TAMPA (FOX 13) - Jefferson High quarterback Cade Weldon is physically and mentally stronger than they last time he was running around on the football field. The scar on his knee is a daily reminder of just how fragile this game can be. Weldon's season ended abruptly just minutes into Jefferson's season opener -- a hit out of bounds left this son of a former Buccaneer with a torn ACL and MCL.
"Initial thoughts were just how hard I worked and how it had all gone to waste," Cade said. "You can see right here I have an appreciation for every rep now. Every day being out here at practice, even when it's hot. I'm just happy to be out here. From not being able to walk to being out here. It's definitely has given me an appreciation for the game. I'm really thankful for that."
Cade gets his "pro" perspective, talent, and blue-collar work ethic from his dad, Casey. The 1991 runner-up to the Heisman at Florida State, Weldon played eight seasons in the NFL, half of it with Tampa Bay.
Watching his son back on the practice field gives Casey flashbacks to his glory days.
"I see so many similarities in the way I played and he plays," said Casey Weldon. "He's just bigger, faster, stronger."
Cade's quick to point that out to his dad.
"Believe me, I've had to go to negotiating instead of saying I'm going to take care of it physically," laughed Casey.
The question is, does this son listen to his former NFL dad?
"We butt heads a little bit," laughed Cade. "But I know he knows what he's talking about."
Dad doesn't always have the same perspective.
"No, no he's a typical son," said Casey. "He tells me he listens a little. Anybody, but me. He is now, I think. After the injury it changed a little bit, but no until then."
In the NFL there's a tight 'brotherhood' among teammates. There's no difference when it comes to their sons. Former Buc Brad Culpepper's son Rex suffered a similar injury nearly at the same time of the year. The two of them went through their recovery together.
"They weren't best of friends, but kind of pushed each other," said Casey. "Rex pushed Cade. I'd ask Brad where's Rex at [in his recovery]? He'd tell me he's made it back to this point. I didn't wish it on either of them, but things happen for a reason. I think he's physically and mentally better as a result of it."
Where father and son really clash is when it came to picking a college. Cade will be heading south to Miami to play for Casey's old college coach Mark Richt at Miami -- that's right, FSU's instate rival.
It took some convincing.
"A little bit," Cade said with a big smile. "I think he's pretty excited about me going to play for a great guy like Coach Richt."
"It's not easy, it's not easy at all," countered Casey. "That's a tough one."
With Father's Day coming up, has son bought Dad a new gift yet?
"Not yet," laughed Cade.
"I've got a Miami shirt in the closet," Casey smirked.
But has he taken it out of the closet?
"Right now, I have the Jefferson shirt. We'll deal with that later," replied Casey.
Cade believes he can influence his dad, but right now, Miami can wait. All that Casey wants to see now is his son enjoy his final year of high school.
'It's exciting to see him back," said Casey. "He just hated not being out there with his teammates. To be out there now, he's just excited about the season. It's just fun to see that."