Huddle Up with Gus
Huddle Up with Gus

Episode · 1 year ago

Matt Birk

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Joining me in the Huddle this week is my former teammate and friend, Matt Birk. He played center and was a Super Bowl Champion with the Baltimore Ravens, a 6-time Pro Bowler and Walter Payton Man of the Year. He had an incredible NFL career and continues his endeavors off the field with his company, https://www.mattbirkandcompany.com

Join me in the Huddle with Matt Birk!

...welcome everyone to huddle up with Gus. I'm your host, 15 year NFL quarterback Gus, for, uh, we're here in the new 16 31 digital news studio. If you wanna learn more or listen to previous shows, you can check us out on our website. Huddle up with gus dot com, or you could listen to us on the new radio dot com app. Wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts while in the huddle, our guests describe how sports shaped their life. Now let's join the huddle. Everyone welcome back to huddle up with us on your host guest for a 15 year NFL quarterback. Uh, you're joining us today in the 16 31 digital news studio. You can also listen to us on K s I X in Corpus Christi, Texas. Uh, today we're joined by a new old friend of mine. Sometimes I was really, really close with him. Uh, and sometimes I wasn't, so we'll find out what that means. But joining me today six time Pro Bowler to time, All pro, uh, center. Great father. Great husband, You know, doing a lot for his community. Six time Viking man of the year. You name it. This guy's done it. Joining me today is my good old friend, Matt Birk. Matt, how're you doing? I'm great, Gus. It's good to see you again. Great to see you. You look wonderful. Matt is one of these guys that left the NFL, got real skinny and then took pictures with his shirt off. I never did that. So, Matt, what was that like for you to lose all that weight? Well, it wasn't. It wasn't hard. You know what the secret to losing weight is. Just need to start at a really high number, which I was was about £315 of my plan day. So there was There was nowhere to go but down. And it's nice when you could be down to 2. 40 or to 50 and everybody's telling you, man, you're skinny. What they mean is I'm skinny compared to what I used to be. But it's not unfortunate because I love eating. And so if you're an offensive lineman and you're naturally not £300 love of eating actually serves you well. And then I'm done. Plan and I get to get down to at least a somewhat normal size. So no more of those days of you and I going to lunch and you eating too cute job burritos with everything on in some good cheese and all that. I think the first time when you first signed with the Vikings, you're like, Hey, let's grab a bite to eat. And I was like, Yeah, we're gonna go to this place and I took you to the burrito joint and it was like a drive to because my calories were important to me And yeah, you sat down and you got one burrito and I got to and we, uh that's that's how it all started for us. Yeah, I've been going on the wrong way since we've been done. I I'm looking at the often I'm looking like I could play maybe, like left guard right now. So, uh, you know what do you What do you gonna dio? It is life. I'm like you. I love to eat, and, uh, you know, I always say when we were playing and we got the opportunity to go in, work out hard every day, do those kind of things, and after 25 years of doing it straight, man. My body just told me that I don't want to do that anymore. Now I'm trying to get back and right the ship. So it's been a journey for me. It's been crazy. It is kind of fun. They'll be in untold athlete. At least at least I don't feel that guilty when I don't work out because like you just said, I worked out hard for so many years. So I feel like I'm entitled to skip work out here. There may be, you know, 10 or 12 in a row. Yeah, so there's so many things I want to talk to you about. But let's get started from when you your first memory from when you were a kid, it could have been some family member. Could have just been an idol you had. I know you grew up in Minnesota, but what's that first memory where you remember like man, I love sports. This is what I wanna do someday. Gosh, uh, yeah. I mean, I don't know if a Sfar, as I can remember it was lucky. I grew up in a neighborhood. It's just a bunch of kids just running around you know, in the streets, in the alleys, right. It was the eighties. Um, times were different than they are now. And I can remember our house was right in the middle of the block, and I can remember we would, um we would play football my yard and then the two yards next to it. We would just, you know, there was a tree and there was sidewalks and whatever, but we would just play tackle football. Yes, I was probably five or six years old and there was 89 and 10 year olds. And you just It's just what we did, you know, we had I remember we had a blue. It's a football. If you remember that, it's a football. It was like a step up from from the Nerf. And, uh, we just played outside and I can remember those games, and it's just I don't know, sports is just what we did, man. You know, it was e read the sports section every single day, like memorize it, just pour over it cover to cover, like 20 times, and we didn't have cable or anything. So stay up and try to get that two minutes and sports on the 10 o'clock news and and that was it. Yeah, it's just sports is just part of how I grew up and have to. Two younger brothers were pretty close in age, had...

