I was hungry. Shocking, I know.
It was my rookie year with the Jaguars. We had just played a game in Seattle, and we were a couple of hours into the cross-country flight back to Jacksonville, when the flight attendants came walking down the aisle with dinner.
It was like ordering dinner for a wedding reception. You only had a couple of options — pot roast or shrimp alfredo — and you had to choose one.
I chose the pot roast.
It was pitch dark on the plane because everyone was asleep, so the flight attendants couldn’t really see us. You had to either raise your hand or press the little overhead light button to get them to notice you.
So when the flight attendant came down the aisle saying, “Pot roast, pot roast,” I waved my hand out into the aisle and said, “Right here!”
There are a lot of funny guys in every locker room, but there’s always one who’s known as the comedian. On the Jags that year, it was a veteran linebacker named Clint Ingram, who was sitting behind behind me on the plane.
As I waved down the flight attendant, Clint laughed and said, “You’re waving your hand like that’s your name. That’s gonna be your new name. Pot Roast.”
“Yeah, whatever.” I just ignored him. When you’re a rookie, you don’t talk back or jaw with the veterans. You also don’t get to pick your nickname, I learned. They just give you one. I didn’t think it was gonna stick. Everybody on the plane was asleep, so I figured nobody heard him and nobody would remember or talk about it after that. I thought it would just brush over.
But it stuck.
Six years later, I’m still Pot Roast. My teammates and my friends call me Pot Roast. I have an eight-year-old brother, whom we adopted when he was eight months old, and he jokes with me, and calls me Pot Roast. My mom has even called me Pot Roast a few times. But walking out to practice is where you hear it the most. When I walk out, you hear people yelling from the stands, “Pot Roast! Pot Roast!” And if the fans love it, then I love it, too.
It’s a fitting nickname for a defensive tackle, and having one has paid off for me. It always helps when people know your name, and being Pot Roast definitely helps people remember.
I don’t even really eat Pot Roast. I’ve only had it a couple of times in my life. Now, thanks to Clint Ingram, that flight attendant and a limited in-flight menu, it’s literally who I am.
I’m just glad I didn’t order the shrimp alfredo.