A lot of NFL players are rolling in dough, but Buccaneer punter
Reggie Roby is one of the few who's rolling dough. Coming soon,
to a restaurant near you (if you live in Tampa or other parts of
Florida), will be Reggie Roby's All-Pro Cookies. Roby and his
wife, Melissa, do the baking, with the help of Jose Garciga, a
local caterer whose clients include the Bucs. "We're pretty
small right now," Roby says. But down the road Roby plans to add
employees so he can expand his distribution base.
Roby, who's in his first year with the Bucs after 10 years with
the Dolphins and two with the Redskins, tests his product twice
a week in the locker room. "Everybody on the team loves my
cookies," Roby says. "Up to now, they've been getting free
samples. But I've told them, 'From now on, orders only.' They're
already placing their Christmas orders."
The 34-year-old Roby even has his own Cookie Monster, so to
speak. That would be Ray Guy, the punter par excellence with the
Raiders from 1973 to '86. As a teenager in Waterloo, Iowa, Roby
idolized Guy and worked to emulate his remarkable distance and
hang time. So you can imagine Roby's disappointment when during
his rookie season, Guy snubbed him before a 1983
"It wasn't a great meeting," Roby says. "I introduced myself and
told him how much I admired him, but he just sort of looked
away. I'll never forget that. I swore then that I'd stay in the
league longer than he did and that I would beat his lifetime
average. It's been a motivational thing for me. But I still
think he's the best punter ever."
Guy punted 14 seasons, a mark that Roby is on target to tie next
season. Moreover, Roby is on track to top Guy's career average
of 42.4 yards per punt. Heading into 1995, Roby had a 43.5-yard
average, putting him 11th alltime in the league (Sammy Baugh
holds the record with 45.1). This season he is averaging 44.5
yards per kick, which leaves him comfortably ahead of Larry
Swider's franchise record of 42.7, set in 1981.
Roby still wonders why the Redskins did not re-sign him after
the 1994 season. All he did on a career-high 82 punts was
average 44.4 yards, second best in the league and the best by a
Redskin punter since 1959. In the process he became the first
Washington punter to be selected to the Pro Bowl since 1956.
Regardless, he's happy to be with Tampa Bay, which he regards as
a team on the rise. He also is quick to point out that as far as
atmospheric conditions are concerned, punting regularly in a
warm-weather climate is the next best thing to punting in a dome.
How long will he continue punting?
"You see a lot of punters getting drafted," Roby says, "but I'm
going to keep on going until I can see somebody come along who
kicks better than me."
Nevertheless, Roby is preparing for life after football. He is
working on an instructional video for punters and plans on
conducting clinics around the country this off-season with Tampa
Bay kicker Michael Husted. He is also designing a special shoe
for punters and soccer players. "I've talked to each punter
around the league," Roby says, "and I'm trying to take a little
bit of what everybody says and put it in one shoe. I change
shoes five or six times a year because I still haven't found one
And then there's the cookie business. Roby took his mother's
recipe for sugar cookies and tinkered with it for four or five
years. Now he can bake "any type cookie you can think of."
Rookie defensive tackle Warren Sapp, whom Roby rates as the
team's No. 1 cookie connoisseur, is partial to
oatmeal-raisin-walnut. Lots of them. "Every day he comes around
looking for cookies," Roby says. "I've seen him eat 12 at a
COLOR PHOTO: RICARDO FERRO The Bucs' punter is mixing his football career with a venture into the cookie business. [Reggie Roby making cookies]