"When I came here it was like coming to a new family. And I have always had the mentality of being a Dog. When I was in middle school I was a Bulldog. When I was in high school I was a Bulldog. I was a Bulldog at heart. And when I came here I had some of the best years of my life. I met so many great people while I was here. I will never forget the people who influenced me and caused me to be the person I am today. And a lot of that happened right here."
You are given credit for starting the slogan used by Mississippi State today; grinding for your state. How does that make you feel?
"I did an interview after a game and said that and it kind of blew up. I was just being myself. I guess everybody thought it was something good so they just kind of ran with it. But it feels good to know that I am contributing to something that is special. I know that they have been winning the last few years. And I'm so happy to see them have that success.
"I'm also one of the home boys. I am from Mississippi and I go to other places and here them talk about us. That was something that drove me while I was here. We are from Mississippi and we can be the best. We can do this or do that."
What does it mean to you to come back to Mississippi State?
"It feels good to come back and soak it in. What we do (in the NFL) is hard. So, when I get to come back here and get to kick it with my people, with the fans, it just gives me more motivation to go back and do even better. When I get up at 7 or 8 it's easier for me because I know I have these fans watching me and supporting me. I want to get up and do it for them. I have my own brothers but these (players) are also like my brothers."
What are your longtime plans once you retire from the NFL?
"I don't really know because I can do so many things. I just feel like something will come up that is for me. But right now I'm just going to keep working and go with the flow."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.