Huddle Up with Gus
Huddle Up with Gus

Episode · 7 months ago

Huddle Up With Gus: Willie Parker

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Gus talks with Fast Willie Parker

Welcome to what surely will be a doozy of a match up. Brian here. Sports Fans, whether your game is on the Gridiron, at the diamond or on the links, we can only say get up off your seats and get ready for some real action. Welcome to this week's huddle up with us. Fifteen year NFL quarterback, Gus Bar Rot. Passion for sports has taken him on the field and behind the benches. Playing for seven NFL franchises with one hundred fourteen TD's under his belt, Gust knows who the players are and how the Games are one every day get to hang out with an Hennall quarterback up Oka, sports fans, from the decked out and plush sixteen forty one digital studios, it's kickoff time, so snap your Chin straps on and get ready to huddle up with us. Hey everyone, welcome to another episode of Huddle up with Gusts. I'm your host, gusts for out fifteen, your NFL quarterback. I appreciate you listening. You can check us out at huddle up with Gustscom, wherever you listen to your favorite podcast. We have an incredible guest today. He's a two time super bowl champion. He's a I gotta ask them about this. You want an emmy or right, you want to an SP sorry, sorry, it would be cool to win an emmy to but Willie Parker's join us. Former steeler guy, watch because I grew up here in my whole family knows you. So, Willie, how are you doing today? I'm doing good. Guys, how about yourself? I'm doing great. I'm in Pittsburgh. I bet your weather's a little bit better down in Carolina then I'm dealing with in Pittsburgh right now. Most definitely. What's the weather in Pittsburgh like? Well, today it's a little warmer. It's like thirty four out and still snow in the ground, but it's still better than our they are worse than that. But yeah, but you know what is like up here in the winter. Yeah, facts, I missed the winners in Pittsburgh. Man, I definitely missed the snow on the ground. But we've been getting a lot of snow lately now, compared to Y'all, but but for this area has been a lot. For us. Well, you see, like when you get snow down there, the people don't know how to drive in it. So it gets a little crazy. They got to shut everything down in Pittsburgh. It just keeps going on. It's a big deal. I have a funny story when I was in Pittsburgh the first time it ever was snowed and I was on the highway and I was going slow. I'm a typical North Callinian and I was I was traveling. I would drive is slow on the ground. Oh No, and just on the highway, cause are coming by me. Bloy, give me the middle finger. Blow. They know too many not from around here. Yes, yes, you in the Mount Washington, I'm sure. Yes, money right, and that if you want to go somewhere and learn how to drive in a snow you just go to Mount Washington, hit some of those hills and you figured out they have a lot of heels in Mount Washington. Yeah, they do, yeah, they do. I'm so willie, you grew up in Carolina. You live there now. Tell me about growing up in Carolina. I read an article about my with your parents. You Know Your you love your parents, and they did. You said you wouldn't change anything about how they raised you and everything that happened. But how did you fall in love with sports? What was that first memory you have, whether whatever sport it was, that that made you fall in love with sports. The first memory I had involved in sports it was it was football. It was, I want to say, the second day of football practice. I got hit and I was crying and I read to my mom and told to take me home, take me home, and she loved me in my eyes and I thought she was gonna load the car and we're going to get out of here. Yeah, she looked at me, tell me, Oh, it's not what we came and for all this stuff you talking in the house. No, we about to play with about a practice, so go ahead, and ...

...she marched me back onto the field and I think that was a special moment that we share because we always laughs look back at that day and laugh at it. Yeah, I know that that's so important when you have people like that in your life, because I was the same way when I played you football here in Pennsylvania. I started out as alignment right and I'm getting my head hit every I'm like, what are we doing? I'm in like sixth grade and like and I was still tall as a bit, you know. So they're like, oh, he's a told kid, let's put them on the line. I hated it, like I was not going to be alignment. I just knew that. And same here. I was not much. I was a center and ha ha. So we have something in common, guess. And no, that's awesome. That's awesome. Yeah, so I know you were. You probably a track guy, but when you were young, did you play other sports? Yes, I played baseball up pay play basketball, I play soccer and and I love soccer because you can just round real fast, kick the ball out of control and have a shot at hitting the goalie. So yeah, I love soccer and I didn't I wasn't a big fan of baseball, with the ball having having a chance to hit me in my face. I was kind of shook about getting hit by baseball in the girl. Well, it's not fun. I have actually I was a picture right to kind of make sense, and I went and played quarterback, but I actually hit a couple kids in the face because my dad, when I was young, always taught me to throw the first one at their head and then I'll be scared and then you can to throw the next one over the plate and I always thought that and I did that like in Little League, and I remember I had the TURPACK twins up. They bat at one right after the other and I hit both of them right in the hand and my dad had the biggest smile on his face and I'm like, Oh my God, what I just do? But that's hey, you kind of listen to your parents, you know, out of me I fear pictures like you man. Yeah, yeah, it's balls coming in there fast. I've been hit by I love baseball, but basketball, ball, you know, and football. I played two three. We didn't really have any other sports. We even have soccer growing up. So what was soccer like? Did that was soccer? Seems like to me it's a what's a way that you increase your endurance and running. You know, it's kind of like track. was definitely just run around. I really I really didn't play closer attention to the skills and end a position, to different positions, but as far as running and getting your cardio in and running continuously all throughout the entire game, and it's just a it's a sport where, I think, is it requires you to be a more shape in football. Well, you know, it's crazy because we both played in the NFL and we know the passion here in the states for the NFL. But then you start looking at what soccer really is across the world and how many people like follow Manchester United, like as many people that live in, you know, this country follow Manchester United in their soccer team, which is insane to me. Yeah, and that's kind of that's kind of, you know, insane actually that people love that sport and I actually catch myself or find myself watching like soccer as well, like I just want to know what everybody you know is seeing. I can. I can tell us it's a great fan base, a great game and they have some great players as well because, like I said, you have to be in tiptop condition to play that game. Oh yeah, I went to when I lived in St Louis, I went to a game that was done at Cardinal Stadium, at Bush stadium, and I was in the dug out with my buddy and we were watching when, man, you came over and play it against one of our you know, they come overseas and they played over here. Those dudes legs, it was like you running backs. Man, their legs were just massive and they ran for ninety minutes straight. Razy.

