Getting to Know Buccaneer Tight End Todd Yoder

When you think of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers you think of names like Sapp, Brooks, Keyshawn and Alstott. But what many fans don't realize that without lesser-known players taking pride in whatever contributions are asked of them, winning a Super Bowl is simply not possible.

Todd Yoder isn't a household name, however his persistence to become a better football player along with his blue-collar approach to the game has earned his roster spot and also a Super Bowl ring in just his fourth season. His diligence and hard work and excellent play on special teams has made Yoder a valuable commodity on a team full of superstars. Special teams are the third aspect of the game along with offense and defense and in many cases decides the outcome of a game and that's where Todd became noticed.

"That's what got me started, that's what put me on the map as a player. My leadership on special teams is very important" remarks Yoder, "I will always be a special teams guy."
Originally signed as a free agent in 2000, Todd quickly made an impact tallying eight special teams tackles in his first season.

I couldn't help but notice the sparking diamonds on his Super Bowl ring that prompted me to ask if he really understood the significance of being a part of a Super Bowl winner so early in his career.
"I think so especially now that we have the rings. I can go play the rest of my career knowing that I have a ring and it also makes you feel so proud to be a part of the team."

Todd and his wife Susan recently became parents to a baby girl so I was curious to know how becoming a father has changed his life." I think it makes football seem secondary. Everything now revolves around our daughter. I am going to look forward to this season more being able to come home and having that family aspect to look forward to."

It seems that football runs in the family, Todd's wife Susan played running back and defensive back for the Tampa Tempests before getting pregnant last year. "I don't think she'll be coming out of retirement any time soon," said Todd of his wife as he chuckled.

Seeing as though Todd played running back in high school where he gained over 1000 yards in his senior season I thought I would ask if he missed running the football. "No, I would probably get tore up."

With Jon Gruden coming to Tampa Bay last season and changing the philosophy as well as implementing the west coast system I was anxious to hear what Todd's impressions were of his new coach. "Coach Gruden has brought a lot of intensity here. Our offense is about attacking and coach wants to be aggressive and take chances to win games."
When asked what it's like to be around the animated Gruden Todd had this to say, "He inspires you and you always have to be sharp around him. He talks about not giving up your edge as if you were a knife not letting your blade get dull. He motivated guys to step last year and that makes you perform better as a player."

Todd will continue to work hard at the tight end position while he yearns for more balls to be thrown his way but for now he does what is asked of him to help his team win. Role players might not get the notoriety of big dollars the superstars get but make no mistake they are an intricate part of any winning team.

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