...a dad who was a baseball player, and it was just It was just what we did. Yeah, I always had a ball in the house, always had a ball in your hand. That's the way I was growing up. I was the youngest of four and I had to find my friends in the community. That's we rode our bikes everywhere, just like you, and we were always out playing basketball, baseball, whatever. It didn't matter. Andi. I always thought the greatest thing about that was there was no parents. There's no referees. There's nobody telling you. You just kind of figured things out yourself. And if you fell and got hurt, the other guys came, picked you up and y'all it was always something that you learned from in those situations. And I believe a lot of my sports memories are like yours where they came from being in the neighborhood. Yeah, I wasn't, you know, of course, we played like rec league stuff. I wasn't any good at sports, so that might have helped a little bit. But I never did any travel teams or made any All Star teams. In fact, uh, might claim toe fame, if you will, Was that I never wanted trophy on growing up on my younger brother, who was a great athlete, and he kind of seemed to get not to travel. Sports was this huge thing. It certainly wasn't what it is today. But he would make all the All Star teams and they would win. He has hit this room. My little brother had a room full of trophies and I had nothing but a majority of my sports were played in the yard in the alley. I don't know how we did it, but a bunch of us would just bike up to the to the playground. And they were like kids from the other neighborhoods were there, and somehow we just all knew that we were meeting at a certain time and we would There was no watches or anything. Streetlights popped on you. You rush home and that was it. You know, I'm sure. I'm sure we romanticize it. a little bit, Gus. I'm sure it wasn't all that were that it was cracked up to be. But, man, with all these kids, I have a bunch of kids and trying to navigate this youth sports world. I mean, I gotta I gotta believe at least it was better than it is now. Well, I can almost guarantee our parents sent to put didn't put the miles on their cars like we do, because we have to travel and take our kids everywhere because everything is organized. There's not some neighborhood group going out anymore and playing in the back. I've never see it anymore. And I live in a little small town in Pittsburgh. You just don't see it anymore. It is kind of sad. We do romanticize it, and times have changed. But, um, I just think that kids missed that a lot. Yeah, I got I got a little bit of trouble. I shouldn't say anything. You put on Twitter, you're going to get blowback from, but you know, this the pandemic. And obviously there's a lot of things going on there. But one of the things I said was, I'm kind of enjoying the break from youth sports. Uh, more time with the family. More time. My boys in the yard with a ball neighborhood Kids, actually, kind of like coming over and saying, Hey, what are you doing? Lett's. It kind of reminded me of that, and it kind of made me made me smile a little bit. Uh, yeah, I know that the pandemics not gonna last forever, but it was kind of kind of enjoying that pause for for me personally, for my kids, so they could experience a little bit of how I grew up. And then us is a family, too. I mean, there are some seasons where we hardly ever have family dinner together, and that's and that's really unfortunate. And I feel like we do a pretty good job of not getting caught up in everything and saying no to a lot of the the travel sports, But But it's hard. It may be because because I have a kids. It's just the sheer volume of kids. Its's impossible. Uh, but yeah, it Z yeah, I don't know. I mean, you know, I don't think we're gonna go back to those days, but it is. I agree. It is important for kids to have that unstructured, no parent playtime. And they can They can really just be kids. Yeah. So you had a few brothers you played with you. You were growing up. You kind of had sports in your family. It seems like, um, when you get to that next level, So where your brother is older or younger than you, they're both younger. But there's only three years total between three of us. Also, you're pretty close. So you go on to like that high school, that transition, you're leading the way for your brothers and you go to that. That ninth grade step was always big for a lot of people. Um, you know, because then all of a sudden you may be able to play varsity sports. You may be playing all these other things and doing these different things. What was that experience like for you from, you know, growing up in a neighborhood all of a sudden in high school. And there's, you know, it's a different game for kids. And sometimes that transitions pretty hard. Yeah. I mean, I think I knew I wasn't great at sports. I was actually short fat and slow and weak, and but I just loved it, you know, It didn't it didn't bother me that I wasn't good at sports. I guess I just always, you know, I always knew that I wasn't one of the good kids. I wasn't picked first. And so I was okay with just going out for the team and and and trying out and and...