I'm like having trouble running like you know, we'd have to run a test for you know, let's run for gasers. I'd be done. You know what I mean, like we don't drain like that. It's amazing how the train now I like to out, like to watching them training. I can soccer player because they have the train like change, not non stop, N stop. It's great. It's like basketball players, right you it's like, I mean you've probably played basketball, getting on in the court and running up and down and then like hey, guy, I need a break. Those goods get amazing by time they get to the playoffs, like Lebron, Mrs maybe like three minutes the whole game. It's insane. You know it, it really is. So when you were growing up, you know you play all these sports. What was that point where you said, okay, I'm going to stick to these couple or did you just only play football when you got the high school? That's good question. Guys. When when I was in a not grade, I flirted around with track and even in the tenth grade, after the ten grade, even basketball. Not In ten grade. I kind of was open my I had an open mindset of just trying out different sports and I played basketball and I ran track and after the tenth grade to ten grade summer, decided to focus on football because I'm getting more notoriety in the area where I live, where I was raised, and school started coming and, you know, pulling me out of class. I was like, you know what, I'm just gonna put my art in the football and I love it and I'm just going to go and see where it's taking. Yeah, no, that's awesome. Like so, I mean it's such a difference that because I graduated high school and eighty nine. I'm assuming you graduated high school and like it been like ninety seven, ninety nine, and earlier we said, Oh, one of the six is really I went to League old for and I'm up all right, and two thousand and team well today, wherever my last season was two thousand and ten. Yeah, so that ten year, that difference from when you graduated high school and I graduated high schoo there was a lot that happened. The Internet came in, yeah, because I tell people, like when I graduate, you're talking about people come to see you and coaches, you could probably send them something over the Internet, like your film and all that. was that happening then, or was it not? That wasn't happening. Yeah, like me, it was a videotape right. I had an old vhs state that had to put together to send the teams if you wanted somebody to come see you, which why everything what you I guess what year today start coming or what year did you decide at football was a sport for you? Well, for me, if I have a crazy store, I broke I was playing football in eighth grade. I played. I had a okay time and don't really played quarterback. It was we didn't have a lot of kids that just played any position. I didn't really want to play. My Dad bought me a new pair of cleats and he's like get your butt out there. He was a meal guy so he was tough as nails and I broke my foot the first practice and he said, I don't care, you're wearing those cleats. I bought you those clean we have any money, he said, I bought you those peat you're wearing them. So all year we were my cleats and and had a broken foot and just played through it and then in ninth grade went back out for football. In the first week of two days I tackled somebody with my head down and broke my neck. And Yeah, so I didn't play football nine and ten grade and then the eleventh grade I came back and just play. I played quarterback, HMM, and then eleven and twelve grade. So I really never played real football. And tobs and eleventh grade in high school. Okay, and Western PA. Yeah, Western PA. So I was about forty five minutes outside of Pittsburgh, a little town called Fort City, and then I played baseball and basketball. Didn't really want to play basketball. My...

...senior year I was like man, I'm getting recruited for football and didn't. And then I said I can't let all my buddies down there, you know. You know how it is when you're in high school. All you and sure enough, first game blow my ankle out. I'm like Damn, you know, but that's kind of how it went for me. And then just got recruited and up going to Tulsa. How about you? How did your recruiting process go? Out of crew process was the one of the best thing, one of my best expenses I had as a younger athlete. I used to go visit different schools. You know how I go and but I felt that come from a small city, a small a time. I kind of fell in love would going to these different schools and having these different dinners, recruiting dinners, recruiting meals with these different and having different conversations with these coaches. So it's like kind of different standard, different hotels and stuff. So I was kind of intrigued with that process. Did you what was your recruiting product like when you would go to a school? Like who would take you out? Was the running backs there. They'd all take you out to eat and go out. Because I have a crazy story when I went and visited Louisville. I don't know if you remember quarterback named Browning Nagel. I don't remember. So, like when I was in coming out of high school, I didn't really drink or partner, you know, a little bit. I'd go hang out, but not nothing crazy. I go to Louisville and Browning nagels are starting quarterback and and he's like all right, let's go out, and so we go to bar. He just gets obliterated at the bar and we're somewhere in Louis I have no idea, and he in he's like you gotta drive us home and he had a little fiarre. Oh, remember those little fear of those cars. Yeah, and I'm dry. I have no idea where I am. There's no google maps, right. I literally drove around for about three hours. So I found the campus and find, you know, recognize where I was staying. I left him in the car and I just went in ore in the room. That's what I said. But that was like that. When you talk about those, those kind of make me think all those recruiting trip through this crazy stories like that. Yeah, and mycoon shows running backs and a few of the schools running backs took me out, but most of the time it was just, you know, whoever they assigned to me. You know, they are sign a guy front of team, you know, take care of this guy, but you ness running back, but most of the time it wasn't running backs. So what made you make ask? Good I didn't drink, though. So yeah, watch those guys. Kind of similar what you experience. Watch those guys like man, Guy's going and tell my parents, like man, that don't got drink really bad. Yeah, it's kind I kind of was the same way. So what made you, or what helped you make your decision to go to UN see? Oh, it was an easy decision. I committed the East Carolina when I was in a ten grade and and you know, it's different. It's different these days than what it was when we when we were back in school. You know, times keep changing. Yeah, and so I committed a ten grade but I really didn't want to go to East Carolina. You know, play football for some reason and UN see, I was a die whole. I was at die or tall heel from the start. But they have they didn't offer me in my tent, my tent grace my sophomore season, and soon as they offered me, I kind of a kind of uneague dome commitment with East Carolina and I made a decision. Go to USC I really care about any other school. I want to UNC yeah, you just want to go in those trips all the other schools. Yeah, just those trips. And they had good food too. Yeah. Well, you know, when you come from a small town like like you and I do, and you go to a place like I went to Louisville, Tulsa Temple, you know, Kansa state, I was like that's kind of far for me from from Ittsburg, you know what I mean. But you get the experience different things like that's first time I was ever on a plane. HMM.

