and we said, "Hey."
Other than you having a common last name, what drew you to him to become such a big fan of his?
He was just a pretty complete football player. He had heart; he had interceptions. He did it all. It was just the way he played the game. He was just a hard-nosed football player, and he was also a very smart intellectual. It was pretty cool to watch him play.
Did you try to emulate him?
I wouldn't say I emulated him. I really liked his style of play, though.
You had a pretty big role in the HBO reality how Hard Knocks with Cincinnati. Do you still hear a lot about the show, and what's your lasting memory from that experience?
Not as much lately. It's kind of died down. The lasting memory was, well, I don't really like cameras around me all the time. I'd rather just live my life without everyone else watching. And they kind of sort of made up some stories, I thought.
We ask everyone: What's playing the most on your iPod right now?
I play probably play mostly Christian or country. I like Jeremy Camp. I like Brad Paisley and stuff like that, too.
The other question I always ask is, what Web site do you visit most?
Man, I love eBay. I'll go to the store, and I'll look at something and say, "Man, I really want that." But then I always tell myself, "I bet I could find it cheaper on eBay." Then I look it up, and it's like 20 bucks cheaper, and I say, "Yes!" Got to check eBay first.
What's your most memorable athletic achievement?
I think it's winning three national championships in a row (at Appalachian State). The first time you do it, it's really cool. Then, the second time, you're like, "Wow." The third time, we were just struggling to get there. We had a couple of losses and finally got there, and it's like, "This is crazy. We won three in a row."
It must take a special team to pull that off. What are the main qualities it took to make that happen?
I think we had a lot of respect for each other, a lot of leadership, a lot of discipline. No one thought that we were ever going to win. It was always a case where you start the game and you know the opponent is going to be good. And then you just go out and play hard. We never thought we were better than the next team.
And you weren't playing only I-AA teams, either, right?
When I was there, we played LSU, we played North Carolina State, we played Wyoming, Hawaii. It was good.
I know you started the season in Cincinnati. After receiver Chris Henry's death this month, I'm wondering whether you got to know him at all.
I remember all his athletic achievements, all his one-handed Michael Jordan catches in the back of the end zone. He had unbelievable athletic talent. He was skinny but was fast and could jump through the roof. He was just an unbelievable athlete. But at first, when he came back from his (2008 suspension), I was kind of wary of him. I just thought, "This guy is a bad guy." And then once you started talking to him, you realize he's just a soft-spoken, very friendly guy who always has a smile on his face. Then you realize, this guy isn't anything like people perceived him to be. When he was around me, I always thought he was a really cool guy. Everyone liked him.
Did he make any of those Michael Jordan plays against you?
Probably (laughing). He made a lot of plays against a lot of people.
Stephen F. Holder can be reached at [email protected]