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Memories of first NFL road trip


Monday, August 13, 2001--Monday was a good day. Coming off the win against Carolina was great. It was good to get that first game under my belt. In Monday's meeting, coach Coughlin puts together a highlight tape of the previous game and my tackle made it on the highlight tape, so, that was nice. We also got right into preparing for the New York Giants and it was exciting looking forward to my first road game in the NFL, and also my first national television game as well.

Tuesday, August 14, 2001--Tuesday was a two-a-day practice day and we knew Tuesday was going to be important because this was the last major practice day before we travel to New York. I continued to practice on distance and placement. We knew that we had to come out and play hard on the road because we were going up against the defending NFC champions. They have a great team all the way around. Practice went well. After that it was more meetings and then time to get ready for the trip to New York.

Wednesday, August 16, 2001--I was not shocked or surprised at the way we travel in the NFL. We had a police escort from the hotel to the airport and we boarded the plane from the runway and we didn't have to go into the airport terminal. I was not shocked because we traveled like that when I was at Tennessee. This trip also showed me how first-class the Tennessee program is. We had police escorts and a charter plane, so, that was nothing new. I did talk to some other rookies and they were amazed at what they saw. They told me that they were used to walking through an airport and picking up their own luggage at baggage claim. Once on the plane, most of the rookies had to sit three to a seat. That was funny. Just imagine three, 300-pound linemen sitting in those small seats. I was lucky. I sat with Fernando Bryant and we had an open seat between us. The food on the plane was great; better than the food we had at Tennessee. We had steak, potatoes and just all the good stuff. The coaches sit in first class with the curtain pulled back, but we have first-class food, as well. Once we landed at the Newark airport, it was about a 15-minute bus ride to the hotel. We landed around 8:30 p.m. and there was still major traffic on the roads. The traffic up there is nothing like here in Jacksonville or in Knoxville. Once we got to the hotel, we picked up our keys and went to our rooms. We did not have walk-through up there, because we had completed that and our meetings back in Jacksonville.

Thursday, August 16, 2001--Thursday was a tough day. We didn't play well and they jumped on us early. They had us down 20-0 in the first half and it's tough to come back on the road against the defending NFC champions. I thought our defense rebounded and did some good things. Personally, I think I hit the ball well. I wasn't nervous about being on national television, because in college we were on national television a number times each season. It was good that my family in Tennessee was able to see me play. They were used to seeing me in that neon-orange jersey of Tennessee, but now I'm wearing the conservative white, teal and black uniform of the Jaguars and it looks good. After the game, coach was not pleased with our performance and we were not pleased either. The plane ride back home was very solemn and quiet. It seemed to take two more hours to get back home than it did to fly up there. We landed back in Jacksonville somewhere around 3:30 a.m. and we were back at the hotel around four a.m. Guys were just trying to get up to their rooms and hit the bed. We just have to put this performance behind us and get ready for the next game.

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