TAMPA, Fla. - Luke Goedeke, the second-year offensive lineman for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, feels at home on the field. But, it's on the water where he feels free.
In fact, when Goedeke isn't getting ready for Sunday's, you can most likely find him on the water reeling in a catch somewhere around Tampa Bay.
"Just ever since I was little, as long as I can remember, I always loved being on the water," Goedeke said. "Whether it was fishing, wakeboarding, or whatever it may be. I just always loved being on the water and fishing."
Goedeke grew up fishing in the freshwater lakes and rivers in Wisconsin. A couple of times, Goedeke has even tried to turn his teammates on to fishing for better or worse.
"I don't know, I've gotten seasick with him like four times," recalled fellow offensive lineman Tristan Wirfs. "I'm throwing up, and he's just laughing at me."
This weekend, however, Goedeke's feet will be on solid ground when the Carolina Panthers roll into town. The born fisher turned "Florida Man" will proudly put his passion on full display during the NFL's annual My Cause My Cleats game.
"I feel like Tampa's waters are super important to me just because of my fishing background," Goedeke said. "I really wanted to do something for the community and protect the waters."
During the game, Goedeke will wear cleats painted to reflect Tampa Bay's water and sea life, along with the logo of the non-profit he has chosen to raise awareness for: Tampa Bay Waterkeeper.
"We're growing, but we're a smaller group right now. It's a lot of David versus Goliath stuff," explained Capt. Dustin Pack, a board member for Tampa Bay Waterkeeper. "From a marketing standpoint, to have someone like Luke [Goedeke], who has embraced this area, and loves fishing and sight fishing, for him to come out here and say that he wants to support us, it is immense. It's huge."
Now, Goedeke gets to promote a healthy ecosystem around Tampa Bay thanks to a new pair of cleats.
"Just the beauty of the ecosystem here in Tampa is really just magnificent at the end of the day," he said.
And Goedeke hopes his small act can help Tampa Bay Waterkeeper keep the bay, and its estuaries beautiful for generations to come.