Kickin' back with Thomas Jones
By ROGER MILLS, Times Staff Writer
Dreams, screams from Mr. Hygiene.
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 14, 2003
He is the Bucs running back who came from Arizona and brought with him bulging biceps and a bit of baggage. No, no, not Michael Pittman, but Thomas Jones. And here he is, on his brother Julius and the rest of his family, Arnold, candy, bad dreams, country musics and other Tom Jones.
RM: When your younger brother Julius was dismissed from Notre Dame, you brought him to live with you in Phoenix for a year. How important was that?
TJ: We were both going through our own things, difficult times, and to have the opportunity to be together, we were able to help each other. I look at Julius as if he was my son.
RM: He's back at Notre Dame now, and scored the winning touchdown the other day against Washington State. What was that like?
TJ: I watched the whole thing. I had butterflies in my stomach. I know how hard he worked. We worked out every day. I know how badly he wanted to play and finish at Notre Dame.
RM: What advice to you give him now that he's back at Notre Dame.
TJ: I want him to take advantage of the opportunity. To understand that it may not come again. We were real close growing up. We slept in the same bed as kids and I'm very proud of him. I want him to do better than me. He knows I'm there for him, regardless. When he does well, I'm at my happiest.
RM: What was it like growing up.
TJ: Well, I also had five sisters. The worst thing was getting to the bathroom. Julius and I could never get to the bathroom, we would always have to wait on them because we were boys. The best thing is that there was never a dull moment. There was always someone there to talk to, someone to play with, someone to laugh with. There's nothing like that. I thank God for my family.
RM: Give me the break down?
TJ: Well, my oldest sister Gwen is 33 (works in accounting firm), Beatrice is 30 (owns a bridal business), I'm 25, my brother Julius (senior at Notre Dame) and his twin sister Knetris are 22. Knetris just graduated from Virginia and is going to Brazil to teach for six months. My younger sister Kanetta is 19 (at Virginia) and my youngest sister Katrice is 14. I'm blessed. And you know what, we're all real, real close.
RM: Tell me about the time when you got up in the hotel room screaming?
TJ: Man, who told you about that? Pittman's got a big mouth.
RM: Don't worry where I heard it, what's up?
TJ: I couldn't breathe. Have you ever experienced that? I was having this dream that I couldn't breathe and shot up and was gasping for air.
RM: What was the dream about?
TJ: I don't remember, I just knew I couldn't breathe and I got up screaming. I scared Pitt. I thought I was suffocating. I started yelling. The room was pitch black and I'm knocking over things in the room, clocks and stuff. I was trying to get to the light. Pitt jumped up and said, "What's going on?"
RM: At what point did he start laughing?
TJ: Pretty quickly, as soon as he knew I wasn't dying.
RM: Your teammates told me to ask you what's the deal with your hair?
TJ: What's wrong with my hair?
RM: Well, it's kind of... crazy.
TJ: Look, sometimes I shave it, sometimes I let it grow out, sometimes it's knotty. It all depends on my mood.
RM: You're going to end up like me, bald, trust me.
TJ: No dog, I've got a lot of hair. I'm not going to end up like you.
RM: Still love candy.
TJ: I loved candy. Skittles. Snickers. Slushies. Mike and Ikes. All that stuff. I ate them all the time. But I don't eat them like that anymore.
RM: So, what happened.
TJ: When I started working out with my trainer I realized that I was paying him a certain amount of money and if I'm going to be paying him that amount of money, I need to be taking advantage of his advice. If I wasn't taking his advice, I was throwing my money down the toilet.
RM: Timberlands (boots) and no socks? Come on man.
TJ: That's (Aaron) Stecker telling you all that mess.
RM: Don't worry about where I got that, just come clean.
TJ: He's trying to clown me. First of all, he says where I come from all we wear is Timberlands and no socks, that's not true. Let me say, my hygiene is up there in the top 99 percent of the fellas on the team. You look in my toiletries bag and you will find a lot of good stuff in there. It's a myth. The person, whoever made that comment, is just hating.
RM: Measure a man by...
TJ: The character of his heart.
RM: Measure a child by...
RM: Satisfy a woman by....
TJ: Paying her complements.
RM: Country music?
TJ: Besides rap music, it's my second favorite.
RM: Country music? You're a brother from Virginia!
TJ: Yeah, what's wrong with country music? Country music is mellow and I'm a mellow person. I like the words to the songs more so than just the rhythm. I listen to what people are singing. Country music makes sense. I like things that make sense. I probably got some Garth Brooks in my car.
