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Interview: Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Barrett Ruud discusses the collapse, Morris, and his love of the Cleveland Browns

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Bucs LB Barrett Ruud (aka 'Stache') recently hit the radio airwaves with the fellas from Heavy Soul on their Weekly Grind series. The guys picked Barrett’s brain on the business aspect of the NFL among other topics:

Weekly Grind: What contributed to the collapse to end the season?

Barrett Ruud: "Your body runs the show for you. [Steelers Head Coach] Mike Tomlin once told me in my Rookie season, ‘They tolerate you until they find a way to replace you.’ You always have to look over your shoulder, you can’t get comfortable.

You’ve got to have pride in your preparation each week, we lost four games down the stretch, we probably had too many guys who would show up at 8:40 for an 8:45 workout and would be the first to leave as soon as the workout had finished. You got to take pride in yourself, guys start to fade who don’t take care of themselves, it really shows.

The guy’s who do work, the Derrick Brooks of the world, end up completing their 15th year in the league."

Weekly Grind: How is your work environment? Do you go to work, see guys, and move on or do you have a close team that hangs around each other?

Barrett Ruud: "The environment is more slanted toward work than a frat house. I don’t hang out with a lot of guys on the team. I have a lot of good friends, but I only hang out with four or five guys away from the facility."

Weekly Grind: Was your transition into the NFL difficult?

Barrett Ruud: "I was well equipped as I grew up, my dad was a first round pick and played five years, I realized then it doesn’t last forever, the NFL didn’t overwhelm me. The biggest thing I had to do was fight off boredom. In high school or college I would go out with teammates and have a beer, but in the NFL the players go home to their families. With a new city and not knowing anybody, I was stuck in my room watching TV."

Weekly Grind: Are you excited to have Raheem Morris as your Head Coach?

Barrett Ruud: "Very excited, he is a good friend of mine, he’s high energy, a rising star, a great motivator, and players will want to play for him. He will attract guys to Tampa. Hopefully I play with him for a while down there. He teaches fundamentals and he’s good with x’s and o’s. He has that ‘it’ factor. It’s hard to say how he motivates people, he just does."

Weekly Grind: What is the most interesting thing you’ve been asked to endorse?

Barrett Ruud: "I nearly had a tri-cycle motorcycle type deal. A Batmanesque motorcycle endorsement. This guy approached me with the idea, but it recently fell through. I was embarrassed by the idea, but also intrigued by it. I could have potentially been riding a motorcycle with training wheels (laughs)…"

Question from a caller into the show: If asked would you coach the Oakland Raiders?

Barrett Ruud: "If asked I think i’d have to say NO! A lot of coaches go there and they just can’t stand it and leave. Al would have to give me a pretty good paycheck to go over there and coach."

If you have the time you should definitely check out the Ruud interview provided by the Heavy Soul fellas. Click here to download a copy of the interview. Barrett Ruud is a class act and a real down to earth type of guy. Listening to him only makes you want to root harder for the guy. He clearly gets the NFL and what it provides the players that are gifted enough to enter and remain in the business. With a contract year coming up Ruud has some heavy pressure to perform. The good news is he enjoys Tampa and appears eager to return.

Ruud alluded to one reason why the Bucs failed down the stretch and I trust that issue will be cleared up this season. I think the new coaching staff will hold the player's more accountable, where as the previous regime appeared to get complacent. I can't imagine Raheem and his staff putting up with stuff like that. Hopefully his positive attitude will extend into the team's total outlook and approach. Alright, here’s one more snippet of the interview I couldn’t resist from sharing:

One of the Radio Hosts asked Barrett who would win the Super bowl and Ruud replied with the Steelers, because he wanted Tomlin to be the youngest Lombardi trophy winner. The Radio show host then said are you trying to butter up the Steelers for when you knock their heads off as a member of my Cleveland Browns…. Ruud’s reply? "If I play for Cleveland I did something wrong down here in Tampa". ZING! Listen to the interview!!!