Will Gholston Riffs On Ex-Teammates, Jerseys And Future (And More)

June 2nd, 2024

Podcast appearance.

Really cool podcast sitdown Bucs defensive lineman Will Gholston had late last month.

The second-longest tenured Buccaneer, who re-signed in April, sat down with Happy Hour Holidaze and it may have been the most open Gholston has ever been publicly. Joe cannot remember Gholston just riffing about football and life for an hour prior to this appearance.

Draft Day

On the first night of the 2013 draft, Gholston said, “I partied like I got drafted.” However, he didn’t know the second day of the draft back then began at noon.

An eventual fourth-round pick, Gholston stayed at a casino in Detroit and slept in before hitting the pool, unaware the draft was underway. When he made it back to his room he noticed several teams had tried to call him.

His cousin told him how his phone was blowing up and he and Gholston nearly fought because Gholston was furious his cousin didn’t come get him.

When then-Bucs coach Greg Schiano finally got a hold of Gholston to inform him the Bucs would pick him, Gholston said he barely spoke he was so overcome with emotion and had to escape to another room to try to compose himself so he could be coherent with Schiano.

Gholston raved about Schiano as a defensive coach and said he is similar to current Bucs coach Todd Bowles. Gholston added he didn’t think Schiano had success with the Bucs because players didn’t “embrace” Schiano and didn’t buy in.

Ndamukong Suh

Gholston is a huge fan of the big fella and future Hall of Fame defensive tackle. And Gholston emphasized Suh is nearly the polar opposite of a human being as the monster he is on the field.

“He doesn’t want to see anybody not succeed,” Gholston said. “That’s what I like most about him. He’s a very genuine person. … He’s such a great guy off the field. But he *is* an asshole on the field and I f’ing love that sh!t.”

America’s Quarterback, Jameis Winston

“He’s a great guy,” Gholston said. “He is super intense and super passionate in everything he does. He gets a bad rap.”

Tom Brady

Gholston raved about Brady’s, “Unspoken leadership. His presence. You understand the resume he carries. [The Bucs signing Brady] made it clear what the goal was. If you’re playing with Tom, you’re playing for a Super Bowl.”

Gholston didn’t speak for anyone else other than Rakeem “Nacho” Nunez-Roches, but Gholston said he and Nacho ramped up their workouts when they learned of the Brady signing and hit the gym hard like they never hit it before.

“My football IQ rose up and I didn’t even have a conversation with him,” Gholston said.

Gholston said he was working out with Nacho when the two learned the Bucs signed Brady. Gholston said they looked at each other and said, “We can’t be the reasons why we don’t win.”

“Brutal training,” Gholston said of his private sessions with Nacho. “The level and the intensity just went up and up and up.”

How much so? Gholston said he was doing “two-a-days.”

“The practices were harder from a competitive level than the games because everybody was so dialed in,” Gholston said of the Covid-bubble the team was in. “There was no distractions at all.

“I think [during] Covid was the most pure football I played when it came to being dialed in with X’s and O’s. You went home you were with your family. You left home you’d go to work because there was nowhere to go.”

People Dissing the Bucs

Though he didn’t mention him by name, Gholston brought up with disgust in his voice how Conor Orr of SI.com (or Peter King?) predicted the Bucs to win just two games last season. That prediction didn’t just fire up Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht. It hit the Bucs players deeply.

Bucs Defensive Coaches

Gholston raved.

“The coaching we are getting [with] the Bucs is crazy,” Gholston said. “The way the team develops a player — and I can speak for how Todd [Bowles] runs our defense — he puts everybody in the position to make the play.

“If you make the play come to you, [snaps finger] it’s real easy. All you have to do is watch the film. [The coaches] break things down to the smallest, minute detail. It’s not per se easy in that you have to do the task but it takes a lot of the mental work out of it.”

Greg Schiano

Gholston said Schiano was “pretty much the same” as Bowles in how he made his defense easy and put players in position to make plays. Unlike Schiano, Gholston said Bowles was embraced by players.

