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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Working hard, driving fast
By STEPHEN F. HOLDER
Published October 22, 2006
Think Jon Gruden's late-summer workouts are brutal? Try picking 70-pound watermelons in 90-plus-degree heat. Defensive end Dewayne White sat down with Times staff writer Stephen F. Holder to talk about that, his inability to observe speed limits, his propensity for being fined and more.
A few teammates say you have split personalities. What's up with that?
They're talking about on the field. Some people say I'm a dirty player, but I'm trying to refute that as much as I can. I've gotten a couple of fines this year. That's where that's coming from.
So for the record, you're not a dirty player?
No, not really. But there might be an incident from time to time where I feel like I need to get retaliation. Maybe I need to let some small stuff go. I've been chasing some guys when I don't need to, but some of it has been for small stuff. I mean, a push? I might need to fight that one.
I hear you're real business savvy. How so?
I've gotten heavy into real estate. (Linebacker Ryan Nece) and I started a company. We bought a house and made some improvements and flipped it. I just like the whole thing: the construction, owning, managing, selling. That's my offseason thing.
So are you a tough landlord?
No, not at all. I'm an easy-going landlord. Give me the money whenever you can.
So if somebody's having a bad month, you'll work with them?
Of course. I don't want to have to bring somebody else in there and go through the eviction process. I had to go through that one time when this lady didn't pay her rent. You can't just kick her out. You have to go through the courts and file this and that. It's like a two-month process.
Wish you were my landlord.
Well, the thing is, sometimes I'm too nice. Like with that lady, I was probably too lenient with her. I like when I find good people you can believe in.
So you're a big, strong defensive lineman with two little girls.
My little one (Maya) is 1. She's going to be an athlete. She climbs on everything. She's on her tricycle all the time. My other one (Makena), she's into makeup, and you can tell the difference now that's she's 4.
You need a boy who you can throw the football around with, huh?
I would love to have a boy because I treat these girls kind of rough, to be honest. But the two girls are probably enough of a workload for my wife right now.
Do you have a weakness? Anything from ice cream to you name it?
Not really. But I do have a bad habit: I drive fast.
Like 100 (mph), easily. And that might be in a 45-mph zone.
I'm guessing you don't do that with your wife in the car.
Nah. She won't even drive with me. She hates it. She knows how I drive, so I have to drive by myself mostly.
But you can't do this riding down Dale Mabry Highway with all the traffic, right?
Well, if there's a straightaway, I can go get it. Trust me.
Of course, all the cops in town will be looking for a silver BMW now.
I've already gotten some tickets. They've been getting a little lower, though. The last one I got was in Georgia going 78 in a 55. It was the end of the month, and (the officer) got me. He had to meet his quota. Trust me: They have quotas even though they say they don't.
What's it like in (your hometown of) Marbury, Ala.?
Oh man, it's country.
How many traffic lights are there?
Traffic lights? None. Come on, man, we still have a lot of dirt roads. When I go home, I don't even wash my car before I get there because it's gonna have red dirt all over.
What did you do as a kid with no mall, movie theater, etc?
I worked. When I was young, I worked in the fields during the harvest. I used to pick watermelons, peas, everything.
Edgerrin James says picking watermelons in Immokalee gave him so many muscles he didn't need weights.
It's true. That'll put some muscles in your back. You're out there at 13 lifting 70-pound watermelons with grown men. You have to hold your own. These things are huge. And you have to load a whole 18-wheeler with like 2,000 or 3,000 of them.
So you know about hard work.
Yeah, and in the sun, too. It would be like late June, July. Watermelons paid better, though. You got $5 an hour for that. With peas, you got paid by the pound, so you might get $16 to $20 a day.
Does your big family pretty much make up the whole town?
Almost. My grandfather, Eugene White, had 13 kids. His sister had like nine. So after that, we just became a big, big family.
They must have parades when you come home for the town's most famous native.
Nope. No one knows when I'm coming home. I just pop up. I found that one year, when I came back from college, I spent the whole time driving to everybody's house to say hello. I try to make sure I see my aunts and cousins, but I can't see everybody.
Who cooks Sunday dinner?
My grandma, Hazel Gibson. That's my dad's mother. But of course, everybody brings a dish, and we have a good time.
Sounds like fun. Just make sure you slow down on those dirt roads.
Well, my street back home is paved. Everybody knows where it is: County Road 449. But at a certain point, the pavement stops because that's the next county. It's a dirt road down there. It's country. But it's the best. I love it.