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Tuesdays With Wilde: Tom Crabtree

I drive a Ford F-150. I bought it recently. I always wanted to have a nice truck. Especially with the weather turning the way it is, my Honda Accord wasn’t going to work out.

TV? The show that just finished up its first season, The Walking Dead – I like that. I’m always watching The Office. I love Dwight. And The Mentalist. It’s really good. Really good.

I listen to a little bit of everything when it comes to music. Right now, it’s the new Kanye West. But I listen to all kinds of rock, really. A lot of older rock, like Metallica, Soundgarden … I’m all over the place.

I look like a Metallica kind of guy, I know. That’s fair to say. Looks are not really deceiving when it comes to me. I had long hair when I was with the (Kansas City) Chiefs. I grew it out in college my junior year, and then I didn’t cut it at all for a couple years. So I had pretty long hair. I cut it right before camp last year, before I went to camp with Kansas City.

Chelsea, my wife, she didn’t mind it. Her thing is, she’s not crazy about facial hair. So as long as I’m clean-shaven, she’s pretty cool. This on my chin, I can get by with that. A couple weeks back, I was trying to grow a beard, but it was so patchy and ugly. But I tried, and she was pretty mad for those couple weeks. So I shaved it.

I love movies. Love ‘em. I always let people on Twitter know what I’m watching. Inception is out on DVD, so I went and got that right away. I’d already seen it in the theater. I didn’t need to see it a second time to understand it. I thought it made sense the first time I watched it. I’m not trying to be a movie guru here or anything. I felt like it was one of those movies where you have to just let it unfold and not think about it.

Some of the movies I like are off the beaten path. Like, Cable Guy. I think that’s a really underestimated comedy. Jim Carrey is kind of a stalker in it, but I don’t think enough people give that movie enough credit.

Since the baby came, we haven’t been out too much. Life changes a lot when you have a baby. Bryce was born Oct. 14, and he’s awesome. I’m into video games, and I don’t think I’ve turned it on in about a week. My Call of Duty skills have diminished significantly. But that’s a good thing, because when I come home, I’m ready to pick him up than I am to pick up the game.

He just started really smiling. He just turned two months, and he’s been smiling a lot – like really smiling. He’s been a lot more wide awake lately, and really smiling. I can see him, he’ll lock in on my eyes, and I’ll make a funny noise or something and he’ll start smiling. That’s the best feeling. That’s pretty cool.

I come from a pretty big family. I’ve got two sisters, but on top of that, my mom’s side of the family is really big. She has five brothers. So I’ve probably got 20 cousins just on my mom’s side. So I’m used to being around kids. Growing up, we’d always go to dinner at my grandma’s and every year, somebody had a baby. And this year, it was me.

What was I like as a kid? I don’t know if I should tell you. I was a little troublemaker. Ah, a little mischief. Not trouble. Typical kid stuff. We lived in big neighborhoods in the suburbs, so I was always out playing backyard football, riding my bike.

I’ll tell you what’s creepy. My uncle came across a home video the other day of me and my cousins hanging out at a Fourth of July party. I’m probably, like, 10 years old. He’s got a pool, we’re all hanging out, and my uncle is filming everyone saying hi, and I told him, ‘Hey, put the camera on me!’ And I said something like, ‘Remember this: I’m going to play in the NFL.’ It was crazy. They just came across this video like a couple months ago, and they emailed it to me. It was creepy, seeing me saying that so young and here I am.

I think in the video I said I was going to be a running back. That didn’t quite work out.

I definitely didn’t take the easy road to get here. It’s been a tough road. There were days when I thought I’d already put the pads on for the last time, coming out of college and pretty much hearing that there wasn’t any interest. I didn’t have an agent or anything, so I was like, ‘Maybe I need to start thinking about getting a job.’ The last week of November my senior year, I wasn’t hearing anything, so I figured I was done. My wife, she told me she’d support me in whatever I did, but she wanted me to make sure I took some time and thought about it and didn’t rush into a decision. My parents said the same thing. So I took some time off and thought about things. After the holidays, I got back into it with a fresh mind made me realize I wanted to keep doing this. I wasn’t done.

I look back on those days, and it was a time where I could easily not be here right now. I could have easily not stuck it out. But I’m definitely glad I did.

My degree is in secondary ed, but to be certified I still have to do my student teaching, which I didn’t do because I decided to get ready for my pro day and all that my last semester. So I’d probably be teaching right now. I’d definitely have loved to have coached. It all depends on how long this NFL ride keeps going, but I’d love to be around the game forever, whether it’s coaching or Bryce playing or even the strength-and-conditioning side of things. I like that stuff. One way or another, I want to be around it.

Chelsea and I, let me do the math … we’ve been together for 8 years. We were 16 or 17 when we started dating. Just kids. I think we met the summer before our junior year of high school. We were both new to the school that year, and through some friends that we both knew, we ended up meeting each other. We’re definitely blessed. We talk about it all the time, how lucky we are to have found each other so young. Looking back, we’re like, ‘What were we thinking, boyfriend and girlfriend that young?’ But look what it turned into.

We got married two years ago. The summer before I went off to camp in Kansas City in 2009. She’s not working right now, she’s taking care of Bryce, but when I got cut from Kansas City’s practice squad, she’s got a degree in childhood education, so she was working at a daycare/preschool type deal supporting us for awhile, paying the bills. She talks about how much she loves teaching and being around kids. We don’t know if she’ll go back now since she’ll have kids of her own to be taking care of, but we’ll see. We’ve both said before we’d love to have a lot of kids, so we’ll see.

I was pretty good in track in high school. That was probably 40, 50 pounds ago. I was good, and I loved it, too. But football was my calling, so I had to let it go when I got into college.

I like tattoos.I’ve got one on my left arm, it’s a tribal design. I got it last offseason, January or February. The Determined tattoo (on his left forearm) was there before. It was just something I always wanted to do. I’ve got my wife’s name on my chest, I’ve got the M from our Miami (Ohio) helmets over here, with some flames. I just like them. I’m sure I’ll get some more in the future. I’ve already got plans for them this offseason. One for Bryce, that’ll be one of them for sure.

I grew up near Columbus, but Ohio State wasn’t interested.I had a little bit of interest from them early on. You go to their camp, and I performed really well. They pick out a few of you, and talk to you, send letters to you. But after that, it dropped off. But I was cool with it. It happens. I loved Miami. I’m thankful I went there. It’s a great campus, great program.

I try to play the guitar. That’s been sitting for awhile, too. When I first got it, I tried. I stuck with it for awhile. I can play really basic stuff. I can’t play whole songs. Just riffs from certain songs. Like, Smoke on the Water is the easiest one to play. I guess it’s better than Guitar Hero, but I play that, too. Maybe this offseason I’ll have time to pick it up again. I’d really like to be a drum guy. That’d be good with the baby.

My Twitter followers are growing. I’m @TCrabtree83. It’s fun. I think it’s so cool today, that fans can interact with us like that and talk to celebrities and athletes. I think it’s awesome, if people are smart about it. I like to interact with the fans, because I know if I was in their shoes, it’d be cool to talk to the people I look up to. I try to, every now and then, to talk to celebrities on there every once in awhile, but they never respond to me. They’re probably like, ‘Who’s this guy?’ I said something to one of the guys from Sevenfold. I went to their show in Madison a couple months back. I was like, ‘Hey dude, I’ll be at the show.’ … He didn’t respond.