Yeah, and when I went to college. Shoot, that was first time I've won playing see, I never took a plane trip a my recruiting visits. You. Yeah, you were all close, like you, there was a schools around you. Yes, I was close. So not wake forest, not wait for us. They wasn't really on my radar. I was really trying to do everything to go to USC everybody in my family was at our heel, and so once that happened, it kind of threw everything else, you know, put everything in place. So win. Yeah, that's awesome. So when did you get the nickname fast Willie, past Willie Parker? Was that high school or College? That was actually when I met Adam Fanica. Oh really, yeah, and they had other nicknames for me growing up, like they all dealt with speed. But when I met Adam Fanica and we you know, doing workouts, then we started like Ota's, the mini camps, artist stuff, he he, nicknamed me Fast Willie. That's awesome. That's awesome. I did. I thought I figured that Nick Because Lot oftimes you get a nickname, like through college. I think that they always stick with you and then you got that. Well, I mean obviously they knew what your forty was, right. Yeah, yeah, who really helped you define like, because it's like, yeah, some guys can run fast, but then you have to really refine it to be able to run really fast. Like, who was your teacher? Who helped you under still how to run? Well, guess I never find it. I just used to just run, really run fast, but I never ran really fast. So I just used to run. Somebody told me, if you want to if you if you want to run fast, you have to go practice running fast, and that's just you have to run fast. So and that's what I used to do. I took that with me and ace. You just do a lot of sprints, running really fast, and and I started off with probably three to five sprints and then as my endurance built up, I started doing more and more sprints. But yeah, really fast. Now. I wasn't really fast. I tell you did, since your quarterback and you can you kind of know. You've been around some fast guys. While I see the position, the cornerback position, those guys really fast, I don't know, it's running backs I've seen that are pretty few, know, pretty fast to who did. Who did you model yourself after, because you had to have somebody that you love to watch play the same position. I used to love watching burry sounders. I used to love watching m scar, but you know, you see those guys running rock. I tried, but I just started. You know, I had to stop and look myself in the mirror, like, you know what, I think speed is going to be my my, my, my dominant skill. So on. They were at Minnesota. He was a track guy. I want to say Robert smill. Yeah, Robert Smith, Super Fat. Yeah, I got he's just take it to that to take it to the house. Now he's just watch him and watch him and you know, and I was like, you know, I can be more like this guy then those guys. Those guys really talented and I tried hard of emulating some of their their styles and skills, and it's certain positions. But when I get in a position in the game, my instincts, my natural instance take over and I can never do to cut back like Barry Sanders. So I just had a stick to the the Robert Smell style. Yeah, I mean, well, there weren't aren't many people. They could do the very standers cuts I mean it's it's it's pretty amazing when you watch your old highlights. I went from DC of s playing for Washington and I got I got let go and I was going to go try to find other team. I go and the Lions comee say hey,...

...we want you to come up here and compete for the job or and I'm like, Oh, Barry Sanders is here, like I'm going to get the handoff and watch Barry Sanders run like every time. Like who's their quarterback? Forever I could see his name, but the number nine and sheep. What's that? Before Charlie Bats Right? Yeah, yeah, it was a before Charlie, but Scott, Scott, what's the help? What's his name? But anyway, he would just hand off and watch barry run all the time. I well, we got to do that. You know. I go up there, Barry retires right before training camp and I'm like a whole man that you still made to playoffs. So so that was too bad. But you know, when you watch all these guys, like I interviewed Emmett not too long ago and I asked him like where was that point where you really learned how to run? And he goes, you know what Gust it was in high school, like I really didn't play, like I played football in the backyard alls cousins and relatives and stuff. But he said I was in practice one time. We was in ninth grade, and he said this and they do the you know, the old Oklahoma drill, MMM, and he said I go and this dude comes up and just lays me out and the coach goes he said up, man, I don't want to do this anymore. I want to be running back and just get hit like this and the coach, he said that he got back in the line. The coach goes, Hey, you know, you can make him miss and he said, Oh, I'm allowed to make him miss in the hole. He said yes, that's the point of it, and then that's he said. That was like his thought process from you know, and it was pretty interesting to hear him talk about how he learned how to run and do all those things. But you guys all you know and I think it's just second nature, like how you learn all that. Like when you went to the steelers and you came from Carolina, was it a similar style offense for you or was it a lot different? It wasn't a lot different, but it was kind of similar. And in college we we kind of change about offense quite a bit, but it was kind of similar as far as with the zone style running and and with the counters and the traps. But in with the steelers I will say that, you know, we went from college having, you know, lane that wasn't wasn't in tune, and then go to the Pittsburgh still is, and they line was like, you know, it was just we was all this sink every single week and we yeah, it's just totally different. And Yeah, well, you had you in the bus and Deuce was there and you know, they kind of had different running styles in you right the bus was like yeah, you know, we're going to run power, we're going to go downhill. And so did they change their offense? Would you would come in, because you had some incredible games, like you get the saints and obviously in the Scuper Bowl. Would would the play calling be different or did was it kind of they just kept at the same. I think the play calling was a little bit different. If I they not got to do the same place for me as they would a bus or duce, like they like, you know what this guy he's pretty fast, so we can kind of that's that's kind of slip them out on the edge a little bit. Yeah, so it's the same place, place, the way you call the place, I'm sure you know. Yeah, like like, instead of push me in the middle first where nobody don't know who that I'm fast, like seend me outside and then come back in the middle of not a looking for me to go outside, because once I ran out, once I ran my first player, I got fourteen yards the first play, I want to say I ran. It was against Eagles in the NFL, and you know, didn't the second play they kind of pushed me back in the middle. But Um, yeah, I think it's as it was. Same play, called him, but just different style. Different style, the way they called the place. Yeah, how do you think you would do today with how offenses are? Like? I feel like you would, you know,...

