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Sun., May. 31, 2015 12:00 AM to 10:59 PM EDT
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Inside the Helmet... Steve Gregory
What was 9/11 like for you?
It was crazy, scary. I remember getting out of class [as a freshman at Syracuse] and the first building was already hit. Just thought it was an accident, then watching TV, I saw the second one hit. It was chaos. A lot of people at Syracuse have connections down there. Then trying to call home to see what’s going on and can’t get through. All the phone lines were down. I couldn’t get in touch with my parents till the next day. It was a while of worrying. They work in Brooklyn, but once the towers fell, he had to go to Ground Zero. I’m proud of them for the help they gave New York City, but it was definitely a scary time.
Did you know anyone who perished?
Yeah, a girl who lived across the steet from me was in one of the buildings, and some of the other people I grew up with, their fathers were firemen.
If you weren’t in the NFL, what would you do for a living?
I’d probably be a police officer in New York City. I took the test coming out of college, actually got called to go into the academy, but then the Chargers called me. My best friend is actually a police officer in New York City. We probably would have been partners right now. Would’ve been cool.
What was your first job?
I actually delivered pizza in high school. There was a pizzeria right down the street from us. During the summer I delivered, made some extra money. It was fun.
Is it kind of a pressure-type job?
Absolutely, man. You want to make sure you get it there hot and fresh, make sure you get a good tip. Yeah, some people would get mad if you were late and they wouldn’t tip you right. Part of the job, I guess (laughs).
Speaking of cars, what was your first one?
I had a Chevy Cavalier. Red one, two-door. It was like a Ferrari to me, you know. It was nice. Used car. That was my pizza delivery car.
When I was real young, my cousins lived downstairs from me - two twin cousins, same age as me - and we used to just go out in the street and play football right in front of the house. Those games were intense. You would think there were 100,000 people watching, because we were going at it. We’d play telephone pole to telephone pole… stop, let the car go by, start over again.
Touch or tackle?
Yeah, touch, but it got physical (laughs). There were a few cuts and bruises, running into parked cars and stuff.
Growing up in the New York area, you rooted for…?
Actually, I was more into players, so, I was kind of a Cowboys fan because I liked Emmitt Smith and those guys. I was a big Barry Sanders and Emmitt Smith fan. I had a Cowboys jacket and stuff.
Do you remember the first time you put pads on?
Yeah, Pop Warner, I was 9 years old. It was awesome!
What was your first big play?
I was playing quarterback. I had a good year that year, running all over the field, scored a lot of touchdowns. Once it got serious in high school, I had a big game in the championship. Scored a lot of touchdowns in high school. Played both ways until college.
Who was your first crush?
(inhales).... My wife. I’m gonna play it safe (chuckles).
When did you meet her?
How about a celebrity?
No, I was never really into celebrities, but, I don’t know, I guess you could say I have a crush on, probably, maybe, J.Lo. I think she’s pretty.
Have you ever met her?
Would you like to?
That would be awesome, yes! Absolutely.
Your wife wouldn’t mind?
She’d probably rather me meet Jessica Simpson, because that’s her crush (laughs).
Really? That’s… interesting.
It is interesting.
Yeah, my grandparents took me down to Disney World in Florida. I was young, might’ve been 7 or 8. I’m not exactly excited about it every time I go up in a plane. I have a small fear of heights, but it doesn’t bother me too much.
Ever been outside the country?
Yes, my wife and I on our honeymoon went to French Polynesia, Bora Bora, Tahiti, all that. Last year, we went to Greece and Italy and all over the Caribbean, Mexico.
So, you like traveling?
Yeah, love traveling. That’s like the number one thing we do in the offseason. We plan a big trip every year. We go to St. Thomas every year. We love to travel.
What’s next on your wish list?
France. Paris, south of France.
Are you a pet person?
I love pets. Don’t have any, but growing up I had an English Bulldog. Bertha was her name. She was the best. One day we’ll probably have a dog again.
If you could acquire any skill or talent that you don’t currently have, what would you want?
I’d like to fly. Or be able to teleport instantly. Then I could just go to France right now for a few hours and be back for practice (laughs).
If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would it be?
Maybe the President, just to see what that’s like.
If you could play a character in a movie, which would you choose?
Along with my superpower, I’d have to go with Superman … no, I’d like to play Rocky.
If your life were a movie, who would play Steve Gregory?
Sylvester Stallone, man. Why not? I was a big Rocky fan growing up.
If you could be a singer or musician in a band …
Michael Jackson. That’d be cool. He’s the king of pop.
Do you have any guilty pleasures?
Pizza. I could eat a whole pizza pie for lunch and dinner. I won’t give away too many of my deep, dark secrets (laughs).
Aside from your playbook, what was the last book you read and enjoyed?
"The Hunger Games."
Have you seen the film?
I did. There’s more in the book. So, reading the book, then seeing the film helps.