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Kickin' back

Depth beneath a quiet reserve

Bucs tight end Rickey Dudley once was a first-round pick for the Raiders, but now provides added punch and depth to the Bucs offense. Here he is on playing against his old team, the Earth, the word ''stupid'' and the real Rickey Dudley.

By ROGER MILLS, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 23, 2003

RM: Did you keep a close eye on the Raiders during the season?

RD: I have been talking to those guys all year long and watching them and watching the things that they do. I follow them like I still play with them and they follow me the same way. The good thing about it is that all the guys I really know well are on offense.

RM: Now it's you against them.

RD: It is ironic. During the season, when we were both rolling pretty well, everyone was saying that it would be the ultimate matchup. Reggie Barlow (another former Raider now with the Bucs) and myself talked about it a lot. Now, here we are.

RM: What was your Raider experience like?

RD: I loved it. I had a great time, learned a lot about the league. You look back at the first place you went and you have, probably, some of the greater experiences in the league. Being around those people, a veteran team, teaches you so much so fast. Especially from veterans who care. From that standpoint, you can't even explain the memories and the things that you learned.

RM: Which uniform is better?

RD: I look good in anything I wear.

RM: You see a significant difference between the Raiders offense and the Bucs offense?

RD: Those guys have at least five years in this offense. With the exception of me, we have only had one year in the offense. Give us five years in this offense (and) we are going to be doing the same thing (statistically).

RM: Why do we use the phrase, "On God's green earth," when it's mostly blue?

RD: Well the Earth looks blue from space, doesn't it? I don't know how they could have come up with that phrase. About 70 percent of the earth is covered in water. I would think it should be "On God's blue earth."

RM: I heard you don't like the word "stupid."

RD: Correct. I can't stand it. I don't like anyone using it. I was taught never to call someone stupid or say something that someone has done is stupid. I just don't like to hear that.

RM: Were you called stupid as a child?

RD: No, it's not that. It's just that with me, when a person does something that's not the way you do, it is not stupid. It's just not the way you do it, or I do it. For me, personally, I don't appreciate it. It's a big pet peeve of mine.

RM: You're generally perceived as a quiet guy.

RD: You know, people would be surprised to know that I am not really as quiet as they think I am.

RM: So why are there two Rickey Dudleys?

RD: It's not that there are two Rickey Dudleys. It's because everyone doesn't need to know everything about you. Especially in the line of work that we do, where everyone wants to know those things about you, then your business is out on the streets. I chose not to share everything with people I don't know. I've got to know that person very well first for me to release and have fun.

RM: Considering you hooped at Ohio State, have you ever thought about what could have been a career in basketball?

RD: Sometimes I do. I would have had to go the long route and probably go the Europe route or something like that. You still look at some of those guys that went the long route and now they're in the league. But, at the same time, it worked out. I was blessed to have football as a second sport, and being able to be drafted in the first round. It worked out well.

RM: You know, there are some players on this team who can play. Simeon Rice apparently has a game and Brad Johnson apparently doesn't lose in the game of horse.

RD: I played with Simeon once at a charity event. He played pretty well that day, but obviously because it was a charity game, I thought they wanted to let players score. No defense. He's a good player and I haven't seen Brad play. But I'm probably at the top.

RM: Finish the following statement. If I ruled the world

RD: Wow. ... I never thought about that. ... I can't think of anything. It'd be too much for me.

RM: Heaven is

RD: Peace. From things that you've heard from your mother and how everyone in the Bible said it's such a better place, a place without worries.

RM: Judge me by

RD: By what you think once you've gotten to know me, not by your first impression. Don't judge me by what you see or hear, but by what you know about me.

RM: But you keep up your guard?

RD: When someone meets me they'll realize that I'm a nice person. If you're just looking at me and making an assessment, then I'm going to sit here and be quiet and give you nothing. I may even seem unapproachable.

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