Retired Ravens TE, Daniel Wilcox Interview (#50)
Daniel Wilcox was undrafted after the 2001 NFL Draft, but signed a contract with the New York Jets. In 2002, he became a Super Bowl Champion with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He remained on their roster in 2003. However, in 2004, he signed a contract with the Baltimore Ravens. He played tight end for the Ravens until the 2008 NFL season. He was known for his red-zone production. DW caught Joe Flacco’s first ever NFL touchdown pass. Check out our interview that was done in 2010, looking back on his career.
Announcement : Hello, my name is Max Strauss with http://ProInterviews.org I would like to welcome you to the interview with Dan Wilcox. Dan Wilcox played college football at Appalachian State University, and he went undrafted in 2001. But, shortly after, he signed with the New York Jets. After that season, he signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and won a Super Bowl ring with them. He played with the Buccaneers in 2002 and 2003. In the winter and spring of 2004, he went to Europe to play with the Rhein Fire. He came back to the NFL later that year with the Baltimore Ravens and played with them until 2008. Here are a couple audio clips from his career, and then, let’s get started with the interview!
Wilcox Audio Clip 01 : Just inside the two, play action, Boller, throws… Touchdown RAVENS! Dan Wilcox in the back of the endzone, and the Ravens are back in front!
Wilcox Audio Clip 02 : Flacco, play action, he rolls to the right. He fires… endzone! Caught! Dan Wilcox. What a grab! Touchdown RAVENS! One hand grab and the Ravens are in the endzone!
Strauss : And now the interview… So, why do you really use twitter?
Wilcox : Well, I use mainly it to kind of keep the fans in touch with what I’m doing, day-to-day. And if I get a chance to post updates, I will always try to post an update. When I was in Baltimore, I was on a television show, I had a blog on the Ravens website. Talking with them, trying to keep them up with what’s going on a day-to-day basis. So, I just try to continue to do that. I wanted to continue keeping up with fans even though I left football. So, I just kept doing it. I have had a blog for a while also. I’ve been so busy lately though, started my company. But, twitter is an easy way, since I’m a huge text message guy, so it’s an easy way to keep people in contact with Daniel Wilcox, with what’s going on in my day-to-day stuff.
Strauss : More to high school, did you play any other sports in high school?
Wilcox : Yeah, I lettered in all sports. I played basketball, baseball, football, and track.
Strauss : What was your favorite memory with a sport other than football?
Wilcox : We went to the National Championship in Basketball. We actually lost by five. But, it was the National Championship game, my junior year. That was pretty cool, from going out to, playing in front of all these people, to being with my cousins and my family all down there. I played with two cousins on the same team as me. We were all the way down there, and we almost won the whole thing.
Strauss : In college now, what was most important thing you learned at Appalachian State that helped you in the NFL?
Wilcox : My first year here at Appalachian State. I transferred out of Georgia Military Junior College before I came here. And, when I transferred here, I ended up being one of those short of transferring. I ended up becoming ineligible. I couldn’t play. I think I took that experience and I think that experience helped shape and move me throughout my life for some reason that I don’t know. Me, being red-shirted my junior year in college was kind of limp year. I wasn’t really expecting to come here high on Appalachian State, thinking I was going to start, thinking I was going to play right away. And all of a sudden, a week before the first game of the year, I find out that I was ineligible, couldn’t play at all. So I could have taken it really negative or I could have made it a positive experience. I took it and made it the best possible experience I could. It kind of prepared me for the NFL. When I got there, I had to be on the practice squad. I got cut a couple times, re-signed, picked back up by other teams and all that kind of stuff. It just helped shape me the most! And, there wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle.
Strauss : Did you have a best friend at Appalachian State?
Wilcox : Absolutely, I had three of them. They are still my best friends today.
Strauss : Do you have a favorite memory with them?
