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Getting to Know Demar Dotson sat down for a Q&A with offensive tackle Demar Dotson.

The best photos of offensive tackle Demar Dotson from the 2014 season.

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The low-down:Demar Dotson's football story is as improbabe as they come. He played basketball his entire life before joining the football team his senior year of college. He was signed by the Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent defensive lineman taught to play offensive tackle from the ground up. He's been with the team for the past six seasons and has been a starter for the past three. Q: You played basketball for so long and transitioned into football kind of late. Can you talk a little bit about your basketball career?
A: "I had been playing basketball my whole life. From my junior year on I made the basketball team and I played two years in high school and got a scholarship to go to Southeast Illinois. I spent two years there and then I got a scholarship to go to Southern Mississippi and ended up playing basketball at Southern Miss. I had dreams of perusing a pro career in basketball."

Q: How come you had never played football before?
A: "I just never had the heart. When I went through high school they tried getting me to play. I went out there and I stayed out there for probably three or four days at the max and I had it. I said, 'This isn't for me.' I was a basketball player. That's where my heart was at and that's what I had the desire to do. I didn't have the thought to go out there and participate in football. I never got into it. I thought that basketball was going to be my career. That was my dream. I had a passion for it. I thought it was going to put me in the NBA one day."


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Q: When and why did you consider playing football?**
A: "I came to the realization that playing in the NBA probably wasn't going to happen. I can remember I was in the weight room lifting one day with the basketball team and one of the strength coaches came and made a little comment like, 'Maybe you should go out and give football a shot.' It was more of a joke. It wasn't something that we took seriously at the time. It wasn't something I took seriously until we went through the conference tournament in basketball my senior year and I knew that my time was winding down. I knew that I wasn't going to play in the NBA. At best I would probably go overseas and get a shot to go play somewhere over there. I started thinking that I didn't have anything to lose in going out there and playing football. I wasn't thinking at the time that I would make it to the NFL, it was just the opportunity to go out there and give it a shot. Once our basketball team lost in the conference tournament, I went to the head football coach and talked to him and told him what I wanted to do. We talked for a while and talked, talked, talked. He said, 'Spring training starts tomorrow. You can come out if you want.' I came out that next day and started."

Q: Did you know where you were going to play?
A: "They didn't have any idea where they were going to put me at. I had no idea because I had never played. They started me off I think at tight end, that didn't work too long. They put me on offensive line for a little bit, that didn't transition too well. They were thinking about where they could put me in quickly because I only had a short time, five or six months, out there. They eventually put me on the D-line."


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Q: What was the transition like from basketball to football?**
A: "It wasn't that tough, physical-wise. Me in basketball, that's how I played. I played physically. I figured coming from my basketball program at Southern Mississippi and even down at the JUCO, we thrived on being physical. I think that helped me so when I went to football it wasn't like, 'Oh, this basketball player is so soft, he's so weak.' I transitioned so quickly. Once I went out there on the football field on defense it just clicked. It wasn't too different from playing basketball. It was just I got to put pads on and got to his people as hard as I can."

Q: What kind of season did you have your first year?
A: "I played in probably six or seven games. I probably had about four tackles. No stats that are blowing people away. I didn't impress anybody with my stats. I didn't play much. Some games I probably played eight or 10 reps. It wasn't a place that was getting me looked at but my defensive line coach, when scouts used to come in and look at other guys he used to always tell them about me, that there was a basketball player who never played football before and that I was raw, I was athletic and I had a big upside. They kind of flirted with it. One of the scouts at Tampa Bay at the time, I went into my D-line coach's office and the scout was standing there. When he looked at me he said, 'Wow, he looks like an offensive tackle.' I think at that second him and I grew a connection. Every time he came he'd talk to me and when the season was over he came and worked me out personally at offensive tackle. We went through some stuff and we talked and he said, 'I'm going to go back and I'm going to compete for you. I'm going to try to get you here. I'm going to work for you and do what I can do.' When the draft was over and all was said and done he called me and said, 'We can't promise you anything. The best we can do is promise you two days to come down here and put on the Bucs gear and get an opportunity to make this football team.' That's what I did."