...because it's all spread. You know, back in the day, you know, you had tight end, you had a full back and your power running with the steelers. I mean that's kind of like old steeler football. That was it. Now it's like you want to been today, like, you know, the steelers last few years. There's like three, four five wides, everybody spread out in the running rpls, but poor ben can't run after he hands it all, so he's either throwing it or rning it off. But, like, I feel like you probably would have liked that kind of offense. You know, really wouldn't? I really wouldn't know until I'm placed in that position and in and having them make some yours and having a have a different role. So I'll be like I look at the offense it's in today's football and I'm like, what if I was out there, like, what could I do? You know, but one thing about at least you and I, you know, we got to test it. This is we always adapt to whatever is given. And I remember when bea took over, Bruce Ayons took over as offensive coordinators. That's the style that he was pushing in Pittsburgh. And Yeah, I wasn't a at that time. I wasn't a big fan because I would use the power of football and I can, you know, do a lot of stuff with power football. But even though I wasn't a powerful guy, but everybody was spreading the defense out, protecting the edges, and power wasn't necessarily a power anymore. You know it was kind of open with a seven man box, you know. So it would be an interesting to see, like how would have been me being on his spread offense. Okay, that's similar to what we had in college, spread offense, and I didn't do so well in college, like far as with the spread offense. Yeah, you know, I think they're going to play to your strings, obviously. Everyone. I want to thank you for listening to huddle up with gusts. Thanks for joining us today. We are talking with Willie Parker. You can check us out at huddle up with Gusts Ofcom or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. We were just talking to Willie a little bit about different styles of running, you know, different offenses. How do they cater to different kinds of running backs? So if you go and see like the difference between college, because do you feel like college for you, Willie, was more intense because, you know, I only had to do all the work on the field, in the weight room and running, and then you had to go to class. You feel like it when you got to the pros? It's not a break, but it's just different. Do you feel like there was a big difference for you? I felt it was a big difference for me and if I could go back in time, I would have put more instants on, you know, of having that, you know, that steady time or that steady pid like even when I went to the League. You know. Yeah, you know, because y'all quarterbacks, y'all steady y'all have to study the play book inside and now y'all have to know where everybody's doing at every at any time of the game. You have to know whose motioning, you have to know where, and then you have to look at the defense and see what they're doing. Right. So I will, I will if, if I go back in time, I would try to, you know, incorporate that part of, you know, educating a knowledge into my game. So, but answer your question, yeah, coming from college to the League, yeah, it was more like a you know, it was more of a relief like, you know, you not doing steady all, you're not going this, not doing that, not as rule like that. You have a Tenerary, but it's more like a business schedule and you look at it as a business schedule and you look at as a work schedule. And in college you liking at Man and when...

...am I going to get a break, you know. Yeah, yeah, because you had to go to study. I had to go to study hall. You Miss Study Hole. Oh Man, I'm getting up at six half morning, running stairs. You know, coaches are always on you about everything, and then when you go into the League, now you're on your own. I mean they're going to give you times and things when to be there, but it's up to you. It's your job to get your choice, to do it the right way, because if you do it the wrong way, you're not going to get another opportunity. Facts. Facts. So and college. I will I will compare it to our military, military schedule, like you have to diss this disc and can't miss anything and you have to be you know, you have to be there five or ten minutes early in in the National Football League, I would say that it's more, you know, either do or die. You either do it or you you not going to be there anymore. Yeah, it is. It is a lot different. So, I mean you went to two super bowls and you played how many six years in the League? Six years. Yes, sir. So you went to two super bowls. I mean that's amazing. Like, so you come in and you know were you was what year has been? Same Year we came mean the same. You can't came in the same year. So you're both rookies. You come in, he's playing. You go to the Super Bowl. What was that whole thing like for you? I mean, that's that to me is crazy, because I come in and you work hard. You know, I never got there. I never got an opportunity to go to that game and experience at all. What was that experience for you? Man, it was a great experience within two years of my meeting and the National Football League, being in a super bowl, the game that watch as a child and always imagine myself running out the tunnel. And then had the opportunity to run out the tunnel and we didn't get a chance. When out the tunnel, we said entire team coming out the tunnel. So say they won't call him to start in line up, like we decided that everybody run out. We do together, yeah, which was good, and but I always had that dream of my name getting called and I run out onto the field, you know, and it was just an amazing feeling. Just when the kickoff that was that had to be the most amazing moment. Like, Oh, the game to see all the cameras flash and it seemed like it was just one big flash when the kickoff and the game started. Did you you know when I talked a lot of guys about transitioning after they've played and you know when it's over, it's over. But you had off oportunities to go to these big games through the playoffs. You meet tons of people. Did you use that to your advantage now, like when you with your thirty nine legends foundation and all these things, that you have an opportunity to meet a lot of people in all these kind of situations, because I look back into I wish I would have kind of wrote more people's numbers down and stayed friends with more people, just because when you get out it's like it's like going you know, you don't realize how much you can use all that when you're done playing. Yes, and I wish the same. I wish I could have, you know, network more as I was playing football. But I will say, though, I met a great business minded partner while I was playing in a national football league and he me and him and so he made well, we made a transition. I when football was over. It was a smooth transition, but I wish I would have met more people like this guy, you know. So I feel the same way as you did. Yeah, because I don't think like right, because this coaches, the people in the building, they're not really talking about all the stuff right that it's about winning games and putting your all your effort into practice and...

