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Inside the Helmet: Shaun Ellis

South Carolina native Shaun Ellis played his college ball at the University of Tennessee. Afterward, he was drafted 12th overall by the New York Jets in 2000. He spent the next 11 seasons with Gang Green before joining the Patriots as an unrestricted free agent this past August. Get to know Ellis in this week's editon of Inside the Helmet.


What was your first football memory?
Seventh grade, we went undefeated, won the city championship. I was playing wide receiver.

Who were some of your first football idols?
I liked the Atlanta Falcons because of Deion Sanders. And I liked the 49ers.

If you could have any talent that you don't have now - not necessarily athletic - what would you want to do?
Man, that's a good question ... I guess I would like to be able to create computer software. Something like Bill Gates. If I had that talent, that's what I'd be doing (laughs).

If you could play any character in a movie, which one would you choose?
I'd like to play Superman.

If your life were made into a movie, who would you want to play you?
Eddie Murphy.

What was the first car you ever owned?
Ford Taurus. You remember the first bubble-looking car they had? It was that kind. I think it was a '98.

Do you remember your first apartment?
Yeah, it was in college. That was a big thing, being able to move out of the dorms into your own spot. It was a little apartment, somewhere off campus in Knoxville. At first, I lived by myself, then I had roommates.

If you could meet anybody in the world, anytime, who would it be?
Dang, that's a good one, too ... I guess I would have to say [President] Obama.

Have you ever met any U.S. Presidents?
I met Bill Clinton. We won the national championship [at Tennessee], so, I was able to go to the White House to meet him. Got a tour of the place. It was cool, seeing where everything is operated. I got to talk to him in passing. You know, shake his hand, take pictures, stuff like that.

OK, let's say you were given three wishes. What would you want?
Super Bowl ring ... kids grow up to be successful ... then, just, overall health.

Do you remember your first time in a plane?
I was going to Florida [on a recruiting trip] and they sent a jet, a private plane, to pick me up after my [high school] basketball game. It was a small plane and I remember there was a lot of turbulence. I thought we were going to crash. I was very frightened from that. Since then,  I don't like to fly.

Is there anywhere you'd like to visit that you haven't been?
I'd like to go to Morocco. You see pictures and stuff in books ... I'd like to experience that someday.  

Do you have any guilty pleasures?
I like junk food, snacks. Being in this line of work, you can't eat too much of that.

Do you have any nicknames?
Big Katt ...K-A-T-T. Two Ts.

Did you give yourself the nickname?
No, it was in college. Freshman year, first day of practice, I was making plays all over the field. Our free safety was like, 'Boy, you're quick like a cat.' One particular play, I got up, chased the quarterback, and they threw a screen and I caught the screen guy down the field. Ever since then, they called me 'Big Katt.'

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