Huddle Up with Gus
Huddle Up with Gus

Episode · 2 years ago

Brandon Noble

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Friend of the Huddle Brandon Noble joins the Huddle. Brandon played Defensive Tackle for the 49ers, Cowboys, and Redskins. He is a Penn State Nittany Lion and is a co-host of The Obligatory Penn State Podcast. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

What's up, Dave, and guess you know, I got a friend of mine on the show today. He's a great person, great attitude, great personality. The man when you hear his story, he's been through a lot. Ye as he's he's been at the top, he's been close to the bottom. Great Storyteller Right. Really is a very good and very enthusiastic you know, started off in California. Has Families moved all over. His Dad was looking for job, so they had to go with them, you know, from northern California. I think they went to Chicago, they went back to southern California and then they then they ended up in Virginia Beach in ninth grade. So imagine that transition. You you're all over, you leave all your friends behind and then you got to go to Virginia Beach and find a whole new set of friends. And the great thing was he had football to kind of help get him through that. An interesting aspect about him too is you take a poll of NFL players, there's not a ton of them that their second sport was soccer, right, and he was an accomplished NFL player and his second sport was soccer and he just had to kind of choose one of the other and he chose football. But you don't hear about that very often. No, you don't, you don't, and you know his story is I love it and I think the one of my favorite parts was when Joe Paterno came to visit because he had several schools that were looking at him to come and play, all the big time program all big time programs, and I think that story he tells us about Joe Paternal coming to his house and Virginia Beach is classic. Can you give them a little well, he of what it is. He looked out the window and there was a black link in that pulled up and Joe Pass stepped out. He said within minutes there was half the neighborhood was in his living room with memorabilia. To be sorry, he said, I didn't see him. I was in the kitchen and he was even yeah, he was like patron. It was like holding court in the living room and the kid he was recruiting was actually like in the kitchen and something else. Yeah, and then his story of going through Penn State and the perseverance he had to go through a Penn state and then getting to the NFL, going to play in the World League and that experience for him and some funny, funny stories about his time overseas. Yeah, as a Barcelona Dragon. That sounds like about a lifetime of experience. That happened in like one summer, right, and just his stories over there with his room, with his friends and teammates and the coach. I think they're those are experiences that anybody would want to have and they sound like a lot of fun. It was like it was spring break but you were in Barcelona instead a Daytona and you're getting paid for it, right, and then to come back and get into the NFL and finally make it and then to have some crazy stuff happened to you where you you know, he got Mersa and kind of really and it his career. Yeah, no, absolutely. It was either you you stop playing and get rid of this terrible I don't know what you call a infection, infection, or you risk it and you could lose your legs, right, and it's I think his wife made the decision for right right now. He's a great father, coach, he he's an entrepreneur, he does a lot of stuff. So Brandon Nobles joined us today. He's one of the we are Cam I don't know we are. Yeah, there you go, but he's got to come and share his stories with us on huddle up. So welcome into the huddle, Brandon Noble Noble. All right, Dave. Today we have a pin stater on. You know, he is probably got a lot of money. He's betting his whole house on the game this weekend. Pencil pit. Yeah, who you pulled for? If I was betting, I would lay the points and take the many lines. But in your heart, who you betting? Know, my heart is out in Arizona playing Texas tech, but that's like. But I'm saying, we're talking about these two games. And you have family that went and played for Pitt. I did. So there's, I know, a lot of really cocky pen stay people. I don't want to get off to the retire about our produce. I'm talking about a not our guests. I'm talking letter presearch. Yeah, he's very caught. Yeah, yeah, God, I gotta hear it every but hey, rightfully. So. All right. So today brand with pin state. He grew up in in Virginia beach and played the NFL for how many years? No, nine, nine years, long time down in the trenches. He used to be a lot bigger than he is now. So you want to welcome into the huddle of a Brandon Noble. Thanks for having me, guys and Dave, but I appreciate the way you straddled the fence there on that one man. That was nice.

With the pit Penn state stuff. I was dancing a little bit, but yeah, it was good. Yeah, he wasn't going to go straight on the dagger. He was just easy. Well, you know, it's funny you get brought that up. I mean I I went to Penn State as pin state was going into the big ten. So I actually my freshman year when I read shirted, was the last time we played pit before we went in the big ten. I never played against pit. I kind of feel like I was robbed. I mean that that such a huge part of the pin straight tradition, those games in the S and this late seven, you know, when both teams were national powers, and then to go into the big ten and lose it. It's one of the things that we're kind of dealing with a pin state right now is there's a part of the fan base that would love to keep the game going because of the in state rivalry and I think old school college football rivalries are important, but at the same time it's not always the best matchup for us. When we can go out and play somebody like Auburn or Virginia, tach or some body like that, that might give us more points because we're really kind of scrapping to get into that college football playoff. It's on port right, right. You know. You know, and I feel the same way about when Pitt left the big east, I mean Pitt basketball. I used to love watching it when they were in the big east and everybody they played, and then now they're I don't know, they just get troumped. Well, part of in part of the to defend myself on the cockiness part, just so people could don't get mad there. I've heard a lot of people, a lot of pain safe fans that will say how unimportant and insignificant pit is now, and I understand in the what you guys are looking to do. It's justifiable, I guess, to say that, but it's disrespecting such a great rivalry that's been around for so long. And but I think, though, two is that the people that are disrespecting have no idea about that. Right, true, yeah, most young kids that are it's students and whoever that don't you know. I mean early eels. Let's just blame them alloidal that the way. Other thing we can add to the list about the millenniums. But no, if I mean, there's nothing better than early s pit Penn State. Oh yeah, it's just class. Oh yeah, I mean you had some of the premier athletes that are playing the game at that time, right, you know, except for brand and I weren't there. So right, exactly, I mean, if I great, there were good players besides you guys. We guess. So, maybe PAS so, yeah, somewhere. So all right. So so, Brandon, we like to really start at the beginning with with you. When you were growing up, when you were young, what was that first time in your life that you really fell in love with sports? Like? was there an influential family member? Was it a coach? Was it a somebody who analyzed on TV? You know? So for me, for football, I moved around a lot of the kid I was. I was born in California. My family's off in California. Kind of moved up and down Northern California. Southern California, spent a couple of years in Chicago, Illinois. My Dad had a job there, and I remember I thought this is an actual memory. I mean, you know, Cte be damned, I remember watching the Chicago bears play the Green Bay packers and I was probably four or five years old and that was the moment where I was like wow, like this is what I want to do. Right. I fell in love with the game immediately. I knew that that that was something that I did. It just it connected. Now my mother had different ideas. My mom did not want her precious little baby to get hurt, so she held me out of football for a very long time, which may have been a good thing, I'm not one hundred percent sure. And she also wanted me to be a kicker. That did that didn't work out very well, but but you know, that was kind of where it started for me. So I grew up a bears fan of all of all, you know, just kind of random. So for me it was, you know, I wanted to beat Walter Payton. Obviously that didn't happen, but the other but the other position which is kind of entered I was really drawn to, was the defensive line and that that's what I ended up playing. So guys like Steve McMichael, Dan Hampton, Richard Dent. You know that that group of guys, especially those early s bears, were guys that I grew up watching and probably not the best role model. But while Alzado, I've moved back to Califul, right back to California, and the raiders were kind of in their heyday in the early s to so you've got alzado and John Matuzac and like and those guys. So sticky power. You long write that. That's the that's the group of guys that I grew up watching and wanting to be like, because I think eventually I realized that, like, I wasn't going to be marcus AU and I wasn't going to be, you know, Walter Peyton. I couldn't throw a football. So you know, that's so it was kind of like I could smash my head into things really well, and that's that's where I kind of focused on. But that was always kind of where I wanted to be on the football field. Yeah, so you probably said, well, it's the fridge can still carry the ball. Maybe there's a chance for me lator in life. I can. Maybe it ain't a fullback and ever watch a law yeah, exactly. Look, man, I played football for like twenty years and no one ever gave me the ball on purpose. Right, so it was it was a complete accident and usually someone's...