...lifting and winning games on Sunday. And I don't remember a lot of conversations is saying look, at some point your career you're going to be done and you need to make these right. We make, we all make some money there, but if you don't take care of it and do it the right way, it's not going to last forever. I think I think that that NFL PA, they did a great job when we was, when I was in the league, of kind of directing you some day this being over, and kind of telling you and educating you own certain things that you're going to face on some the game is over. I think they did a great job and preparing us, but it's not to you to go and take some of those leads and and make the best out of like those moments. And I meet personally, I didn't make the best out of those moments. I'm and being in a certain situations, going to a lot of those charity balls and charity events and in dinners. I wish I could have, you know, neck worked a little more when I played. Yeah, because it all helps you when you're done. I mean, that's that's that's for sure, because I mean you're still you still have a record for the longest rush and Super Bowl history. And is that what you won the s before? I can't remember. I was trying to find it. No, its because a team has it was the best play in it was a best team play and I guess for that year and the play was said Ashley Send An, Tony Your homes his play. When. Yes, and I think that the best team too, if I'm not mistaken, that year. So yeah, so it was on sent ton of your homes is play, if I'm not mistaken. Yeah. Well, I mean the throat from bend in the corner of the end zone. I mean that's it's hard to beat in the Super Bowl, you know, to win a game like that. I mean you were you were part of some incredible teams. What's your favorite memory of being part of the steelers organization? Man, just the Camaraderie and being you know, being around some of those guys that I grew up watching and being in that same locker room and actually being in the same breath. You knows, we had a lot of great team like athletes, you know, like, yeah, brands own and off the field, and the most special moments that I had was pretty much just just having fun with them and having a goal and chasing a dream and going out there in the competition and went in a super bowl. Yeah, I mean that's that. You did have an amazing cast of characters. Right, every team does, but I feel like the steelers organization has always done it for the right way. I've played for seven teams and I can say a lot of them don't do it the right way and because, like when I played for the Bangals, it was not the right way. We were all miserable. But I can guarantee we had a lot of incredible talent on that team. Forrey Dylan is a running back, you know, orens O'Neil's a fullback, some incredible lineman. But you just was different and I always felt like, growing up in the whole way through, because the rudies were the same, that the organization really brought that Camaraderie and did a lot for you guys. Do you feel like that? I feel like that. Yes, they keep it more family oriented and you know, they being just officially retired within a week. He play what sixteen years? He seen season eight hundred and eighteen, eighteen seasons, and that says a lot. Like I step by eighteen seasons. You are leader. You know we're going to we're going to write it down with you and they've done a lot...

...of other players the same way. And they let it be your choice if you want to, you know, be with the family and organization or you want to go out, you know that's on you, but they definitely give you a choice and they do a great job of acruiting great players that come play for them. Yeah, they really do here everyone, thanks for listening to huddle up with guests. We're joined by Willie Parker today. Don't forget to check us out at huddle up with gustscom wherever you listen to your favorite podcast. Willie and I were just discussing his time at the steelers and everything that happened and, you know, just amazing stories. Willie, I wanted to kind of talk to you about what just happened with Brian Fluorez and everything that came out with the lawsuit. We know Mike Thomas been at the steelers for a long time, but man is it just gives the NFL and certain teams such a bad look when things like this happened, because we know it's still is part of the NFL and we know that what blind Brian floors is talking about, it's happening. He wouldn't come out and say it and ruined trying to jeopardize his whole career for wasn't happening. But how do you feel about that? Like I wanted to get it from your side because it's just something that I think needs to be discussed more and it needs to be talked about. The runey rules amazing, but I think there's just so many people that are still evading it, finding loopholes to get around it. Yeah, I think we definitely NFL need more more, you know, minority coaches like leading these teams on and just, you know, it just makes everything, you know, worthwhile. Just see what we could do, see what the minorities can do and least give them that shot and that chance to become at a head man, you know, but at the end of the day, I want to see how I do end that I end up, for as the lawsuit, I want to see, you know, where it go if he have a case, and just see where it goes. But the way I feel about it, I just want to I was actually blessed the play on a coach, Tom and, and he's definitely, he definitely was a great coach and he definitely, you know, developed me as a young athlete. So, you know, yeah, and I feel like as as like like black coaches, they have to have like they have to be excellent, where all the other coaches just can be whatever right, you know what I mean, like, even though guys could fire, like Brian Floris was talking about that on television this morning, that like we have to be excellent and everything we do or else we're looked upon differently. And I don't think it needs to be that way. I think it needs to be what you said, like we have opportunities. You got to give us opportunities to go prove herself. If we don't prove ourselves, that's different, but you got to give us the opportunity to go and do that, and I think hasn't anything in Life, not just as coaching matter, but anything. You have yet opportunity first and foremost, and and then judge someone at the day. They had an opportunity to see how they have done or whatever, and then judge and you know. So you know he's in my prayers and I hope that things change and it's continuing to change on a daily basis. But you know, we're see everything turn out. Yeah, so you're coaching now, right? Are You still coaching? I'm coaching Little League football and I thought you were. So you were at Duke though, for a little while. I would I did internship at Duke. I did internship at his d three college as well, and I had to see out of Frit with the see of that's what I wanted to do at a time and it requires a lot the book. Here Cook, not a hand coach, but just in the coaching business, right. You a coach? No, I coach a little bit of high school when I was done. Where my kids went to high school. Became the head coach there and I was lucky I had two incredible athletes are still playing in the NFL today. I had to Zekil Elliott and Foya...