...then something kind of happened between my freshman and sophomore year. I grew like seven inches. I actually thinned out. I discovered the weight room and I kind of felt like Man, I like, I like lifting weights and I wanna be I wanna be like a big, strong guy. And then the biggest thing was that I actually Then I Then I went out for football for the first time in 10th grade, and I kind of discovered that I had a few gifts that I didn't know I had, which was getting in people's way and grabbing onto him. And so I For the first time, I really start having gets in a sport which was football. And then, uh, you know, I think just because I kind of hit a growth spurt physically came into my own a little bit. I was loved. Basketball's got pretty good basketball all of a sudden. And then it was kind of like Okay. I mean, I was never one of the most athletically gifted guys, but I loved it. I loved Thio, but it was in the weight room or just shooting baskets by myself. I put in what I would call the lonely work. I just loved doing it. Nobody ever had to tell me to do it. My parents would never in a million years with my parents ever forced me to do anything or say, Hey, you gotta go practice this or you gotta go lift weights. They just they let me be. But it was something that I just I had the intrinsic motivation Thio Thio do whatever it waas thio get better. And, uh, you know, by the time I was a senior in high school, I was I was I was I wasn't a great, but I was. I was a pretty good high school athlete. I went to high school that has a good tradition of sports. I mean, we've got Heisman Trophy winners and first round draft picks and all the sports. But I was kind of lucky my year. There was a little bit of a lull, and I was able Thio was able to play football and basketball and have have a lot of success and have great experience. Well, I think you were that guy that you're definitely I did hear that you had some good defense of skills on the hoop court locking down, Uh, what was his name Jacobson or somebody like that that you locked down for? Yeah, You the greatest, greatest high school basketball player in the state of Minnesota. We played him in the section finals and we beat him, and I held him to 29 points. And the reason he didn't have 50 because I let him shoot as many threes as he wanted. And he he was a little off that night. Yeah, and if he came inside, he had to deal with somebody who likes to grapple a little bit. Probably, huh? I was by that point, I was definitely a football player on the basketball court. Yes. Yeah, I used to. I was the same way. Like I love basketball, but I used to get fouls just for boxing. People out right, Because, you know, I'm gonna put my butt into, you know, suddenly go flying. They're like, That's a foul And I'm like, What? That's what Coach taught me, you know? But I think sometimes that physicality on the basketball court isn't what everybody is wanting. And when I tell you what. And again I watched basketball now and at my high school, I couldn't even make the team. Now. I mean, I was a 64 center, which was about maybe maybe most centers were 65 or 66 but 64 was not a short sent. Nowadays, it seems like the kids are like 6 10, and they're they're bringing the ball up the court. It's just it's just insane how, I guess, because of specialization and and other things, how how good high school sports have gotten. So you were talking about before how we grew up, and it just kinda happened, you know, e mean unless unless you're unless you're blessed with a huge amount of talent. Unfortunately, if you want to play, I think that most high schools you do have to take youth sports pretty seriously, which I'm not saying is a good thing. I think it's kind of a bad thing, but it's just the way it ISS. Yeah, you know, I I look at my story and I'm a little bit like yours were in, You know, I played football in eighth grade. In the ninth grade, I had a major accident on the football field. I didn't play for another two years and then 11th grade, I started playing quarterback first time I ever played and we ran the wing tea. It's not like I was throwing the ball around, you know? But I was a big kid, like you said, Um, today, you know, if I didn't, if I wouldn't have started playing when I was in in youth and been had that skill set and had that knowledge By the time you get the high school, you're kind of behind the eight ball. Yeah, I mean, high schools. Now they're you know, they're they're these high school kids. They're watching film year round, and they've got the iPads and I remember in high school, the only film we watched was Saturday mornings. After the game, they wheel in one of those big tube TVs. It was just a big It was only like 19 inches, but the thing was huge. You know, it was on one of those carts and navy cart, and they put the VCR tape in, and we 30 of us on offense for laying on the floor on the coach was I mean, you know, you had one. It was it was like there was no film. You didn't learn anything from film. You just went out and played, you know, on DNA nowadays, the way that these high school kids, the film work, that they do in the off season training and the...

