A used car? Suburban life? Bucs rookie Maurice Stovall is not your typical Hollywood-like wide receiver. He's about as straightlaced as they come. He sat down with staff writer Stephen F. Holder to discuss his simple life, Philadelphia's best sandwich shops, one-on-one hoop games with his baby sister and more.
You're such a simple guy, but did you splurge on yourself or do anything special after you got drafted?
When I first got my NFL check, I had never had a car before, any car. So I got me a nice used car. It was a 2005.
Used? I wouldn't call that splurging.
I know, but I'm not really into being flashy. I just got a Dodge Durango SLT. It's pretty big. I wanted a truck, and it's good enough for me. And of course, I bought a house, too.
Right. You live out in Valrico. Why not a more glamorous address?
I like being around my family, so I just moved out there. I had an aunt and uncle there. I just have to get up a little earlier (for the drive). And I didn't want to move downtown (on the water) and get an apartment. There would be a lot of distractions. I'm not saying I'd get into something. I just didn't want to put myself in that position. I kept it real simple.
Your sister (Enonge') plays basketball at the University of Virginia. Can she beat you one-on-one?
Well, she has beaten me before. But she beat me with jump shots. It's not like she was taking me to the hole or something.
Okay. For a minute, I was worried she was posting you up.
No way. But she is a very good player. When we were younger, we used to go to the playground and I'd tell the guys, "I bet you can't beat my sister." They'd be like, "C'mon man, she's a girl." Then we'd put a couple dollars on it, and she'd shoot the lights out. They couldn't stop her.
How were your games against each other back in the day?
I'd post her up all day. She's 5-11. (Maurice is 6-5.) To me, she's short. But we used to go to the playground and go at it, or we'd nail a milk crate up on a light pole on our street. We could do that all day in the summer back in Philly.
Speaking of Philly, it's known for some of its sandwiches. If I went there, tell me a place I must eat.
One place you have to go to is a cheesesteak place in South Philly called Pat's Cheesesteaks. You have to go in there and say, "Gimme a cheesesteak with." With means with everything on it. If you go there and just say, "Can I have a Philly cheesesteak," they're going to tell you to get in the back of the line. You have to know how to do it right. Then there's another place called Larry's that I go to a lot. It's really good.
When was the moment when the reality of the NFL hit home for you?
There was a time in the preseason when we were getting ready for a game and we were all sitting down eating breakfast. I saw somebody from the team come to a guy at the next table and tell him, "Coach wants to see you - and bring your playbook." He got cut right there while he was eating breakfast. That was it. It was kind of like a wake-up call even though I took it serious already. But I was like, "I guess that's the NFL."
How did going to Notre Dame shape you?
Notre Dame was a great experience. If I had to do it all over again, I would go there again. I had a lot of ups and downs there on the field and in the classroom. But I think that helped me become a man and helped me grow up. It wasn't the greatest party school, so there was nothing else to do but concentrate on school and football. But Notre Dame prepared me for the NFL and life.
Your mother passed away earlier this year. When you think about your mom, what's the first thing you think about?
I think about her making jokes, whether about me or anybody. She would just get everybody.
How about an example?
Well, they're probably not appropriate. But in my family, we all crack on each other. We'll make fun of anything - what somebody's wearing, the way they look. She didn't care. She was real blunt.
Like when she would tell you you were not a big shot just to keep you in check?
Right. I think most guys in this league walked on water in high school. But I never felt that way. She used to not allow me to read my newspaper clippings. She would take them away. Guys would give them to my dad at work, and she would put them in a scrapbook and put it away. I think when guys do that (read articles), it has an effect on them. I guess that's why I feel like a regular guy.