Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie tight end O.J. Howard is part of a new campaign put on by Gillette. In it the company aims to showcase the relationship between pro athletes and their fathers by giving an inside glimpse into how the parent child dynamic reaches, and extends beyond, the playing surface.
As part of this endeavor, representatives reached out to me offering up an opportunity to speak to the Buccaneers play-maker along with his father, Kareem Howard.
Of course I took them up on it, and what followed was a fun and honest conversation which really put on display just how connected the father and son are.
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In sports, life, success and struggle. The Howard’s are a unit among themselves.
Speaking about his rookie year, Howard said,
"“For me personally, it’s been up and down. I’ve learned what it takes just being a pro. It’s way different than college.”"
The college he’s speaking of, is the University of Alabama, where Howard was a weapon perhaps used less than he should have been.
His storied school found plenty of success while the young tight end was on campus, but it was the National Championship Game against Clemson in 2016 when he brought in five catches for an amazing 208-yards and two touchdowns.
Talking to his father Kareem however, we learned big plays aren’t exactly a new thing for the younger Howard. Talking about one of his brightest memories of his son from his high school career,
"“His first high school game….he came in kind of late to the school because he transferred….probably about mid-season, the coach said ‘well, he’s part of the team and he’s put in the work, so we’re going to put him in the offense’. First offensive play, I think it was a crossing route, maybe a 70-yard touchdown pass.”"
The work put in starting in his younger days has certainly paid of to this point, as he has become one of the young foundation pieces being looked at to help catapult the Bucs into better seasons moving forward.
As the conversation continued, we hit on topics like his relationship with teammates Cameron Brate and Jameis Winston, the NFL Draft process, his Senior Bowl experience, some fun memories from his time as a media intern, and more. All of it coming from the player, and the parent.
To say it was a fun and interesting conversation is an understatement.
You can check out the video Gillette produced about O.J. and Kareem here:
And of course, you can hear the full conversation between myself, O.J. and Kareem Howard, on the Locked on Bucs podcast!
Check out both items, and let me know your thoughts on Howard, his father, his future with the Buccaneers franchise and really anything else you feel like getting off your chest.