I sat down to a conversation with Gaines Adams (at least in my head I did), the first round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (drafted fourth overall pick) in the 2007 NFL draft.
Gaines, no stranger to media attention, was a finalist for both the Bronco Nagurski Award (given to the nations best defensive player), and the Ted Hendricks Award (given to the top defensive end) in his senior season at Clemson in 2006.
He has continued his winning ways since joining the Bucs family, recording a team high 6.5 sacks in the 2008 season.
Gaines turned out to be extremely charismatic and self-assured, and seemed delighted to talk about his first two seasons with the Buccaneers. Below is the transcript of the questions I asked him during our no-holds-barred interview.
Question: Gaines, what would you say have been the most memorable aspects of your first two seasons in the NFL?
Question: What was the greatest challenge you faced in making the transition from college to professional football?
Question: Growing up, was it always your dream to play in the NFL, and what influenced you to pursue that dream?
Question: Who are some of the people that have influenced you the most, and left a lasting impression as you’ve journeyed through life and football?
Question: The offseason training routines by some former NFL players, most notably Jerry Rice and Eddie George, are legendary. What do you do in the offseason to ensure that you can remain playing at the highest level.
Question: With a rookie head coach and new offensive and defensive coordinators, do you see major changes in both the offensive and defensive schemes this season, and if so what do you see your role being in the new defensive schemes?
Question:Few people know about how involved you are in the community. For instance, your organization “Gaines’ Gang” provides free gameday tickets to charitable groups for home games. You are also heavily involved with helping various children’s charities. Can you tell our audience why you’re so committed to giving back to the community in this way?
Question: What would you say is your greatest strength, and conversely what’s your greatest fear?
Question: What does life after football hold for Gaines Adams?
Gaines, it’s been a pleasure spending time with you, and getting to know more about Gaines the man as well as Gaines the football player. I do have one final question though, which, as far as my son is concerned, would be the most important one.
Question:My son currently plays defensive end at USF (they actually share this stadium with you) and he wanted me to be sure to ask you if you have any tips for him on how to best prepare himself as a college player so that he can successfully make the leap to the NFL.