Titans’ Mawae a happy ‘camper’
Posted: Saturday, August 2, 2008 12:00 am
By: By TERESA M. WALKER, AP Sports Writer
NASHVILLE (AP) — Kevin Mawae keeps the curtains pulled and a purple LSU blanket over the back window.
The veteran Titans center isn’t seeking privacy.
It’s the best way to keep his home away from home cool.
And that’s not easy for a 36-foot camper parked on an asphalt parking lot in the heat of a Tennessee summer.
“I actually walked around the facility the other day looking for a place I could park it that had shade. But there is not one stitch of shade on this whole facility. That’s all right though. I go in at night, turn on the AC, crank the generator up about 9 o’clock. Come in for a few minutes, make a couple phone calls, then go back,” Mawae said.
Titans coach Jeff Fisher gives his veterans the option of going home each night during training camp or staying at a nearby hotel with the younger players.
This is the second year Mawae has brought his camper and parked near the loading dock to help save time and conserve some energy heading into his 15th NFL season.
Mawae said he and his wife had been thinking of buying a recreational vehicle for years because she didn’t like the idea of roughing it in a tent.
“We finally decided to buy one last year. And with the option of either driving all the way to Franklin or staying at the hotel, neither were the best of options. So I chose to bring an RV up here and sleep in it during training camp,” he said.
“It worked out great. We get out of meetings at 9:30, 10 o’clock sometimes. It’s just too late to have to drive all the way back home, so I just crash in the RV.”
He has most of the comforts of home in the 36-foot Seneca that takes up about two parking spots. The RV sleeps eight with two queen beds and two bunk beds. The sofa and dining area converts into more sleeping space.
There’s a TV over the front passenger seat for the living room, another for the bunk beds and a third for Mawae to watch before falling asleep.
Mawae added to the queen bed in the back with comfort foam toppers, making it just “perfect.”
The TV reception with the antenna on top is even better than what he gets at home, where there’s no cable or satellite dish, because he gets an extra channel. He settles in with an episode of “CSI” or “Frasier.”
There’s no running water, so the bathroom with the wooden door is out of order.
Mawae, a six-time Pro Bowler whose 210 career regular-season games trails only Wayne Gandy’s 212 among active players, doesn’t stay in the camper during the day.
It’s too hot and uses up too much energy to cool.
He keeps a chair beside his locker where he has a laptop loaded with his iTunes featuring tunes from New Edition to Journey.
“I’m not a sleep in between practice guy anyway. I hang out here, check my e-mails, pay bills, watch TV, read books, whatever,” he said.
Fisher said he’s seen others use the camper approach during camp.
“I had teammates when I was in training camp share a camper, so it’s been done before … I don’t see it becoming an epidemic,” Fisher said.
At least the RV is getting some use. Mawae became president of the NFL Players Association in March, so he has been busier than he expected this offseason.
He spent two weeks in Africa with Children’s Cup International Relief; he and his family visited Swaziland, Mozambique, Zambia and Tanzania.
They camped for a couple nights at Kentucky Lake when his son was at a camp, and he also used the RV, which drives like a big moving van, to go to a Nashville mall on New Year’s Day to take a bunch of family to the Cheesecake Factory.
“It’s not quite an old Airstream, but it’s also not a pop-up,” Mawae said.
It sure makes sense for the veteran, though.