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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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Busy off-field if not on
By Stephen F. Holder
Published November 5, 2006
Bucs quarterback Tim Rattay doesn't get much playing time, but he spends a lot of time on the links (he's a 2-handicap golfer). Rattay sat down with staff writer Stephen F. Holder to talk about, among other things, making bets, dry heat and something called crawdaddys.
Word is you're a 2-handicap golfer. Are you really that good?
I enjoy it. It's a passion of mine. In the offseason, I play a lot but not so much during the season. I've really gotten into it the last four years playing a lot. I have some good buddies in Arizona that I play with.
Do you make a lot of money off them?
Well, I don't really bet a lot, but I always have to bet something. I need something to make me think hard about those 3-foot putts.
What are some of the more famous courses you've played?
When I was in northern California (with the 49ers), I got an opportunity to play at some really nice courses up there: Cypress and Pebble Beach and San Francisco Golf Club. That was really great being up there. I just played Copperhead (at Innisbrook). They just had the tournament there last week.
You grew up in Arizona but went to college in Ruston, La. (Louisiana Tech). A little culture shock?
Definitely. I grew up in Phoenix. It was a completely different culture, but once I got used to it, I started to love it. I love going back there. The people are awesome. The culture is so rich. It's a great place. I go back at least once a year and really would like to go back more. There's a lot of good people who I got to know there. And I met my wife there. We enjoy going back. And besides, I have to go back and get some crawdaddys from time to time.
Crawdaddys. They're boiled crawfish. They just put them in a pot and fire them up. I'm definitely a fiend for those in the summer. You don't get those in Arizona. I've tried to get some in other places, but they're not the same. You have to go to the guy (in Ruston) cooking them on the side of the road in that big pot. You bring a big ol' ice chest, and he'll fill you up with 8 or 9 pounds. There's nothing like it.
What channel is your TV on most: ESPN, CNN or HBO?
I definitely like HBO. Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm, I love those shows. But it's hard to keep up. I have to TiVo a lot.
Your fellow quarterbacks say you're pretty competitive. So much so that you started a post-practice contest.
Yeah. We have a contest to see who can hit the goal post (by throwing a football at it). It's just something to put a couple dollars on. We're all about competition, whether it's on the pool table or whatever. That's why I play golf. Because when I'm 50, I want to have something that I can still be competitive with.
No one ever recognizes the backup quarterback. Is that, in some ways, a good thing?
Definitely. I don't really want to be out there in the public eye, so it's great for me.
How often do you get the you-don't-look-like-a-football-player routine? I mean, you're not 6-4 with huge shoulders.
Absolutely. People always (expect) you to be bigger than you are. I get that all the time. They always say, "You're kind of small." Well, I'm 6 feet and 200 pounds. That's small? I've gotten that since college.
A lot of funny things tend to happen in huddles. Ever had a funny moment?
There was a time in San Francisco. We were on a TV timeout, and you know those things take forever. So we're at the 20-yard line, and my tackle says, "Hey, Rattay, turn around and look." So I turn around, and this girl is flashing everyone in the end zone. So all 22 guys on the field are looking at this girl. Even the refs were. It was pretty funny.
Did you forget what play to call?
I think I had to tell coach to give it to me again.
Hard to top that one.
Well, there was a time we were playing in New Orleans and this drunk guy came onto the field and started running around. He came into our huddle, and the center just knocked him out.
You still live in Arizona. People always talk about the dry heat. Now that you've experienced Florida, is that legit?
It is. For me, I like it better because I can go out and play golf and not sweat to death and still grip my clubs. But it's hot. It's like sitting in an oven. But it's dry.
Your dad is a high school coach. Do you like his input?
My dad always watches me play. He's been coaching forever. He still tells me what he thinks, and I definitely take it to heart. He knows what he's talking about, especially with the fundamental parts of the game. He's coached for over 30 years and only has one losing season.
Speaking of coaches, we know Jon Gruden is brutal on quarterbacks. Ever been hurt by something he said?
It's fine with me. That's how my dad coached: very demanding and very intense. In my opinion, if you do something wrong you need to get yelled at. I enjoy that and respond to that. I think that's the way it should be. Everybody on the field has a job, and when they don't do it, you have to get on them. I can't think of one thing Gruden's said, but he definitely comes up with some good stuff.
Did some research and seems you once threw for 590 yards against Nebraska.
Well, that was our thing back in college. We threw it a lot and spread the ball around. But we lost. And we lost pretty good (56-27).