ON READING I read a lot of biographies. I've studied great players, like Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali. I've read books on Gandhi, Jesus Christ, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln. I want to see what makes them click. I read a lot of business books too. It's so interesting to see why some people make it and some don't. There's one common denominator to people who are great: When they step on the field or into the business world or wherever, there is no doubt in their mind that they can do the job. That's the attitude you have to have.
ON ACTING, INCLUDING HIS ROLE ON SPIKE TV'S NEW REALITY SHOW, SUPER AGENT I've taken drama classes since I was in elementary school in Huntington Beach [Calif.]. I played Christopher Columbus in a second-grade play. At Berkeley, I took acting classes. This off-season I did my first movie, War Machine. I got to act with Sulu [actor George Takei] from Star Trek. I play an airline pilot who gets killed by a robot.
ON BEING BULLIED When I was in eighth grade, a couple kids from high school came to my junior high to beat me up every day. I would hide and run home after school. I had no life. It embarrassed me because I was a wimp. I told one of the kids I was going to fight him one time. I said I'd meet him at the park in two weeks. When the day came, I chickened out. The whole school showed up, and I wasn't there. It culminated at eighth-grade graduation. My whole family was there, I graduated, we threw off our hats, and then I saw one of the kids. I went to hide behind a wall, and my family saw me there. My mom didn't say a word. She just gave me this look like she was disappointed. I promised myself I would never run from anything again. When I saw those guys again, I had really grown. I didn't do anything. My revenge was facing them down without fear.
ON HIS KIDS' BOOK, CATCH AND CONNECT I wanted to get my story out for kids who are going through stuff I went through, like being bullied or being on welfare or being in a single-parent home. I wanted to say, 'You might be going through hard times, but I've been there and look where I'm at now.'
ON HOW BASKETBALL--HE HELPED CAL REACH THE SWEET 16 IN 1997 AS A POWER FORWARD--SHARPENS HIS FOOTBALL It's a huge benefit. In basketball you go up and get a rebound in space. Sometimes you don't have position, so you've got to jump straight up and try to shift your body in the air to get the rebound. That's why I can make athletic catches, I think, because I'm used to going for the ball in space.
ON HIS GOALS FOR THIS SEASON It's not about doing what I did last year when I was able to catch 102 balls and break the record for catches by a tight end in a season. We're playing for the Super Bowl. This is my ninth year--the window of opportunity is closing. --As told to Amanda Cherrin
GONZALEZ, 29, CAUGHT FOUR PASSES IN AN OPENING-DAY WIN. THE CHIEFS PLAY AT OAKLAND (0-1) ON SUNDAY NIGHT.
"I PROMISED MYSELF I WOULD NEVER RUN FROM ANYTHING AGAIN."
Photograph by Eli Reichman
DAVID E. KLUTHO (GONZALEZ PLAYING)
MARK BRETTINGEN/WIREIMAGE.COM (CULPEPPER)
"Mr. Starr isn't the type of guy who needs someone to get him water."--Daunte Culpepper, Seeing Spots, page 36