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Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll in the NFL: Long Snaps with Bryan Pittman

And now we present a Q&A with the Houston Texans’ long-snapper, Bryan Pittman. If you want to know the basics, check out his bio on the Texans’ Web site. For the interesting stuff, be sure to click here every Monday and Wednesday throughout the football season as Bryan dishes on everything from locker room gossip to the war in Iraq (where his brother is currently stationed). This week, Bryan goes one-on-one with Ballz columnist Jason Friedman, answering questions about the proliferation of performance enhancing drugs, NFL groupies and, of course, the difference between Matt Schaub and David Carr.

JCF: Your position entails viewing the field from between your legs while some massive, amped-up-on-who-knows-what monster is lined up right across from you. How much fun is that?

BP: I never get used to it, having someone lined up over me ready to blow me up and try to destroy me. You just practice and prepare to the point where you can deal with it and rely on your ability.

JCF: What’s the biggest misconception fans have about NFL players?

BP: I think the biggest misconception is the toll that it takes on our bodies. I think we’re grossly underpaid for what we put our bodies through; the punishment, injuries and pretty much the sheer hell we put our bodies through.

JCF: You guys (the Texans) have faced a boatload of criticism and negativity from fans and media over the last few years. How do you react to that?

BP: I think it’s justified for how we’ve played the last five years. They’re allowed to be like that. They just need to understand that this year it’s different.

JCF: Performance enhancing drugs seem to be the NFL’s dirty little secret. How big of a problem do you think it really is?

BP: I think it is a problem, with the drugs like HGH (human growth hormone) which you can’t test for. I don’t want to go around accusing anyone, but I would estimate, just on my opinion, that at least forty percent, and maybe more, of the players are doing some kind of illegal substance.

JCF: Forty percent or more? That’s a huge percentage. How do you handle the feeling that you’re potentially dealing with a rather uneven playing field?

BP: I think it’s not fair. But then again, I set it on the shoulders of the league to find those guys who are doing it and exposing them. And get them off of it or get them out of the league.

JCF: Speaking of getting guys out of the league, how do you feel about NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s crackdown on problem players?

BP: I think he’s done a tremendous job with the players who have been a negative impact image on this league.

JCF: Is that the general consensus in the locker room?

BP: Definitely. I think everyone here agrees with that.

JCF: How is life different as a Houston Texan this year now that Matt Schaub is the quarterback?

BP: Schaub brings a laidback, poised, successful attitude. Everyone can see that and everyone is comfortable with him. So it’s definitely a better change. It probably should have happened two years ago, but now that the change has happened we’re progressing forward.

JCF: Did you feel like it was something that should have happened two years ago?

BP: Yeah.

JCF: Was that the general feeling in the locker room?

BP: Yeah, I think it was. I don’t want to speak for any of my teammates who were here at that time, but I think that was the general consensus.

JCF: Well, I’d say the players and fans were on the same page then. Alright, enough football talk. What’s your favorite type of music?

BP: I like pretty much everything. I don’t like real heavy metal, but I listen to rap, country, rock, alternative.

JCF: Favorite band?

BP: Right now I’d say Linkin Park.

JCF: How about movies?

BP: Everything, except for the sappy romantic ones.

JCF: A man of very discriminating tastes, I see. Okay, time for a tougher question. What’s your view on the war? I know you’ve got a brother serving in Iraq so you’re probably somewhat biased.

BP: I’m excited for us to finish up what we started over there. To get the Iraqi people ready to take over and run their own country. I’m for it taking as long as it needs, reasonably speaking. I don’t want to be over there for another three or four years and make it another Vietnam, but (sigh)… I miss my brother.

JCF: Understandable. So let’s say we end on a positive note. What’s the best thing about being a pro football player?

BP: I guess the prestige of being the best with the number one sport in the country. It’s a blessing and an honor to do this for a living.

JCF: It’s not the women?

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BP: I think it’s blown out of proportion.

JCF: Really???

BP: I mean, if you’re looking for it you’re gonna find it. But it’s not as prevalent as people might think it is. We don’t have the women outside our hotels, throwing themselves at us. JCF: Hmmm. I’m not sure I buy that. Sounds like someone is giving the P.C. answer so his fiancée doesn’t make him watch one of those sappy romance movies tonight.

Got a question for Bryan Pittman? Place it in the comment form below and we’ll fire it his way ASAP.

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