...mistake if I ended up with the ball in my hand. So when you were young and moving all over the place, what other sports did you play? I played soccer. That was you know, as I know, I looked like a soccer player, right. This is the vision of soccer. My mom was not likely. She was not going to let me play football. And then can't go going back to California, which is where I lived until I was going into high school. You soccers huge out there, so I wasn't in it. I had no hand eye coordination, so baseball was out, you know, and then it was getting again. This is, you know, L S early S. There's not a lot, you know, it's not what it is now, but soccer was huge in California and still it is. So I grew up playing soccer and I honestly think that it's it gets a bad rap, especially in the football world. But as far as like learning how to run and footwork and the important parts, you know, angles and those kinds of things. Man, that there's no better game for that. I think it actually helped me as I became a football players. Look, I mean I'm not I'm not a, you know, a creature, right. I'm not six foot for two hundred and ninety five pounds running a four hundred and forty right. I had there was, there was, there was technique involved in how I played, in footwork and those kinds of things. That that I think soccer really helped me develop as I was growing up. And then eventually my mom broke down, I got to play a little flag football. I went to a small Christian like middle school when I was in southern California and my mom let me play flag football for a couple years there and I played center and defensive tackle. And then they have centers in flag football and I don't know why you do so, Addio, the center is so go out for a past. Yeah, they're eligible, I think, to catch it. Now, not, not in this flag football. I've just kind of snapped the ball and ran into the guy in front of it. So it's a getting very I'm good at this thing. And wait, wait, why do you guys move all over the place. You know, my dad just it was just what he did. I mean the we're that branch of the of the noble family that that that is transient and we've always been that way. I mean we've always my family is originally from, and most still live in Fresno, California. You know, it's kind of in the Central Valley, a lot of farming, a lot of you know, it's very hot and summertime and kind of faulty in the wintertime. And my dad just moved us and he wasn't military. He's a Vietnam Vett but he left the service after after he was came back from Vietnam and and just move this around a lot. And I joke it's because my dad, you know, has a tendency to speak his mind and maybe sometimes when he shouldn't, and so it was kind of moving from place to place. When he realized things were kind of broken right away, cancel said, I shouldn't have said that to the bus. We got to get right exactly. It's exactly right. There's always one person in the organization that knows too much on that person should be fired. Right. So that's so that's kind of you know. So we just moved about every four years, and so it was literally like, you know, I was born in Northern California, lived there for a couple of years, then went to Chicago for a couple of years, back to northern California, kind of a bay area, San Francisco Bay area. Then we moved to southern California when I was in fifth grade and from fifth until the summer of Eighth Grade I live. We lived in Orange County, which you know, looks not not a bad place to be, and then going and from there the big move happened, where my dad found a job in Virginia Beach, Virginia, which is as far away from southern California you can possible. Yet and that's where we ended up. And it was again, you know, a terrible thing to go through is as a rising freshman, like moving came from coast to coast as you're going into your freshman year of high school as a little intimidating to say the least, especially then going from a small private quaker middle school to the Virginia Beach Public School system was a little overwhelming. But but you know, it's good for you you know, you look back on it and say, you know that that was one of those moments in my life where super uncomfortable and not happy. But but it made me a better person. But my mom actually finally let me play football my eighth grade year in southern California and I hated it, which was amazing, right, like I so it's you know, all those kids that grow up playing football from the time they're like seven or eight, and all of a sudden, you know, here comes a big kind of Husky Kid, was the word that we used to use for the chubby bones, right. And and I show up in the coaches are like man, this kid, he looks like he's gonna be a good football play runs well, all these things, right, and they put the pads on me in the first night. They put me in you know old school Oklahoma drills, right, but they put me into the linebacker, so I had to go tackle the running back. And this is a kid I can't I wish I could remember his first name is. Last name was Gone Char not the hockey player, but because I've looked he hit me like he was a hockey player and he came I think, man, and he whacked me and I don't think I took another rep the rest of the that I was that kid that was standing in the back of the line, like letting guys go in front of me, letting guys go in front of me. And for...

...the rest of that year, this is the truth, I did everything I could not to play football. Diarrhea, forget my helmet, you know it should. I'm sick. I mean the whole thing, man, and and now that I've got kids like I've seen, I've done it. I've got been there. I forgot my helmet before game, I you know, and because I didn't want to play, but my parents like you're not quitting. And so, honestly, that move from from California, where now I've kind of gone through a year and all these kids I was going to go play high school football with and then I got to go to Virginia beach or kind of got to start fresh after getting, you know, my face kicked in for a season and it's always it was good for me, you know, it was good, but it was not an easy transition from soccer and football at that point. So did you play soccer in high school? Then I made the team my freshman year. I was a pretty good soccer player. And again, this was before I kind of got really big. I mean I was, you know, you know, in that kind of five hundred and ten, six foot hundred and seventy five eighty pounds and I could still run. And Yeah, so I made it as a ninth grader. I made the school team. I didn't play travels soccer or or, you know, club soccer or whatever you call it when I moved to Virginia Beach and I tried off for the soccer team there. But I played football that fall and if it is honestly, it's how I met guys that are still my best friends. You know that, that I have no friends. Right. I moved across the country in like July. So you get to Virginia Beach and there you don't know it. I didn't know anybody either. There was not a soul if I spent like four weeks by myself. And then, you know, the first day of camp starts at Lynn Haven Junior high and Virginia beach they did seventh day, ninth and then you went to high senior. So junior high school and senior high school. Ten twelve was was what you would call high school now, right. So, I was going to junior high, the fighting blue fish, the terrifying mascot, and I went out there and I remember standing in the hallway and just you know again, you know, it was a bigger kid and you know, so the coaches kind of took notice of me and some of the other guys, you know, all team took notice and I remember standing next to this kid, Tom Kern, who, you know, years later will be the best man of my wedding. And and and that's, you know, that was kind of my you know, thankfully, where I made all my friends. I mean it's a builting group of friends. That's what's great about football, right, just boom, you're in the locker room, guts, you know it. Right, it's doesn't matter where you're from or who you are, what your background is, right, it's you've got a built in Group of friends that that you carry with for the rest of your life. I think that's any sport, even my daughter when she was playing all the sports, like when they go to college and you when you have to go to college and you're going to try and make new friends and all that, all of a sudden you're there early because of sports, and then you got it. You got a whole team that you get to know right away and not just sitting in a classroom and looking at the back of people's heads and trying to figure out who the hell I'm going to be friends with or trying to join FRA Trinity or Sorority. And and Abbo, he's had a team. Gunner went down to William and Mary had the same thing, and Gabe the only one that didn't go and play and eat. He kind of had the toughest time trying to find a right roommate and friends. It's actually taking about three years to do that, which is crazy. Yeah, right, we're gonna found his best friend right away in sports. So nope's getting back to it when you were a kid. There's a question that that we're about ninety five percent on. Yeah, I think this is days, days area. I think that he already hinted. He said he wasn't really, really good at throwings. I'm not sure what the answer is going to be. You could have been a good hitter. True. All right, we have about a ninety five percent success rate on this question, and I see success because I'm will throw a whiffletball. But did you play whiffleball as a kid? I did not get introduced to with football until college. Okay, where we're? Yeah, at Penn State, whiffleball was a huge part of our summer activities. When when you just went back, you know, when we were in school and you'd lift and run in the morning and then you go to a couple, you know, a class or two of the course of the day. We had a we had a really, really talented group of Whi football players. I was terrible with a ball. Again, in the hand I coordination thing didn't come to me till a lot later. Still working on you catch up. Yeah, I was more of like an fix you. You're kind of you know that guy. Yeah, so, so, yeah, but I'd actually we we play with a ball here in the backyard. I'm a big, big fan of a big fan of it. But no, not, not very good at it. Again, I could barely hit a regular baseball, let alone a ball that moves around like that thing. Great, Great Dave has a twelve to six curve. So I'm waiting. You know, it's the way to see it. It's nice, it's deadly, it is nice. Yeah, pirates could use it, right. Yes, yeah, you know, look, I'm I love I love throwing the whiffleball, like trying to pitch it to my kids and stuff like that, because you can make that thing go all over place. But yeah, that was not my cup of tea, but I we had some really, really competitive whiffootball games up there in State College in the early S. it's awesome that count say...

