Joe Talks To Fullback Hopeful Phil Riley, IIIMay 1st, 2010
Hundreds of young players are at rookie minicamps across the NFL hoping to catch their big break. The Bucs have invited 50 or so tryout players to Tampa through Sunday. These guys have their expenses paid by the Bucs and will try to standout during three practices. Phil Riley, III, out of Hofstra University, who stands a chiseled 6-3, 251 lbs., is trying to make the Bucs as a fullback and/or long snapper. He talked to Joe about his career and his first 24 hours with the Buccaneers.
Joe: So how did your first practice go for you?
Phil Riley: I was really excited. It was really a great day. It’s a beautiful place, man. I thank Doug williams and Coach Morris for giving me the opportunity to be down here. I was proud of my performance.
Joe: How did the Bucs find you? You’re a Hofstra guy, and so is Coach Morris. Was that the connection?
Riley: They contacted my agent for me to come down. That’s all I know. I never spoke to anyone personally and had no contact with them last year when I came out of school. Last year I was at rookie minicamp with the Vikings, and I had a tryout with the Bills. But nothing stuck.
Joe: So after you didn’t latch on with the Bills last year, what have you been doing?
Riley: Odd jobs, working with my dad in his business fixing up houses, working as an electrician’s helper, cutting grass, anything to make a couple of bucks. I’m really committed to the football thing right now. I workout at home [in Maryland] running consistently and working with a local high school quarterback and coach.
Joe: Here in Tampa, did you get an extensive playbook on Thursday night, and how hard were the Bucs coaches on the players Friday?
Riley: Coaches are realists. That’s for sure. They tell it to you like it is. We got a playbook last night. I had the experience with the Vikings to know what was coming. Here it’s about pushing you mentally as much or more than the physical. That mental side is so important. That’s football. The mental side of your game has to be there. [The Bucs] installed a lot of plays and we were out here running them [Friday], and then I’ll be studying at night.
Joe: What are your goals here?
Riley: My main goal is just to come down here to have fun. Coach Morris said to all the guys [Thursday night], ‘It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, and it’s all about having fun, taking it all in, working your hardest and being a professonal.’ He reminded us it’s not college football anymore and to carry ourselves like professionals around the building and you got to act like you’re Buccaneers until you hear otherwise.
Joe: What kind of player are you and did anything about your game stand out today? Did anyone else catch your eye?
Riley: There are so many talented players here at all positions. It is tough for anyone to standout. You have a lot of guys going 100 percent, and I was right there with them. I’m more of a blocker type. I can catch, too. The Bucs aren’t very deep at fullback, so there’s a real opportunity there. I’m just trying to play my best. I don’t care about first-team this or winning awards. I’ve always been like that. I just love playing football and I’m trying to make the most of this.