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Kelly enjoys the journey, waiting to set his mark


© St. Petersburg Times,
published August 26, 2001

[Times photo: Toni L. Sandys]
"My time will come," says Brian Kelly, "and when it does, I'm going to be great."
He is razzed by his teammates for being somewhat Victorian in his philosophies, and Bucs fourth-year cornerback Brian Kelly takes it all in stride. Consider his views on God, fashion and grooming, the arrival of Dwight Smith and the Dale Earnhardt tragedy:

RM: What does God look like?

BK: A lot of people debate over what he looks like, black or white, long hair of short, blond or curly or whatever. But he's really supernatural. He's something you feel. He's man or a woman to some people. He's a father to those who don't have a father. He's a son to somebody who might have lost a son. Truth is, he is whatever you want him to be.

RM: What great person would you like to have met?

BK: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He set such a high standard for African-Americans to live by. At a time when everything was switching, when the tides were turning socially, he was at the center of it. Just to be a part of that, to set his mark and lay the legacy that he has, he was very special.

RM: The most expensive thing in your wardrobe is. . .

BK: I have this suit. You see, I'm really into fashion. Now, I have a guy out of Denver that I work with and we design things. I designed this particular look I like, the particular material and fit. I haven't even worn the suit yet. It was something I picked out for a very special event. It's a pinstripe suit.

RM: What, it has gold pinstripes?

BK: It's Super 130 material.

RM: Brian, break that down for me. I shop at Target.

BK: That's the upper echelon of material. It's very, very soft and very, very thin. So thin you can just wave it in the air and see right through it.

RM: And the going price for that would be?

BK: If you went into the store and tried to buy it, it would probably cost you about $2,500 to $3,000.

RM: I take it you must have quite the shoe collection?

BK: I've simplified my wardrobe a bit. Now, I'm going more for suits than shoes. I'm a plain shoes guy. It's either black or brown shoes. I'm not a big (gator skins) guy. I just like a plain, lace-up, square-toe shoe.

RM: So why the fascination with clothes?

BK: I was born and raised in the church, so I always had to have my Sunday best on. Then I watched my father, he always dressed real nice. It was something I picked up from him. I'm actually more into fashion than my wife (Lisa). I pick out some of her outfits.

RM: You're lucky, you have the cash to make it work.

BK: Not really. I carried myself dressed pretty well when I was in college and I was doing that on a limited budget and limited schedule. I didn't have time to shop or the money to shop.

RM: Why doesn't that work for me?

BK: It's about putting things together. There are a lot of people with a lot of money and they can't put things together. They simply can't dress. I can go into the Gap, pick something out and still look nice. Whereas someone could go pick out an Armani suit and not look good. It also depends on the person. If you feel comfortable in suits, fine. But I could put a suit on a person and if they're not comfortable in them, it won't look good.

RM: Ever been into a Kmart?

BK: I have before. Sure. I recently got something from Kmart. I go pick up T-shirts and drawers and stuff like that. Now, I'm not going in there to get a button-up shirt to wear with a suit or anything.

RM: Donnie Abraham and Ronde Barber get all the love, do you ever feel left out?

BK: I told myself that this year there is so much good stuff going on that I'm going to enjoy the journey. I'm going to be a part of the journey. I'm not saying it like I'm going to sit back and take a back seat and let everything else develop. No, I'm going to be a part of this team, a big part of this defense. I'm not looking at it as though I'm being overlooked. My time will come and when it does, I'm going to be great.

RM: You feel that way even knowing how impressed the team is with rookie Dwight Smith?

BK: Dwight's here and I know how the system works. I'm not blind to what's going on. I know what's going on. But, the bottom line is I'm here now and while I'm here I plan on setting my mark on this team.

RM: Tell me something you can't eat?

BK: Nothing. You know, lately I have stopped eating a lot of red meat, but it's not like I can't eat it or don't like it. Come to think of it, I pretty much like it all.

RM: What do you like most?

BK: Mexican food.

RM: So you're a Taco Bell man?

BK: No. That's not Mexican food.

RM: Is it just me, or is this whole Dale Earnhardt crash "investigation" a joke?

BK: Listen, if he's going to hit a wall going that fast, I don't care if he's strapped in, it's not going to be good. He hit a wall going 200 mph. It's pretty self explanatory, isn't it? The irony of it is that they tell us all to wear our seat belts, don't drink and drive, watch the speed limit, yet one of the highest watched sports is people riding around at 200 mph, trying to race each other. Go figure.

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