Thanks to Gillette, I had the pleasure of speaking with Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie Tight End OJ Howard and his very proud father Kareem.  Gillette had Kareem mic’d up for his son’s rookie debut, and then let OJ watch the game through his father’s eyes in the above video.

I asked OJ about his first season as a Buccaneer and what it was like to have all the cameras around him during training camp while they filmed HBO’s Hard Knocks.  He said after a while the players forgot the cameras were even there, but he looks forward to next year’s training camp without all the distractions.

If you couldn’t tell from the above video, OJ’s father Kareem is very proud of his son.  He told me although OJ was bigger and more athletic than the other kids when coming up playing football and baseball, he didn’t get there on his own.  He had strong support from his family and others which contributed to OJ’s success and got him to where he is today.

I made sure to ask OJ about a former teammate of mine, kicker Pat Murray.  Pat and I only played one or 2 games together for Rockland GAA’s Gaelic Football Junior team (as I’m several years older than Pat and relocated to Chicago shortly after he was coming up with the team), but myself and many former players take great pride that one of our own made it to the professional ranks.  OJ said Pat’s a cool guy and they sometimes play ping pong when the team has some downtime.

While the Buccs haven’t had the stellar season some people envisioned them having after watching Hard Knocks, they are a team pointed in the right direction with a lot of young talent on their roster.  Primed for a high draft pick in 2018, this team should only get better in the near future.