Kacy Rodgers and Larry Foote

Defensive line coach Kacy Rodgers and inside linebackers coach Larry Foote are calling the defense, not Bowles, per Gholston. He said Bowles “100 percent” trusts his defensive assistants.

Gholston’s Future

When asked if he would get into coaching after his playing days, Gholston admitted “I don’t know.” He said he gets a lot of personal satisfaction and “a little excitement” in both helping younger teammates and coaching Little League players when they take his advice and apply it on the field with success.

Gholston added if he does get into coaching full-time he wants to first give it a spin on the high school level and then build his way up.

In the meantime, Gholston said he’s slowly beginning to dabble in business ventures including real estate. Gholston noted he’s soon to open a Tampa cigar lounge.

Tristan Wirfs

“You know who doesn’t say a word?” Gholston said. “Tristan [Wirfs] barely says a word. I’ve never heard him go off. He is one of the strongest [mofos] I’ve ever went against. When he first came in as a rookie I’m like, ‘There is no way this [mofo] is this strong.'”

Gholston added the hardest offensive lineman he’s tangled with was Carl Nicks. The hardest running back to tackle was Marshawn Lynch. And another seriously hard guy to bring down was Cam Newton in his early years.


Whenever a player gives away a jersey, it costs him $750. Gholston said that’s why he’s “very selective” about who gets his jersey after games.

Pre-Draft Life

To detail how far football has brought Gholston in life, before he was drafted, Gholston lived in a 1999 Ford Escort. Friends let him crash at their apartments and houses from time to time but after college and before he was drafted, his car was his home.

42 Responses to “Will Gholston Riffs On Ex-Teammates, Jerseys And Future (And More)”

  1. Kevin Voigt Says:

    Wow! One of the most candid and insightful articles I’ve read!

  2. Pickgrin Says:

    Great piece Joe – on a great Buccaneer.

    Gholston is like the ultimate “glue guy”. A 4th rd pick – never a star – but always doing what is expected of him and contributing well when his # is called. All of which has now been parlayed into a 12 year NFL career…..

    Not bad Will – not bad my man. Salute!

  3. Irishmist Says:

    It’s interesting to compare his career with his cousin. Vernon Gholston was considered can’t miss, was picked #6 by the Jets in the first round, but never really accomplished much. Will was picked in the 4th round, no one expected much from him, and yet he has had an amazingly long and successful career.

  4. JimBobBuc Says:

    Wow what a great article Joe. Has Joe ever done interviews like this?

  5. Goodbuc'nlife Says:

    Good insight, Joe. I’ve never liked Shiano. He single handedly ruined Josh Freeman IMO. The lost decade began with him. Will Gholston is a genuine dude and easy too root for. He and LVD are the true soul and essence of the BUCS. Glad they brought him back. July is right round the corner. Go BUCS!!!!!

  6. Win in the Trenches Says:

    What are awesome dude

  7. FrontFour Says:

    Gholston is one of my favorite Bucs.

    Great article, Joe. Thanks.

  8. Obvious Says:

    How can you not like and admire Gholston? He’s just so relatable. He’s gonna make a great coach one day…

  9. SB~LV Says:

    Heartwarming read…

  10. Dude Says:

    This was an anwesome interview. Didn’t know Gholston was 3rd most games played as a Buc all-time behind LVD & Ronde, that’s wild.

  11. infomeplease Says:

    WG always comes to play! You have to like that.

  12. Rdyrdy Says:

    Let us not forget what all he does for the community.
    I know he has helped many disabled veterans and many others without drawing attention to himself.
    A good football player but a better man.
    We are fortunate to have him.

  13. Rob in Land O' Lakes Says:

    Absolutely terrific reporting, guys. BTW… you had me at “Cigar Bar” LOL

  14. Crickett Baker Says:

    Great article and I really appreciated the link to the whole interview. Gholston revealed a lot about himself. Very interesting and enjoyable.

  15. BucsFanSince1996 Says:

    Why is a player charged $750 when he gives away a jersey?

  16. drdneast Says:

    Great piece with Gholston. He has never been a star fofrthe Bucs but always a very dependable player and one of the few draft picks by Dummynick to ever stick with the Bucs. Lavontae David being the other.

