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    Vikings' Culpepper counts his blessings


    © St. Petersburg Times, published January 28, 2001

    Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper talks with staff writer Roger Mills about adoption, feats of strength and loving life.

    [Times photo: Michael Rondou]
    Daunte Culpepper
    RM: Tell me a secret.

    DC: I don't know, there's nothing much about me. If I had some secrets, I probably wouldn't tell you anyway. I'm a PlayStation freak. I love PlayStation. All I play is football. All I play is John Madden football games.

    RM: What's this about someone making a movie out of your instant impact in the NFL?

    DC: I know somebody is already trying to do it. It's some people that I went to school with and they've contacted me and are starting to put things together. It's unbelievable.

    RM: Who's going to play you?

    DC: I guess, me. Yeah, I can act. I can learn how to act. If you can play quarterback (you can act). ... Nah, I'm just joking about it being me.

    RM: Relive that now famous day in the main weight room at the University of Central Florida, when you left a somewhat unbreakable mark.

    DC: I came in there and I told coach (Mike Kruczek), "I think I'm going to break the school's clean-and-jerk record today." Now, they knew I was pretty strong but that day I just felt like I was real strong. I did my first lift and it was 315 pounds and I snatched it up like it was nothing. So, I knew after doing that, since my max before that was about 325, once I did that I felt like I could at least do 100 pounds more. I was really feeling it and told myself, "Yeah, I'm going to break the record today."

    RM: I heard the weight room slowly started filling with your teammates as you approached the record.

    DC: They went and got the whole team from the other weight rooms and facilities, and they started crowding around. The record was like 365 and I put 370 on the bar.

    RM: Who held the record?

    DC: It was a lineman.

    RM: What happened next?

    DC: I grabbed it, snatched it (all the way) up.

    RM: Are you the strongest quarterback to ever play in the NFL?

    DC: Hmm, I know of some guys that were pretty strong. But I'm pretty strong.

    RM: Yeah, but how many quarterbacks can snatch 370 pounds?

    DC: Not too many. It is a lot (of weight).

    RM: Do you feel that strength when you're on the field?

    DC: Oh, yeah. It's great. I'm out there to get it done, and I'm going to use every advantage that I can to do that. But, at the same time, while I'm very physical, I also know I have to be smart. I'm not going to go out there and separate my shoulder or hurt myself so that I can't play. But, sometimes, you have to be physical.

    RM: Cats or dogs?

    DC: Neither.

    RM: Don't like pets?

    DC: No.

    RM: That's kind of cold, man. DC: You know, I had a dog when I was young, but I always said I don't want one when I grow up.

    RM: Considering that you were adopted by Emma Culpepper as an infant -- and I know you have two children -- would you consider adopting?

    DC: Maybe, further down the road. I would have to talk to my fiancee and find out how she feels. For the most part, obviously, I feel adoption is something special. You're giving kids a chance and that's what it's all about. I'm not planning on it, but I do what I can with my (adoption) charities and try to help every way I can.

    RM: What's your relationship with Barbara, your biological mother?

    DC: Great! Great!

    RM: Granted she was incarcerated at the time, but do you feel any resentment toward her for giving you up for adoption?

    DC: No. She's a wonderful woman. She made some mistakes at a young age. A lot of kids, 90 percent of kids, make some mistakes. The main thing is that she turned her life around, she's got a good job. She's got her life straight.

    RM: Do you call her mom?

    DC: Yup. She's mom. I've got both of them and I love both of them the same.

    RM: Why does Dennis Green get the bad rap he does?

    DC: I have no idea. I asked him one day, "Coach, what's the deal. Why all the heat?" I don't know. He's done nothing but won. Ever since he's been there, he's done nothing but win games. The only thing he hasn't done is win the Super Bowl and, trust me, that's coming.

    RM: Does it bother him?

    DC: I think it does. But it keeps the drive. It fuels him to be the best he can be.

    RM: What's it like to be Daunte Culpepper, healthy, happy, rich, a starting quarterback in, of all places, Minneapolis?

    DC: Well, I'm loving my life. I feel like I'm one of the most blessed guys in the world, to come from where I came from, to be doing what I'm doing. I just have to thank God.

    RM: What's your take on the lap dancing controversy?

    DC: Really, it's up to the person. Whatever they want to do, if they feel that's what they enjoy. To each his own.

    RM: Should you have to be at least 6 feet away?

    DC: I really don't care. It doesn't affect me.

    RM: Is it difficult to be here in Tampa this weekend, knowing that it could be the Vikings playing in the Super Bowl?

    DC: It's hard (to be here). But, it's something I've got to do. It's part of the job.

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