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Thursday, April 24, 2003
Updated: April 30, 12:27 PM ET
NFL Draft prospects

Page 2 Staff

Forget the Wonderlic, ignore the combines, and tune out Mel Kiper. You want the real dope on which players have what it takes to play at the next level? Then what you need to do is watch the top NFL draft prospects handle Ten Burning Questions from Page 2's Mary Buckheit.

Last week, Mary sat down with Byron Leftwich, Carson Palmer, Willis McGahee, Terence Newman, Jimmy Kennedy, Chris Simms, Charles Rogers and Kyle Boller. Did she hold her own? What you should be asking is, did they?

1. Page 2: What's the best part about being an NFL draft prospect?

Byron Leftwich: You want the best part? The best part is knowing your dream is about to come true.

Willis McGahee
Despite his knee injury, McGahee insists he's the best back in the draft.

Charles Rogers: The attention.

Jimmy Kennedy: When I was young and first started playing football, I always set my goals on making it to the NFL. This is just a blessing. It's amazing.

Willis McGahee: I'm the premier back in the draft, so it's always been all eyes on me and all eyes are still on me. It ain't nothing new.

2. Page 2: What's the worst part of it all?

Terence Newman: All the people out there who don't even know you trying to bring you down.

McGahee: The interviews.

Page 2: Ouch. And I wasn't even going to ask about your knee, but now ...

Leftwich: The worst part is that you start hearing all the negatives. All the things you can't do -- all of a sudden everybody is talking about your weaknesses instead of the things you do really well.

Page 2: Jimmy?

Kennedy: The worst part right now is not knowing where we're going to be.

3. What's the first thing you'll buy for yourself after you sign your first pro contract?

Chris Simms: A car.

McGahee: Clothes. You always need clothes. Everybody needs more clothes. Plus, I don't really know where I'm going. What if I end up in Green Bay or something? Then I'm really gonna need some more clothes.

Kyle Boller
Boller doesn't need much except a new watch.

Kyle Boller: I don't know. I don't really need anything. I guess the only thing I'd really like to splurge on would be a nice watch.

Rogers: A home. There's nothing like having a home. At age 21, to have a house that you can say is all yours. That's what I want.

4. Page 2: What's the first thing you'll buy for someone else after you sign?

Boller: The very first thing I'm going to do is make sure my parents are all set. I don't want my mom to have to work anymore.

Simms: I'll take my family on vacation or something since they've been taking care of me my whole life.

McGahee (whose girlfriend is sitting next to him as he answers the question): Diamond earrings.

Page 2: Cold city-big signing bonus or warm city-little bonus?

Carson Palmer: Weather, money -- I don't really care. Whatever team needs a quarterback, that's where I'm going.

Boller: Send me to the cold. I can take it and it'd be worth it.

Simms: I've always been a big believer that football should be played in cold weather.

5. Page 2: Terence, the team that drafts you, they not only get a great DB, they get ...

Newman: Hey, football is only half of what we do. I'm a great person, too. I'd like to be involved in the community, get into some programs with the youngsters. Football isn't everything.

Page 2: Carson, besides a great QB, what's your new team getting in you?

Carson Palmer
Welcome to Cincy, Carson. Too bad all those game films you'll be watching will be painful to watch.

Palmer: Actually, I can't really do anything else. I don't play any instruments or anything.

Page 2: Nothing else?

Palmer: I'm a good sleeper.

McGahee: Besides a running back, they get a video game expert. XBox, Playstation, whatever; I got it on every TV and I'll beat you on any one of them.

Page 2: Charles?

Rogers: They get a good guy, they get a football player who can make things happen, and a kid who can entertain a crowd. I like to think I'm the total package.

Page 2: Humble -- I like that.

6. Page 2: Talk to me about tunes. Jimmy, what do you pop in before a game to get yourself psyched?

Kennedy: I'll probably throw in a little DMX or some Jay-Z. Something that will make me think about my past and where I came from.

Page 2: Charles, what about if a lady is coming over? What kind of tunes are you spinning?

Rogers: If I'm having a lady over and we're just chillin' I'd put on a little Nelly. Nelly's got a little more of something for the ladies. You like it, don't you?

Page 2: Yeah, chicks dig Nelly.

Rogers: See, I know what's up. I'd take care of you. Ladies love Nelly.

Page 2: Terence, your music for the ladies?

Newman: I don't get many ladies coming over, so I wouldn't even know where to start.

Page 2: Lies.

Terence Newman
Newman may be more popular with the ladies once he reaches the NFL.

Newman: I'm serious. You must be some sort of expert though. I know it. I can tell by that smile of yours. You're laughing at me because I've got no ladies knocking on my door. I'd take some advice from you.

Page 2: Hey now, I can't help you with your romancing. I'm just here to ask the questions.

Newman: I got you all flustered now, didn't I? Make sure you tell them that.

Page 2: Um, Carson, how 'bout it. What kind of music gets you ready to play?