...practicing, its's just like it was when when we were in the NFL. Um, and you know, again, it's just the way it is. But it just seems like it seems like the innocents has gone from from youth and high school sports. And, you know, I think once you get to college, okay, it's a little understand. It's a business and coaches are making a living and you know their families are involved and okay, but I just I really it really doesn't sit with me very well that there's kind of in this this professionalization of high school and now even even youth sports. And you know, the end of the day, it's just not good for kids. And I think it Ah, lot of kids. Uh ah, lot of kids don't get the opportunity to play because financial reasons, because time, commitment, whatever, why their families can't can't do it. And it's unfortunate because I know you know why you're doing what you're doing. And, ah, lot of what what made me is because of those those experiences that I had planned sports, they helped shape who I waas, they helped help me develop a lot of skills that I use in my everyday life, whether it's as a husband, as a father and business on. And you just you just hate to see that that that opportunity and taken away from some kids, Yeah, I totally agree with you that, you know, the cost of it really hinder some kids. And then I think that, too, is if some kids don't grow like you. You talked about hey and not till 10th grade that I discovered that my body started growing and had all these had all these changes. And if you were in new sports today and you were that Matt Burke that was eight years old, those coaches would be like, Oh, he doesn't have the skill or the talent. You know what I mean? Like they put all these parameters on these kids like they should be in the Pro Bowl at eight years old, nine years old, 10 for all these you sports and I agree with you. It's it's absolutely wrong. It should just be about having fun and and teaching them to love the sport they love. Yeah, the way I say it is is right now, you sports. We're trying to figure out who's the best. And what we should be trying to figure out is what's your best you know, for each kid and just work with that kid toe to grow and develop Pond have a great experience because, you know, sports, er, sports. You don't get to play sports forever. I mean, you, you and me, we got were the 99th percentile. We got to play until we were old in their mid thirties late thirties. Uh, most people you know, if you know, if you're lucky right, you can play in high school and, uh, and now even even that's getting harder and harder to do. And then sports organized team sports, air gone. You miss that window and yeah, I mean, I saw some of my best memories. Most fun happened and even grade school. I can remember back that far. It doesn't have toe. Everybody's worried about getting the NFL or the NBA or the NHL. It's like, man, no, you don't understand. Like, you know, don't don't don't just don't use sports. A za means to an end, you know, enjoy, enjoy whatever you're doing today and whatever level you're playing at, um, you know things. Old things, old things will take care of themselves. Yeah. You know, you create some of your best friendships in sports Some of those people that you you you know I can I'm like you. I think back Thio like eighth grade basketball. We're playing up a level against ninth graders, but we're all eighth graders, and we all put in the work. You know, we had a coach that just drove us into the floor, you know, it was all about defense, and we all worked hard. That was the great thing was nobody was. You know, we can play a little bit, obviously, were kids, but we just when we got there, we worked and it was just I love those experiences, you know. And sometimes when you get older like you go to Harvard and then all of a sudden you go to the pros. There's all these different mentalities. They didn't grow up in the same like you, and and that's difficult to put all that together. Thio be a winner, right and toe, actually, just be good to each other. I think that's really difficult. So what was it like map for you? All of a sudden, you're in Minnesota and tell me about, like, the whole recruitment process because so many kids go through that and it's different nowadays. But tell me what your experience was like when you were getting recruited to go on and play football at the next level. Well, I wasn't super heavily recruited. I still kind of fashion myself as a basketball player. When I was a senior but didn't know that Yeah, I was really gonna have a chance to play in college. I was getting recruited by some small schools, and actually, it was pretty good student as well and like sports. So I looked into a physical therapy program and found one at Marquette University, where I could be in five years. I could be a licensed physical therapist that that would be great. It could be like an athletic trainer and work around sports. And at the end of my senior year of football, my coach said, Well, there's some schools I want to talk to And I said Now you know I'm all set. Yeah, you get a few letters here and there But I said, I said I'm all set. I got accepted to market and I'm gonna be a physical therapist And...

