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Wide Right Q&A: Bucs DT Okam reflects on 2010's highs, lows

TAMPA - Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Frank Okam experienced several highs and lows in 2010. Okam, a fifth-round draft pick out of Texas by Houston in 2008, was waived by the Texans and Seahawks in 2010. He was signed to Tampa Bay's practice squad in late November, then was promoted to the active roster and started against Detroit two weeks ago. Now, Okam - 6-foot-5, 350 pounds - is not one for New Year's resolutions, but he took time to reflect on his wild 2010 in this week's Wide Right column. Anwar: What is your best memory from 2010?
Frank: Probably getting my first NFL start against the Lions. Being out there with Tim (Crowder) and Roy (Miller) and Michael (Bennett). Being able to be out there with the guys I know and grown up with in Texas and now you're playing in the NFL, that's rare. It was pretty special for me. Anwar: What is the best YouTube video you saw in 2010? Frank: Maybe that remix of Antoine Dodson (spoke about a bed intruder and became an internet sensation). I loved that. Anwar: Who is the most interesting person you met in 2010? Frank: Honestly? I would have to say Coach (Raheem) Morris. It's just a different style of coach. I've never been around the environment he tries to install. It is really special. The way that he interacts with the players, he can really reach guys. It's almost taboo to talk to your head coach in the NFL and this situation is not; and it's great. I've been on three different teams this year and it's nothing like what we have here. Anwar: What was your biggest disappointment in 2010? Frank: Probably the first time I got cut. As a player you pride yourself on your talent. When somebody says they don't want you, in your eyes they just told you that you're not good enough. It took me a while to get over it. Then I had a quicker shock in Seattle and got released from there, too. I think being cut both times was definitely the hardest thing I've had to deal with. Anwar: How do you rebound from that rejection? Frank: You have to be grounded. I was raised in the spiritual home and my mom always sought God within us. I definitely had to lean on my faith. Having a lot of guys in the NFL that I played college with, they would send me text messages and tell me that I'm still talented and I'm going to make it. Having that support system really helped me. Anwar: Out of curiosity, do you think people judge you based on your large outward appearance? Frank: When I first came out to the NFL, I was told (by NFL teams) I was too smart. They said you wouldn't be mean when you play football because I had so many other aspirations outside of football. (He had a 3.9 GPA at Texas). I took the LSAT in college and I did alright. That kind of worked against me because teams thought, 'This guy has a Plan B before he's going to start Plan A. I get that, or sometimes I get that I'm a dumb jock. I'm just a guy who happens to be smart and knows how to play football. Anwar: Which social media outlet did you like most last year - Facebook or Twitter? Frank: I personally think that Facebook is of the devil. I'm not on that at all. I learned from college that if you're in the relationship it just doesn't work. Anwar: Are you saying that it doesn't go over well when a random woman posts 'Miss you Boo' on your wall? Frank: Yeah, and she's not your boo? I definitely learned that's not the way to go out. I am on Twitter. I tweet every day. Some days I do 100 tweets and some days I only have one tweet. Tweeting is kind of my thing. Anwar: What would it be like to start off 2011 with a win against New Orleans? Frank: I think it's great and it could come with a win in winning our last home game of the season. Against the Saints, that means so many things in my eyes because it's a division game. You send a strong message to the division that we're here, in my opinion. You have a chance to continue playing depending on how things work out and it gives so much confidence for young team after a three-win season. It's a special deal. I hope to take full advantage of it on Sunday.
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