...that ninety six percent. Yeah, we're like, we've interviewed maybe twenty five people. Were like twenty two or twenty five. Now, yeah, something like that. Wow, yeah, everybody's plays it. I mean even yesterday. Well, we didn't ask her yesterday, right, no, Cathy. So yesterday we had an interview with Kathy Lynn Lanier. She's the chief. She's ahead of security for the NFL. Wow, he used to be the DC police chief for years, and we did not ask her if she ever take football. I think that it wasn't nervous. Yeah, we were nervous. She was doing background checks on us as we were speaking. To say Guss, is that how you met her when you were down with the skins, chief Coole? Wait, she didn't mention that. Brandon Noble, though, that that. Yeah, a lot of a lot of stuff, a lot of stuff about when he was with the reds kids. But you know, one of the great things you mentioned was how soccer taught you a lot of other skills, and one of the things that we hear a lot about from our guest is is about how kids need to play multiple sports because it teaches him so many other skills, where if you just play one sport, you your body, your brain isn't learning enough. Yeah, I look, I'm a firm believer. Firm Believer and my I'm not. I don't always practice what I preach here at the Noble House. For both of my boys play football and that's all they want to play. I've tried to get him to play La Cross and Connor. My oldest boy played a little soccer when he was younger, but he just kind of ran out interest in my daughter is actually an incredible athlete, but she's a swimmer and swimmers don't ever get out of the pool right and they're not allowed to get out of the pool. So it's like here's this this young lady who's maybe one of the more you know out of my you know, definitely up there when it comes to athletic ability and power and coordination. But Man, you put her on dryer land and it's amazing. But you put her in the pool and she'll, she'll, she creates a wake. I mean she swims like crazy, but asn't bill just hasn't learned how to be other stuff. Right. So being able to do multi sports is incredibly important and something I think a lot of kids are missing out on right now. I mean there, even though I didn't play organized, you know, baseball or basketball, I got still played basketball every day during the offseason with my buddies, right. Or we played beach volleyball in Virginia Beach. What do you know? We were always doing something else besides just football, right. Yeah, no, playing outdoors and just going in the backyard and playing. You know, we interviewed Joe Sisman and he talked about playing stickball, like they did it. They had a postage stamp yard and he talked about how they just would go out and play stickball and he was the same way. His mom never wanted him to play. Yeah, yeah, and we're lucky to was buddy was the bunny name Tommy. Tommy came in full pads and showed his mom how well the kids are protected. And now that's when his mom said, yeah, you'd go playing out Joe. That's awesome, that's a great school. He said, if Tommy never showed up that day in full uniform, he may never play football. So that was Tommy's taking to start them. So Tommy should, Tommy should be in the hall of fame with him then, right, been in cannonball run two with them. Yeah, more important, we're yeah, yeah, so then now you're the great thing is is you made all these transitions not because you wanted to, because your parents, your parents are you know, we're traveling around, which a lot of us, we have to go where our parents go. We've traveled with our kids all over. They've had to make tons of transitions, and that's what this shows about. Is shown people that life is about transitions and how do you handle those things? Like, if you wouldn't have handled that the right way, you may never been brandon noble right, that the guy who play in the NFL for nine years and then s done all these great things for the game of football and Sports, and it just tells me that you just got to have that that that that opportunity comes to you, just take a chance. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I mean, look at that's what you know. Again, you know, moving that much as a child was painful, right. It was not fun, very uncomfortable, a lot of you know, a lot of crying, a lot of I'm not going to school today, that kind of stuff. But at the end of the day it made me a better adult, right, it made me be able to handle those kind of thing when I went to college. So I went to you know, had three great years at first colonial high school. was able to go play, you know, get go to Penn state and play for Joe Paterno. But I got dropped off in state college and it wasn't like I was leaving someplace I've been my whole life and I've been in for each for four years. So I had a group of friends there, but at the same time, it wasn't like I was so entrenched in that area that like I got so homesick when I got to stay college that I wanted to go home all the time. And I joked like my parents drop me off in nineeteen ninety two and I went in one Thousan nine hundred and ninety seven. But he was just...

...like, all right, here you go and here's your new friends and again, you know, like you talked about gusts with your kids, right, you know, you've got that built in Group of friends. You're stuck together. There's all the shared suffering and all the stuff you go through as a football player. And and so it was. It was. It wasn't easy, but again, it was a transition that I was used to making. I was used to making new friends, I was used to being in rooms or strangers. I'm getting comfortable real quick with it. So I think it helped me out. I never got to that point where I saw a lot of guys that came in in my class where like they left. You know, he looked at you know, my fresh I mean you went even further away to school, Gust, and I did. I was eight hours from home. You were a plane ride from home. But like these guys, you know, we came to stay college and there's a you know, guys that are from schookol county or whatever, and in the middle of the night they just disappear right they could their homesick and so they, you know, they call home again. It's a pre cell phone and you know, take the midnight train to Georgia, jumping out the window the dorm and throwing their bags out and you never see the kid again. All because they were they weren't comfortable in a new situational and that's a that's a missed opportuner. Well, I had, I had to had a roommate, two roommates from Philadelphia at Tall Su and John Hopper was one of them, big offensive tackle, six six, you know, three hundred and twenty. He would literally cry some nights because he missed homes so bad. I'm like, John, we wrong. He goes. Just want to be home, man, I miss it's like, you know, tuls's not and I'm like, but you got an opportunity, you got a free ride. Why don't you didn't care about all that. Nah. Well, we'll look at another example. Guss knows him. My brother in law played defensive end of pit. He grew up up just, you know, the hour away, but he was so homesick he almost left pit as early in his freshman year. He was a a good you know, is an hour away. You want to go to where I hupe because it's girlfriend went there, you know. I mean he ended up having a great career pit, you know, but it's heat had almost was ended in the first month of colling. Yeah, they when you're born on shunk county, they rarely let you leave Armstrong County. Yeah, that was like going to like Tokyo and yeah, like, don't go down to Pittsburgh, there's danger down there. So, so, Brandon Paul, yeah, we we have to say here because there. Yeah, you're all right. Cool, I lost your yeah, now, you started playing football at a relatively late age, but you obviously accelerated and got pretty good at it pretty quick. What, at what point, did you know hey, you know what, this might be something I can do in college. That's a good question. Man, after after, you know, my oldest son is kind of going through the recruiting process right now and I think that for me again, a way different time. Right, no, Internet, no, Star, no, no, you know, the recruiting business is was not what it is. It wasn't a business. It was just part of football. All, just tapes, right exactly, and the coaches came in and watched them, you know, in the janitor's closet, and then decided whether or not they liked it. Right, it wasn't hot highlight films. So, you know, I think around my junior year like I'm through. You know, my careers really been almost every place I've been has been all has been almost identical. It's been as a younger part as a younger person in the program right, you know, freshman or sophomore. There's been an opportunity for me right and I wasn't a starter. I didn't start as a sophomore. First colonial high school I barely played and then at the end of my sophomore year, was like two or three games left, one of the defensive tackles got her right and and all of a sudden I find myself starting on a football team that's that's that's a very, very veteran high school football team and you know, starting all the way through from the last regular season game into a couple huge playoff games against teams that we've never beat and then all the way into the state semi finals where we finally lose. And the next year I go and I'm a starter on both sides of the ball as a junior. And I think at that point, you know, I kind of was growing enough to where a six one hundred and sixty two about two hundred and forty pounds and you start, you know, maybe I'm pretty good at this, but then I think it was really my senior year I went from to forty, two hundred and seventy. You know, I got you know, I got it. And I think that at that point I went you know, when all of a sudden, the first day of recruiting, you know, Jim Caldwell, who is the quarterbacks coach at Penn State at the time, calls me right then all of a sudden Virginia text call and you just kind of go, you know. So I for me it was probably around then when I was like, you know what, I think I can. I can go play college football and and and because again, it was so different, right. I mean that's you know this right. It was like really at you know, they all I wanted to do with being all I wanted. My goal was to be an all state football play like that was it. Like I wanted to be on the all state team. And then and then it was like, you know, can I can. I didn't. Then it turned into something else, right, but the goal was never to go get, you know, to go play at Penn State or Michigan or wherever it was to be the best high school football player that I...