Palmer: No music for me. I need to prepare, look over scouting reports and plays and stuff.

Page 2: O.K., Anti-Music Man, but what if your fiancÚ is coming over tonight?

Palmer: Oooh. Well, then, maybe a little Barry White -- some of that old-school love music.

Leftwich: Yeah, or some Luther Vandross! If Luther's in your stereo, you know you're doing alright.

Simms: That moment calls for some Enya. I play Van Morrison a lot for girls, too.

7. Page 2: if you could invite any three people, living or dead, to dinner tonight, who would you choose?

Kennedy: I want to say Martin and Malcolm, but I don't want 'em to be beefin' all night at dinner. I wanna enjoy my meal, you know? So I better only take one of those guys: I'd have to go with Martin. Guest number two would be my grandmother. And then probably Sammy Davis Jr. or Sinatra. There we go: eating the chew with Martin and my grams, listening to Sammy singing to us, that'll do it.

Newman: I'd have Bill Clinton ...

Page 2: Because you're a big Democrat?

Jimmy Kennedy
Jimmy Kennedy will never be confused with Homer Simpson.

Newman: No, 'cause he's a big pimp.

Page 2: Ah, of course. Continue ...

Newman: Aliyah because she was a talented musician and a beautiful person and ... probably Monica Lewinsky -- so I can get the whole story.

Page 2: Anybody else?

McGahee: Walter Payton, Barry Sanders and Jim Brown.

Simms: I'm taking JFK, Babe Ruth, and Ali.

Boller: Jennifer Garner. She is a must have. Jen's legit.

Page 2: So she's "Jen" now?

Boller: If she's coming over for dinner I can call her Jen. Two more? I'm not sure I need anyone else.

Leftwich: I know y'all might think this is crazy, but I'd invite Michael Jackson. And probably somebody like Martin Lawrence. I'd like to meet Muhammad Ali, Michael Jackson and Martin Lawrence. Pretty good mix, huh?

Page 2: What's on the menu?

Leftwich: We'd fry some chicken, have some macaroni and cheese. That's it. With that roster, that's all you'd need.

8. It's the first week of camp with your new team. You're in line at the dinner buffet and there's one piece of cake left. You love cake. You want the cake. But there's a veteran linebacker behind you thinking the same thing. Do you take the cake?

Kennedy: Nah, he can have it. 'Cause when I take his tackles I can say, "Uh-huh, that cake slowed you down a little didn't it?"

Leftwich: Nah, you best give him the cake. You gotta understand that the whole year is gonna be real bad for you if you eat that cake.

Rogers: I'd split it half-way.

Boller: Listen, the vet owns the cake. Call me a wuss, whatever, I don't care. That cake is his.

Page 2: Kiss-ass.

Boller: Hey, I'm just trying to make it out of rookie camp alive.

Newman: I don't have any choice but to give the man the cake. Otherwise, I'd probably end up at practice the next day tied to the goal post with my pants ripped off and a paddle-spanking or something. Still, I might ask if I could have a little bite.

McGahee: I take the plate! Think I'm going to get punked? If I give him that cake, he'll expect stuff every time. No way.

Page 2: I'm a little worried about your confidence level, Willis. Tell me, in ten words or less, why should you be a first-round draft pick?

McGahee: How about three: Look at me.

9. Page 2: Like I said, you seem a little timid. All right, time to come clean: Any superstitions, guys?

Boller: Eh, sort of. Like if I'm out on the golf course and I see a really nice golf club laying there just off the green because somebody forgot about it? I don't want the club. I don't want anything to do with that club. I believe if you do bad things, bad comes back to get you. You put that club in your bag and you're lucky if you make it home from the course alive.

Leftwich: I'm not really supersticious, but there is one thing: I don't wet my hands before the game. I won't wash them before I go out there.

Page 2: You don't wash your hands?

Leftwich: I don't let water touch my hands before I touch the ball. It just makes my hands feel different. I can't hold or throw the ball the same. So no water. Not on game day.

Page 2: That's gross, Byron.

Leftwich: Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do.

10. Page 2: Since I'm already learning more than I wanted to know about you guys, last question: boxers or briefs under the suit on draft day?

Palmer: Boxers.

McGahee: None at all.

Simms: I'm usually a boxers guy, and I wouldn't want to change anything up for draft day.

Boller: Can you ask that?

Page 2: I just did.

Boller: Fine. Boxers.

Leftwich: Boxers. I can't wear them tighty-whities. You know, draft day is a special day; there might be some silk boxers for the occasion.

Newman: Definitely boxers. It's a stressful day -- I need to stay relaxed.

Rogers: Always boxers.

Kennedy: Whassup with that question?! Well, I like to relax, hang out, unwind whenever I can. So you know I'm a boxer guy. Tighty-whities? No way! I'd look like a chocolate Homer Simpson!

And look at you getting all red in the face -- you asked me the question, Honey!