  17. Joe Says:

    I’ve never liked Shiano. He single handedly ruined Josh Freeman IMO.

    Freeman ruined Freeman. Winslow, maybe but Freeman was a grown man. There is a case (can’t get into details for legal purposes) to be made Winslow effed up Freeman for good. And it’s pretty clear Winslow is a scumbag so what Joe heard fits. Freeman, in the end, made his own bed.

    The lost decade began with him.

    Began with Raheem.

  18. Joe Says:

    Wow! One of the most candid and insightful articles I’ve read!

    Thank you!

  19. Joe Says:

    Why is a player charged $750 when he gives away a jersey?

    Gotta play with a jersey. If a player gives it away, has to be replaced.

    Joe is going to guess the jerseys players wear are significantly higher quality than anything you can buy in a store or even the “authentic” jerseys for sale. Hence, they are more expensive to produce by Nike’s slave labor in China.

    The price tag, going to guess, is also, in theory, a deterrent to giving them away.

  20. Baking with Evans Says:

    Great job Joe!
    Thanks for sharing!
    You dropped the mic with this one.

  21. Baking with Evans Says:

    Joe go ahead and take the day off.
    Enjoy some Bromosas.

  22. ModHairKen Says:

    A guy who should be in the ROH.

  23. go dawgs Says:

    nice article about a real buccaneer!

  24. DS Says:

    One day we will know about the Freeman saga, it’s crazy how only few know anything

  25. capnhowdy Says:

    Schiano created the “Buccaneer Men” slogan, but WG has lived it every day of his Buccaneer career on and off the field. #WorkHorse, His name should be in the ring of honor one day

  26. T V Says:

    Thanks to WG. An career Buc who didn’t bounce around the league with only $$ on his agenda. A true Gentleman’s athlete. Thanks for your contributions on the field. You can’t control what Winslow, Freeman and others do. But what you can control, is you. And you did just that. May the good Lord bless everything you do for the rest of your life.

  27. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Goodbuc’nlife Says
    “Good insight, Joe. I’ve never liked Shiano. He single handedly ruined Josh Freeman IMO. The lost decade began with him.”

    The lost decade actually began with Raheem Morris, went 4-12 his last year (and though he had a 10-6 before that, he also had a 3-13 before that). Morris cost the team years, causing it to fall into a losing attitude and a lack of discipline.

    Schiano was brought in to re-establish discipline, which he did to a point, but he was so obsessed with running everything that he drove the players crazy with things like the temperature of the air conditioning.

    Firing him didn’t do a bit of good in the long run, as Loving Smith went on to go 8-24 during the following 2 years.

    Dirk actually had a winning season his first year, ending the lost decade…of course, he went 10-22 the next 2 years.

    And that is when Arians came in…had one losing season and the rest is history.

  28. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Also…Freeman was a sad story. If I recall, his doctor changed his meds, which caused severe mental issues. On top of that, the doctor assured him the med was NFL approved, and Freeman being in the state he was in did not conform it. The result was a suspension…which was probably a good thing seeing as the doctor kept messing up his meds after that…ruining his career.

  29. Joe Says:

    Firing him didn’t do a bit of good in the long run, as Loving Smith went on to go 8-24 during the following 2 years.

    Lovie set this franchise back years. How many guys did he get rid of that started for playoff teams, and replaced those guys with complete trash?

    Donald Penn (though he got hurt late in the year as the Raiders went to the playoffs) replaced by Sir SmokeALot.

    Mason Foster (started for Washington in the playoffs) replaced by Danny Lansanah.

    And of course Darrelle Revis replaced by Alterraun Verner.

    The Revis fiasco is when the Glazers should have stepped in and told Lovie, “You either learn to work with Revis or we’ll find a coach who can.”

    If I recall, his doctor changed his meds, which caused severe mental issues.

    Never heard that. If true, what the hell were the Bucs doing drafting a documented headcase quarterback in the first round? If that’s true anyone associated with drafting Freeman should have been launched.