Lucon with the Falcons. So you know, it's not hard to be a coach when you got those two on your team. Hey Zee, when to give you the ball the first half and then let the other guys play. MMM, facts. I was out from Pennsylvania. What's that? The cool play ball in Pennsylvania? No, it's when I was in St Louis so Zekis and for from St Louis. They my kids went to school called John Burrows and they were there. And then when I retired and end up like kind of coming around helping out, and then the head coach retired and they asked me if I'd be interested in, you know, interviewing for the job's a true I'd love to and and we went to three state championships, but it was just a lot of fun. It was a great experience. I tried to get back into the NFL as a coach, but I think once you're out too long then it's hard to get back in. I think if I would have went right back in from when I was playing, been better, but once I was out too long, it's kind of like it's really tough to get back. Yeah, yeah, but I'm doing some similar to I'm coaching my son and literally for ball and some dawn we coach my high school as well, just as you yeah, yeah, you know what one of the craziest things I did my first year after I retired in o nine, I coached my son's team. I think they were six year olds, right. So I'm trying to figure out like, okay, I know a language that they don't know, right, and I got to not only teach it to these six year old kids but all their dads who think they know football, they don't really understand any of it. And so I called my my father in law, who was my high school football coach. We ran the wing tea in high school, right, so it's very disciplined, it's kind of it's really easy to remember. And then I'm trying to teach not only the kids, all these positions. Now I have all these DADS who want to help, but they have no idea what I'm talking about either. So my first year I was it was really frustrating. And then you really have to kind of like take your language down a step, right, so they understand it and explain it to him. And I probably look back and say I would have done it a little bit differently. Just made it super easy and, you know, blocked the guy in front of you or you know, there was just ways that the even though for high school players I think the wing t was it's really good, but for those little kids it was a little harder to understand, almost definitely. And I'm must say, six years six years old. So yeah, I had I'm doing the same thing for us, taking that language and yeah, you just black him, you just block him, you just run there, you know. So right, I will. I kind of imagine doing a wing tea. It's say, well, I had, I mean I had all the coaches. I was on calls with them. We have zoom back then, but but I would call them, like all these guys that coach me in high school, right and and we just had a few plays. We'd run a sweep, we run a trap and we you know, you trying to get these kids to step with the right foot and do all the stuff. And and then kind of into like week three, I'm like, yeah, I don't know, I just got to kind of make it a lot easier and say, you know, hey, look, we're going to run this way. If there's a different Color Jersey in front of you just block them for yeah, so you know what I mean. That was kind of how it is. It's tough at that age. High School will get better, but even then you're going to have guys that really don't understand the game. HMM, that's interesting. Well, I'll give you example. My father always told the story. He said we were at practice one day and we had we just started. It was two days and I told everybody getting a two point stance, right, and everybody just standing two point and there's a kid down the ground like a regular stance, and he's like in a three point stance instead. So my father, I was like thinking, like what's going on here, said okay, everybody get in a three point stand. So the kids stayed the same and he's looking, he's trying to figure out what this kid's doing,...

...and then he goes all right, everybody getting a four point stance. So both hands on the ground, both feet in the ground and kids in the three points stance. And he notices he put four fingers down. So when a two point stance a kid put two fingers down and a three point stance a kid with three fingers. And he said okay, like hit that just made him realize that, like you're telling is stuff, but not everybody even understands the simplest thing. So you really every year you got to explain it and go back to the basics. Hmm, I think that by have to do. Always go bat you the basis every single season. Yeah, I mean we always did. Write in the pros. You start over every year with this is where you started to begin in the playbook. Okay, here's how we holdle up. Here's the snap count. Every year you do the same thing. Go Bat you the basics. Facts, right, that is fat. I love that facts. I love that. Turn. Where did you? Would you? You've always said that. I always say that. For some reason, I don't know why it's true. I say facts. So I love did you say it's a steelers? That is I was a saying facts. No, I was a sandy day, like I could just see you in the huddle, like they call your play right, right, right, and called a power in. You're like yeah, facts, you know it's go now. Hotal, I used to say I'll meet me in the zone. Yeah, I love that. That's a great one. That's always kind of meet me in his zone. I love it. Oh Hey, we lost. Willie's coming back, though. I appreciate everyone joining us on huddle up with gusts. You know, we got one little final segment here. We're going to Willie and the end zone at the end and we're going to hear some more about them. But check me out at hoddle up with gustcom or wherever you listen to your favorite podcast. So, Willie, you know, we're talking a little bit about what you're doing today. You went through a little internship and coaching. Now you're coaching your son and then I also heard that you have a foundation that you're really taking hold of and thirty nine legends. Tell me a little bit about that. Thirty nine legends on. Foundation was established, you know, to help, you know, the younger generation now, help kids out in any way possible to see and dream bigger, you know, and we've been doing a great job at and in going into our getting into our communities and, you know, giving back as well. So we we own a mission to do whatever we can to help like these younger kids that, you know, get off that IPAD or get out that living room and, you know, just dream bigger. Yeah, you know, and it's hard and it takes people like you with those kind of that want to to help people, because not everybody's like that, right. I do. We all do different ways of charity and doing different things, but, like with you, you understand how important that is. Like when I was talking to Sharia before the show, she was talking about how you guys hand it out Turkeys and then you're helping people during Christmas. Those little things can change a kids life, to put him in the right direction. I really do believe that to as well. You know, just kids seeing that, you know, when they're young and they don't really, you know, understand like certain things and they see a guy giving or see organization giving back and putting smiles on individuals faces. When they get a certain age, they're going to understand, you know, what is, what is about, like know, and even if you touch one of those kids and in helping him like see and dream of a bigger future, that's just, you know, that's, you know, part of like some of the issues that's out here, you know, at least like finding a solution to some of these issues that's out here today. What's the craziest question you ever got from a kid? All they right now these kids that US me to they they want to know all, like, you know, I relevant stuff.

