USFL in Canton: 10 questions with Pittsburgh Maulers safety Arnold "Tre" Tarpley III
The Pittsburgh Maulers are calling Canton home this season in the USFL. They are coming off their first win of the season, 21-13 over the Stars, as they return to Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium this Sunday to play the Stallions. Kickoff is at 6:30.
One of the defensive leaders for the Maulers is safety Arnold "Tre" Tarpley III, who is in his second season with the team. He has nine tackles in three games under first-year head coach Ray Horton. Tarpley is from Western Pennsylvania and played in college at Vanderbilt. He has a simple approach to playing in the USFL:
"I don’t necessarily have goals. If I just play well, it will work out itself. Obviously, my main goal is to get to the NFL. However it may happen, that’s fine."
While he hopes to get a chance to play in the NFL, he has other interests outside of football. Here's some of our conversation with Tarpley:
Q: Growing up in the Pittsburgh area, when did you start playing football?
A: I actually grew up outside the city. It’s called Jefferson Hills. A lot of people know about Clarion, which is like five minutes away from us and Thomas Jefferson (High School) is a pretty big powerhouse in the Pittsburgh area. ... I started playing football when I was 6 years old, and I’ve been playing ever since.
Q: When did football start to become serious for you, knowing there was a chance of you playing at the pro level?
A: It was going into my senior year in high school. It took me a while. I wasn’t the best little-league player in middle school and even high school. Like I said, up to my senior year is when I started to propel, and I knew my goal to get to the NFL could be possible as long as I kept my faith in God and remained consistent in working and willing to be coached year in and year out.
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Q: Have you been to Canton before?
A: No, this is actually my first time, surprisingly. I’m not far from here, but this is my first time in Canton.
Q: What’s your first impression of living in Canton?
A: It just reminds me of Western P.A. between the weather and the people are cool. It’s like a football state, in my opinion, and obviously, Canton is a football city, so it got that same Western P.A.-type feel. I think a lot of people from Pittsburgh are from Ohio and back and forth.
Q: How much are you enjoying practicing and playing at the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Hall of Fame Village?
A: It’s a blessing. I never take this for granted. I remember times when I wasn’t playing football after I got hurt my senior year (in college) and all I wanted was an opportunity, and I lived by the code that the only thing a man can ask for is an opportunity, and if you asked for anything else, you would be ungrateful. Playing here, playing anywhere, it wouldn’t matter. To put my skills on display for my teammates is just a blessing.
Q: You mentioned you got hurt in your senior year at Vanderbilt. What was the injury?
A: Yeah, I tore my ACL in the last practice of my college career. It was a freak accident. You couldn’t recreate it. I literally stepped on somebody’s shoelace, and I was out for a year and some change. That could be a lot, especially when you devoted your life to being able to go to the NFL by doing your pro day, and I wasn’t able to do that.
Q: Were you a Pittsburgh Steelers fan growing up?
A: I was never a fan of any particular team. I’ve always been a big fan of players. Darrelle Revis is from Western Pennsylvania, and he’s my favorite defensive player. Adrian Peterson is my favorite offensive player because I played running back when I was little.
Q: What’s your go-to music?
A: I like listening to Christian worship music. I know a lot of people find it interesting, but it calms me down. I don’t want to be too excited about the game. You got 60 minutes to play a football game. That’s enough excitement, but I have something to calm me down before a game.
Q: If you weren’t playing football, what would you be doing?
A: So, I actually own a digital marketing business called Yelprat Digital, which is my name spelled backward. I have a full team, so I would be working on my business if I weren't playing football. We helped businesses get leads, which are basically customers they are looking for.
Q: Which teammate would you say is the most fun to be around?
A: Everybody. We have clowns - in a good way, not like a bad way - but they are funny, charismatic dudes, and I really think that we’ve come together like a team this year, and I love it.
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This article originally appeared on The Repository: Get to know Pittsburgh Maulers safety Arnold Tarpley III