Inside the actor's studio

Did you enjoy guest-starring on George Lopez? I always thought I was an actor. It was just finally time for me to make a move, I guess. [Laughs.] You watch these actors on TV, and it is definitely a task for us athletes who are interested in moving into this forum. I have no problem being in front of the camera; I seem to be in front of it all the time during the football season. And then there's the Super Bowl, where there are hundreds of cameras and media people.

I got my degree in speech communications from Syracuse University, so talking in front of the camera or doing sports [commentary] or whatever it may be wouldn't be a problem for me. Acting might not be what people expect pro athletes to get into, but it's something I would maybe like to pursue after my [playing] career.

How much fun do you have doing those Campbell’s chunky soup TV spots with your mom, Wilma? Oh, man, I love it. Like I said, I feel I’ve been acting for some time. [Laughs] My mom has also been doing it for a while; she’s improving her acting skills in front of the camera. And in some way or another, we’ve all acted. Whether it’s lying about something you’ve done that your parents are asking about, or reenacting a story or situation, we’ve been doing it for some time. As for the commercials, it’s a wonderful feeling to know that your parents are involved in something special and you have the privilege of doing it with them, and they’re having the time of their lives.

When you go out with your boys, where do you chow down? 
Well, you can't bring everyone, because that bill can be pretty expensive with the boys. We'll meet up at the Capital Grille on Chestnut. The fish is outstanding. Their steak is tops. You want to make sure your appetizers are well balanced with your main course. Then you top things off with dessert - the different chocolate cakes, the killer cheesecakes. [Laughs] Not that I've tried those, you know? I just kinda look at them.

You said the fans were better in Philly. But how does the food at the stadiums in Philadelphia rate compared with others across the country? 
The stromboli at the [Wachovia Center], where the 76ers play, cannot be missed. Now that's great Italian fast food.

What's the best place to get a Philly cheese­steak? 
Jim's Steaks on South Street is legendary. You've got celebrity testimonials on the walls, and the cheesesteak is the real thing.

If friends are coming into town, what must-see spots do you tell them to hit? You've got to take them down to Old City, get them walking around there, get a feel for the history - Philadelphia was our first capital city. Check out the restaurants. Get their stomachs feeling right.

If they're staying for the weekend, we might drive over to Atlantic City to check out what real fine entertainment they've got going on. Or maybe they want to gamble a little. They have great restaurants and hotels over there. You've got to check out Trump Plaza. It's something you might see out in Vegas, but you wouldn't know it was in Atlantic City.

What hotels do you suggest? I prefer the Loews Hotel, off Market Street. For a more scenic setting, try the Hyatt on Columbus Boulevard near the river.

Where do you like to shop in the city? I get my suits custom-made by Ernesto Custom Clothiers in Philadelphia. I like to go downtown. It's a great shopping area. I like Boyd's on Chestnut Street, a very nice clothing store. There's good shopping going down South Street for whatever you want - from athletic gear to dress shoes and evening wear.

What type of live music do you like to listen to? Where do you go to hear it? I love to hear the Roots play - you know, rhythm and blues, the instrumental flavor. I go to Warmdaddy's for blues and soul, and Zanzibar Blue, a real one-of-a-kind place. They have some real fine jazz up in there. Warmdaddy's has some good soul food.

The NFL is the biggest game in town, with its billion-dollar television contracts. What is it like competing at this level? It really is a dream come true. As a kid, you're playing ball in the park with your friends, it's the last play in the Super Bowl, and I'm going to complete it for a touchdown. That's the sort of thing that kids always dream about. And for me, those dreams are being lived out, and I'm privileged to have had the ­opportunity.