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Behind the Buccaneers: Gerald McCoy

BTB---McCoy

While fans may see defensive tackle Gerald McCoy as a super hero on the field, he insists the super hero in his house is actually his wife, Ebony. That or the life-sized Batman he has in his man cave filled with his other collectibles at his home in Tampa.

Gerald has been with the Buccaneers his entire career and he believes there’s a reason for that, which has nothing to do with football. This is Behind the Buccaneers with Gerald McCoy.

Carmen Vitali: If you could have one super power, what is it?

Gerald McCoy: “Super strength.”

You already have super strength…

“Ok, telekinesis. I want to be able to control and read people’s minds. I want to be able to control anything with my mind. There are a lot of fake people in this world, and if you faking and you’re in my face and I know you don’t like me I’m going to let you know about yourself… Ok, I only want to read certain people’s minds… Ok, I’m going to be honest, I just want to know what my wife is thinking because she’s such a mystery. Women, you guys are such a mystery. Y’all are the most powerful beings on this earth and men, we just want to find out why y’all so strong. Y’all are much stronger than us and we have no explanation for it because you just hide it up there. I want to be able to read my wife’s mind because she’s highly intelligent, independent and she’s just the greatest. I have to know where it’s coming from.”

I want to be able to read my wife’s mind because she’s highly intelligent, independent and she’s just the greatest. I have to know where it’s coming from.

How did you guys meet?

“We met in middle school. I’ve been knowing my wife since the seventh grade. She transferred in. The crazy thing is that she was only there for one year then we met back up in high school. Ended up going to the same high school. We started dating, summer I would say is when the sparks started flying. There wasn’t a connection until a little into our junior year. Then we were dating off and on until my rookie year. That’s when it became consistent. We got married my third season.”

Who made the first move?

“I did.”

Would she tell it differently?

“No, she wouldn’t. Shot my gun. Missed at first. I went for the three pointer, definitely wasn’t Steph Curry at first. Kind of Shaq’d it. But I started Steph Curry-ing from then on.”

What was it about her then that made you ‘shoot your shot’?

“For me, it was the fact that she didn’t care about what nobody had to say. She couldn’t be swayed by anything. How strong-willed she is and she’s very opinionated. When she commits and believes in something, it’s hard to change her mind. She’s been like that since I’ve been knowing her. She’s always full of energy and full of life. She’s one of the most, if not the most, selfless people I’ve ever been around. That’s basically what it is, she’s just so strong-willed. That’s why I was saying I gotta know what it is. I need to be able to read her mind. I have to figure this out.”

Gerald's wife Ebony with children Marcellus, Neveah, Gerald and Germany
Gerald's wife Ebony with children Marcellus, Neveah, Gerald and Germany

Do your kids have that?

“I think the twin, Germany, I think she’s going to have it. Neveah is me all over. Marcellus is Marcellus. He’s great, he’s got a lot of his mom. As far as his work ethic and how much he puts into what he does, that comes from me. But being like my wife, that’s definitely Germany. You can already see it. It’s a sight to see.”

Well you and your wife obviously make a pretty good team, if you had to give her a super hero name what would it be?

“Wonder Woman is taken, huh? Jeez, I’ve never thought about that. Ebony. That’s her super hero name."

Where did ‘Geraldini’ come from?

“It’s a football name. I was in pass-rushing college and I beat one of the offensive linemen. I made a move one way and went the other way so fast that he jumped. Everybody was like, ‘Ooh!’ and me being me, was like, ‘I was almost like Houdini, huh? You thought you had me locked up but then I got out of there. Just call me Geraldini.’ And it stuck. From that point on, I just ran with it. Even my youngest, one of the twins, he’s been ‘Little ‘Dini’ for years and he’s only four. Even before he was born.”

He’s Gerald Junior, right?

“The third, actually, I’m Junior. Everybody called him ‘Dini before he was even conceived. It was, ‘when little ‘Dini get here’ yeah. But I can’t think of a super hero name for my wife. You know how Blank Man was Blank Man? She’s going to be Blank Woman until we figure it out.”

Well super heroes are your thing. You even have a giant, life-sized Batman in your house?

“Yeah, he’s 6’5””

Does that um, scare people in the middle of the night?

“It does. It scares me and I know it’s there. It’s Batman. I’ve always wanted to meet him. Now I own him. As a kid, you have these action figures that are tall and it’s like look at the size of this Batman. But a 6’5” Batman? It’s hard to beat that unless you make a statue. It’s just great. It’s fun. I like to collect things.”

Does it scare the kids?

“No, they love it. At night, they’re not up. I’m the one walking around, doing my rounds to make sure everything’s locked up but then sometimes I walk and I'm half asleep. Maybe even sometimes you hear noises and my wife is like, ‘Go check on that.’ And I’m like, 'You go check on it, Mrs. Super Hero.' But no, I’ll go downstairs and I’ll forget that it’s in there and I’ll open the door and, ‘Ohh! Batman! What the heck is your problem?’”

And you’ve made your home here in Tampa. Before you were drafted here, you had lived your whole life in Oklahoma.