Wilcox : With one of them, I had a chance to play football with at Georgia Military and Appalachian State. So, our best memories came from playing football and around the football field. And, then, one of the other ones, ended up getting into coaching together at Appalachian State right now, him and I have been many memories and it’s been plenty of fun. And, then my other best friend is Davon, he ran track at Appalachian State, but now he’s doing all my wardrobe stuff, my suits, and everything. My best friends are great men. I got so many great memories with all of them. They are all just really great guys.
Strauss : What’s your favorite memory from Appalachian State?
Wilcox : Beating Wake Forest my senior year, that whole experience my senior year. I had one of my best friends at running back. That whole season was just great!
Strauss : So, now moving onto NFL, what was your draft day experience like since you were undrafted?
Wilcox : I guess it was a little rocky. I thought I might actually have a shot at getting drafted. I had a bunch of scouts posting me higher up as a wide receiver… might get me picked up in the 5th, 6th, or 7th round. During the draft, I had coaches and scouts calling me, saying, “You ready now? We’re going to pick you up. We’re thinking about picking you up in the fifth round.” That didn’t happen. The fifth round went by. Then, the sixth round comes, they called me and were like, “We’re going to pick you up in the sixth. And, then they somebody called me, and said the same thing about the seventh round. They were kind of teasing and teasing, so they got my hopes up really really high, and then, I didn’t get drafted. I ended up having to choose between four or five teams at the end of the draft. I ended up choosing to go to New York. I looked to play in New York by default. Seeing their coach, I felt I went there because it seemed like it would make the most sense. In Baltimore, they had tight ends just like me, small, catching, athletic tight ends. In New York, they had very big guys, 275 pound guys, that were bruisers and blockers, that kind of stuff. So, I chose the Jets because of the fact that I would be a new addition to the team. I had a better chance of making the team. But, the draft experience, I guess was a little rocky if I had to put one word for it, I would put rocky, a little shaky.
Strauss : Are you happy you had a chance to choose teams instead of being assigned one?
Wilcox : I didn’t really have a chance to choose, any team could have picked me. But most likely, the teams that would have picked me were the teams that did have a tight end with my style. And, I was coming out, I felt like I was ready to play my first year, but I think the fact that I did not, it gave me an opportunity to become a tight end for a team that didn’t already have one. A bunch of teams, they had a bunch of guys like me, and I didn’t know how I was supposed to figure it out. Then, I went to Tampa Bay who gave me an opportunity to make the team. I did for two years.
Strauss : What’s your favorite memory from the Super Bowl (XXXVII)? Did you suit up?
Wilcox : I dressed up for the game, and was with the guys before the game. I came back in, and I was on the ineligible roster. So, I went in and took off my pads and went to the sideline with the rest of the guys. I watched the whole game basically from the sideline. It was really a once in a lifetime opportunity, and it was a blessing. I had a wonderful time being there. I think every part of the game was the best memory of the Super Bowl, from every single interception that happened. And, Dexter Jackson and Derrick Brooks the defensive players made the game really excited, the way they played. The game I think Derrick Brooks had a pick to the house. I think Dwight Smith had two to the house. Dexter Jackson had two game-changing interceptions. Just the way, we came out and played, and helping the guys prepare the rest of the guys. Not knowing, I wasn’t going to play probably until the last minutes before the game. It was very exciting just watching the entire game.
Strauss : So, what was it like after the Super Bowl, to play for the Rhein Fire in NFL Europe?
Wilcox : It was pretty cool, man! I got to go over to Germany, and play in a whole new country. I had a chance to go to Frankfurt, Berlin, Scotland, Amsterdam …all these different places to play football. I never ever thought that football would take me over seas. And, it was, here I am! It was a wonderful experience, I got a chance to shoot my first commercial over there, my first. All that kind of stuff. I was one of the spokesman for the teams at the end of the year. I got to experience football in another country. It was also a difficult experience.
Strauss : So, what was it like to play for the Ravens?
