This year, in honor of the NFL’s 100th season and the Bills’ 60th season, Buffalo will pay tribute to the individuals and moments that have contributed to franchise history. Recently, buffalobills.com caught up with former Pro Bowl linebacker Sam Cowart, who played for the Bills from 1998-2001. Find out more about Cowart’s tenure with the Bills and what he is doing since retiring from professional football.
1. What is one thing that you really liked about playing for the Bills?
For me, as a young kid coming into the NFL, I would say coming to Buffalo when they had more like a veteran team [was what I liked most]. You know, you had Bruce Smith, Thurman [Thomas], [Andre] Reed, Phil Hansen, Ted Washington, Henry Jones – there was a bunch of older guys. That was real vital for me being a young player coming in. Some of the older guys telling you how to manage your money and different things to do and how to be a professional [was helpful]. Other than that, being a Buffalo fan, I mean every home game was spectacular [and] no matter what our record was the fans turned out. It was a great experience in Buffalo, I couldn’t complain at all.
2. Who was the biggest jokester or prankster in the locker room?
Pretty much Ted Washington was the prankster – the locker room guy. I would say probably the biggest prank they pulled on me, was the first year – my rookie season – our first road game. I was responsible for buying the food for the plane for the flight. They told me to bring chicken. So, I went…and bought a whole big thing of chicken. When I got on the plane they were like ‘Man…we don’t eat... [that kind of chicken].’ They rode me for about two weeks with that. They’re supposed to rotate it [when it came to buying food for the plane]. Like one rookie does it one week and one rookie does it the next week, but because I messed up, I did it the whole season.
3. Do you have any favorite memories of interacting with fans in the community?
The little neighborhood that I lived in, I remember it was our first or our second year living there. I think our kids were like one or two [years old] at the time and it was Halloween and my wife had the treats and everything for the kids. A bunch of…parents brought the kids out that came from the community and they had on my jersey and a couple of other guys’ jerseys. [They were] just showing support saying, ‘We love the Bills’ and that was real special. You know, when your new to a city and don’t know a lot of people, [it can be difficult] and we weren’t actually living there full time. When the season was over with, we would come back to Jacksonville because we couldn’t take the snow. So, we would leave every year when the season was over with and the people in the community they would look out for the house when we were gone and everything. Like I said, Buffalo is one of those special cities man where I know it’s just sports, just football, but they really rally around the players and the team.
4. What was your transition like from the NFL?
I did two of the transition programs that the NFL [offers]. I went to Harvard [for] one year. I went to Kellogg [for] one year. I kind of knew that I wanted to do my own thing, start a little business and what not and that really helped me find a direction and resources…and avenues that helped me make that come true. That’s kind of what I did. It seems like the NFL has definitely been working to put programs together to help guys transition when they retire from the NFL.
5. What have you been up to since you retired from the NFL?
I have a couple of small clothing stores in town [Jacksonville, Florida]. I’ve basically just been doing that [and] golfing a couple days a week. My kids are in college now. So, basically just spending more time with the family and doing different things with the kids.
6. What kind of clothing stores do you have?
It’s more just men’s urban apparel. We used to [also] do women’s apparel but for the last five or six years, we’ve just been doing men’s.
7. How many kids do you have?
Three. Actually, my daughter’s birthday is today [June 20]. She turned 22. My baby girl her birthday was last month, she turned 21 and my son is 20.
8. Do you keep in touch with the guys that you played with here?
Yes. As a matter of fact, the email came out about the [Legends] Weekend and Sam Rogers texted me and Ted Washington texted me. Those guys have been texting me for the last three of four years saying, ‘Man you better get…back here for Legends Weekend.’ Every year something always comes up. I’ve got something with the kids. My daughter just graduated from college. My son is going into his third year. So, there was always something I had to deal with. I told them last year, I was going to make it. So, as soon as that email came out a bunch of guys hit me up [saying], ‘Man you better make it back this year’ and I said ‘Man, I’m putting it down on the calendar now.’