Quinton Aaron played semi-pro football in the New York area, portrayed current Baltimore Ravens tackle Michael Oher in the movies and currently calls California home. But on Thursday he was a Buccaneer through-and-through.
Aaron is best known for portraying Oher in the hit movie, “The Blind Side,” which won Sandra Bullock an Oscar and a slew of other awards. On Thursday he visited One Buccaneer Place along with a new friend who owns one of the more memorable awards in Buccaneer franchise history, Super Bowl XXXVII MVP Dexter Jackson. Aaron, Jackson and a small handful of their friends toured the Bucs’ state-of-the-art facility and thoroughly enjoyed every moment.
Aaron’s tour of One Buc included a chat with Josh Freeman, who he had previously met at a golf tournament; a game of pool in the players’ lounge; a stop at the security offices to get his own Buccaneers badge and peeks at the team auditorium, the press conference room and the weight room. Best of all, said Aaron, was a round of pictures with the Lombardi Trophy won by Jackson and his teammates at the end of the 2002 season.
“That was crazy,” said Aaron, who happily posed for a long line of pictures with Buc employees who had enjoyed his movie. “I’m going to Tweet those, I’m going to Instagram them and I’m going to Facebook them.”
Since his star turn as the young Oher, who overcame a difficult childhood with the help of the Tuohy family (Bullock played matriarch Leigh Anne Tuohy), Aaron has been seen in a series of television cameos on shows ranging from “Law & Order” to one of his personal favorites, “One Tree Hill.” He is currently producing his own Christmas movie that he hopes will hit theaters in 2012 and is working towards forming his own production company.
It is the start of the Quinton Aaron Foundation, however, that brought him to Tampa this time (he has visited three other times and even been to a Bucs game). The Foundation is expected to launch October 1 and will work to fight childhood obesity and bullying.
Aaron, who is obviously a big man, is passionate about those two causes, which he says are inter-related. He also is a big football fan, though he doesn’t regret choosing a life in the arts.
“I played a little bit of football, actually, in high school, played one year,” he said. “And I played one year of semi-pro after graduation back in New York. It was going pretty good for awhile but I figured I would rather do it in the movies because, one, all the highlights are on you, and then you get paid more and less injuries.”