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Original Issue

Antonio Pierce


On his car collection

I love old school cars. I've got a '64 Chevy Impala (below) that is candy-apple red with a white top. I drive it on game days strictly. The guys love it. The fans love it. If you pull up in a car like this, everyone is like, Whoa! I've also got a '68 Volkswagen bug, and I am working on a '68 Impala.

On not getting drafted as an undersized (6'1", then 232 pounds) linebacker out of Arizona in 2001

It was disappointing but at the same time motivating. I watched the same guys I competed against in college who have the same ability as me get drafted. Not getting that opportunity right away like they were was tough.

On the list he keeps of the 30 linebackers drafted that year

I cross off everyone who has been cut and isn't in the league anymore. I looked after last season, and I think only about half the linebackers that were drafted are left. So I'm beating guys that were taken instead of me.

On having three head coaches, four different defensive coordinators in four years as a Redskin

If you weren't able to adapt, you weren't going to make it. You always had to learn a new system and a new technique, and it was rough for a young player coming into the league. There was little or no rhythm on the field. But it helped my transition to New York because I was used to adjusting quickly.

On leading his team with 89 tackles after a career-high 110 last year

You break out with a good season, but some people think it's a fluke, that the Giants spent too much on me. [He signed a six-year, $26 million contract.] To prove them wrong is satisfying.

On coach Tom Coughlin's discipline

You abide by his rules during the week, and then when it is game time, his rules don't count anymore. It's football rules.

On Terrell Owens

He might have his outlandish comments and be an outspoken player, which most receivers are, but on Sundays he makes things happen. Playing against him, I just admire his game.

On his football role models while growing up in Long Beach, Calif.

When I wanted to be a running back it was Barry Sanders. But once I started playing defense, it was all [current Buccaneer] Derrick Brooks. I studied him and loved how he played. He's always making plays and always around the ball. Even in college I kept up with him.

On his pets

I've got a couple of pit bulls but am not training them to fight. I just love their physique. I love their mentality. I have a male and female. Both have red noses and champion bloodlines. I'm trying to get them to breed so I can have pups.

--As told to Elizabeth Newman



Photograph by Michael J. Lebrecht II/1Deuce3 Photography