Florida Firecats - af2


Player Profile: Bruce Gordon

Firecats receiver Bruce Gordon has been tearing up area football fields for years. Most people in the area know him from his state championship run with Naples in 2001. He also has a national championship from his Pop Warner football days to go with that state championship ring. He is known to his teammates as “Fan Hands” because of his large hands. He wears size 4X gloves on the field. Quarterback Chris Wallace gave him the name because he says Bruce’s hands look like big foam finger hands. During a road trip this season the team couldn't find black gloves his size so he had to color a pair of orange receiver gloves with a black sharpie before the game. His hands are not the only things that make him such a great receiver. His quickness allows him to make people miss and get yards after the catch. Off the field, Bruce works hard as a truck driver. It is hard job, but he excels at it. He hopes to one day advance his career to the next level and play until the wheels fall off.

What was life like for you growing up?

I was rough growing up in Naples River Park, but not too bad.
What affect did that have on you?

You had to be tough coming from River Park. It’s not like most places. There were a lot of drugs and other stuff.

How did you manage to avoid all the drugs and “other” stuff?

It had my troubles when I was younger days, but I withdrew from it as I got older.

What influence did your parents have on you?

I was raised by my grandparents. They had a huge influence on me. I still have contact with my mom and dad, but it was my grandparents who had the biggest influence on me.

What other influential adults did you have?

I had a coach, who is now my boss that had a big influence on me. Growing up he used to come pick us up for practice. He was my basketball coach and he used to help out with football over at Fleishman Park. I’ve got a lot of friends who stayed back in the projects that used to see us riding around in the back of his truck.

Did you play any other sports growing up?

I just played football and basketball. I tried tennis, but I didn’t like it.

What memories stick out from your early sports career?

I have a lot of memories: playing in the national championship for the Pop Warner Gators and the state championship for Naples.

You helped lead Naples to a state title. What was that experience like?

It was crazy. It was the first time that a team from this area to get that far and win. We weren’t the most athletic team out there, but we had heart and we played together as a team.

How do you think you contributed the most to the title run?

Just catching everything I could. I wanted to be the man, but I couldn’t because we were a running offense. When I got my chance to make a play, I made the most of it. I tried to catch it and score a touchdown every time.

Were you recruited by any colleges coming out of Naples?

I wasn’t too highly recruited because of my grades. I ended up going to a junior college for two years.

You made the most of the situation by going to Dodge City Community College and getting your grades up. What did you take away from your time there?

Learning how to live away from home for a long period of time and meeting new people. My junior college coach taught me a lot He was on me a lot, but I learned a lot in the process.

What types of things did he teach you?

Mostly how to control my attitude. I had a bad attitude at one point in time, but he showed me how to control it.

This was your first experience away from home; how much of an adjustment was it for you?

It was kind of weird. At one point in time I had long dreadlocks and I was the only person in town who had them. There also were not a lot of African Americans in that town either. It was different, but after awhile I adapted to it.

You committed to Purdue, but went to Temple; what changed your mind?

I went to Purdue for a semester. I was a little young at the time though and I was thinking that I should be playing because I was a good player. I didn’t stay that long though. I went through spring drills, but I pulled my hamstring. I decided to transfer to a place where I would have a better chance to play.

What was it like for you at Temple?

It was different. It was rough, especially staying in the heart of north Philadelphia. It’s a lot different then being down here in Naples. I had an okay experience there. I made the best of it.

How did you make the adjustment from a small city like Naples to a big city like Philadelphia?

It was an adjustment, but then again it was like home for me with the neighborhood environment. It just fit right in, although I still stuck out like a sore thumb with the swagger I carried myself with.

Do you think that swagger is what makes you such a good football player?

I have swagger on the field, but my biggest thing is catching everything and making people miss.

What makes you such a great receiver?

My yards after the catch. I feel like I’m a real sure handed receiver. When I drop a ball I really get down on myself.

Is that why Wallace gave you the nickname “Fan Hands”?

It’s a big joke about how big my hands are. I wear size 4X gloves on the field. He gave that to me last year and it stuck. Coach Bouis, Dusty Bear, and the other players all use it now.

What types of activities do you pursue in the offseason?

I drive a truck for Cemex. I got the job from my old coach. I was looking for a job and I saw him at a gym I was working at. I saw him but I wasn’t sure it was him because we had lost contact for awhile. I didn’t say anything the first time because I wasn’t sure it was him. I went back two days later and I said “Coach Dave?” We started talking and I asked him if he was doing the cement thing. He told me to call him a week later and the rest is history.

What is it like driving one of those cement trucks?

It’s a job. I’m just glad to have a job the way the economy is going.

How far do you think your playing career will go?

I’m going to go until the wheels fall off and I can’t run anymore. I have to realize though that if I don’t make it, it’s not meant to be. I’m going to see where things take me though whether it be the AFL, CFL, or NFL. I would love to get back outside where I can show my speed.

What is the biggest difference between outside football and arena football for you?

The size of the field. I’m not a 4.3 or 4.2 second runner, I have enough speed to get away from people and make them miss. I’m more about quickness then speed.

What pregame rituals do you have?

If I have a good game, I try to do the same thing I did the week before. I’ve been having Greg Walls tape my ankles with the tape over my shoe.

What hobbies do you have?

I hang out with friends and watch television.

Favorite T.V. shows?

I watch whatever catches my attention, but mostly Sports Center. I also watch the History Channel, Discovery Channel, and whatever else is on.

What music is on your I-Pod?

Young-Jeezy, T.I., and Frank Lenny. I listen to a lot of rap. It gets my blood going before games and practice.

What is your favorite catch so far this season?

I don’t really have a favorite one. I like all them. I just try to be a safety valve for my QB.

What made you choose to play for the Firecats?

It’s close to home and I don’t have to travel very far. This is also one of the best teams in arenafootball2. I remember hearing about how good they were when I was in high school. I wanted to play for a great team.

What do you think you’ll do when you retire?

I’m hoping I’m rich and living in a house on the beach somewhere. If that doesn’t work out though I’ll probably be working for Cemex driving a truck.

Interview conducted by Mike Julius