'I appreciate every cent'
|[Times photo: Toni L. Sandys]
Nate Webster: "I guess I turn into the Hulk on game day."
By ROGER MILLS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 15, 2002
We know this, Bucs linebacker Nate Webster is a gangster. So here he is on his personality on the field, his nickname, the Incredible Hulk, his grandmother's Buick and eating his teammates.
RM: You know the story of the rugby team that crashed in the Andes and the survivors had to eat their teammates to stay alive?
NW: I know where you're going with this. You mean there are no animals out there to eat and I have to eat one of my teammates.
RM: Who would you eat?
NW: You don't know Bill, one of the equipment guys, Big Bill? We could eat on him for days. But if it's a teammate, it's a tossup between Warren and Booger. They're nice and meaty, plenty of flesh there.
RM: Who wouldn't you eat?
NW: Shaun King. He just looks like he tastes bad. Shaun thinks he's fine. He thinks he's ripped. But when the shirt comes off, he's fooling himself. The meat won't be any good, I can tell. Now (Warren) Sapp and Booger (McFarland), that's good dark meat. Thick meat. Kentucky Fried Chicken meat.
RM: Who should win the Heisman Trophy?
NW: Ken Dorsey. He's been there for a while, been through it. I was there with him for a few years, through the hard times when we were rebuilding and he suffered through those losses and for him to lead them from a baby to man, that's a hell of an award.
RM: You got in a fight with Falcons returner Allen Rossum before the Atlanta game?
NW: Yeah, I picked a fight with (him) before the game started. He told me, "Don't put your hands on me." Well, that's like telling me, "Put your hands on me." No means yes. We got into a good tussle.
RM: What supernatural ability would you like to have?
NW: I would love to be the Incredible Hulk. You know why? Because at times he's himself, a regular guy, and at times he's somebody else. Somebody angry. I guess I turn into the Hulk on game day.
RM: Finish this statement. What was I thinking when ... NW: I stole my grandmother's car. I was about 11 or 12, and it was a Buick Skylark. I went to Big Daddy's Night Club (in Miami). Me and my cousin pushed the car out in neutral until we got it the street, cranked it up and got to the scene at Big Daddy's parking lot. She never found out.
RM: Hear you cut coupons.
NW: My wife does. I don't like throwing money away because of my kids. I've got four of them. Child support, man. I appreciate every cent.
RM: Given the chance, what kind of exotic pet would you own?
NW: A black panther. It's quick, fast, can change direction and sneak up on you in the night and you wouldn't even know it.
RM: Best thing about being a black man?
NW: We're against all odds. We're strong.
RM: What's the worst thing about being black?
NW: Misidentification. Everyone thinks we all look alike.
RM: Define courage.
NW: Will, power, mental strength in the face of everything.
RM: Tell us about the phrase "Murder on Three."
NW: It came from the group of thugs that I grew up with (in Miami). We would scream "Murder! Murder!" when we were up to something. So, I kind of took that and ran with it to inspire the guys to do a bad thing on the field, which is a good thing.
RM: So one day in training camp, Coach asked you to break the huddle and you said ... ?
NW: Murder on Three! The guys backed me. We got a good break that day. Loud and crisp. I want to get them into a military mind, where we keep no prisoners, leave no stones unturned. Coach Monte Kiffin says slobberknocked, I say murder.
RM: You're an old-school gangster, aren't you?
NW: It's from the way I grew up. My home boys, the old heads, before and after games were constantly driving it into my mind (to) be violent out there. My first high school coach once showed me a tape of the old heads, guys like Dick Butkus and Jack Tatum and I actually saw Butkus try to rip a dude's head off.
RM: But you don't want a reputation of being crazy, do you?
NW: (Smiling) ... Well, smart and crazy. Know when to pull whatever you can pull.
RM: Nastiest thing you've ever done to someone on the field.
NW: I poked this dude's eye (very) deep. Now, it was a routine for me to do this every game, you know, get the running back. But that time, I really went deep ... and it kind of got me. I was like, ughhh.
RM: Why do they call you Misdemeanor?
NW: Well, they used to call me Murder. But one time, I don't know if a running back ran over me or something like that, but I got knocked on my butt and Warren and Booger said I dropped down from being Murder to being Misdemeanor.
RM: Have you ever been afraid in your life?
NW: Yeah. I was afraid of my pops. I was scared of him once, but we just wrestled the other day and I can get him now. He just turned the big 5-0. He's Nathaniel Webster, like me.
RM: Why were you so afraid of him?
NW: He beat me bad twice, and that's all it took. My mama did most of the whipping, but he only had to do it twice.
RM: What did you do for the first whipping?
NW: I threw a book at my second-grade teacher. I got a double dose. My mama got me and then my dad beat the brakes off of me when he got home. He got me up under the bunk bed and I knew not to mess with him anymore. He used a belt.
RM: And the second time?
NW: I was about 15 or 16 and told him, "I don't need this," and I tried to run away from him and he ran me down and slapped me off of my feet. He was a former running back so he had some speed.
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