...could be, and then then that just kind of took off from there. So who else did you look at the sides Penn State? My final five were Virginia Tech, Penn State, Michigan, South Carolina and Georgia Tech, kind of all over the place. It really came down to Virginia Tech. This was one thousand nine hundred and ninety one. So coach Beamer had only been there a couple of years had not quite turned it into what it what it became. So for me it wasn't that hard and I didn't want to go to high school again. You know, I think that has a lot to do with kind of the way that I grew up. Like everyone from first colonial went to Jmu or Virginia Tech and I didn't want to do that again. Four five guys that I played high school football with there were already attack. I had a great, amazing recruiting trip up there. It was a lot of fun, but but at the same time I didn't want to do high school again. So it really came down to Michigan and Penn State and I knew I wanted to go and this goes back to when I discovered football. Right it was Green Bay Packers, Chicago bears in the snow and the mud. I wanted to play football at north I didn't want to go down south. So it was in state or Michigan. I took my my three trips were Virginia Tech and I think I went to Penn state next and then I went to Michigan after that. When I came back from Michigan I almost committed at Michigan. That was a hell of a visit and and then I came back and I kind of Shat on it for a week. I asked Jim Caldwell to send the D line coach down to Virginia Beach to talk to me a little bit. Jim Williams came down talk to me. After the nickname was ace. After ace left, I called the coach, called well, and said I'm coming and it was a gut feeling. I mean that's all. It was just a gut you know, I got decision that this is the right place for me. And will point you speak with coach Paterno. Is that he doesn't make an in home. Probably it's you'd see him when you make your visit there. Yeah, well, yeah, so I met him on the visit and then, excuse, I'm come overcoming a first week of school illness or second week of school illness, and my children brought home Um and I met with coach up there on my visit. Your my parents didn't get involved at all in the recruiting process. I mean literally, I took every visit by myself. They gave me no no input it all and they were just like and then that was like when I when I finally committed to Penn State, my mom and dad were like, man, that thank you, because that's where we wanted you to go. But I when I told Jim called well that that I was coming. Joe had already scheduled a home visit with me for the next week, I believe. And so they were going to come down and try and, you know, get him in and close the deal, which is what he was best at, right and so so, so I said, you know, you don't have to say, coach paternal down, I'm good. You know. You know another no, no, he's coming down right. He wants to meet your family. So a week later, I've already committed. A week later up pulls the Black Lincoln Town Car Right Jim, Jim Caldwell gets out. Joe Patterneo gets out. There's a lot of pin staters in Virginia Beach, my best friend Tom Kerr, and the guy was the best man at my wedding, his dad's open state Grad. So Joe Walks in the house, shakes my hands's Eide on my mom and dad, like hands me his coat and basically spent like three hours in my living room entertaining my neighborhood, signing off. Didn't talk to me at all, like I stayed in the kitchen, had dinner, you know, whatever. You know, basically brought him his coat back when when they were ready to go and that. But that's what he did. He came down and he sat with my mom and Dad. He saw sat with a there were probably, you know, someone between nine and fifteen other people in the house that were not part of my family and and he just sat in the family room and they all brought he had written a book, you know, they all brought their books over for him to sign and he's sitting there doing all this stuff and you know, kind of all right, you see you and see you know, honest and it was. It was, and that's how it worked. And and but he came down right and he spent time with my mom and dad, and I think the big thing at that point in time, which is kind of crazy, this was one thousand nine hundred and ninety one. A lot of the schools that were recruiting me, especially Michigan, because we were going into the big ten. You know, Joe's not going to last your whole career, right, and I remember that was the big question to my parents had. And then he came down, he looked my mom and dad dead in the eyes of I will definitely be there for the next five years, you know. And that was he was going to turn seventy when I graduate. And then the guy coached for, you know however much longer. But but yeah, I mean look, it was a it's hard to especially back then, right, when Joe Paturno shows up in a Lincoln town care, you know, an Italian guys shows up in a Lincoln town in front yard, you don't say no to him, right, it's right o work. So so now the guy I was, I was fortunate to go go play football there and I had some great schools to choose from. I really did. I was fortunate. So when you were at Penn state and you're going through your time, they're you know, you talked about how you had opportunities come your way...

...because you're going there and then Elsa, you realize they there's a lot of other good players here. I mean I did the same thing at Tulsa. Right there were my my rookie my freshman year. You know, there's six quarterbacks and yeah, you got to compete against them all. It's so win with it. When did that opportunity come for you at Penn State? Well, you know, it's funny. You six quarterbacks. I remember showing up at Penn State and there was like a whole group of D Lineman that I didn't even know existed, right. You know that I got these the starters. Here's the too deep. But what they didn't talk you was they were like six kids that they read shirt right like they weren't on the roster. They were nowhere to be found. It. I learn helping these guys come from, you know, and and they're all great at head of you. So I remember showing up at Penn State and being on, you know, the fourth team defense or whatever it was in camp and and and I read shirted and and I loved it. I mean like, I think one of the big things that college footballs is missing on right now is this idea of let's get these guys in and out of here and into the NFL right because that's what kids think they want. But like to be able to take that first year and just practice a couple days a week and lift and get bigger and stronger and he your feet under you academically and it takes a little bit of the pressure off. Once you kind of let your ego go right, you know, you go from being this big shot in the high school the back to the bottom of the barrel. And so I read shirt in my freshman year. Had A great time, drag way more bigger than I should have. Probably didn't do as well in classes I should have, but I had a lot of fun and it was a good experience for me because it let me get it behind me. So the once I got on the field it wasn't quite as big a deal. And so I read shirted and then the next year I come out, I think I'm going to get some play in time and I break my leg in camp. So I break my leg and it wasn't really bad. It was a fracture. I practiced for I went through a two a day on it and I got to the point where I couldn't sleep at night. So I was like okay, probably to go see the trainer. And so, yeah, you fractured your right leg. I missed the whole year and it wasn't and look, a fracture takes four to six weeks to heal, but that's how many guys we had. Like I just fell to the bottle on the depth chart. So by the time I came back it was just too late. So that year I played, they moved me around. They basically used it as a year to kind of figure out where my best spot was. So I played no, I played defensive tackle, Defensive End, center, gone art and inside Linebacker, all of those positions in the course of a year, and finally ended up back at de Tackle, which is again where I think I belong. I mean, I would have been a hell of a center, but I just didn't want to play center at the time. I couldn't bring myself to do it. It's a butt but feeling when you know that's funny so. So one of the reasons that I got out of playing center is Dick Anderson's the OL coach there. And as they were trying to teach me how to play center, this is back Gust and you'll remember this, when we just wore jockstraps right, don't one of these tights, all these under you know, all the the stuff. It keeps everything nice and tighten there. So I would go out and in mess shorts and a Jock Strap and Dick was trying to teach me out to snap. And so every time you get under center right, like my balls would rest on his hand and so and so he kept saying. He kept saying, you know, and Di's is old, like Super Montone, like great guy, but like you got to wear some tights out here song. And I was and I did not want to play center right. And every time I went out there and he put his hands under there and there was no tights and it was just jocking balls hanging that, he kicked me right out of that drill man. So that's how I got myself back then the life I was. Nope, not doing this. You from my point of view when that happened to me, I'm like can you just go change, like, I'm not doing this the whole practice. This is not no, I gotta, you know, ID enough. I got to be on this side of you. Absolutely, absolutely, the very uncoupora wood. And it's really funny because my youngest son, Jackson, came home. I don't know, you've been playing football, SI do, seven or eight. He came home two or three years ago and decided he wanted to be a center. Like that's what he's like, I'm a center. I was like, okay, you know what that means, right, and he's like Yep. So I was like, you know, whatever, you know, it's all shot gun. The days anyways gone. Yeah, none of that stuff in the game. But he cam Newton's in Chagun the whole game. I'm like, what is going on? Why? The whole game? Man The whole game. But yeah, so, so the so I end up I don't play any meaning for I don't play snapper football that whole year, my redshirt freshman year, and then that Spring I get Momo somehow another, and and and I end up with drawing from school, like I got it so bad that like my liver was shutting down. I would drawing school. Yeah, I would draw from school. I lose like thirty pounds. I've dropped down like forty. I'm at home in Virginia Beach by myself, which is actually a great experience because I realized I didn't want to be in Virginia beach anymore. I'm you know, all my friends were gone. You know, not a whole lot of fun go back that summer. The next year is one thousand nine hundred and ninety four, which we just celebrated the two thousand five anniversary of that football team at Penn State, which just carried...

