Myths, Mormons and moving on

Published October 8, 2006

Bucs fans haven't had much time to get to know Doug Jolley, who was obtained in a trade with the Jets on Aug. 31. The team's newest tight end spoke with Times staff writer Stephen F. Holder about his Mormon faith, college life at BYU and getting out of New York.

I hear your dad (Gordon) played in the NFL, too.

Yeah, he played for Detroit from '71-'75. Then he was taken in the expansion draft by Seattle. He was there from '76-'77. He played guard and tackle.

So he was a tough guy?

I don't know about that. That might be an overstatement.

I hear he went skiing on his draft day. Is that true?

That's true. But come on. He was drafted in the 17th round. It wasn't like he was gonna be glued to the TV.

You're a native of Utah. I'm guessing that's a place people probably have a lot of misconceptions about.

Yeah. I'm from St. George. It's hot there. It's in the desert. But in the northern part of the state, there's mountains and it's snowy. That's where all the great ski resorts are. But I do hear a lot of different things from people. For one, they don't really know where it is.

You're Mormon, and I bet there are a few misconceptions about that, too.

Definitely. When people find out I went to BYU, they always ask, "Are you Mormon? Really?" I guess they don't expect a regular guy.

Okay, what's the biggest myth about Mormons?

Well, I know a lot of people ask about polygamy. They see it on TV, like on HBO (the series, Big Love, features a polygamist family). Those people are not Mormon. Those are people who have broken off from the church. They're fundamentalists.

Kind of like the difference between Muslims and Muslim extremists, right?

Exactly. If a Mormon tried to have two wives, he would get kicked out of the church.

About BYU, I've heard the rules are pretty strict there.

They are. There's always a couple guys a year who get kicked out for not following the honor code. They're pretty strict about not drinking and about premarital sex, things like that.

Ever have any problems staying in line?

No. You know what you're getting into. They tell you about the honor code before you even commit. So most guys aren't going to go there if they don't want to follow the rules. There's a pretty good group of guys there. It's a different place.

So what's your outlet away from football?

I get that when I go to Orange County (Calif.) in the offseason. I spend the summer down there hanging out and go to the beach as much as possible.

Do you do much traveling?

I don't, but my wife (Mary) loves to. If I had my choice, I'd just sit at home. We've only been married about a year, and we took our honeymoon in Fiji. That was really cool. Last year, we also went on a cruise through the Panama Canal and went to Belize, too. That was a good trip.

So when you got traded here in the preseason, it was pretty much at the drop of a hat. What was that like?

I wasn't expecting it, but I wasn't surprised. If you look at the Jets' transaction list, they make all kinds of changes. They have a new coach this year, so they're trying to get their certain type of guy there. When they called me in and told me the general manager wanted to talk to me, I went ahead and brought my playbook. The general manager never wants to talk to you at 8 o'clock at night.

Not a good sign.

Not at all. Fortunately, I wasn't very settled. I was renting an apartment and had rented furniture. So I flew down and met the team in Houston (for a preseason game), and my wife packed up everything and drove down to Tampa. I was ready to go.

Sounds like things didn't go that well up there.

I was pretty excited to get out of New York. I'm not going to lie. It's a tough place to play and a tough place to live.

Besides, you don't seem like New York material.

I'm not. I'm a little more relaxed, a little more West Coast. New York is uptight. It was good to get out of there.

You've kind of been tied to Jon Gruden over the years, haven't you?

Yeah. When he left Oakland, they got a bunch of draft picks. Well, I was one of those picks. I had never met him, but I heard a lot about him and we ran his offense. And when we played them in the Super Bowl, Tampa made a pick and was running for the end zone, and there was that picture in Sports Illustrated of Gruden jumping up and down. It looked like he was jumping over me. So I've followed his career since I've been in the league. It's great to be playing for him.

I bet you got a lot of feedback on that picture.

My friends kind of gave me a hard time, but most of them thought it was pretty cool.

You seem like the business-minded type. What about that?

Well, I majored in economics. If I retire soon, I guess I would have some options. I like real estate. My wife always makes fun of me because I'm always on the Internet looking at real estate for sale. I've got a few places that I rent out. I like to invest.

That's the inner businessman trying to come out.

Trying to. I'd like to really get that going. I think it'd be fun to buy places, fix them up and flip them.

Tampa's restaurants probably can't compete with New York, but where do you like to eat?

I'm just a regular guy. I like Bahama Breeze. And I love Fatburger. Pretty much anything. What can I say? I'm a pretty boring guy.