Wilcox : It was probably the best experience of my football career besides the Championship. I honestly feel like Baltimore has always shown me so much love, because they gave me my first playing opportunity. It was a real great experience. It was very obliterating. If I had an opportunity to change anything, I wouldn’t change anything about it. The fans were absolutely amazing. The atmosphere of the games were absolutely insane. I go for the top. Playing with those guys, I don’t think you could ever replace it. Nothing could ever be replaced from playing with guys like Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs, Trevor Pryce, Deion Sanders, Samari Rolle, Chris McAlister, Joe Flacco, Steve McNair, Kordell Stewart. I got a chance to play with certainly some great guys. Being in Baltimore was just one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
Strauss : So, if you could choose any play in your career to define your career, what would that play be?
Wilcox : I would say probably the year, I got hurt. The Patriots were undefeated, they came to Baltimore Week 13. And, they came to play us, and this was like the most televised game in the history of football. This had more viewers than any other game in the history of any kind of sports, more than the NBA Basketball Championship Finals, in the entire series, more people were watching this game. Monday Night Football. I caught what was going to be the game winning catch of the game. I caught in the back of the endzone, however Tom Brady came down and actually won the game at the end of the game. But, that touchdown, I had fought back from an injury the entire season. I probably missed ten or eleven games that year. That was actually my first game back on the field, and I had a great game. Our offense won the game, so if I had to choose, that would probably be it.
Strauss : So, who had the most impact on your NFL career?
Wilcox : If I had to give credit to anybody, I’d probably have to say, my mom. Because she’s the one that got me started playing football in the first place. Since I was little, she kept me in the game, she was the team-mom. She would put in all the extra time and effort to teach me how to catch and run and jump. And all the little things, did a lot of little things that most moms would not take the time out of their day to do. So, if I probably had to give credit to anybody, I would give it to her.
Strauss : Did you have a nickname while you were playing football?
Wilcox : In the NFL, it was always “Shawty”, S-H-A-W-T-Y, because I am from Atlanta, Georgia. And, that’s the way we talk in Atlanta. Everyone always everybody, Lil’ Shawty. So, basically they called me Shawty, and since I was one of the shorter tight ends on the team, it kinda of fit.
Strauss : So, what’s an experience that changed your life?
Wilcox : Probably getting married. Because when I met my wife, we got married, and it was definitely a life-changing experience. It became a whole, new way of thinking actually. I didn’t think about, changing myself into being a husband, being a father. It brings so many different many attributes, that were not expected. Definitely not expected. As far as my whole family, it changed my whole how I go about doing things?
Strauss : Can you elaborate on your charity and what it really does?
Wilcox : My charity is the Empowerment M.I.N.D.S. Family Foundation. M.I.N.D.S. stands for Motivating and Inspiring Neighborhoods Determined to Succeed. And, that basically just wants to get kids thinking outside of the box. I want people to support the less fortunate kids and give them an opportunity to learn. Most people would probably say that these kids are getting away from a bad environment. We want to make a difference in that kind of stuff. I just want them to start thinking outside the box, so I started educational things like build drives, might take them on red carper movie premiers, tours around the inner harbor of Baltimore, used to do football camps in Atlanta and Baltimore, and occasionally, people would come to football camps, to play football, and beyond that, I would teach them how to be men. There’s a lot more then they realize that goes through life. There is stuff to prepare them for the SAT like SAT prep courses, online tutoring courses. I take some of the kids paint-balling just to have fun, and to do things that they normally would not do, whether it’s out of the ordinary, took them to the Spy Museum. It’s all kind of educational things. It’s motivating them to be things they want to be. The foundation has done everything from Fashion Shows to Football Camps to Put-Put Golf family tournaments and stuff like that. It’s done tons of stuff, and I couldn’t name it all without hesitation.
Strauss : So, what’s your favorite quote?
Wilcox : My favorite quote is, “Pain is only weakness leaving the body.”
Strauss : It’s a good question… If you could describe yourself as any ice cream flavor, what would you be and why?