...collins and can John a car and Kyle Brady and we were twelve and no beat the snot out of everybody in the big ten. Go in the Rose Bull, beat Oregon and end up fall just short of being a part of the national titles in Nebraska. Right. And that year I was look, I'm coming off with this whole just messy redshirt freshman year and I don't know what's going to happen. Two hundred and fifty pounds playing nose guard and so so over the en up talking about those opportunities. Right over the course of that season, defensive tackles just kept getting hurt and kept getting hurt and next thing I know we're going to Franklin field and play and Temple and I'm starting defensive tackle. And you know, again, I don't know that I was really ready. In my head I was, but I end up playing so poorly in my first experience as a starter. I get bitched in the second quarter. Right Joe Pulls me put somebody else and who was who was blower on the depth chart than me, but was obviously better than me on that day. And so like my whole you know, my confidence is crushed. The whole deal. It's my first start, my mom and dad are there, like everybody's excited for me, and I play like dog crap and I get benched. So thankfully a couple of those guys come back. A couple weeks go by, we play. I remember who it was. There's like maybe one or two games in between. We go out, we beat Michigan. We could come the number one team in the country and then Vinny Stewart and Eric Claire both get hurt again and next thing you know we're going to play Illinois and it's like Kevin Hardy and what was all those dead but was that big inside linebacker that I mean, this is ridiculous defense right. I mean ridiculous. They were good. Simmion Ryan's, Kevin Hardy hollow check was a middle Linebacker, like they were just loaded and it was a hell of a football game. But I'm starting again, so I start the last four games and the Rose Bowl of the ninety four season. Two hundred and fifty two pounds in the big ten like this is cat Birchmeyer, who's from western Pennsylvania. I can't wish I could remember his first name. Played Center for Michigan State and he would just pick me up with like one hand and just throw me out of the right like Brian Gal's highs or another western PA guy. He's our middle linebacker. I just remember him screaming at me like just you, you can't play back here in my lap the whole game. I think I'm two hundred and fifty pounds, like I've no business being out of here right now. But but that was my opportunity to get my feet wet and it was it was the same thing right, you know, in high school somebody got hurt and then I go take advantage of the opportunity. The next years my junior year and I've become I've become the starter and I end up starting thirty plus games at Penn State, you know, for the next two years. I'm going to have a hell of a career. But but it's taking advantage of those opportunities, you know, and even though I wasn't pretty right like look my first opportunity, I sucked and I got benched, but I had to come back and do it again. and and though overcoming those things made me a better football player, maybe a better, you know, may and person. So you know, it just it's it's the same thing in the NFL. The same damn thing happens. You know, it's just how my life has gone. So so you go through Penn State, you have those great teams, you're on. What is that process for you to go to the NFL? A battle? It was, it was. It was not. It was not a far experience, man, you know. So I was again, I was undersize guy and I was about I'm six one and three quarters according to the NFL, and probably shorter than that now. I think we're all shrinking now, guts and I was two hundred and sixty five punds because Joe didn't want anybody to be big Penn state at that time. When you look at it now, they're all monsters. But so I was a six Footballe two hundred and sixty pound d tackle in a time when Sam Adams and Tony, Sarah Goosa, we're kind of the picture of a defensive tack on the NFL. Right. So I'm not. I'm you know, it would take two of me to be as big as goose was at that point top. And so I go to I get invited to the senior bowl. I'm a second team all big ten. I have a great senior year, like seventy tackles, eight sacks. I played a one technique, like I was a shade. You know, I'm a really good football season and I and I was also kind of but I was a projected three to fifth round pick, right, it's yeah, good, no, go ahead. I was just up. I saw I get invited to the senior bowl and and and I don't know. Did you? Did you play in the senior bowl? Goss now, Blue Gray game, Blue Gray. So you know, after the after the practice is right, there's the GM's and the scouts and everybody, right, and they're with guys and talking to him and that kind of stuff. And so every night you go back to your room and you know, my roommates got kidnamed Matt Kneeley from from USC every night he's going out and meeting with GM's and meeting with scouts and talking to teams, and I'm going back to my room and nobody's calling to talk to me. Right like no, I didn't talk, I didn't. I...

...didn't meet with a single guy the whole time I was out there. And at that point I'm kind of going, all right, this isn't looking good. And so then I find out why I'm not to senior bowl, that I don't I'm not invited to the COMBOT. So now that's another kind of like me, red flag, you know. I mean like something, something's going on here. And again a lot of it had to do with I was just a six foot one, two hundred and sixty pound d tack. So I did my pro day. I had, you know, I was a eight for I'm not going to run. I was strong. I was a for forty. You know, I got I know I was a super, super strong. We had a different kind of lifting there at pain state of the time. Yeah, I was probably the twenty two hundred and twenty five range. Of Two hundred and twenty five, I get a two hundred and sixty. Not Too bad, but I had teams that didn't really understand. You know, where to put me. I worked out at Middle Linebacker a little bit. I did some some things like that. And hold on, I got a dog, got a one second dog barking and and I had hey mare. I'm gonna give you guys a little bit of real life to I think the repair guy for the refrigerator is here. Refrigerators broke, guys, so the driver get that fixed with those guys. The Dryer stopped working this morning, to which is terrible when you got five people in that hell. Yeah, so, so dogs Maye go crazy. So so I don't get invited to the combine. I don't have a great week at the senior bowl. I have a good pro day, I think, but not good enough. And drafted comes along and and it's forty hours of wrenching hell. I mean I sit my room watching the ESPN because there's no cell phones at the time right so I had to sit there and wait for a phone call and just watch D Lineman after D Lineman after the line and get drafted and and I don't hit a call you on the phone ring every once in a while. Be My mom, my dad right now. Come on, man, just stopcoll because every time the phone ring you think, okay, man, this is it and then you know so so it didn't happen. I didn't get drafted. I had four or five teams that were interested in bringing me in as an undrafted free agent. A couple teams wanted to make me a center. kind of got back to that again. And and I end up going to the forts is an undrafted free agent and walked in the door there and the D line room was Bryant, Young Danis, Stubblefield, Chris Bowman, junior barker. I mean it was, I mean it was it was ludicrous the amount of guys that were in that room. And and so you go, okay, you know, I'm hopefully going to make the practice law. But I think at that point, man Mike, my my ego, my confidence had just been absolutely chewed up, right, you know, I mean it's so so like I went out there and this is this is a funny story, right, you get to you get there to camp and in San Fran we were kind remember where we were. We're and we going. We're at this school and everybody's getting their rooms right, their door rooms right there, their room assignments, and so I get this key and I'm walking and all of a sudden I'm in like this classroom building, right and I'm walking through. Always is like fifteen other guys walking out and we all have the same key, right, and basically, like they taken this two classrooms, knock the partition outum in between them and put cots in there and it was basically like a revolving door and the grim reaper was in that room almost every day cutting people right. I mean it's so like when you walk in that room you're like, all right, I know it's going to happen here, you know, and I'm a camp by and and that's really what a boiled down to it. So you'd lay there and in the morning you'd hear the you hear the classroom door open, right, and you know you about five o'clock. They try and do it before everybody woke up. What's you know, you understand, you don't embarrass guys, but at the same time of twenty of us in this room and great Um and you just kind of you know you'd hear that door open, man, and just dudes would like it was like being a five year old being afraid of the monster in the closet, you know, the you pull the covers up his eyes. You could man and get down low and sick into your pray to God he doesn't come to have you on the shoulder. And you know he did get somebody. I didn't cut while I did not get cut while we were in that room. I made it back to San Francisco and got cut walking into the facility at the end. But but that was my introduction right. So I got cut. I went home. I was bouncing at a Bar Virginia, beach, Virginia, drinking beer, having a good time. It's kind of like who you know, I don't know what I'm going to do now. But and they ended up calling me back at the end of its kind of midseason. I fly out on a Wednesday morning. I'm this is the NFL man fly out on a Wednesday morning to bring me back on the Pratt squad. First Bird Smoking out of Norfolk, Virginia Land Practice practice Wednesday Thursday the team went someplace. On Friday, back east to play. I spend the weekend out there. Somebody gets hurt. Monday morning I'm on an airplane back to Norfolk, Virginia. I got, you know, two grand in my pocket for five days of work and and I'm kind of getting when I'm home and I'm back bouncing a cheetos down at those from from and and that's of some of the best pizza in the entire world. Man, kicking my drunk buddies out of the Bar, you know, and and that's kind...

