BUCPOWER.COM INTERVIEW - SHELTON QUARLES
This interview took place in June 2010 and was conducted by Alex Howells of the Bucs UK. When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the 2002 Super Bowl it was largely due to possibly the most dominant defense the NFL has ever seen. The centre piece of that unit was MLB Shelton Quarles.

Having signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a free agent in 1997, Shelton would end his Buccaneer career with not only a Super Bowl ring but 581 tackles, 13 sacks, seven forced fumbles and four interceptions. One of the most popular Buccaneers of all time took time out of his busy schedule as a Buccaneers Pro Scout to answer a few questions.

With the Super Bowl win of 2002 being an obvious highlight, do you have a favourite game in your career? Maybe going into Philly and shutting down Veterans Stadium?
Probably the game that I remember most other than our win at the Vet and in Super Bowl 37 is our game in 2001 against the Green Bay Packers. It was a very warm day and I remember things being very slow on both offense and defense and needing someone to make a play and ignite us.

The defense had been on the field for quite a while and GB was moving the ball on us. Brett (Favre) drops back to pass and I was covering GBís TE Bubba Franks. He was running a crossing route and everything seemed to be happening in slow motion. Brett throws the ball I intercept it at the two yard line and return it 98 yards for a TD. It still stands as the longest play in the history of the Buccaneers on both offense and defense.

You were part of possibly the best defensive unit the NFL has ever seen with Brooks, Lynch, Sapp and Co. Which defense in the NFL do you currently like to watch?
I enjoy watching our defense, we have a lot of young guys out there giving all they have so I like to see how they are progressing.

Since the glory days of 2002 the Buccaneers have experienced mixed fortunes. What do you think the Buccaneers need to do to take the franchise back to the upper echelons of the NFL?
Just continue working hard and starting believing in one another. Think about being accountable to the other 10 guys that are on the field.

The Buccaneers have played two Super Bowl contenders in Pittsburgh Steelers and New Orleans Saints so far this season, with Baltimore Ravens to come in November. Who do you see as the best team in football at present? What impresses you about that team?
I have always been a huge fan of Drew Brees so they (New Orleans Saints) are definitely the team that impresses me most. I am somewhat a fan of the Steelers but that is on because Mike Tomlin started his pro coaching career with the Buccaneers and he is a good friend of mine. In the Saints, I like the fact that you can never count Drew out regardless of the score. He has a winners mentality. And in the Steelers, I like their front seven on defense, the come hard and get after the QB.

The Buccaneers have gone back to a youth first policy in the Mark Dominik/Raheem Morris era and that has mean't the franchise going through a rebuilding period last season. There are now so many good young players on the roster, the 2nd youngest in the NFL, which players excite you for the future?
I am excited about all of our young players, not only are they getting playing experience but they give us the best chance to win on Sundays.

There have been so many fantastic players in the NFL's history from Bart Starr to Jerry Rice. If you could have played with one NFL player you never got a chance to in your career who would it have been and why?
I was a huge Mean Joe Greene fan so I would have love to be on the field with him.

Josh Freeman has had a lot of pressure on his shoulders since being drafted as "The Franchise QB" what impresses you about Josh on a day to day basis?
What impresses me most about Josh is his maturity and the way that he goes about his daily business.

There has been a lot of talk over the years about which Buccaneers from the 2002 era would make it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame to give Lee Roy some Buccaneer company! Who do you think will make it to Canton, Ohio?
I believe at one point there will be three from our Super Bowl team that will join Lee Roy, Brooks, Lynch, and Sapp. Ronde could be the 4th at some point so I definitely donít want to forget him. Oops, almost forgot Alstott.

And finally, one for the Editor, do you look at BUCPOWER.COM?
I have looked at BUCPOWER.COM a lot and plan on making it part of my weekly read.