Long Snaps with Bryan Pittman: Posh, ‘Roids and Rock & Roll
Houston Texans’ long-snapper Bryan Pittman returns for more thoughts on life both on and off the gridiron. This week, while going one-on-one with Ballz columnist Jason Friedman, Pittman dishes on the Spice Girls’ reunion tour, his choices for team MVP and early encounters with steroids.
JCF: All right, first things first: Give us the injury report. What’s the latest on AJ, Ahman, Jacoby and Jerome?
BP: Well Andre is definitely out. Jacoby and Jerome, I would list them as doubtful. And I would say Ahman is probable. But that’s just based on my own opinion and what I’ve seen. Ahman is the only one that’s been practicing.
JCF: He’s been able to take part in all the drills?
JCF: You know with all the injuries you guys have had early on, I’ve started wondering about the Texans’ most valuable players. Who are your choices thus far?
BP: Offensively, I would probably pick Matt, because of the difference he’s made compared to the old number eight; as far as just leading the team and performing on a better level than David did. Defensively, Amobi’s doing pretty well. Either him, or Morlon Greenwood’s really been playing well for us. But Amobi was just awarded rookie player of the month for the AFC.
JCF: Are you surprised he’s found success this early?
BP: Yeah, actually I am. I thought it would take a lengthier amount of time to produce the way he has been. You know, kind of comparing it I guess – in an unfair way – to how Mario played his rookie season. He started off slow and it took him awhile to get his first sack and tackle.
JCF: Speaking of Mario, do you think he’s the kind of guy who needs a fire lit beneath him every once in awhile to get him to perform? I mean, fair or unfair, that was his reputation in college and the same sort of trend seems to be manifesting itself early on in his professional career as well.
BP: I don’t think he does. I think it’s personally a challenge for him every week just being in the NFL. I don’t think he needs the critics to be his motivation or his inspiration, or anything like that.
JCF: I want to go back to something you said the first time we spoke. I asked you about performance enhancing drugs, and you said you believed at least 40 percent of the players in the NFL are using some sort of illegal substance. Have you ever been offered steroids, yourself?
BP: Yeah, I think once in college I was offered.
JCF: In a gym?
JCF: Did you try it or were you ever tempted to try?
BP: No. I never was tempted. I’ve always believed that if you can’t do it on your own with your God-given ability, if you need to resort to unnaturally increasing your ability, then you shouldn’t play the game. That’s my belief in the whole thing. If I couldn’t do it with what God gave me, then it wasn’t meant to be.
JCF: So if someone could assure you that you’d never be caught and it would turn you into a superstar, you still wouldn’t be the slightest bit tempted?
JCF: When did you first become aware that other guys around you were trying steroids?
BP: I guess it would be junior college. I didn’t really see anyone in my high school doing it, that I was aware of.
JCF: Was the steroid thing even on your radar screen when you were in high school?
BP: It was, because between my junior and senior year I grew an inch and a half and then added about forty pounds. There was some speculation among people who didn’t know me very well that that’s what I had done. So I was aware of it.
JCF: And how did you handle those whispers?
BP: I just ignored them.
JCF: All right, let’s get to the truly serious news of the day. The Spice Girls are heading back out on tour. Is it safe to assume you already have your tickets?
BP: Posh! I love her [laughs]. It’s kind of a coincidence because I was telling Susie [Bryan’s fiancée] how the Galaxy were in town to play the Dynamo and I didn’t know if she [Posh] was going to make the trip or not. Susie asked me what I thought about her and I was like “Ya know, I think she’s overrated. I don’t think she’s as hot as people make her out to be.” But I never really found any of the Spice Girls attractive.
Is that Posh or a fembot?
JCF: Umm, me neither. Are you much of a concert person?
BP: Funny you bring it up, because Susie and I just went to one Tuesday, as a matter of fact, which is rare for us to go out on a weeknight.
JCF: Who’d you go see?
BP: We went to see Live and Collective Soul. It was actually good. I wasn’t impressed with Collective Soul. But Live, I thought they were very good in concert. These were bands that were big when I was in high school. My agent actually represents a couple of the guys from Live, so I was actually afforded the opportunity to meet them after the show and we talked about a little business proposal plan that might be a possible investment for me.
JCF: Don’t suppose you’d be willing to divulge any of the details?
BP: Yeah, not really. No major details until it’s a go or not.
