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You can't take country out of Dilger

By ROGER MILLS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 29, 2002

Veteran tight end Ken Dilger, in his first season with the Bucs, is a good ole country boy adjusting to life in Florida. Here are his takes on growing up country, Chinese food, old-age driving, in-laws, three little pigs and the big bad wolf.

* * *

RM: What's it like growing up in small town, Mariah Hill, Ind.

KD: The population was about 300 to 500 people.

* * *

RM: So walking through the streets everybody knew you?

KD: Streets? We had one road, right down the middle of town. One road in, one road out. Couple houses on the side of the road. Just a dot on the state map.

* * *

RM: Benefits and drawbacks of living in such a small town.

KD: The benefits are that it's a great place to raise kids. Not much crime, not many bad things can happen to you. The drawbacks are that everybody knows who you are. You can't get away from anybody. Your neighbors may be half a mile away, but they know exactly who you are and where to find you.

* * *

RM: Sounds like you've been busted before.

KD: One time, we were throwing toilet paper in trees. I was in high school. And one of my buddies stole a stop sign. So the sheriff of the town, he knew my dad and he knew I was with the guys. So, he comes to our house and tells my dad to tell me that he knows who took the sign. He told my dad it wasn't a big problem unless someone runs the stop sign and gets killed. He sort of told my dad to tell me to tell my buddies to put the sign back.

* * *

RM: How did your dad react?

KD: Well, he knocked on my door and delivered the message. He was a pretty lenient guy, considering he grew up in the same town, on a farm. Whatever I did, he probably did worse. It wasn't a major violation, but it was bad enough.

* * *

RM: Ever wonder why, half an hour after eating Chinese food, you're hungry again?

KD: I love Chinese food, sushi, all that. But you're hungry again before you know it. I think it's because in Chinese food, you get a lot of vegetables. But you would think the rice would fill you up or the meat would fill you up.

* * *

RM: At what age do you stop people from driving?

KD: There is no set age. I tell you what, I've been in Florida now for about six months and I've seen a lot of young people who don't know how to drive. The thing next to your steering wheel is called an indicator. Use it. They just swerve in and swerve out. But, my wife's grandfather is 98 years old and they took his driver's license from him a couple years ago and he was perfectly normal on the road. I guess it's a person-to-person basis. Maybe get a test every year.

* * *

RM: If you were a dog, what kind of dog would you be?

KD: Two come to mind. I would like to be a basset hound, so I could sit on my butt all day and do nothing and let my ears flap in the wind. They know how to chill. Or, I would be a golden retriever or labrador, where you could run around all day until you get tired. Personally, I'm leaning toward being the basset hound.

* * *

RM: That's the country in you.

KD: My father raised beagles for rabbit hunting, and it was always fun going out hunting with him.

* * *

RM: Are we, by nature, incapable of having a good relationship with our in-laws?

KD: No. But I think it's a rarity that you have a good relationship. Anytime you have a daughter or son getting married, the mother and father are kind of protective, always trying to find the best person, and if the guy isn't what you wanted your daughter to pick, then you're always judging them. I'm sure if I hadn't been in the NFL, my in-laws might think different of me. I might still be on the farm and have my wife move down there with me and become a hog farmer or something like that.

* * *

RM: Who's harder to deal with, your mother-in-law or father-in-law?

KD: I would say my mother-in-law. She's a great woman, but she wants to know everything that's going on with football. So I answer the phone and get 20 questions about the team. You know what, when you're tired at night, you don't want to talk about, "Well, I caught a few passes, this and that.' Sometimes, you just don't want the 20 questions.

* * *

RM: Tongue rings?

KD: Any ring that's not on your finger or in your ear, shouldn't be anywhere on your body. The lip, the tongue, the nose, the navel. Nah. If you're not from some tribe in Africa, then no. If you don't have a spear in your hand, then you should not have a tongue ring or a nose ring.

* * *

RM: Most intriguing historical figure.

KD: Well, he's not a hero of mine, but over the last 10 years, I've been amazed by Al Capone. How he ran things. The '30s and '40s were a great time period in the city of Chicago. Prohibition. World War II. It was fascinating. There was so much history in Chicago and he ruled the city of Chicago.

* * *

RM: Of the three little pigs, which pig would you have been?

KD: I would have been the one with the bricks.

* * *

RM: Sure, it's easy to say now.

KD: Hey, I'm a builder. I'm good with my hands. My father was a mechanic. I had an uncle who was in construction. I would have built it up solid.

* * *

RM: So you're saying the other two pigs were chumps?

KD: They didn't know how to build things and they paid a heavy price.

* * *

RM: In nursery rhymes its always "The Big Bad Wolf." I think the wolf is getting a bad rap here.

KD: Heck no. Other than a dragon, what other scary creatures are out there? Plus, a wolf's got a bad attitude. They deserve (the bad rap).

* * *

RM: Word association, I say blood bank, you say ...

KD: Dracula.

* * *

RM: Sperm bank ...

KD: Infertility.

* * *

RM: Money in the bank ...

KD: Baseball players.

* * *

RM: Angelina Jolie or Ashley Judd?

KD: Ashley Judd. She's a little bit more moderate, middle of the road, sophisticated. Angelina Jolie was married to Billy Bob Thornton, man. She's kind of freaky.

* * *

RM: After seeing Monster's Ball, Billy Bob's my hero.

KD: I don't know what he has on women. Must be that Sling Blade accent.

Back to the Bucs
Today's lineup

  • Gruden gives Bucs attitude adjustment
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  • High profile -- Al Singleton
  • Chucky's Chalk Talk
  • You can't take country out of Dilger

  • Letters
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  • NL: D'backs roll to another West title
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  • Summing up the 2002 season

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