Every day rookie tight end Will Heller learns something new, but he knows about gaining weight, roommates, being a mime, playing the piano, mummies, ladybugs and mullets.
By ROGER MILLS
Published November 16, 2003
RM: I've got three words: macaroni and cheese.
WH: I love the stuff. I was real thin in high school and when I got to college I had to put on a bunch of weight. I was 205 in my senior year in high school and needed about 30 to 40 pounds over the summer. I did it. I realized that macaroni and cheese was the quickest and cheapest way. I ate it about every night before going to bed.
RM: Did it work?
WH: Yeah, I got to about 235 in about three months. I'm naturally pretty thin, so I needed it. It wasn't too much fat. I still have to eat like that.
RM: You're 260 now, how do you stay that way?
WH: Macaroni and cheese. Still. It's gone down a bit because I can now diversify my food intake. I can actually get out there and have some take out. I've upgraded just a little bit. But I've got a place in my heart for macaroni and cheese. You have to dance with what brought you here.
RM: You were roommates with (rookie lineman) Sean Mahan and he kicked you out when his girlfriend moved in, some teammate.
WH: Yeah, what's up with that? Whatever happened to team unity and team spirit. It's a lost art. That was a selfish move right there.
RM: The nerve of the man.
WH: I don't understand that. I'm still trying to figure out why.
RM: I think she's cuter than you.
WH: I would hope he thinks so.
RM: Explain why they call you The Mime.
WH: They do. It's because I'm not extremely vocal around here. I seldom speak. I just do my thing. It's not to say that I don't have a personality or a sense of humor, I'm just not the guy who demands a lot of attention.
RM: Is some of that because you're a rookie?
WH: Perhaps. Certainly, I don't think someone should come in as a rookie and demand a lot of attention. But it's really my nature.
RM: But they say you talk with your hands.
WH: That's hype. How that started was up in Washington, when I scored, I put my (fingers over my lips in a hushing gesture) and they started calling me The Mime. They kept asking, "What, do you speak with your hands? Can't you talk?"
RM: I've been told to ask you why you have small calves.
WH: That's a good question. I've been catching heat for that from day one. Since college, a lot of people have been giving me grief about my skinny calves. It's something I'm proud of actually. I think it's an overrated muscle, to be honest with you.
RM: What do you use the calves for, anyway?
WH: Exactly, jumping maybe. But you look at the athletes in the NBA, they have skinny legs. It's just my calves, the legs get wider as they go up.
RM: Relive your best day in high school.
WH: That's got to be graduation day. It was over, man. Time to move on. I went to a great high school in Atlanta, and it was a great setting and a great experience. I couldn't single out any one experience. Football, Friday nights, were obviously a big part of it for me. But graduation was great.
RM: The most romantic thing you have ever done . . .
WH: Actually, I'm more of a joking kind of person when I'm with a girl, so if I were to get serious and bring her home to a room full of roses, she might think that there's something wrong with me.
RM: So, what you're saying is you haven't done anything romantic?
WH: I haven't had any picnics on mountain tops, or anything like that.
RM: So, when you're ready to pop the question, what's your game plan?
WH: You have to be smooth if you're going to pop the question, of course. But knowing me, I don't think it's a bad idea to get her in a situation where she has to say yes. Get her in the room with a bunch of friends, make it real public where she can't say no. That might be my move.
RM: Is there a musical instrument you'd like to play?
WH: I actually play the guitar and the piano. My parents made my sister and I take piano lessons when we were really young. At the time, you hate it. You don't want to do it. But later on, it's a fun thing to do. I taught myself how to play the guitar. I try, I try. I can read a little sheet music. I can drop some K-ci & Jojo on you, you'll be surprised.
RM: Why are mummies in horror movies scary?
WH: To be honest, I'm not real scared of mummies. They're just this traditional horror character, like Dracula.
RM: But I can see someone being scared of Dracula, he could bite the heck out of you. But what's the mummy going to do, cloth you death?
WH: I guess he'll slap you around with some cloth or something like that.
RM: Do you believe in downloading music off the Internet.
WH: From my standpoint, it's a pretty convenient thing to do. From a musicians standpoint, I'm sure they're fed up with it. It's their livelihood. I don't know what the stats are, have they lost money? I don't know. I probably wouldn't pay 99 cents to download a song. I would probably just go buy the CD. I guess they feel like they're losing money, so they have to do what they have to do.
RM: What's the rookie experience been like?
WH: I haven't had a minute to sit back and think about it. We're in midseason and I've been through a lot so far. It's an amazing experience to be a part of the NFL. It's a real challenge. Someday later on, I'll be able to sit back and really take it in but there's no time for that now.
RM: With two new tight ends and you the only rookie, are you concerned about the numbers?
WH: It crosses your mind, but I think it's something you can't make too much of because you have no control over it. If you focus on it too much, it'll wear you down.
RM: By the way, is Ken Dilger old?
WH: We call him Dad. He's not really old, but we get a kick out of some of his sayings. They're kind of dated, if you know what I mean.
RM: According to Time magazine, the French spend $1.9-billion a year in lingerie. Comment.
WH: I need to move to France.
RM: When do we need to take our troops out of Iraq?
RM: That's a sticky situation. If the guys in the White House can't find an answer, then I don't think I could. But considering the way we went in, I don't think we can just withdraw like that. You've got to finish the job. Unfortunately, it's costing American lives. I don't know what the deal is with who wants us there and who doesn't want us there. But, we just have to leave it up to the government.
RM: Are you aware that there are male ladybugs?
WH: Was not. A male ladybug?
RM: Imagine explaining that to him on the therapy table.
WH: I would tell him to be secure in his bug masculinity. Look, I've seen guys wear pink shirts, pull that off. I don't own a pink shirt. If they can pull that off, why not (ladybugs)?
RM: What's the most embarrassing photo your parents have of you?
WH: They have a photo of me with a mullet. I thought it was in style back then. It seemed to be the thing to do and I got caught up in it. I blame that on my parents. There's this picture we took one Thanksgiving and my mom woke us up pretty early and we got on the beach and the wind was swirling and my mullet was in rare form.