Wilcox : Cookies and Cream. That’s the best ice cream in my book. I actually love Cookies and Cream, it’s my favorite flavor. I eat a whole pint in pretty much one sitting. It’s the best. And, in high school, I wanted to be the best, and that is measuring how good I wanted to push myself to be.
Strauss : So, for someone who wants to play football in the NFL, what advice for them?
Wilcox : Always outwork the next man. Never let anybody outwork you. Never give up on your dream, if that’s what you really want to do. Put every single ounce of what you got in your body into playing the game. I think eventually it will pay off. It’s one of those things that to make it to the NFL has narrowed down the how many guys that don’t. Fight until the last second, you got to give every single ounce until the end. It takes a special kind of guy to get in the NFL, and to be able to stay there. There are a bunch of guys that make it there, but it’s harder for guys to actually stay. The NFL looks for a guy that will be able to push through every single thing they got going on, mentally, physically, and their lives dealing with the pressures and pains. You got to be able to take control of your mind, your body, and push through everything they are throwing at you. It’s a mental battle as much as it is a physical battle.
Strauss : Is there anything you want to tell your fans that we have not talked about?
Wilcox : Just stay cool, check me out on twitter.
Strauss : Thanks for your time, I really appreciate it!
Wilcox : You too, I really appreciate the opportunity. I appreciate you as well. So, keep up the good work brother!
Announcement : Thanks for listening to the interview with Dan Wilcox, an eight-year NFL Veteran. I hope you enjoyed listening to the interview, and please feel free to send me your feedback. Please “LIKE” our Facebook page at http://facebook.com/ProInterviews and follow me on twitter at http://twitter.com/ProInterviews. Or, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please continue to visit the website. Stay tuned for updates and mores interviews.
->Here are the personal questions that Dan Wilcox answered.<-
Strauss : What was your plan if football never worked out for you?
Wilcox : Well, more than anything. Since I started playing football, my major was advertising and communications. So, I kind of wanted to be behind the scenes in the NFL. And being in the NFL, I could latch onto more ideas, I’ve actually been in front of the camera so much, that I want to do radio or television or broadcast or something sports-related. I also have a foundation which helps kids.
Strauss : What are you doing now that you’re out of football?
Wilcox : I’m doing a little of everything. I am a full-time father, full-time husband. I’m an assistant football wide receiver’s coach up here at Appalachian State, also assistant strength coach at Appalachian State. I’m a team mentor. I have a radio show up here, a blog up here. I still do stuff with my foundation in the offseason with football camps. I started my home renovation business back in my home, Atlanta. Renovating and redesigning people’s homes, make their house a lot nicer, upgrade things as well. I am also thinking about incorporating that into my foundation as well, and find a way to give back through home renovation projects. I don’t know, I’m doing a million things, and yet a little bit of everything the best I can. I also do tours at USOs every Tuesday. I’m also in classes at Appalachian State. I took two classes over the summer. I’m on my last four classes now, when I left ten years ago, I was on my last six classes. A marketing class, a communication class, a publishing class, and I have a mass media class.
Strauss : Who was your childhood star?
Wilcox : I was a Raiders, Bo Jackson fan.
Strauss : What is your favorite TV Show? Why?
Wilcox : It’d be something that I watch with my wife. It’d probably be Grey’s Anatomy or Desperate Housewives or something like that. Those shows I watch more every week.
Strauss : What is your favorite movie of all time?
Wilcox : I’m a huge movie person. I got a million movies. I love movies. I like to laugh, so definitely comedy stuff.
Strauss : What is your favorite type of pie?
Wilcox : Probably, peach pie, I love peach pie. But if I couldn’t choose that pie, it would be apple pie or key lime pie.
Strauss : What would your last meal on earth be?
Wilcox : My last meal would be some blue cheese, some bread, Macaroni and Cheese, and collared greens.
Strauss : Thank you again for your time answering the personal questions!
Wilcox : No problem, thank you for your interest!