JCF: And I’m guessing there wasn’t much of a sex, drugs and rock & roll vibe going on backstage with Live?
BP: You know what, I was kind of disappointed. I was asking Susie what is was going to be like because she’s worked a few concerts and been backstage before and she goes “No, you’re going to be disappointed. This isn’t the movies.” And sure enough, when we got back there, it was just me, the drummer, the guitarist and Susie, and we were just sitting there chatting.
JCF: So what’s the best show you’ve ever seen?
BP: I’d have to say –when I was living in Phoenix around the change of the millennium— I went downtown and they had the Goo Goo Dolls playing. And that was probably the most memorable concert that I had the most fun at. I don’t know if it was because it was the year 2000, or if it was just a real good show put on by them, but that’s the one I really remember.
JCF: And how about the worst?
BP: You know I haven’t been to a whole lot of them. I want to say Collective Soul. They weren’t very good in concert, but it’s too recent for me to say that. I went to see Aerosmith when I was in college back in ’97, and I wasn’t really impressed with them. They were one of my -- and still are – one of my favorite bands. It’s just, seeing them in concert, they didn’t sing a whole lot of the stuff I was familiar with, so I was kind of disappointed in that respect. I guess that would be the number one concert that I was most disappointed about. But I’ve only been to a handful of concerts in my life ever.
JCF: Okay, I hate to do this to you, but it’s almost a weekly segment at this point. Can you please tell us what on earth is going on with your Super Bowl pick Chargers?
BP: [laughs] I don’t even know. I didn’t really see any of the highlights from this last week, I just kinda saw the score and LaDainian sitting on the bench with his head down. So I don’t know. I guess it’s the same issue they’ve had since week two, I guess. Man, I don’t know. I don’t know what their problem is.
JCF: Is there any other conclusion to draw besides Norv Turner just being a terrible head coach?
BP: I mean that’s automatically where an average fan’s opinion would go to. I mean, it’s the same team they had last year. What’s the big deal? What’s going on here? Is it the play-calling? Is it coordinators? I mean, what is it?
JCF: So what you’re saying is, you’re just as mystified as the rest of us?
BP: Yeah, I’m definitely still shocked that they’re as bad as they are. But the good thing is it’s still early in the year. The first quarter is under wraps, but there’s twelve games left, so anything can happen. They can figure it out and turn things around.
JCF: Alright, let’s turn the spotlight back on the Texans now. I know it’s still early in the season, but is this week’s match-up with Miami a must-win game for you guys?
BP: Yeah, I believe it is. Especially for our confidence, if nothing else; for the fans and to show people that we have turned it around. But it’d be a huge blow to our confidence if we were to let another oh-fer team go in and beat us, especially in our own stadium.
JCF: So what’s your prediction?
BP: It’s gonna be a close one, so I’ll say 28-27. What’s your prediction?
JCF: My prediction? You know what, I honestly don’t think it’s gonna be that close. I know that you know that you guys have to win this game. You can’t blow that great start by losing three in a row, especially with it being Miami and especially with it being in front of the home crowd. If Green is able to come back and give you guys a full game in the backfield, I’m thinking 24-17. I think the defense is going to bounce back and have a better game. I’m not impressed with Miami’s offense. I think if you guys can shut down Ronnie Brown that would be huge, because Trent Green doesn’t scare me at all. I think you guys will win by six or seven points.
BP: Yeah, I’ll say 27-24.
JCF: [laughs] Well, I’m glad I could give you two points worth of confidence.
BP: Well, I think there’s going to be some offensive explosions. And like you said, a key for us is we do need to shut down Ronnie Brown.
JCF: How about Ted Ginn? Does he scare you at all?
BP: That guy is fast. But he just isn’t experienced. His inexperience in some of his decision-making kind of puts you – not at ease – but it gives you some relief, knowing that he’s not gonna just break one. You know, he’s gonna have to do some amazing things to do it. But the guy has world class speed, that’s for sure.
JCF: Okay, last question. Who’s gonna surprise us and have a big game?
BP: I went with Owen last week and he had an all right game. He had a few catches. This week, I will go with Petey [Faggins]. I say Petey’s gonna step it up and play like he has in the past; not this year, but, you know, how he did in year’s past. I’m going to say he’s going to come down with a turnover and he’s gonna let everyone know that the Petey of old is back.
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