TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS DEFENSIVE BACK Dashon Goldson may be known as "the Hawk" on the field, but off the gridiron he's making a name for himself helping others relax ... with a cigar.
The Carson, California, native opened SmoKing's cigar lounge (www.smokingsla.com) in Ladera Heights in August 2013 as a "space for members to unwind and get away from it all, myself included."
Goldson, who is now 30, says his love for cigars dates back to a Vegas trip he took with some NFL buddies when he was in his 20s: "I've been into cigars since the first time I smoked one, just about a decade ago. I took my first puff and, as they say, the rest is history."
Now he's sharing his enthusiasm for cigars with the public through SmoKings. "I always knew that I wanted to own businesses, and when I developed a love for cigars, I knew that they were my passion. So I went for it," Goldson says. "There are few, if any, cigar lounges in the immediate area. I think my members appreciate a clean, unique space where they can browse through our selection of over 7 5 varieties and relax to watch a game, have a conversation, or just get away from everyday stress." Although Goldson personally enjoys Rocky Patel cigars and SmoKing's Cognac house blend, he recommends something a little lighter for first-timers. "I would suggest a mild-bodied cigar like Macanudo Gold Label. Don't start with the full-bodied, heavy stuff," he says. His other tips for beginners: "Definitely don't inhale if you are new to cigar...