Strings and stitches

Jason Cole
Yahoo! Sports

Each Tuesday, Yahoo! Sports will talk to one of the NFL's top players to get a glimpse into what he likes to do on his one off day during the week. This week, Pro Bowl defensive end Adewale Ogunleye, who helped the Chicago Bears trounce Seattle on Sunday night on the way to a 4-0 start and the No. 1 overall spot in Yahoo! Sports' ranking, talked about everything from his aching hamstring, his guilty TV pleasures and his plans to help bring football to Nigeria, where he grew up as part of a royal family before coming to the United States.

Cole: You have to be feeling good this week after such an impressive victory. Anything special planned today?

Ogunleye: Not this week. It's good when we win because we get Monday and Tuesday off. But my hamstring is aching so I made sure I got in today to have them take care of it. If I don't play well, I get in right away on Tuesday and look at the film and then hit the treadmill. If I played well, I'll come in and get a workout, then I'll look over the film. Sometimes on Tuesdays, I'll go to New York and see my family (Ogunleye's mother and father immigrated to New York when he was growing up). Sometimes I'll go down to Florida. But most of the time, I'm here. I'll do some chores around the house and then catch up on all the shows I have on TiVo.

Cole: So what do you have waiting on TiVo?

Ogunleye: I watch "The Wire" on HBO. I love that show. And I watch "Nip/Tuck."

Cole: "Nip/Tuck"?

Ogunleye: Yeah, I'm just hooked on it. I don't know what it is about the show, but a friend put me on to it and now I can't stop watching it. Especially now, they have one of my favorite actresses, Sanaa Lathan, on there. You just gotta see it; it's way over the top. It's all about the plastic surgery business and it's set in Miami. They take all these story lines that are already outrageous and blow them completely out of proportion. I'm sure none of that stuff is true, but it's wild.

Cole: I've noticed there are more and more guys who were born or raised in Africa who are getting into the league, like you, Osi Umenyiora (New York Giants) and Tamba Hali (Kansas City Chiefs). Do you guys ever get together and talk about that?

Ogunleye: I've gotten to know Osi really well, and we talk about it a lot. We're starting to realize that there are a lot of guys from West Africa who have the ability to play football if they could just learn about the game. You look at guys like me and Osi, we came here not even really knowing the game. We played four years of high school, got to college and now we're in the NFL.

I'm kind of letting the cat out of the bag, but we're trying to put together a camp over in Nigeria next offseason to get people exposed to the game. I've talked to people at the [United Nations] and with the NFL about putting it together. We have a lot of players now in the NFL [Ogunleye named a dozen players off the top of his head] from Africa, and I think there could be more. The people over there are very teachable and coachable. They just need to see the game. I'm going to talk to [NBA center] Dikembe Mutombo and pick his brain about how to get things started over there.

Cole: That sounds like a great project. Are the other guys joining you?

Ogunleye: I'm hoping we can get a bunch of guys to do it. I'm trying to give back, and this is a way for me and some of the others to do that. Also, it's a chance to go back to the homeland. If we can go over there and do the camp and give them some supplies, we could get something started over there. That's what I'm hoping.

Cole: Both your parents have graduate degrees and really stressed that you get your degree [which is in English]. Do you have plans to use the degree at some point?

Ogunleye: Not yet, but some day. Right now, I'm trying to get a foundation started. It's called Goal Power. I do some work with the Urban League here in Chicago, and I'm building off that. I talk to kids about things they can do in sports beyond just playing. There's being a reporter, being in the media. So I might take them down to a newspaper or to a TV station to show them what it's like. Or I'll take them around the team and they can see what the trainers do, what the media relations people do, all that stuff. It gives them some ideas.

Right now, we have Goal Power in America, and I'm hoping to get Goal Power in Africa started. If people can donate anything to help us get started, it would be great. It could be a hotel stay, a plane ticket, whatever. If they contact me, I'll do whatever I can for them if they can help in some way.

Anyone interested in helping Ogunleye get started on the project can contact Robert Bailey at (305) 788-0235.

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