    Do know the narrative the Bucs pushed about Freeman being addicted to football and being an obsessed workaholic was all BS.

  30. heyjude Says:

    Thank you so much for this excellent article. The best. It was great hearing from Gholston. Loved being reminded that the team embraced Bowles. He has their respect and that means a lot. Agree with others, never liked Schiano and believe he ruined Josh too, as Buccaneer Bonzai commented.

  31. Mac Says:

    Outstanding article Joe! Absolutely loved this read!

  32. unbelievable Says:

    Great stories there, thanks a lot Joe!

    Also, re: Freeman and Winslow… you gotta give us some more info on that. I know you’ve been saying for a while that “some day” it would come to light… well, I think today is a good day to be some day!

  33. Joe Says:


    Just a rumor. Very plausible rumor, but still a rumor. Don’t feel like getting sued no matter how believable it may be.

    Will give you a hint: What was Winslow battling since his early Browns days? What was Freeman acting like in the summer and early weeks of the 2013 season? There is a plausible connection, though has never been verified.

  34. 74 Bucs Fan Says:

    Regarding the lost decade, would you agree Joe that the Glaziers’ purchase of MANU contributed due to a perceived lower spend on the Bucs? I ask because I was with a guy on the day of Raheem’s hiring who knew Rick Stroud well – and Stroud text this guy that the hiring was a money saving move (couldn’t afford a high priced couch). Would Appreciate your thoughts on this.

  35. unbelievable Says:

    Gotcha… man, such an odd time in Bucs history back then, for so many reasons.

  36. Brian in St Pete Says:

    Lots of awesome down to earth dudes on this team. Kudos to Licht.

  37. Joe Says:

    Regarding the lost decade, would you agree Joe that the Glaziers’ purchase of MANU contributed due to a perceived lower spend on the Bucs?

    A lot of folks like to always point to the English kickball team as the reason the Bucs were losing. Joe doesn’t really give a flip about the kickball team.

    Did the kickball team prevent the Bucs from winning 10 games in 2010? Was the kickball team the reason why the Bucs lost 10 straight in 2011?

    That was over a decade ago. Water under the bridge. The Bucs have won a Super Bowl since.

    How much did Team Glazer save? They paid Raheem not to coach. Most places trying to save nickels don’t pay people not to work.

  38. Dude Says:

    “Morris cost the team years, causing it to fall into a losing attitude and a lack of discipline.”

    BS!!! The lockout happened between the end of 2010 & start of the 2011 season where the lockout ended in AUGUST! Ownership was still paying Gruden and apparently weren’t trying to spend any money in FA(likely the same reason they hired Raheem to be in over his head), while also having a jackass for a GM. There’s a reason Mark Dominik isn’t employed by any NFL team, and Morris has reached the pinnacle of the sport as a coordinator, gotta dole the blame out rationally.

    If you really wanna be technical, the dark times were started by years of Grudens’ mid-tier rostering building and his staff not being able to develop our young talent back then.

  39. Jennifer Bretsch Says:

    Will Gholston is one of my favorite Buccaneers. I met him at the 2018 training camp and he was so kind to my then 2 year old son. He got down on his level and talked to him while signing his football. I was happy to see the Bucs re-signed him this year. 🙂

  40. Bee Says:

    Love the honesty

  41. garro Says:


    That was perhaps the best piece of sports journalism I have read here on JBF. Excellent!

    Go Bucs!

  42. Mark Alstott Says:

    Gholston is another long time Buc that doesn’t get his due. He’s been around so long I often over look him. But he just goes out there and does a solid job, game after game. Reminds me of Brad Culpepper a little, in terms of just going out there and doing your job. Doing that allows everyone else to make plays easier. Week after week, game after game, Gholston just gets it done. Glad we got him back under contract. Losing guys like him are difficult to replace.

    Plus, this guy survived Greg Schiano, and the some of the darkest times in franchise history. Dude deserves it. Along with Evans and David, he was one of those that I was most happy for in 2020. The old guard that with through some ugly, ugly football, and being out of playoff contention by October.