Pro Bowl DT Warren Sapp spoke directly to Buc fans Tuesday night on the Pewter Power Hour
It's late Tuesday afternoon at the end of summer, and John, a 13-year-old football enthusiast is thinking about his future in the game. He wants to know what it takes to excel on the gridiron, and that's a question he's likely to take to his coaches and teachers, his parents and friends, in the coming months.
On this afternoon however, John picks up the phone and dials an expert on the matter. Within minutes, he's talking one-on-one with Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defensive tackle Warren Sapp, who happens to know a thing or two about becoming a great football player.
John had this opportunity to speak directly with Sapp on Tuesday thanks to a unique, interactive show on Buccaneers.com called the Pewter Power Hour. Every Tuesday from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m., the Pewter Power Hour offers fans across the nation an opportunity to spend an hour exchanging opinions on every Buccaneer topic under the sun. Now, the Pewter Power Hour has added guests, with Head Coach Tony Dungy appearing last week and Sapp following up on the next show.
And so John was able to hear the advice of a man who was once in his position, a young player enjoying the game of football and wondering what lay ahead. Sapp's advice, however, didn't center around lifting weights or studying playbooks, or around football at all for that matter.
"I'm going to tell you this, and I think this will apply to most of your life: find something you enjoy and have fun at it," said the Bucs' #99. "You're way to young to know anything (about what's going to happen to you). I had no idea. I had no idea when I was 17. I had no idea when I was 18. I had no idea when I was a freshman at Miami, changing positions from tight end to defensive tackle.
"The one thing you can do is, try to get as much education as you can. That's the key. It isn't all about X's and O's, my 40-yard, my bench press, this and that. It's about enjoying life for what it is. It's a great big adventure, so just dabble in everything, John. I'm sure out in California there's a lot of things to do. Get a little skateboarding in, get a little BMX bike riding, surfing. Whatever it is, just enjoy life and it will come to you. Trust me, it will."
The 1999 NFL Defensive Player of the Year spent 30 minutes on the show with Pewter Power Hour callers, after his position coach, Rod Marinelli, warmed the crowd up during the first segment. Each caller that was patched through became engaged in a conversation directly with the outgoing and outspoken passrusher.
Callers chatted about Dallas QB Quincy Carter and the option play, of course, and wanted to know how it felt to add DE Simeon Rice to the Bucs' monstrous front four. The discussion ranged even wider, however, from the feel of the game on the field to the work it takes to get ready for it.
For instance, Craig from York, Pennsylvania wanted to know Sapp's favorite part of being a Buccaneer.
"I don't think there's one thing that you can put your finger on that's my favorite thing," said the 1995 first-round draft pick. "I'll give you this, though – I can't describe to you, when I'm at that north end zone in Raymond James Stadium, and I twitch my fingers and they go to raising up. It's better than the guy that's running the orchestra.
"I'm telling you, there's nothing better than that. All those people rising to their feet? There's nothing better than the adrenaline right there in that moment when I ask them to stand on their feet and they raise up. It's unreal. It's ungodly. That's one thing, no doubt about it – the way they respond to us."
Earlier, David from Port Charlotte, Florida had raised the issue of Sapp's renewed emphasis on conditioning this past offseason, an initiative that led to a leaner, meaner sack king weighing in at about 290. Was there any secret to Sapp's weight loss and conditioning?
"It's just 16 weeks," said Sapp with a laugh. "Everybody thinks it's this miracle diet or something. It's just the mindset of a pretty good player that wants to be a little bit better than he was a year ago. That's saying a lot at 16 and a half sacks, but I feel like I've got the team around me that, if I put myself in the best condition I've been in mentally and physically, it bodes well for us to win the championship. That's the ultimate prize in this thing.
"I asked Randall (McDaniel): 'Which one would you hate to block, the one that was 330 or the one that's 290?' He says 290 gives him the most problems. I know that's the finest player I face all year long, and if he's having problems at 290, then I know some people are going to have nightmares."
And though the night's conversation centered around the defense and the expected pressure up front, Chris from Seaside, wanted to get Sapp's opinion on the Bucs' revamped offense?
"The one thing you have to look over the years is that we've never had as many weapons as we've got now, and the know-how and responsibility to put the ball in those weapons' hands and let them go to work.
"When we gave Warrick Dunn the ball for 20 touches, you saw what he did. He put up big numbers, and we can still get Mike his touches and Keyshawn his touches by moving the ball around. That's the thing we didn't have in our offense in the years past - variety. That's the one thing that bodes well for us is the variety of weapons and variety of plays we're going to use."
To listen to the entire Pewter Power Hour from September 4, complete with Sapp and Marinelli's comments and radio highlights of some of the defender's more exciting moments, click on the link in the Buccaneers Broadcast Network box on the home page or visit this site's Video Archive.