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Q: Fast-forward and you've got six years in the league under your belt and have been a starter for the past three seasons. After getting such a late start, do you still feel, at this point in your career, that you're still learning every year and still have lots of room to grow?**
A: "Even though I've been a starter for three years, the learning curve is still so big because, like I said, this is only my seventh year of playing offensive line. There are some guys who have been playing this position ever since high school. There are a lot of things that I'm continuing to learn each and every day. I think every year I work to get better and try to learn something different and put it in my arsenal. I never look at myself as this veteran who thinks he knows it all. I've been in the league six years, I'll never say, 'I think I know it all,' because I know I don't know it all. When I start doing that I start defeating myself. I always keep that open ear and I always have that eye to keep learning. I tell young guys all the time that I can learn from rookies, I can learn from second-year guys because, at the end of the day, they've been playing the position as long as I've been playing it, probably way longer. I've just played it longer at a different level but they've played this position a whole lot longer than I have."

Q: In the past three years that you've been a starter you've only missed one game. Do you take pride in that?
A: "That's one of the biggest things, I think, about playing offensive line. I learned that from Donald Penn. He was an iron man over there at left tackle. That guy never missed a game. I think a lot of offensive linemen take pride in that they can be reliable and they can be accountable and they can be reliable. Nobody wants to put trust in someone who can't stay healthy. I try to take care of my body. I try to eat right. Some things you can't control. If somebody rolls up on you and breaks your leg, you can't control that. The things that I can control, that's what I can control. I learned that from Donald Penn."


Q: What has been one of your goals for this offseason?**
A: "I've been working on getting low and getting stronger in my lower body. That's been the primary focus. I want to get that lower body stronger. I think I'm a great bender, I wanted to come back this year and have more power, more strength in my legs. I think I've made a dramatic improvement so far."

Q: What are you most looking forward to about this upcoming season?
A: "Just getting back on the field and putting a better quality showing out there. I think we left with a bad taste in our mouths being 2-14. I don't think the offensive line was good at all. As a matter of fact, I think it was poor. I can't wait to get back in there with the group of guys we're going to have and come up with a plan that's going to help us be a better unit. The only thing we can control is what we do in that room. We can't control the quarterback, we can't control the defensive linemen, we can only control the offensive line. I can't want to get back in there. I know the guys that are coming back are going to be excited. How we played last year – it was not good enough. We've got to play better. We're what's going to make this team click. I'm not concerned about anything except this offensive line and it's about us playing better. I can't wait to go out there and get better with these guys, personally and as a unit."


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Q: Some off-the-field questions. Is there anything you do every offseason? A place you go on vacation? Anything like that?**
A: "I take my son to Disney World. That's a little tradition we have every offseason."

Q: At the end of the season you got the media's "Good Guy Award" for being helpful with reporters. How did that come about?
A: "I didn't expect that at all. I didn't know it was coming. I appreciate the fact that they think that I'm easily approachable. To me, I didn't want an award. I'm not an award guy. The only think I try to do is I try to make their job easy. At the end of the day, they have a job to do. I know at the end of the day that they have a job to do and they have to feed their families like we have to feed our families. If I can make things easier for them and do what they ask and answer the questions they want me to answer I'll do it to the best of my ability."

Q: What's your proudest non-sports achievement?
A: "I would have to say the birth of my son. I think that was the proudest moment for me. I can teach my son and I can raise him the way he's supposed to be raised. That was the proudest moment for me. His name is Demar Jr. He just turned six."


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Q: What's your favorite TV show?**
A: "Sanford and Son. I've seen every episode of it. The more I watch it, it's still funny to me. Even though I know what's going to happen and I've seen it 100 times, I still think it's funny."

Q: How about your favorite movie?
A: "Out of Time with Denzel Washington."

Q: What's your favorite food?
A: "Gumbo." Q: If you could have dinner with three people, anybody, who would you pick?
A: "Moses, Jesus and the apostle Paul. I think those would be the three. I would have so many questions for them."

Q: What type of music is on your iPod?
A: "Gospel. I'm an old school gospel guy."

Q: Who is an athlete you looked up to as a kid?
A: "Shaquille O'Neil. That was my hero growing up. I never played like him but I sure wanted to be like him. I had all kinds of Shaq posters all around my room."

Q: If you weren't playing football right now, what do you think you would be doing?
A: "I would probably be in law enforcement. If I didn't play sports coming out of college I most likely would have gotten involved in law enforcement. That's what I wanted to do when I was growing up. I wanted to be a police officer."

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