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Rookie just says no to Jerri Curls

By ROGER MILLS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 12, 2002

[Times photo: Toni L. Sandys]
Four-year-old Jameel Cook Jr. wants to be a police officer when he grows up. His dad, Jameel, says that’s okay as long as he’s athletic.
Fullback Jameel Cook, a sixth-round pick out of Illinois by way of Miami Southridge, has had quite the first season in the NFL. Here he is on the Big Ten, pimping, South Beach, the Secret Service, flight attendants and Jerri Curls.

RM: The Big Ten took a pounding in the college football bowls. What's up?

JC: I don't know what happened. But I'm just happy that we were the Big Ten champs. That was a big change from recent years. But I think I can actually give it up to the SEC and say they were faster than we were this year.

RM: There's been a lot of debate about the speed in the SEC. Do you believe the hype?

JC: Personally, no. But overall, it appeared that way this year.

RM: Tell our readers what Jay-Z means by the phrase "big pimpin'."

JC: I don't actually know. Well, I think the phrase goes, "big pimpin', spendin' cheese". That means spending a lot of money. So I guess "big pimpin" is spending money.

RM: In some cities, do they still have pimps walking around with fedoras and fur coats?

JC: You can go down to Miami and you can see a whole bunch of stuff. But I'm pretty sure in places like Detroit or Chicago you'll see those old school guys acting crazy. You know, back in the players club, they say that's the oldest profession in the world. You start with it, you have to end with it.

RM: You have had quite a run since the start of training camp.

JC: Most definitely. I'm thanking God right now, first of all. I'm blessed to be in this situation where I'm in the league. And then being close to home, being able to see my sons (Jameel Jr. and Jeremiah, 3 months). And then with the playing time I'm getting, it's a great feeling to be out there and have the coaches able to rely on me. Throw Cook in there and keep rolling.

RM: Ever had a moment when you thought how overwhelming this year could have been?

JC: To tell you the truth, I haven't really sat down and done that yet. It's been so fast. No time to dwell on it, let it soak in. It's rolling right now, so I don't want it to stop. RM: Could you be a member of the Secret Service, take a bullet for the president, that type of thing?

JC: Probably so. If it was my job, if that was the profession I had chosen, then I would take the bullet.

RM: I'm happy for you.

JC: You have to understand, if you chose to be a Secret Service agent, then you already accept that and suck it up and know that could happen. If you have that passion to protect people that way, then you do it.

RM: How many times in a day does the average flight attendant say, "Buh-bye!" JC: I honestly don't know. When I first get on a flight, I'm almost asleep. So I know when I'm getting off the flight, I'm just waking up. I hardly notice. But they do say it a bit.

RM: But shouldn't they say it in other languages, too?

JC: I'm from Miami, so maybe they should say it in Spanish. "Adios, Adioooosss."

RM: Describe South Beach.

JC: You can go to South Beach and see anything. It's all good. There are half-naked people walking down the street, other people doing their thing. It's just a big party, all the time. It's culturally diverse. Every language. If you want it, you can have it. It's a beautiful thing.

RM: Would it be an understatement to say people lose their inhibitions down there?

JC: I would say that it's become such a tourist spot that the people who go there go there to unwind. They don't care. That's what it's for. They want to go down there, get off the chain, get loose.

RM: The new hip-hop trend is to wear your pants not on the waist but on the butt. Where did that come from?

JC: Guys, I guess back in your generation, were tired of wearing tight pants around their waist.

RM: Hold up, hold up. HOLD UP. Back in who's generation? I'm only 36 years old. Easy. I'm not old.

JC: I got you. ... I guess it's just something that people do now.

RM: Whatever happened to Jerri Curls?

JC: You can still go to St. Louis and see some brothers with Jerri Curls.

RM: Would you wear a Jerri Curl?

JC: Nooooooo. I ain't wearing no Jerri Curl, man. I had an S Curl, but never a Jerri Curl.

RM: What, the S Curl was the lower model?

JC: It was a different range of curl.?

RM: So a man puts a gun to your head and says you either go Jerri Curl or relaxed hair like James Brown. Which do you pick?

JC: I would take the relaxer. You see, you really don't have to put them chemicals in your hair. You can straighten that out with a hot comb, no preservatives. And then you can still oil it down and get that look. Do your thing.

RM: What's next for hairstyles?

JC: It's cycle. The had the Afro, the Jerri Curls, the dreadlocks, the bald head. ... I think the Jerri Curls are coming back. I'll wear the S Curl if it comes back.

RM: MC Hammer says, "Can't touch this!" What's this?

JC: It could be anything. It could be this or that. It could be like my son (Jameel Jr). You can't touch him. Or his younger brother (Jeremiah, 3 months).

RM: Jameel Jr., what do you want to be when you grow up?

JR: I want to be a police officer.

RM: Dad, you cool with that?

JC: Yeah. As long as he's athletic.

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