Former Bearcats standout Trent Cole was selected in the fifth round in 2005 by the Philadelphia Eagles and over the course of his seven-year career developed into one of the premier pass rushers in the NFL.
Of his 2005 draft class, only DeMarcus Ware collected more sacks than Cole's 70.
The Eagles rewarded him this past offseason with a contract for six years and $59.3 million, including $14.5 million guaranteed.
The native of Xenia, Ohio endured a difficult season this year with only two sacks as teams focus more intently on him with an Eagles team that sputtered to a 4-9 record. Many Cincinnati eyes will be on Cole again tonight as the Bengals play at Philadelphia on Thursday Night Football (8:20 p.m., NFL Network/Local12). This would have been an opportunity for the Philadelphia BearEagles to show off for the city, but Jason Kelce (IR) and Brent Celek (out this week) both won't play.
I had a chance to catch up with Cole on a conference call earlier this week and the conversation swung from his disappointing 2012 season to thoughts on UC to what he did when stood 10 feet from a bear. Here's what he had to say.
How tough has this year been for you guys?
TC: It's been pretty tough. It's been a tough road, just trying to get on a winning streak. Here we're used to winning games. This is a winning organization here. Having a year like we've had this year it's just been really tough. We came off a win last week. It was great for the team because we've been seeking for that win. Guys have been fighting pretty hard to win a game.
The win last week at Tampa Bay (snapped eight-game losing streak) feel like a weight off everybody?
TC: Yes. And that's what we wanted. We wanted to be able to start somewhere. We're not going to the playoffs. It's a pride thing and it's also finding out where we're going to be at, what we need for next year.
Signed huge deal in offseason with Eagles, what it mean organization viewed you like that?
TC: I told them I want to be here, I want to be with this organization. It's done me well and I like it here, I like being here. I play for the city, we got great fans, great fan base behind us and it's a great place to play, a great organization to play for.
Your sack numbers are down, are teams treating you differently?
TC: Yes. This year I've seen stuff I haven't seen ever in my career. This year it seems like the league turned into a passing league and also it seemed like I've seen a lot of attention. We've seen a lot of chips and cracks from teams. I don't know if it's with every team. People know our team as we like to come off the ball and we come hard when we had Jim Washburn.
How tough is it to adjust to the extra attention?
TC: It's not difficult. I don't think it's difficult. That's what I've always done - read and react. Jim Washburn came in and we were getting off the rock and running the line. It hasn't been hard at all, the change back.
You're one of three UC guys on the roster there, strong Bearcat contingent there.
TC: Yeah, it seems like they take everybody in the fifth round. I guess it's a thing they do. It seems like it's turned out pretty good.
Tough luck with Kelce's injury and Celek being out this week.
TC: Kelce, he was a big part of our offense and stuff. We've had some of the younger guys, the guys behind him come up and they stepped up pretty well, I think, in place of him. We had two guys down.
How would you describe Kelce's facial hair situation?
TC: He cut it all off. I don't know if you know about it but he cut it all off. He's got a new look now. You wouldn't notice him.
Were people getting a little nervous about it?
TC: I don't know. I really didn't ask him. It was funny, one day I came to work and I didn't think it was him at first. I kind of like walked in and was like, 'Oh, god.' I'm used to seeing him with his beard.
What you think of the Tommy Tuberville hire?
TC: It's been real crazy for Cincinnati to be able to keep a coach. Seems like all the coaches there are good coaches and go somewhere else, but I'm starting to think the University of Cincinnati is making the coach good. They are making them the great coach.
You have a video production company, right?
TC: I have a production company I own we produce the show Blitz TV on DirecTV and Dish, it's an outdoor hunting show. It's a group of me and some friends and we got together and did a show we hunt all around the world and state of Ohio and East Coast, pretty much what we do is educate people on the outdoors trying to help them be successful in the outdoors as well giving them examples and being leaders and show them the way giving them tips as well.
Most exotic hunting location?
TC: The furthest I've been out was to Hawaii bow-hunting, then to Canada, bear hunting there. And deer hunting there as well.
Went bear hunting, able to track down any bears?
TC: I had a show during one of my recent shows I had an encounter, I came within 10 yards of a bear came walking up on me on a trail. I really kind of thought I was done. I thought, 'Oh, this is bad.' That's what happens, that's part of why I do it because of the experiences. It isn't about the killing, it's about just enjoying the outdoors with your friends and family. It's just some of the experiences I've experienced. There's a lot of things that have been out there I've seen that people wouldn't ever see.
Didn't bull rush the bear?
TC: Nah, actually I put my bow down and got my mic.
We want to hear from you! Shoot me emails with questions, comments or how there's no way you would put down your crossbow standing 10 feet from a bear. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on Twitter at @pauldehnerjr.