On the Bucs 24--14 first-round playoff loss to the Giants
It was one of those games that really hung with you. We had a chance to win. Afterward I went back home to Lincoln [Neb.] and recovered for about a month; my body was worn down.
On his linebacker brother, Bo, getting drafted in the sixth round by New England
I was at home; Bo was like I'd been—he didn't want to have anyone around during the draft because you're stressed out. So it was just Bo and me, and my dad would wander in and out of the room. After he got drafted, we had people over to celebrate. We're excited. He's going to a good spot.
On gearing up for next season, and Bo
I've been in Tampa since early March, working out. The Patriots come down here in the preseason, so Bo will get an introduction to the NFL at the swamp, in the August heat.
On the Ruuds being known as the First Family of Nebraska Football
My dad, my two uncles and my great-grandfather all played for Nebraska. Then me and my brother. There was a time in high school when I tried to convince myself that I liked Miami or Florida State, but those teams didn't even send me a letter.
On the influence of his father, Tom, a former Bills linebacker
He didn't push us into playing football. He steered us toward golf and basketball. Then he found out we weren't very good at golf or basketball, so he gave in.
On his golf game
My handicap is probably a seven. I can't get over the hump. Football and golf are a bad combo; when you're a linebacker, you're always trying to build up your back muscles, so my backswing gets a little stuck.
On losing his mother, Jamie, in June 2006
She was a nutritionist and was the model of health when she had a heart attack. It was as out of the blue as it could be and a month before training camp. That was tough to get through. She taught me to be positive and friendly and outgoing and to enjoy everything you do every day.
The leading tackler on the NFC's top defense now has a brother who's a Patriot
PHOTOGRAPH BY MICHAEL HEAPE