“For me, the only time I actually left Oklahoma was when I started training for the combine and the draft. I had visited places and traveled but hadn’t lived anywhere else. I was in Arizona for however long combine training is but then I got drafted and I’ve been here ever since. I was able to adjust to living somewhere different. In the offseason, I train in San Diego. But Tampa is great, man. It’s a melting pot. It’s a great place to raise a family. Everybody loves coming. I’m from the south side of Oklahoma City, we don’t see this many trees and my wife’s assistant, Lydia, she pointed this out to me. She said, ‘Oklahoma is so brown.’ Because if you’re from Florida, it’s so green, this is what you see. When you go there, it’s like where’s all the green? It’s almost like somebody adjusted the color on the state or something. When people come from Oklahoma and come here, it’s like somebody turned the brightness up. My family loves it. The kids love it. My wife and I love it. Tampa’s great.”

Gerald, Ebony, Marcellus and Neveah at a Tampa Bay Lightning game.
Gerald, Ebony, Marcellus and Neveah at a Tampa Bay Lightning game.

Good thing because you’ve gotten to stay here your whole career. That’s pretty unique.

“Somebody told me I’m a rarity the other day. Even people in my draft class, there’s a lot of people, I mean high-profile, very good players, there’s very few of us that are on the same team. Even though a lot them have had successful careers, they’ve had it here, they’ve had it there. It’s great to have been here this long.”

Do you have any funny fan interaction stories?

“The stories are endless but I think the craziest one is when a lady had me sign her baby. Not the baby’s onesie. The actual skin of the baby. I’ve signed an apple. I’ve signed fresh tennis shoes where I ask them first, ‘Hey, is your mom going to be upset if I sign this?’ and they say they don’t care. But signing an actual baby. It was at training camp. The funniest things that happen to me though is where you’ll be at the grocery store or at a restaurant and you’ll see people staring at you and then you check your phone and you have a tweet from that person saying, [starts whispering] I’m whispering because I feel like that’s how they’re tweeting but, ‘I think I’m next to Gerald McCoy’ or ‘Gerald McCoy is in the grocery store right now, I’m not sure if it’s him but I think it’s him.’ You want to go find them like, ‘It is! Just say something.’ I’ll see people following me in the grocery store all the time.”

That’s something to have to get adjusted to. Normal people don’t just have other people following them around…

“Yeah, it’s funny. My wife, we’ll be sitting there eating and I’ll hear her say, ‘uh oh’ and I know what that ‘uh oh’ is. I’ll look up. Sometimes it’s one person, sometimes it’s two. I remember one time, I was a basketball coach. I wasn’t very good, but I know sports so… anyway. I was helping coach my son’s AAU team and some of the kids play football. It was a Friday night, me not thinking, I didn’t prepare myself. I just like to show up. I never like to feel like I’m above the system or have to have security with me. It pushes people away and I’m just a normal dude. So I show up to the game with my dad and my son and my son is going to interact with his friends and my dad and I are just sitting there. This little league team is there. Two kids say hello to me and then they take off running. I didn’t know this was all a plot to get the whole stadium to follow me around. They get their whole team and my dad is like, ‘Oh, here we go.’ We get down to the bottom of the railing and the whole team is at the bottom, like a stampede at the front of the steps, running to the bleachers, yelling, ‘Mr. McCoy! Mr. Gerald McCoy can we please take a picture with you?’ I’m like yeah, no problem, let’s go over here so we’re not in anybody’s way. And then somebody else wanted a picture. Then you would have thought, I’m not exaggerating at all, that Justin Bieber showed up. The bleachers cleared out. They had to get security to get people from around me and I had to go stand on the grass of the field because the whole section of the bleachers had cleared out and followed me. Then when I was ready to leave, they had to get two or three police officers to walk me to my car.

I had never seen it like that. It was insane and I tried to tell my wife about it and she was like, ‘No way it happened like that.’ So I go to another one and my wife goes with me to see another kid that played with my son and it wasn’t to the magnitude of the first time, but it was pretty close. She was like, ‘I guess you were telling the truth.’ You get used to it.

The real ones that have to get used to it are my family, because they have to deal with it. I’m out with my family or I’m out at a sporting event and I get stopped, my family has to stop walking. Then they start walking, then they stop walking. Because I don’t tell anybody no. I hate telling people no. What I will say is, even if I’m in a rush - I was about to miss my flight one time and this guy stops me and he’s like, ‘Gerald can I please get a picture with you?’ and I was like, “Ahh, please make it quick’ and I was running to get to my flight but I still couldn’t say no. But you get used to it. It could easily not be me.”

Gerald with his wife Ebony, daughter Neveah, twins Gerald and Germany and he and Ebony's two best friends.
Gerald with his wife Ebony, daughter Neveah, twins Gerald and Germany and he and Ebony's two best friends.

Well yeah, you get to do so many good things, too.

“Yes. It’s definitely a platform that can change lives. I recently had a revelation that I haven’t had any success in the NFL or in Tampa because – not any, but not enough – because I feel like I don’t want to only be remembered for being a great football player. I want to know that somebody’s life was changed because I was drafted to the Bucs. Not just because they were able to watch me play football but literally something positive happened in their life because I was in that locker room. Because I was in the cafeteria or in the community. That for me is more important than any sack or ring I can get. My goal in Tampa, I feel like God has placed me here to change lives. Honestly, that’s why I truly believe I’ve been here so long – because my mission is not complete. So I have a lot more work to do.”

I don’t want to only be remembered for being a great football player. I want to know that somebody’s life was changed because I was drafted to the Bucs.

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