RM: Comments on the Madonna/Britney Spears kiss.
TJ: I thought it was kind of funny.... I didn't mind.
RM: You lived in Phoenix for three years, what do you think of the Grand Canyon?
TJ: Never been to the Grand Canyon.
RM: How could you live in Phoenix and never go to the Grand Canyon?
TJ: I didn't want to be in Phoenix.
RM: 50 Cent says he's got the Magic Stick, what's he talking about?
TJ: The Magic Stick, hmm? He's just got magic.
RM: Yeah, but what's the Magic Stick? His rap? His game?
TJ: I don't know man... that might be too explicit.
RM: Would you vote for Arnold?
TJ: Why not?
RM: What office should Sylvester Stallone run for?
TJ: President. I think he'll make a bad president. Nobody will mess with him.
RM: Samuel Jackson?
TJ: I'd say the head of the NAACP.
RM: Al Sharpton?
TJ: He'd make a great football coach. He's a great motivator. I'd play for him.
RM: Speaking of hair, his is messed up.
TJ: Yeah, it's like a skunk.
RM: You know you're not the only Tom Jones. There's the Vegas singer and the writer at our paper. Will the real Tom Jones please stand.
TJ: I'm the real Tom Jones. But, you know what, I like Tom Jones the singer. I like that song he sings, "It's not unusual.." I like that song. He's a cool dude.
RM: You ever met the writer Tom Jones.
RM: You're not missing anything... Give me six Lotto numbers.
TJ: 4, 6, 22, 26, 31, 34 and 34.
RM: If I win, I'm not giving you a cent.
RM: You go back in time to meet the founding fathers of this country, what would you tell them?
TJ: You did a good and bad job. The good job is that your principles are right. The bad job is that they are not being carried out and things have changed but not enough.
RM: Back to Julius. You helped him and provided for him. Should you fall on hard times, will he do the same for you?
TJ: Most definitely. We're best friends. We're like one person. A lot of people think we look alike, sound alike, play alike, think alike. I see so much of me in him. Every year I get older, I look at him and see myself. I look at pictures of me when I was his age, and I look exactly like him and he looks exactly like me. We're one person.
BucsHitting the high spots
A shutout as only Rice can see it
Waitress's joke hard for Sapp to swallow
Carolina blueprint should look familiar
Kickin' back with Thomas Jones
Letters: Eagles fans reach the ultimate low
RaysRays detect no signs of a Yankees decline
Lou's worst club still inspires hope
In upside, this OF is peerless
LightningLecavalier, Stillman highlight first day
Success depends on growth
BaseballMLB acts the bully with Expos
AL: Chisox ride Colon's stamina
NL: Marlins thrill a packed house
Penny injury less serious than feared
BoxingSugar gets sweet win vs. De La Hoya
College football'Canes inconsistent but still cruise to win
Gators shake off doubt, slow start
Clarett expected to stay at OSU
'Canes contain big plays
Freshman Harris out until second trial
Special teams a bit more so
UF By the numbers
UF Game balls
'Noles seek new nonconference foe
Defense makes stand when it counts most
FSU By the numbers
FSU Game balls
Buckeyes extend streak by inches
Wolverines devour Irish
ConferencesBig East: Big third helps Pitt pull away
SEC: Georgia stifles South Carolina
State: UCF needs record day to rally, hold off FAU
Big Ten: Wisconsin stumbles, fumbles away game
Pac-10: Trojans click in all phases
Big 12: Hogs upset 'Horns
C-USA: Golden Eagles punish Tigers' errors
Nation: Air Force finds it can pass, rush
ACC: Boilermakers don't fall short this time
GolfDent's 65 within a stroke of his age
Sorenstam, Pettersen strike a blow at U.S.
Gotta minute?Rocco Baldelli
Horse racingCongaree frozen out in warmup
In briefeBay item has James agitated
MotorsportsM. Schumacher wins F1 pole
NASCAR remains a family business
NFLPicks, Week 2
Same Tuna, different diversion
Things make you go hmmm
OutdoorsDaily fishing report
Preparation vital ahead of a storm
PrepsKotchman, Quick can't catch King's Bowerman
Biladeau never looks back as Jesuit wins
DQ aids Plant girls at relays; Jesuit tops boys
Jesuit's Biladeau runs away with title
King's Bowerman cruises to victory
Lecanto has strong showing
PHU gets best of Seminole
Practice as targets pays as PHU wins at Keswick
SoccerThis won't be a party like it was in 1999
Letters: Ex-Seminole should have been kicked out