It's not difficult for me to like rookies. They are a blank slate. They are often enthusiastic. They have, if one gets to them early enough, not been Dolphinized and therefore stripped of their personality.
Dolphins seventh-round draft pick Frank Kearse is one such individual. He is projected as a backup project player behind Paul Soliai. He comes with much to learn and many rungs of the ladder to climb because he played collegiately at Alabama A&M.
But during a recent guest appearance on my radio show, Armando and the Amigo, I quickly went from wondering if he's a good dude, to liking him, to liking him a lot, to loving him -- without ever watching him play.
The fun began when I asked Kearse what he had for breakfast.
"Grits, eggs, sausage, a waffle and a bowl of oatmeal," he told me.
I asked him if he had a quarterback on the side.
"Once the lockout is over, it will be," he answered.
And we're off and running. And I'm beginning to like him.
Kearse is obviously a trusting soul. I asked how much work the Dolphins had done in studying him. Had they visited with him at the combine? Had they visited with him at his Pro Day? Had they brought him in for a private workout or a meeting with coaches? How many times had the team made contact with him?
"Honestly, I can only remember once," Kearse said. "A guy called and asked for my social security number back in February. In my wildest dreams I never thought it would be Miami. I was talking to Pittsburgh and New England and them other guys like every other week or every week. I thought it was going to be one of those guys but Miami swooped in and I'm happy they did."
So let me get this straight: Pittsburgh was interested. New England was interested. The teams that have combined for seven Super Bowl trips and five Super Bowl victories since 2001 were so interested in this kid they called him routinely. And the Dolphins plucked him?
I'm liking him a lot now.
And what about this answering the phone and having some guy on the other end of the line say he's with the Miami Dolphins and ask you for his social security number ... And Kearse give it to him?
"Hey, it's the NFL, man!" Kearse told me.
So he's trusting. I really like this kid now.
So what kind of player did the Dolphin get?
"A hard worker, intense, I hate losing," he said. "That's the thing. I hate losing. I swear, that's the worst thing that ever happens to me. But I know you have to do things in a certain way in order to win."
Kearse is 6-4 and 313 pounds. But he's no goofy Baby Huey type. He can be something of a nasty individual. I asked him if he'd ever been in a barfight and he said he had not. But on the field is another matter.
"I kind of walked by and hit this guy in the nuts one time when ref was on the other side of me," he said. "I got ejected like five minutes later because the guy wouldn't get off the ground. They scored quick, and I've been beating him, but the quarterback got rid of the ball before I could get to him, whatever. So we're going up the field for the PAT and he's talking trash. He's saying, 'You're supposed to be so good,' talking trash to me all the way down the field. So during the PAT he's still talking trash and I just wanted him to kind of shut up a little bit. But I didn't know he was going to take it that serious, falling down, walling around on the ground and such."
I now love this guy!
Kearse made the transition to defensive lineman from offensive lineman, which suggests he'll do whatever it takes to help the team. So I asked him if he ever punched anyone in the nuts as an offensive lineman.
"Oh, yeah, absolutely," he said.
I totally love this guy!
Listen to the entire interview. You'll have a smile on your face, I promise.