Howard always looking for moreBy NANCY MORGAN
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 8, 2002
Darren Howard (Boca Ciega/Kansas State) calls himself greedy, at least on the football field.
"I go for everything, or else nothing will come along," said Howard, 26. "I go full speed ahead."
The approach has paid off for the New Orleans Saints defensive end. In his third year with the NFL team, Howard was named the National Football Conference Defensive Player of the Week in Week 6. Then, against the Redskins, he recorded a career-high three sacks and four tackles in a 43-27 victory.
"The recognition was good and, especially, because it was the first time," Howard said. "But you can't let it define who you are. You've got to enjoy it for the moment then keep going."
After the former St. Pete L'il Devils member played nearly every position for Boca Ciega, Howard was recruited by Kansas State as a defensive end. In four college seasons, he collected a school-record 29.5 sacks and 54 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. As a senior, Howard was named a third-team All-American and to the Big 12's first squad by Sportspage.com.
Howard's work ethic and his ability to take advantage of opportunities paid off when the Saints drafted him in the second round, the 33rd pick overall.
"The pro game is definitely different from college football, just like college is to high school," Howard said. "The game is the same, but the difference is in the players. In college, you may come up against one or two good tacklers in a game; but, in the pros they're all a lot stronger. Plus, the speed of the game picks up in the pros."
In Howard's rookie season in 2000, he finished third on the team with 11 sacks and started all 16 games and two playoff games at left defensive end. He was named to the All-Rookie Team.
Last year, Howard also started every game and notched 60 tackles. Howard underwent two shoulder surgeries after last season.
This season, sprained ankles, groin pulls and another shoulder injury have plagued the 280-plus pounder.
"I've had a ton of injuries and am starting this season off a little slow," Howard said. "You've got to keep going, though, because there's always someone behind you waiting to step in."
Howard hopes to earn double digits in the sack department this season, with 6.5 up to today's game with Baltimore.
Howard credits his mother, Cynthia Johnson, with helping him achieve his goals by steering him in the right direction. Other influences were Boca Ciega coach Jon Bolen, who helped direct Howard's focus to a college career and Dobbie Moore and Cecil Odom with the L'il Devils, who helped him develop his early passion for the game.
MORE FOOTBALL: Duke middle linebacker Ryan Fowler (Seminole) received All-Atlantic Coast Conference honorable-mention recognition. The junior led the Blue Devils in tackles (145). ... Tennessee freshman Chad Nash (St. Petersburg Catholic/Dunedin) had two receptions and two kickoff returns against Murray State.
SWIMMING/DIVING: Washington senior Ryan Braun (St. Petersburg) received the University Athletic Association Athlete of the Week honor for a victory in 1-meter diving and a school-record 3-meter win. ... New Hampshire's Kristen Nardozzi (St. Petersburg) won the 200 individual medley and swam on the winning 400 freetyle relay team. ... BASKETBALL: Earnest Crumbley (Lakewood) connected on eight three-pointers in a 25-point performance that helped Florida Atlantic upset Miami in overtime.
© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South St. Petersburg, FL 33701 727-893-8111
From the Times
South Pinellas desks