You know, today they they asked me how hard it Ray Lewis here. They asked me money questions, anything about finances, about my house. But yeah, they talking about and then once they look me up, they talk about just different NFL play, Obj Juju, yes, stuff like that. Man. Yeah, like like they're not like guys that aren't even on your team. You're like, Hey, what's this guy like? I'm like, no, I've never met him. They're like what do you mean? Never met him? I'm like, well, we weren't on the same team. I don't know him like you'd see him on a Sunday. But it's not like you're you're hanging out backs and they think, just because use in the NFA, that you know all these players and that you steal hanging with him and that you know him. And you tell them you don't know. They they don't understand right now. They really don't. But it is the first question usually when you go talk to kids, always like how much money did you make? That's the first question always right. They want to know that you have a do you have a mansion? Yeah, what kind of car you drive? Yes, I have a two thousand and thirteen GMC truck and they give it like like what. So it's good. That wasn't in the NFL. Right, what's that? Yeah, but I just guy wasn't in the NFL. Oh, yeah, yeah, you know kids, they don't care. They'll just say it dod. That's what's great about it. Whatever they're thinking, just come straight out. But I did her hear that you have a big shoe collection. Is that right? Yes, I slow down a lot, but I use collect Jordan's and some designer shoes and now I'm you know, I slow down just a little bit tap, especially with the Jordan's. I think I was a big joining fan going up. So yeah, so, yeah, I collect out all the style Jordan's Ould in numbers and I just put him in my closet and I don't even really I don't even worry. Yeah, it's that's well. I mean I collect, like we all do something. We collect different things some of us. You know, I collect old baseball cards. I did that with my dad and now I like football and basketball and baseball, hockey, you name it, with my kids. So we all do together. It's kind of fun. I got him in into it over the pandemic because we're stuck at home for like six months. I'm like, Oh, let's go through my collection and organize it, and they got really into it. Now they do it a lot, but it's cool. We all collect something. Do you have a pair of the what is it? The Freddy Kruegers? The Freddy Cougar's? No, I don't think I have any Freddy cougars. Yeah, things just those things are sweet. Well, and I don't know all the names to join. What number already? Oh, I don't know. I don't know they I just know they have that Freddy Krue like his his shirt from the movie, like it sweater he wore. It's like the design on the shoe. I think they're Jordan's, but they're just Freddy Krueger's. Okay. I mean I've watched those shows on you plays those kids that like buying re sell the shoes and all that stuff. It's a crazy business. is a crazy business. I make a lot of money in that business. Who would have thought, like when if we were fourteen and we went to our parents and we said Hey, I'm going to buy this pair of shoes for a hundred fifty bucks and I can resell them for three hundred. My Dad would have said, there's no way I'm getting you any money you have. My Dad would kicking me out that house. Definitely. Definitely. Yeah. So, so what's your prediction for this, for this next Super Bowl coming up? I mean somebody from the AFC and north is in it. I may not. I feel like you got to stick strong to the AFC. Man. It's going to be a good game. I just want to watch a good football game. That's when I turn my TV on and watch football. That's really what what I'm trying to trying to see just a good football game, just a sitement, citing plays. I don't want anyone that that break my...

...record, of course, but yeah, I don't either. So, but I definitely want to watch. I want to watch a good football game. What what point of that run did you realize this is I'm gone. I'm going to see all the guys in the end zone. So that's soon as I sort of whole. So yes, I oh, man, in my my eyes lit up and man, it would just it was just when I watch a play, I watch the free say that I think it was strong safety he kind of made the wrong decision. On which side, though. There's nobody left and it was gone fast. Willie Parker was gone. They made their own decision on that one. Yeah, yeah, he did, but man, what teams you guys had. I love what I mean. Even though I was playing in the NFL, I've always been a see, I try to play for the steelers like three times and never made like. They took grand one time, they took Charlie one time, and then when I was I actually intern for the Pittsburgh pirates after my senior year of cut in college. HMM, and before you know, in the spring during the and I actually was in three river stadium every day just wishing they would come over, because I grew up here, wishing they would come over and say hey, you know, we're going to draft you. You know that obviously didn't happen, but it was kind of you know, just growing up and watching the steals forever and it was amazing to watch your career and you know, it was a shame that it ended so fast. How how was that for you? Because we all end in different way. I broke my mind ended because I broke my back and you know, I know, we all have these crazy injury. You broke a lot of bones on your body, man, Dude. It's I'm feeling it today, believe me, man. But it was ending my career in seasons. I had a goal, I said, you know, a c ten years. So I didn't get I didn't reach my goal. So, you know, when you go out too soon and anything you do, you know you you have. You look back and try to find certain regrets, you know, and I try not to live my life from regrets, but I definitely live my life off experience. So I look back at it and I seen what I didn't do and that's how I coached my youngest son, you know, off of my socalled failures. You know. So it is what it is. This you know. You know it about it all day. We can, you know, go grab a beer and selling and we chop it up, but it's going to be the same story probably for me. Do you if we didn't in that career like retires, say and you know, I'm hanging it up tomorrow, kind of sort of like how being did you know Tom Brady just did you just have all sorts of all source of memories, but you played a long time. But you play fifteen years. Yeah, you did hang yours up like kind of well, I mean I have as keep I mean I was a quarterback. I was sound like I was getting hit all the time and I tried to play another year with the Rams flunk my physical I was just like, okay, I'm thirty eight, you know, and I can't run like I used to. You can't move like used to, you know, and you're not like the guy like Ben I'm sure if been was bounced around, he probably wouldn't to play this on, but he was the guy in Pittsburgh. So you got to play longer. But it is hard, man, because when you have to work out and you true you know you thirty eight. I give Tom Brady a lot of credit for, you know, the kind of shape he stayed in. It's not easy, and and what he did in his later in his career, because I remember being thirty five and being in Miami fighting for a job. But I'm running gassers down in Miami. He with running backs that are twenty two years old. You know what I mean. And you're list like how am I supposed to keep up with you know, it just it's just a different it's a different story,...

