Kickin' back: Kerry Jenkins
If you didn't know Bucs left guard Kerry Jenkins was from Tuscaloosa, Ala., you soon will. Here is his take on antique cars, trailer parks, goats, sushi and Viagra. Yes, I said Viagra.
|[Times photo: James Borchuck]
What makes Kerry Jenkins happy? A trailer, a footprint gas pedal on his Monte Carlo and a bowl of sushi.
By ROGER MILLS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 8, 2002
RM: Tell me about the Monte Carlo.
KJ: The Black Rocket, as I refer to it. I've had it since my junior year in high school. Now, as of now, it's not still running, but I'm working on it.
RM: Why have you kept this thing?
KJ: I love it. It's my first car. I have a lot of good memories in it. My uncle just brought it down last weekend when he came for Thanksgiving so it's in the garage at my house. It's a pretty big car, I can fit in it pretty easily.
RM: I heard you put a footprint gas pedal in it. Or at least you want to.
KJ: Who told you that? That's (center) Jeff Christy you've been talking to, isn't it?
RM: I don't reveal my sources.
KJ: Let's just say there is no footprint gas pedal on it right now.
RM: I also hear you have a love for trailer parks.
KJ: Absolutely. I grew up in a trailer park. Everybody knows there are all kinds of stereotypes for all kinds of people and the same goes for trailer parks. But the fact is I grew up in one and I'm proud. When I go home in the offseason, I still stay in the same trailer that I grew up in.
RM: Say it ain't so.
KJ: That's the truth. It's the same one. My parents live on the other side of town now, but when I go home, that's where I stay. In that way, I can see the whole gang, the guys I grew up with.
RM: You actually sleep in the trailer?
KJ: Yeah, of course, what's the big deal?
RM: When you hear people use the phrase "trailer park," what do you think?
KJ: To me, it's home. I think of stray dogs on the streets, cars out on the front of the house, some of them up on blocks. That's how it was for me. We had a couple of junk cars out front (with) the refrigerator and other kitchen appliances outside.
RM: I've never understood why that happens.
KJ: Hey, man, you run out of room in there.
RM: Exactly how much is that doggie in the window?
KJ: Which one?
RM: The one with the waggly tail.
KJ: I have no idea. You know, I've heard that song and I don't think I ever knew the answer.
RM: If he were a trailer park, what kind of dog would he be?
KJ: I don't know if you would want to buy it from a trailer park. It'll probably be a mangy old dog and he might snap at you. Might be a pit bull.
RM: Nicest thing you've ever done?
KJ: I helped my mom get a house.
RM: That's it? You're kind of a mean guy.
KJ: I guess I'm not as nice as I think I am.
RM: When you mess up in a game, people say you're a goat. When people want to sacrifice an animal, they pick the goat first. Pictures of the devil? Usually a goat. I'm saying goats get a raw deal.
KJ: I used to have goats and let me tell you, once I got butted by a goat, so I don't like them myself. We had him penned up and my favorite place to play with my Hot Wheel cars was the goat pen. It was nice and full of sandy dirt. Then this old mean goat came up behind me and got me good, right in the rear end. I was about 9 years old at the time and I never went back into the pen. So I can relate to people thinking of goats as bad things. Plus, they got those long faces and scraggly beards. They're evil looking.
RM: I've tried to buy into NASCAR but I'm just not quite with it. Help me out here.
KJ: There is so much more to it than just driving around a track. Imagine doing 180 mph with cars inches away from you at the front, back and sides. There's a thrill of watching it and being in it. It's like a moving chess game. They have to pick and chose their spots, when to pit, when not to pit and stuff like that.
RM: Tell me why it thrives.
KJ: From what I understand, it's the fastest growing sport in the last 10 years. When you go to the track on race day, you see such diehard fans representing their drivers with flags and numbers on the cars. It's just a great day to be out there hanging out with your friends. You can feel the power of the engines as they come by.
RM: To me, there are too many accident fatalities.
KJ: But that's the risks the drivers take when they step into the cars. They know what it's about. That's part of the thrill, seeing those accidents. Although, you never want to see anyone get killed.
RM: So you're forced to work at a restaurant. Would you wait on tables, cook, bus tables or be a host?
KJ: None of those things. There's too much responsibilities involved in those jobs. I think I could only work at a fast-food joint. Maybe at the drive-through window, where I can just hand customers bags and that's it.
RM: You know professional athletes have a reputation for being bad tippers.
KJ: I'm an extremely generous tipper. I have a lot of friends who bus tables and are waiters and waitresses and I know that that's how they make the majority of their money. So, I'm aware of it.
RM: Favorite food?
KJ: Well, if it was going to be my last meal, I would go with steak and potatoes. But the last couple of years, I have really gotten into sushi.
RM: Come on, man, no trailer-park living, goat-raising, NASCAR-loving man likes sushi.
KJ: I know, I know. But I do. I've brought it up to some friends of mine when I go back home. I say, "Let's go have some sushi." And they look at me and go, "Whuuut?"
RM: You grew up with deaf parents, and I've heard that people who lose one sense develop an acute sense of the others. Is that true?
KJ: Definitely. I don't know if their vision was improved, but I do know that their sense of feeling and vibrations was outstanding. They could tell if I was moving through the house, just by the vibrations. I couldn't sneak out at night. I could get out the back door but couldn't leave it unlocked, so I had to come back in through the front door. They could feel the vibrations. They would know. No matter how easy I stepped, and I was light on my feet, but they would feel it.
RM: Texas Rangers first baseman Rafael Palmeiro is a spokesman for Viagra. If they came to you and offered you the same gig, would you be in?
KJ: Why not? Maybe, 20, 30 years down the road I might need some Viagra. Hey, it wouldn't be there if there wasn't a demand for it.
RM: But Palmeiro is a young man, 38. That's kind of brave pushing that stuff.
KJ: Very brave. I'm 29 and I wouldn't want to be pushing it right now. You would catch an awful amount of grief from the guys, and the ladies too.
RM: Should Viagra be a banned substance in the NFL? After all, it is a performance enhancement drug.
KJ: That's what they say.
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