Congratulations on your hard work paying off! How did you find out about the honor?
Thank You! To be named to the pro bowl is a huge honor and something I’m very appreciative of in many ways. It’s been a great year for my team, and without my teammates and coaches it wouldn’t have been possible. I’m appreciative of all the fan support I received and of all the players and coaches across the NFL that may have voted for me.
I first heard the news from my agent as my wife and I got our kids in the car after a Target run. Lol. That was a cool experience, to be with my family doing such a routine thing and to get news like that really gave me a perspective of how lucky I am to have a family like the one I have. To hear from my agent who has been with me from the very beginning so it was a great moment to share with him. Then shortly after that Coach Belichick called and confirmed.
Your teammates praise you as an old-school fullback. Being an important part of a high-powered offense, how satisfying is it to shine the light on the fullback position?
The fullback position often gets the rhetoric of being out of style and that its being faded out of the NFL. I see it differently, if you take the time and look across rosters, the majority of teams in the league use a fullback, and those guys are really doing great things for their respective teams. The fullback brings a certain amount of toughness to offenses and is a good way to keep defenses honest. Fullbacks across the league are being used in so many different ways, we’ve become a swiss army knife of sorts, and it’s great for the position. It’s always great to be able to do many things well to help your team. I’ll always love and appreciate the fullback position.
You’re a big key to your team’s goal-line plays. What’s it like to make the lead block for your running back and then see them in the end zone?
Everyone on a football team has a role that their asked to perform. Some guys run the ball, some guys throw the ball, some guys rush the passer, some guys kick, I’m asked to block for the ball carrier. So, when everyone, as an offense, is asked to block for a ball carrier and we open a hole for him and he takes it into the end zone, it’s the culmination of many people’s jobs being done the right way and it’s a great feeling.
Those few feet or inches down on the goal line are tough to get, and it’s a hugely important situational play. Any time we score is a great achievement, but those goal line plays are something I look forward to and something we, as an offense, take a lot of pride in.
How do you mentally prepare for the big game?
Mental preparation for a game is a week-long process. It begins with getting familiar with the opponent and diving into the scouting report, really trying to get to know them as well as possible. Then obviously practice is hugely important to run plays against certain defenses we may see and build timing and confidence in the way we run them.
Then as the week progresses and we get closer to game day, we go over every play with a lot of attention on the small details and coaching points that need to be executed. Then the night before the game I spend my night going through every play in my head, going back over my responsibilities and trying to envision myself in the moment carrying them out and having success. As we get closer and closer to the game I try to use more visualization to build the confidence I need out on the field. That way when plays are called in the game I’ve been through so many physical and mental reps that running the play like second nature to me.
On game day I try to stay as positive as possible and get hyped up and have fun. I listen to good music, talk to anyone who will listen, just trying to keep my spirits as high as possible and keep away from any anxiousness or nerves that always come before a game.
During the season, how has HOTSHOT fit into your training regimen?
I drink a HOTSHOT before every practice or game. I feel that it puts me in the right state, both body and mind, before competition. It alleviates the risk of cramping during tough grueling practices and it allows for a more fine-tuned amount of focus. I really can feel the difference in training with HOTSHOT vs. without it. It gives me a nice little jolt to get myself ready to go to work.
You have 2 Championships under your belt. What is the 1 characteristic you think it takes to make that happen?
Hard work. I’ve been incredibly lucky and blessed to be a part of two championship winning teams, and one thing that both teams had was the ability to work…HARD. Both coaches and players sacrificed so much and gave so much of themselves those two seasons. Nothing worth having ever comes easy.