...of how it started. And so then I go to in at they in every NFL Europe was a thing which was amazing and saved my career. I go they send me to NFL Europe, they bring me back, cut me again in camp. I go home again. I'm not bouncing at a bar this time. At this point I'm kind of like I'm may be done with us. And then they call me back. Right after Thanksgiving. I believe Bryant yelling broke his leg. It was really nasty. Vy broke his leg and they need it. And I actually got out there. I was on the practice squad for about six weeks. The end of the season and it was the year that Torrell owns made that catch against the packers and we actually lost to the Falcons in the divisional round of the playoffs and then went on to go to the Super Bowl, lose that year, and so again. So after the season they want to sign me back and I was like yeah, you know, I don't know if this is the place for me, and I told my agent that I's I really don't want to go back there. And so I had three options. I had the Cleveland Browns, who would just coming back, it was ninety nine, the Washington redskins and the Dallas cowboys and it was look, at this point I was like, ment it doesn't I kind of understand the business. At this point I'm like look it, I got a snowball's chance and held no matter where I go. So so let's go. And you know, which one do you want to I asked Rick, my rich Smith, and I said we're where do you think? And mean I got's KIP dalls to try. They kind of do. They were more of a one gap kind of up field, which is what I think into with the understanding that they were going to send me back to NFL Europe. Right. So back to bar school. Back to Barcelona. That's a whole nother podcast. That was a good time. And and and and go back there. Midway through the season, Leon Lett gets popped for HEP's hot. So he got caught. He was in the program Ram and he got suspended for the first eight games of the season. This was actually again that opportunity, right. And and so I go back to Dallas and I told my my wife, Mary Kate, who's my fiance at the time, I said look, this is it, as is my third camp. I'm not doing if I get cut this time, it's over, right. I'm done with it. I'm not going to be thirty years old going to camps and trying to make it in the NFL. All right. So, so go to Dallas and just let it all hang out. Right. At that point I was like, I had a great year in NFL Europe. I was all world rights better in all pro I was all world and and and we and I had a good year and I was bigger. I was two hundred and eighty five pounds. And and I went to Dallas and just play and I didn't care about what happened right I let it all go and I did enough to wear. You know, midway through preseason I'm starting to get reps in the first quarter against the other team starters and I remember line it up against Steve was new ski, right, a pen stater who's with the raiders, and whizz was one of those guys that everybody was kind of scared of, right, he's little. Yeah, yeah, exactly, exactly. And here I am like this is a guy that I've watched on TV like my whole life and I'm like terrified of them, but I'm getting I'm getting my head kicked in every day by Larry Allen and practice. So like with no offense, but it was like yeah, you know what I mean, like it. He's not that big and strong compared to Lau. But so so I go out, I'm starting to get wraps and I remember, man, that that last cut my locker was kind of in this corner where you walk in and out of the locker room. I remember were just sitting there like waiting. I was like all right, you know, my playbook was probably in my lap like all right, I'm right, come get me, and I must have been green and you know the coloring and Pale. And I remember Bob Hoss, who was one of our assistant trainers. Are Good Guy, I became really good friends of. He walked out, he walked past me, right. So he's going out of the locker room and they comes back in and I remember grabbed my shirt and he goes hey, man, you're okay. I just remember being like, I argue goosebumps singing about right now. I was just like, Holy Shit, in US, my language, but I was just like that that moment. Man, was like, I worked forever for this, right, but here's the thing, Leon, let's coming back in eight weeks. So they kept two of us and it was basically an eightweek competition to see who was going to keep their job when the big cat came back, right. And so for the next eight weeks I dressed in every single game, I played in every single game, and the other guy didn't. And when Leon came back, I made the team and they let the other guy go. And and at that point I still terrified. Look, we were down there. Marri Kaid to come down that point and I wouldn't let her buy any furniture. Like we bought a bed, a SOFA and a TV. I don't even think we had a coffee table and we didn't have any furniture. Another that was it. I was like, look, I could lose my job any day now. I was terrified to even sign up six month lease at the apartment that I was siglent. You know that I was. I was sure I was getting caught right and and you know, and and so next thing I know, I'm you know, I I'm there. I play in all sixteen games. I played thirty five football games that year, from NFL Europe until the...

...wildcard game when we lost to the Vikings. Thirty five games, man, and how easy I was worn out as to be a record. It was it was. It was pain. When I got done with the season, out of her eyes like all right, I'm done, I don't need to watch football anymore. And then, you know, a year later I'm starting nose guard and I start there for three years and get an opportunity to go be a free agent and play for the Redskins. Awesome, I mean, you talking about transitions and perseverance and pushing through things. There's no better story than that one. Days it's unbelievable. Yeah, I mean just to hear it's a Britt man. One of the things I want to ask, because I never got to sit in one of those meetings, what's a defensive line meeting room? What is that like? Because the quarterbacks obviously, you know, little different. Re Button? Yeah, a little bit little. Well, not saying it's that much different, but we do. Oh, it's the looking at different things and you guys would what's the meeting room like? A Deli is like insane aside. I mean that's kind of the best way to put it right. It's literally it's fifteen crazy people in one room with with one guy who, somehow another has to keep lawing order. And if you don't have a great coach, a guy in the other can kind of control the room, then that room will get squarely on your real quick and you know, so I was for in Dallas. I had we had a lot of guys, you know, Chad Henny, I mean Chad hitting's not Chad Henny, Chad Henning's Greg Ellis, Abney Rock, a ball like a God, really, you know, good model citizens. But we also have alonzos fellman, yeah, who who was crazy. Maybe what you know when? Yeah, right, that's again. PODCAST demes Underwood, guys that guys that you were like. You didn't know what you were going to get every day. And it's crazily, man. You sit there and you you study film, right, but it is. It's a crazy and I heard stories about, like when Charles Haley was there with Dallas, like the things that he would do again. That's probably not something that we should talk about over the air. And and and and it's you know, it's definitely a different room, man. It's like no other. I mean I think the old line room is similar, but a little bit more businesslike, for lack of a better term. The D line room is little a good d line group is like a group of crazy people. I mean you kind of have to be there to play that STU. Yeah, and you don't want them so, dude, you don't want your d lines of dude. You don't want them like controlled almost. You want them like and you know, an outgoing aggression where offensive lineman right, you can't move, you can like you have to wait for the snap count, you can't adjust your stand so there's there's a little bit of control that you have to have as an offensive line compared to d line. Yeah, Oh yeah, and d lines are crazy. Can you give us just one Barcelona Dragon Story, though? I know it could be a whole other podcast, but there's got to be some good stuff. I don't out of Barcelona. Well, you know, there's NFL. Europe was a great experience and it was really cool. I got to go live in Europe for basically four months of a time twice and and we lived in bar in this little town south of Barcelona by was about thirty minute trainer. I'm called Sit Chez. It's amazing, beautiful right on the Mediterranean. Our hotel was on the corner of kind of the main two roads and you walked out the front of the hotel and you look across the street and you were you were in the Mediterranean on a topless beach with the volleyball mess right so kind of heaven. And then you walked across, you walked across the you walked out the side of the hotel and you went to this little alley and you walked out onto this like long kind of stretch of road that was closed off. It was all pedestrian. There was all bars and restaurants. So she had this just like this amazing place and and I played for Jack Vic now, who is at Boston College with the Doug Flutie, and Jack just wanted to play golf, right. So we would be on the on the on the practice field by nine o'clock in the morning, back at the hotel by eleven and back on the beach five hundred and thirty one o'clock so jack could play golf and and it was and it looked I was. I could have gone and been a professional volleyball player by the end of my time there, because that's all we did. We played beach volleyball and then we drank. And those were the those with only two things to do there and it was a good time with MD line. Coach was Sam clancy, who's a good Sam. Sam is one of my all time favorite people in the entire world. Right. Thirteen years in the NFL played basketball pit. I think he's going into the pit hall this year, like absolutely just some amazing guy, right, and Sam just huge dude, right, and we would go out and he would come out with us, and so we would go out and we would try and get Sam really, really drunk so we wouldn't have to wake up in the morning a meetings, and so and I would be the guy that he would call. So you call me. It like if meeting started at set at a he called me, he said Hey, notice, call the boys, no meetings and just hang up, right,...

