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Spotlight - Matt Bryant

1. You're enjoying a successful career as a NFL kicker. Growing up BC, was this
one of your goals?

Ultimately I wanted to either play football or baseball at a professional level. I actually thought it would have been baseball before football once I got into high school.

2. Was sports a part of your life as a kid growing up in BC?

From the time I could walk my dad had some sort of ball in my hand. When I would go to watch my brothers play baseball in college, my dad was playing catch with me in between innings. In between double headers they would bring me onto the field and throw balls for me to hit. In the summer I would follow my sister to the gym and shoot baskets on the side while she practiced. After football games on Thursday nights my dad had me kicking on the field while he picked up trash in the stands ( a side job of his, never passed up an opportunity to make some money). I guess the main thing is that wherever there was a chance to practice and get better my mom and dad had me there.

3. What High School game that you played in really stands out?

From a kicking standpoint would have to be against Lincoln my junior year. I had 3 fgs with a long of 51. From a "football" view would have to be against PNG my senior year. Can't remember how many tackles I had but I returned a fumble for a TD and it was the first time BC had beaten them in a while. That same year in baseball I had 4 home runs in 4 at bats in a row. Also my sophomore year when we went to state.

4. You're on record as having kicked the second longest successfully converted field goal in NFL History, 62 yards in 2006 giving Tampa Bay a 23-21 win over Philadelphia. Do you think you'll beat that?

I don't know. So many things have to fall in place just to get a chance. Like end of half or end of game down by 3 or less. And the ball has to at least be on the 45 on top of all the other stuff for it to happen.

5. We were saddened when we heard the news of your loss of your second son Tryson in 2008.  As difficult as that was you were able to almost immediately get back on the field. What motivated you and where did that strength come from?

I would have taught him to try his best no matter what. I didn't know what I was going to do. Initially I really didn't feel like doing anything. I hadn't talked to anyone in the front office and no one had called me about the issue. On the way home while in the plane Josh Bidwell told me that they, the coaches and GM, respected whatever I chose but would welcome me on the field and didn't matter if I missed every kick that day. Along with just wanting to honor Tryson's name, the decision that was expressed to me by the team made it easier to go out there. They made me feel even more part of the team than before. Also they would have to cut someone to make room for my replacement. I didn't want anyone to get cut. Last year a similar situation occurred when my Dad passed a couple of days before a game. Luckily I was able to fly home to say my goodbye after the previous game. He was a big part of where I am today. He would have wanted me out there so he could watch. I think he enjoyed me playing more than I do. Along with my mom and family he was my biggest fan.

6. You're actively involved in charity work. Tell us about that.

While in Tampa we became the ambassador family for the March of Dimes in the Tampa area. We were also co-chairs for an event held every year for cystic fibrosis. I participated in some charity events for ALS. I worked with the state's attorney general on psa's for child predation over the internet. I had a ticket program that provided 12 tickets to every home game for various groups. I currently have a ticket program here that provides 40 tickets to the home games.

7. How do you prepare for each game?

I just try to approach every game the same way. I try not to get too high with the high's and too low with the low's. One thing I do as a ritual is drink a chocolate shake the night before the game.

8. For aspiring athletes, do you have any life advice for them?

Just try your best all the time. Nothing will ever be given to you and if it is then it's probably not worth it. Probably through this journey to the NFL the most important thing has not been the destination but rather the journey itself. At the end of the day the most important thing is not what you do in this world for a job, but rather the person that you are.

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