After braving the tough winters in Cleveland and Philadelphia, Bucs safety (and former Georgia Bulldog) Sean Jones talks about moving back to warm weather, compares Northern fans to Southern fans and reveals what he likes best about his new wife.
You wanted to get back to the South after spending most of your career up North. Has coming to Tampa been a good fit for you personally?
Definitely. From the coaching staff to all the guys on the team and the weather, hey, it's still warm outside right now. In the winter, you can still go to the beach. There's blue sky. You can't beat that.
Are you saying you didn't enjoy the winters in Philadelphia and Cleveland?
Well, it took a lot of getting used to. It probably took me a good five years to get used to the snow. You go outside and the snow is halfway up to your car windows. That takes a little getting used to. Each city brings a little something different, but it's definitely good being down South.
So, did you get rid of your snowblower in a garage sale?
Luckily, we lived in a community where they took care of that for us. I didn't really have to take care of that — thankfully.
You spent last season in Philadelphia. Fans in Tampa have their moments, but fans in Philly are … unique. Do you remember any unique experiences?
I didn't really remember too many fans saying anything because I'd be locked into the game. But there was a fight every single week. Like, there was a fight behind our bench or somewhere close to our bench. It was in such close (proximity) that we, as players, could see it. I was like, "This is crazy." I came from Cleveland, and there's crazy fans there. But in Philly, it was every week. Right behind us. It was Philly fans fighting Philly fans, for who knows what?
They're actually passionate fans. Maybe they just express it in a weird way.
People up North are a little different from people down South. It was kind of entertaining, especially when we were winning.
I know you weren't there with Donovan McNabb long, but it is kind of weird watching him in a Redskins uniform.
It definitely is strange. Just growing up, you saw (No.) 5 in that Eagles green, throughout the years. Now, in one year, he's with Washington — in the same division. But you can tell that he's definitely comfortable in Washington. He's doing a great job for those guys.
Those two teams — the Eagles and Redskins — really, really hate each, don't they?
Oh, yeah. The whole NFC (East). There's bad blood between everybody.
This is something we ask every week: What's playing the most on your iPod right now?
Pretty much a lot of the rebels from Atlanta: (Rappers) T.I., Lil Wayne (are) on there. And recently, Canton Jones. He's a gospel rapper. He's pretty good. He's got some good beats. I try to mix it up a little bit.
What website do you think you visit the most?
I'm really not a big Internet person, but I'd really have to say just Yahoo, checking my e-mail. I'm not really a big Internet or video game kind of guy. I'm kind of old school.
You went to Georgia, and they're having a little bit of a tough time right now. What do you see going on with your Bulldogs?
First of all, (receiver) A.J. Green, he didn't play in the first three games. That's first. But after that, we have a lot of young guys on the team. Our quarterback (former Plant High standout Aaron Murray), he's a freshman. But I think Coach (Mark) Richt is finally (instilling) in those guys what it takes to win, and I think they're getting more and more confident as the year goes on. You can tell from the last two weeks with the two blowouts (over) Tennessee and Vanderbilt.
You have the Florida game coming up soon. Do you feel they can match up with Florida in that game and maybe catch them while they're down?
I think so. That's always one of the biggest games. It's "The World's Largest Cocktail Party." It's a home game for Florida. We must admit that. We have to fly down to Florida. They have like a 30-minute bus ride down the road. But that's not an excuse. We're going to get them this year.
You got married recently. What's it been like and what's the best part of the new experience?
Marriage has been great. I never knew I would get married. But I found the right woman in my life, and I just went ahead and made that commitment. I get fed good. She puts food in me every night. I don't have to worry about that.
Well, she can cook, so you definitely got the right woman.
Oh, yeah. She's from Atlanta, so she's a Southern young lady. She's a beautiful woman.
So, when you go home to Atlanta and the family gets together, what's the one thing you hope is on the dinner table?
Fish. We fry a lot of fish. My dad and my brother, we grew up fishing all the time. Each and every time I go to my mom and dad's house, there's always going to be fish ready. It's going to come right out of the grease. Now, (with me) being down here, they want to come down here and go fishing and try to explore the ocean. We were kind of lake fishermen. But that's another asset of being down here in Tampa — the weather and the fishing.
Stephen F. Holder can be reached at email@example.com.