...but you know, we all have those tales to tell. You know, it's one day. I think the best thing about us is when we get together that people don't realize. It's like all of our stories from the locker room. And I mean think about the guys you were with day in and day out and how how many laughs you had. You know, the emotions that went into everything. And now, I'm sure you take me think about that. There's sometimes I'm just sitting in the car thinking about that stuff and it just made even makes me laugh. Makes me. Yeah, wow, you know what I mean. It's very impactful, man. It's patted my life a lot just just that them locker room conversations and you know, the stuff used to do as a team, you know, and I think that's that's that camaraderie that that everyone shit experience and yeah, something in life. You know it. It definitely keep you strike, keep your head on straight. Yeah, yeah, it was. was was the buses of jokes are in your room. I feel like you would have been a hundred percent. Yeah, under percent. He's so free too, funny. What was the best thing he did like that? I know that there was stuff that would happen and you just like you were practicing, but you talked about it all practice. Yeah, so, so stuff he did. I'm not going to tell you the whole thing, but id tall you the party that with me. So I fell asleep in the meeting room. I'm starting, I fest dip in the Me Room and I fell feel people doing stuff at me and you know the coach coaching, he not saying anything. Everybot going. Have you said? When I finally wake up, like I see somebody right in my face. He looking at me, look at it. Kind of shot me like hey, you can't with the owls and come out and try to show the eagles next day. You know. He let that sink in. And everybody else they they just, you know, we all grown in. And then I'm looking around if you hitting me in my head. Hey, you're just trying to wake you up. Yeah, facts, that's that's funny, because I was so you know, you take a team picture every team you go on and take so I was in DC and we got on a bus to go take a team picture down in front of one of the monuments, I can't remember which one was, and I'm on the back of the bus you know, and it's like a bus ride, like we were on like a school bus. I fell sleep in the back right. I was like just passed out, and then I wake up and I hear my name called, just like you did. They were thrown, they were yelling my name and here the bus was empty. Everybody was already lined up for the picture and I was sleeping on the bus because rust grim made everybody get off the bus room quiet and and I was I was the last one out. Like you talk about feeling like an idiots. It was hilarious. I love Russy Graham May. He's an amazing dude. Man. He has the best stories I've ever heard. A hundred percent. He's a good dude here, because every day, you know, you stretch out there and he come, he walk out and he's like Jim Hannaffin would come first and he give me a piece of gum and rust grim would walk out and he'd sit beside me and he tell me a new joke every day of the season of it. I was just Russ here, beast man. Yeah, he was man. Well, Hey, let all of our fans know how they can how they can find you, how they can check out your foundation and hopefully how we can help you in in raising money for I really appreciate that. But anyway, you can find me on on on IG at fast, Willie Parker, thirty nine. But you also, if you are want to look out, want to give back to your community, give back to the foundation. Just some reach out of thirty nine LEDGES FOUNDATIONCOM and we've definitely will appreciate it and...

I'm definitely grateful for your support and that's awesome. Are you on cameo or any of those kind of sites? I'm not. No, I'm not. There's a new one of the NFL. I'm not. Just did. It's called millions. You should check it out. You get a signing bus to food up. So I know that always ran. Everybody wait every bales for us. Oh Yeah, yeah, you could do like they pay you to do, like like this, Zoom with fans to watch games. Millions. I'M gonna check it out. Yeah, go. I think you probably, if you're part of the NFL alumni, they probably sent you an email about yeah, check it out. Hey, Willie, man, it was great catching up with you. I know we never got to play together, but I watched your career and you know it was true fast, Willie Parker. You know you got some super bowls, you did a lot of great in this league and now you're still doing great things for kids everywhere. So I appreciate you and thank you for joining me on huddle up with gusts. Yeah, appreciate you having me guess, and I know you had a great and long career, something that I wanted to have. Oh Man, in due respect, man, I chill. My hat off to you, man, but take care of your body, making breaking out them bubbles, man. Oh Yeah, I'm starting to get surgeries now to fix them all, like I was a couple of years I just was done with surgery. So now I gotta go get my shoulder fix, getting my new knee. Hey, when you turn fifty, like I did last year, you know, you guys, there's a different way to take care of yourself. You look a lot younger than fifty. That's show. I don't know about that. Man, looking at that gray hair. I got that got white hair. That's good. Why? That means I'm wise. Can you wise? Yeah, right, hey, very willi be and I appreciate you. Man. Thank you so much and thanks for having me. Guys, have a going Mannie time. Just reach out to me. I appreciate if you have a golf tournament for the thing, let me know. Be Down. We're do have a go on. All right, take care of see you. Hey, everyone has another episode of huddle up with Gusts. Great guest today, Willard Parker. Hey, check us out at huddle up with gustscom wherever you listen to your favorite podcast. Another great episode. Super Bowl hero, longest rushing play ever in super bowl history. Amazing. Thanks, Willie, and thank you to all the fans and we'll see you next week on huddle up with guess that's a rapport thanks for joining in the fun. Studios for a numbers featuring fifteen year L quarterback Gust Rock. Huddle up with gusts is probably prettuced by one thousand, six hundred and thirty one digital media and disavailable happy music.

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