TAMPA, Fla. -- Offensive tackle Reid Fragel showed enough to Tampa Bay Buccaneers coaches to earn a promotion from the practice squad to the active roster Wednesday. With a strong family background in football, Fragel seeks to form his own identity at the game's highest level.
Fragel, who entered the NFL as a seventh-round pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2013, knows each day represents a chance to chart his own course. He shares his inspirations and discoveries as part of our weekly Q&A with a member of the Buccaneers:
When did you know you first wanted to play football? "I would say watching my oldest brother, Mark. I was a ball boy for their high school team [at Grosse Pointe South in Michigan]. Watching him play, just being on the sidelines, I remember how big they looked at the time. Just seeing him being a dominant player in high school is really what helped me fall in love with the game."
When did you know football could become a profession? "Everybody dreams about playing [in the NFL] from the time they start playing Pop Warner or whatever. But it really became a reality, I guess, in college. That's one of the reasons why I chose Ohio State. It, in my opinion, prepares you the most out of any other college for the next level. Urban Meyer came in and I switched to tackle. I think, as the season progressed, it kind of became a reality that the next level was going to be a possibility."
Who's your biggest inspiration in the game? "My father [Mark], my grandfather [Joe Stalma], I'd say. Just hearing their stories about my dad playing D-2 ball up at Northern Michigan. He played with Steve Mariucci and Tom Izzo. He won a national championship there. I think that kind of really inspired me to create those same kind of stories for my kids. The same goes for my grandpa, those same kind of stories."
What has been your biggest challenge in the sport? "I've been pretty blessed with injuries, other than my senior year, the last game against Michigan, I partially tore my ACL. That was a little bit of a setback going into my rookie year. That might be the biggest obstacle, or maybe putting on the weight from tight end to tackle [as a senior]. I put on 30 pounds. But after that, I've been pretty fortunate with injuries and whatnot."
What's the best piece of advice you've received about being an NFL player? "I would say just, 'Find your craft and perfect it.' Be consistent at what you do and develop a sense of consistency with your game. I think the most important thing that these coaches want to see is consistency."