...and that was it. That was it. So call everybody a man, never meeting this morning, good job, you know. I mean just get on the bus. And so half the team will get on the bus hungover, smell like alcohol. I mean it was just it was a brewery, right, and you just drive to practice. Nobody Jack didn't that. We didn't wear pads at all. So it's just helmets and tshirts. Everybody kind of sober up about halfway through practice. You go back to the hotel, you lay on the beach and go back out and do it again. And Look, I played with some good dudes. Man Brian Finneran was on one of my teams. There are Todd Bowman, who played in the NFL for a while. Lawrence Phillips, rest in Peace Art. He played with US one year. I mean it was it was an amazing experience. A couple of them, you know. You know, I don't know how much of a family podcasts is. We were in Amsterdam. There was a team in Amsterdam. Forty eight hours in Amsterdam is money, you know. And we decided, we decided as a team that we were going to do mushrooms after the game. And so so thirty thirty five Americans, you know, on a US, all of us, right. So we and literally like like that's all anybody talked about. It wasn't even like the game is like, Oh my God, it's gonna be so cool. And so we go into town. So in Europe, unlike the NFL, you get there the day before. You'd have some free time and you and Jack was really cool because he wanted us to see your right, you wanted to. So we go, you know, we go into town, wherever it was. And so we go into Amsterdam and we go and find a smoke shop. You know, the marijuana's legal there and has been forever. And we find a place and would go buy its giant bag of mushrooms and and then after it. So we did in the next the next day, we get up, we go play Amsterdam. I think we beat him, I don't remember. And then literally they would have beer for you right after the game, right, like Heinekens right or whatever, you know where you were. And so you were on this big double decker boss, going back to the hotel. Everybody's Gott, you know, five or six hinekens in there in their lap and just pass out these mushrooms, man, and the look. Thirty the thirty five Americans, I'd probably say twenty two of us did it and we all late these mushrooms and we're drinking on the way back. And then the heart remember, and we were out all night long and Jack's only rule was do not miss the bust the next morning, right, and so we literally were out all night in Amsterdam, wander around, laugh and I've never laughed at harm my entire life and I've got some good picture from that night somehow another. But so we literally get on this train, so the but we miss the last train, right. So that's why we're there all night wandering our amps. And the next morning we kept the first train back to where our hotel those and it's literally the two thousand and twenty five of US sprinting from the train station to the hotel as Jack is standing at the bus screaming ass right, and we fun and get our bags and run back out and the only thing that saved us the twenty two of us that were not good. Is for some reason, though, like one of the seven guys that didn't do the mushrooms over slapped and he he was in his room and Jack was in there banging on the door and the rest of US got out unscathed, but but big garry got in trouble because he he overslept and and many. Look, those are the kind of things that you got to do over there. It was it was a, you know, an amazing life experience to go spend that much time over there in Europe and be allowed to see because we would again, like I said, obviously we spent the night in the city after the game. So you got buddies that played, you know, for the rhyme fire and Dogit door and he say you where we going out, and you go, I'll go on drink together. I can imagine what the people they're thought like when they saw like twenty two these massive football players coming in but our establishment, they're like, what the Hell is going on? Yeah, yeah, it was a good time. I got. I joke with Mary Kaid that if they'd have paid more in NFL Europe, we would be Spanish citizens right now. I really, really enjoyed it. Yea. So so you get done with your career. You had a great nine year career in the NFL. Dealt with the redskins. You got to make a transition. What was that like for you to leave the NFL and try to figure out what the hell your next steps going to be? Man? Well, you know, like most of those man you know leave the game, you'll ever leave when you think you're going to leave. For me, it ended I was almost patient zero with the Mersa epidemic that happened in the in the early two thousands. I had a surgery contracted Merca before people really knew what Mercia was. It almost cost me my right leg and then and my life, and then came back and played, had another Merca infection and then after that surgery. And this is, you know, another good, you know, kind of NFL story. Right. I go in for emergency surgery on Thursday night for Mersa and my left knee and my wife comes in on Friday morning and gives birth to our third child. We're both in the same hospital and and I'm in a you know, I've got all the Hazmat suits in my room. She's given they thankfully they let me. I told the doctors a little man, you're either going to have to knock me out...

...or let me go down in there, because I was there for all my kids being born. I was like, I'm going to be there or I'm going to be unconscious. Those are your options, and they let me go down and Wat and be a part of the fat. But feels I'm in a wheelchair. There's some great pictures from Jackson was born. Man Like, I'm in a wheelchair with like IV's in me and I look terrible. Mary Kates, you know, just gave birth and we're like a happy couple, like Hav any time, and you said, you know, we've got three. We've got three babies now and a three hundred pound man that could die in any minute. So it's it's like this. So I do that and then I throw multiple embolisms into my lungs through I have the second, the second mercy infection, right. And so I'm laying in the hospital and and guest, you know, man, like football players, you're kind of taught to be indestructible, right, like this will pass. Right. I thought I was having Batspasms, right and and finally I cough up. This like fist size clock comes out of me and I can't walk anymore, like I gues, I can't breathe, like my lungs, the bottom quarter of each of my lungs were basically dead because I sat with them in my lungs for like two days and I was taking the Viking in and and muscle relaxers thinking it would just go wet right and and so they take me to the hospital. I spent about seven days in the hospital. You're kind of touch and go for a little bit. And I'm laying there and the DOC comes out. He's like, Hey, lurk, you can't play football blood enters and you're gonna have to be on blood enters for a while. So we can cut your legs or we can go in and put screens in your veins or arteries, whichever one's pop them back up so you can play. And I've got my all right, you know, I'm in the hospital. Might as well. What else do I got to do today? And and Mary Kate happened to be in the room and again. So I've got at Connor was probably three, Gracie was two and Jackson was three weeks old, and Mary Kate was in the room and she's like doc, he's done, and that's how I retired like that. That's that was it. Like no press conference, no nothing, just that's it done. You know, I want him to be alive and it was absolutely the right decision. And so so for me, like when I had a really weird transition, it was because I was so checked up healthwise, like I didn't even was more of me by just living right. Am I going to be alive? And six months and then then it was like, Oh, I am going to be okay. Let's I think I had a different perspective because I was happy to be there, you know. I mean. So it wasn't like I didn't have this big, like I missed football moment. It was more like, man, I'm alive, I'm happy, everything is good. I got my kids were you know, I was good. I think it came a little bit later for me is I got when I left and retired, I got right into college coach and I coached college football for eight years and for sold. Well, when I got out of coaching it, I got, I don't know, for five years ago. That's what I transitioned out right, and that was the hardest part, and that's kind of where I am right now, right as I've been battling this kind of you know, at forty with a wife and three kids, doing something that you know, finding what the thing is next to do. Is it challenge? Right, because it's not like you're twenty two, fresh out of college with no bills, right. It's like, man, I got a moreage, I got kids are going to be going to school. You Know Me, I got a lot of stuff going on and I'm trying to figure out who I am. And you look to join the job market at forty, forty five, not a lot of people looking for people like me, you know. I mean. So it's it's definitely been a challenge, man. I mean there's no doubt about yeah, that's the hardest thing. Is that you trying to figure out who you are. Coaching is a natural I think for a lot of guys who've played the game, but then you realize, like, and I've been doing this for a long time, you know, do I really want to keep and extend my football going on? I think there's a lot of the things that we always want to do and for me coaching high school is Great, but then it's like, okay, I'm getting twenty, five, forty kids, you know, and it just like okay. And I liked it because I was doing it with my kids and that was really the main reason I love to coaching. Wants to be around my boys, to see them be athletic. Maybe I shouldn't have said some of the things I said. Told them when I get angry, but you know, you know how it goes as a dad. We get kind of emotional, but absolutely. But then after they left it was like, yeah, I really want to be here. Yeah, yeah, it look for me like that's actually the reason I got out of college coaching. My last job was a temple and I was there. I was do you want football coach and making good money and but I wasn't able to spend time with my family. Right, I was sleeping at the office from Sunday to Thursday, I might. Mary Kate would literally pack me a lunch a for day longs, like a giant picknic full of food, right. And and that was at the point my kids were all kind of in middle school and start in high school and I was like man, I don't want to miss this. And so I got out of it and I've actually, you know, and I started your God, I've done everything, man. I've been in sales, I've been, you know, I'm was a licensed financial advisor for a couple of years. I got my series seven, my series sixty six, you know, I mean, I've got,...

