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Sideline Spotlight: FS Marlon McCree

You were a college linebacker, did you welcome the chance to play safety in the NFL?
"I had always played defensive back in my childhood and in high school. In college I got recruited as a safety and my sophomore year we had about four linebackers go down with injuries so the defensive coordinator pulled about three safeties and said they had to plug some people in. I was one of the guys that stayed there and made a career out of it. They liked my speed. Although I was undersized they thought they could use me coming off the edge and blitzing. I was able to cause a lot of havoc for offenses. I had a lot of fun."

Did being a linebacker help you in getting to the quarterback as a safety?

"Definitely. It enabled me to play both strong and free safety. It enabled me to play around the ball and get in and out of traffic with the big linemen trying to block me."

What would you do if you weren't playing in the NFL?

"I think I'd be somewhere in ministry, working for the Lord. I think I have a calling in my life and when I'm done playing football, that's what I'll be doing."

Last year you had six interceptions with the Jaguars, what are your goals in 2003?

"It's a lot of pressure coming off of a season like that, a lot of high expectations. Me, personally, I want to get more than six but sometimes I have to remind myself to let the game come to me and be patient, relax and make the plays that I'm supposed to make."

What is something that most people don't know about you?

"I have eight brothers and sisters and I'm the youngest. Most people look at me and think I'm the oldest but I'm the baby. I don't act like it but I am."

You picked off David Carr last year in Houston for a 35-yard return before Carr tackled you at the two yard line, do you two ever talk about that play?

"My teammates gave me a hard time. He caught me at the two yard-line. He stopped my touchdown. When I first got here he gave me a hard time about it but he's a good guy and he told me, 'Hey, this stadium owes you a touchdown.'"

What was the last book that you read?

"The Power of Prayer by Charles Spurgeon. It was a very interesting book. I still keep picking it back up."

Do you savor the opportunity to make the big hits that the safety position lends itself to?

"I love it. I'd much rather be the hammer than the nail. I'd rather be the bat than the ball. I don't like getting hit but I love the opportunity to have somebody come across the middle or make a big play on the ball. It just runs chills through my body to make a big play for the team."

What is your favorite historical NFL moment?

"When Tony Dorsett was on the one yard-line, I'm not sure who they (Dallas) were playing, but he broke a man and ran about 99 1/2 yards untouched. I was a big Tony Dorsett and Walter Payton fan."

Are you looking forward to going back to Jacksonville for the game on December 7?
"Oh yeah. It's going to be really emotional. I have a lot of good friends on that team. I still talk to those guys. I wish them nothing but the best but I told them hey, when you guys play the Texans, you're going to go down. I have a lot of family there and friends so I'll have to be really focused and not let the outside distractions get my mind off of what I'm there to do and that's to win a football game."

What position did you play for the Atlantic (FL) High School basketball team and what events did you run in track?

"I was a one and a two guard. I should've been in the NBA if I was about three or four more inches. I ran the 100 and 4x1 and the 220."

What inspires you?

"My mom. She's the sweetest lady. She raised eight kids by herself. She couldn't stay at home because she had to pay bills so it really instilled in me a sense of hard work and a never-quit attitude, a no matter what life dishes out, you can take it kind of attitude. I still look to her for strength."

What disc is in your CD player right now?
"Fred Hammond."

How do you spend your Tuesday off-days?

"I go to Blockbuster, rent a movie. I might go the the AMC and watch a movie, maybe shoot some pool or go bowling, whatever mood I'm in. I just like to relax and stay off of my feet."

Do you split residence between Houston and Florida?
"Yes, I have a home in Orlando. Hopefully I'll have a home here too soon."

Do you have a morning ritual?

"Every morning I get up and pray before I leave. I try to always get that time and meditation in before I start my day."

What different opportunities do you have in the Texans' defense compared to the scheme you were running in Jacksonville?

"The position is the same, the schemes are different. Overall I think my opportunities here are greater because they put me in more positions to make plays. They utilize my ability to be around the ball so I'm always in the post and use my vision to react to the ball."

How do you want to be remembered when your NFL career is over?

"I want to be remembered as a guy who was a hard worker on and off of the field. As a sincere guy who gave his all and put forth his best effort, loves to win, hates to lose, but understood that losing is part of the game. Someone who is able to overcome adversity."

What receiver is the most fun to cover?
"Hines Ward (Pittsburgh) will make you keep your head on a swivel. He'll try to come crack you and hit you when you're not looking. When I'm playing him I'm always alert and on my toes, if not, he'll come and get you."

Did you take any offseason vacation?
"My wife and I went to the Bahamas and went to Atlantis."

What is your favorite meal?

"My wife cooks so many good things, I like her catfish that she'll bake or grill. She'll cook a vegetable and dessert. I've got it made. I just have to sit back and eat it all."

What is your favorite interest outside of football?

"I just want to help people. To let inner-city kids know that despite adversity in life you can still be successful. My biggest interest outside of football is to just to inspire the younger generation to be all they can be and believe in themselves because you never know where you'll end up if you reach for the sky."

Who is your closest friend in the NFL?

"Eric Kelly, my best friend from college. He's a cornerback for the Minnesota Vikings."

What made you start playing football?
"I've always played football, probably since I was five. It was just the thing to do in the neighborhood. You came home from school, did your homework and then went outside and got into the game. I never thought I'd be in the NFL. It was just the thing to do; two-hand touch in the street, tackle in the grass, no hiding behind cars. It stuck with me for the rest of my life so I'm happy. I really enjoy doing what I do."

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