I've got also, you know, I've done a lot in four years. Right now I'm just trying to kind of figure out what it is I really really love to do. I start, I started broadcasting games and the other thing kind of like you were just talking about gosses. I'm the defensive coordinator at the local high school because my son is been playing football there and I love it and being on the football field with connor is one of the most rewarding things that that I've ever been able to do. And then you can ask him that and he may not agree with you because he has to live with dad and coach. But but Jackson, my youngest son, will be a freshman next year and then so, I mean, look at you know, I would love to be able to have the same experience with him that I've had what connor, because it is it's one of those you know, Conrai go to college next year and you know, Goss once they're out there, out man, you know I mean. And and I've really enjoyed it. So I'm in this kind of weird spot, man, where, you know, I've I did not like the real world. I did not, definitely did not like putting on a suit and tie every day. That was not a fun experience for me and one that I wasn't really good at either. Wasn't really who I am. So, yeah, just trying to you know it is. It's a challenge to figure out what to do next. Yeah, and you you started your own podcast. I did Penn State. You want to get back to the community that gave you so much and and tell us a little bit about your podcast. Yeah, so, so we've actually gone man. We've got a it's called the obligatory PSU pregame show, and it took me about four years to be able to say obligatory like the like I just did. So I'm pretty proud of myself. And and we've really started to you know, we've got the small company called Blue White Media. It's based up in state college and I kind of commute during the week and we've got a TV show, we've got a podcast, we got a website called Happy Valleycom and and we just try to cover state college right and it is. It's loosely based around the football program, but there's so much more to happy valley that I think the Penn staters enjoy and I think what we tried to do is give him a little bit of that Dope Meine, a little bit of that nostalgia, a little bit of those those feelings that you get when you drive back into Happy Valley and you haven't been there in a while and look happy guys. Not The easiest place to get to. There's a lot of people. Once they leave they very rarely get back, and so one of the things that we've tried to do is kind of, you know, let him do it for an hour or two hours, you know on the podcast or through the website, some content that we create. Give him a little bit of that. I mean the we filmed snowfall right like we had a storm up there a couple of years ago. We went downtown and put the camera down right in front of the kind of the corner room, we know, one of these famous restaurants in State College and just let it go for five ten minutes of the snow is fallen down and that's some of the some of the the A, the most for biggest responses we've got has been from just that cool just the memories of being there. So you like filming into lines don or what we're filming at the first man. So yeah, but my, my, there's there's some beer being drunk from my show or my podcast. WHO DRINK UP THERE? You were, Carrie Collins. WHOOF you know? I think that Casey probably waited that one. There's no doubt about that. He was actually just back in town, you know, for the twenty fifth anniversary, about ninety four team and I unfortunately couldn't make it because I was coaching, but looked like a really, really good time. But yeah, I know we do it at the first. We've done it a chance downtown. We do it a different bar. We tried to do it a couple different locations around state college and again, man, it's just it's a little bit of that dope mean that you get when when you see those places where you had such great memories of such a good time that you don't get to get back to very often. Right now. I agree with that. Some of the best tailgating in the country too. There's not only been to a few Dan stay games, but it was it was off at charts unbelievable. It's a special place. So, yeah, I think that's what you need to do, is take your podcast. It just like find a random RV and just say hey, we're going to do our podcast out of your RV, and either they're going to be like Yeh, yeah, yeah, we've we've done a couple like that. They're those get a little loose, you know, you play a few games of Flip Cup and the conversation you gets a little side with. At least it's not mushrooms exactly. And but now there May. Like I said, we're you know, you try and find something that you love to do. Write you guys, and and because football such a big part of who you are and what you've done and if you love to play, you don't ever find that again, man, and it's hard. It's hard to replace it. And fortunately, you know, I think a lot like you guys. You know, having a great wife and a great family helps kind of. You know, he's the blow, because you do have something that you love more than football. East. I like to think and and and but but to replace that right, to replace especially the camaraderie go into work and hanging out with the guys. You know, it's really is hard to find. I think I found that blue white media. Like I said, it's a bunch of pain stators. A lot of commonality there and things that we like to do. So so it definitely helps and it look. Man, I love...

Stay College, I love Happy Valley, I love being a Penn State football player, and so if I can go up there and talk about that, that's what I'll do. Awesome, awesome, all right. So our last part of the show we call it the no huddle and we fire a bunch of questions at you and you know, give us your answers. So, Dave, go ahead. All right, Brandon Um, what's your biggest pet? PEEVES, who being a late? I think I get that from Joe, but turn know we were always ten to fifteen minutes early. I hate being late. All right. What's your favorite sports movie? Oh Man, a miracle, that's havens heard that one yet? No, it's a I haven't even. I haven't seen it. But what else I know? It's ridiculous. Dave's not a movie guy. I've never even seen the Godfather. So it's like, Oh, yeah, it's embarrassed. It's embarrassing to talk about. But all right, if you could trade places with one person for one day, anyone in the world, who would that be? Gusperrat? No, you don't want that. It's just looks just like you're life. Why do you want to do that? I have dogs, I have a Wifei have kids. Exactly. I would know exactly what we're doing. Okay, Oh yeah, maybe we should start a new show. There we go, husband swap exactly. All right, so let's get off the husband swap thing. Yeah, that's fast as possible. All right. What's the most overrated thing in sports today? quarterbacks. Wow, he's really on me today. Yeah, yeah, but you know, so I'm not even going to go there because you know, there's like three on a team, but there's like forty five D lineman. So yeah, they're just replaceable. Yeah, all right. So if you would go back to that kid that was moving all over the country, right and that was having a hard time with every what, with the one thing, you would want to go back and tell them, oh, man, I think man, try to figure how to enjoy it right, enjoy the ride, enjoy the experience. I think that's the thing that I learned from all of that, right as I look at it now, is is what a what an amazing first forty five years that I've had. You know, I've met so many people, I've lived all over the country, I've seen so many things. I don't think you always enjoy it when you definitely don't enjoy it when you're going through it at fourteen years old, right, but but it's such an amazing experience. I think that would be it. I think being able to just submit, have a good enjoy it right, relish, soaked it in. All right, Brandon, if we're going to go through your phone, who's the most famous person We'd find? I can't say Guss Farad on this one. Can't answer him for every question. No, I can't. Probably Play Matthews, Nice, nice, I like that. All right. Who would play you in a movie? Pot, Tom Arnold. I have no idea, man, I'm Arnold. No, I think that. I think you're doing yourself some Irvous I don't know. I've don't know. I'm kind of looking at myself right now. I have no idea. I see I don't want to see that many movies. So I don't know, like the the one guy like kids talking about like Liam Handsworth Z, he kind of like yeah, no, not like start got without. I've got a little as for for yeah, or you can play Thor I've also had play have a couple people say fanos from the avengers. I kind of look like that, but not purple. So but I'll know. You're to look at a little purple right now. Yeah, I well, it's a little hot in here. It's good, all right. Last last question for you. Final score of the pit Penn State game this weekend. Good question. I'm going to say forty five to twenty one penn state. I think it's a good football game. I think the pit comes out and plays with a lot of emotion. It's the last meeting, is the hundredth meeting, which is amazing, and it's also the last will man, so I think it's I think it's going to be nasty in the first half. I do think eventually Penn state kind of out athletes them, but at the end of the day, man, I think the first half is going to be an absolute battle and a really good football game. But Forty five twenty one pin staate, are you going to be up there for the game? I know we played the downeytown he's cougars played the Westchester East Vikings on on Saturday night this week, so I'll be coach. Go cougars, go cougars. Hey, we want to thank you for joining us today on how to up with guests, where we talked to a wide range of guests about how supports shaped to life. As always, I'm joined by my great friend and Co host, Dave Hagar, and we want you to be able to follow us on all of our social media at huddle up with gusts and we really appreciate you and thank you for your time and listening...

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