...he's like, Well, some of these schools, like Ivy League schools and service academies And I was like, Oh, okay, so, uh, really good wasn't didn't have any scholarship offers or anything like that. But God got accepted into Harvard University and just thought Boy, that's if I could play football and go to school in a place like that. That za great opportunity, right? Couldn't couldn't pass it up and it was kind of it was sort of last minute because Harvard had a coaching change and again different time. They were late to the recruiting game, but it just, uh it all fell into place. And so I said, Well, I guess I'm gonna someone play football in college and go go really far away from home. Right? And how was that for you? Because I know I left Pittsburgh and went to Tulsa, but I actually had some kids that were from Pittsburgh. So, like I was felt okay. But we had a lot of kids who left and were homesick. How was that transition for you your first year at Harvard? Uh, you know, I kind of thought that boy was a little full of myself. I thought she's, you know, kind of killing it here in high school and Harvard. It's one double a non scholarship football. So it's like D three. You know, I'm gonna I'm gonna go out there and light the world on fire, and, you know, im school always came pretty easy to me. Well, I got there and I was getting my butt kicked in the classroom. I was getting my butt kicked on the football field because now you shut your 18 and you're going to get guys there 20 to like men. I was still a boy and really, for the really first time in my life, I mean, there was like, I shouldn't say First time my life, but what my expectations were in how I thought it was gonna be and how it really was didn't match up. And it was It was a blow to my ego in my pride, and I seriously considered leaving. In fact, if it would've been up to me, I would have probably left. But, uh, my dad, who is not a man of many words, kind of told me is like, now you're you're gonna stay on. Uh, they stayed for the first year and and then, uh, you know, got my feet under me a little bit and and stopped kind of to be what role on It's just stop being a baby and, uh, dug in and and worked hard and, uh, you know, again started to kind of football. Things started to click a little bit. I mean, I say to you know this and I think anybody that's had success in sports knows it's not just you. I mean, you know, great coaches and teammates and just the right situation and environment that fits you and your your ableto flourish. You know, all those things kind of happened after after my freshman year. I had a great group of friends that I was with who also loved toe, you know, lift weights. And we wanted to get big and strong. Way were meatheads. Um, but that was a good thing, right? Like it was just be focused on lifting heavy weights and eating big pasta meals versus a lot of the other junk that you could do in college. And, you know, we're reading, like the body building magazines and watching, pumping iron and just meatheads Uh, and, uh, you know, Then my senior year comes around, and obviously I never thought I'd go to the NFL. But the year before that, there was 23 guys from the from the Ivy League that got drafted in the NFL, which never happened. So all of a sudden, like scouts were coming and looking at the Ivy League. And I got up to £310 which was, you know, legitimate that's NFL weight, but also when you're 3. 10 in the Ivy League like you could do some damage E d and I was going, They were still 2. 30. Exactly. So I say I might have the best highlight film with any college prospect ever because, uh, you know, I mean, I believe guys, Hey, look again. It's dim, but back then, we work just as hard as everybody else. But we're probably as a whole, you know, £20 lighter than £2030 lighter than the one guys are. Receivers probably ran 474 eights instead of four force. But we tried hard. It just so happened that by the time I was 21 years old, I mean, I'd kinda again. I wasn't done physically maturing at 18, I grew and got bigger, stronger, faster. When I got into college, and by my senior year I was kinda had it together. And, you know, I got a chance. He was late round draft pick by my hometown team, the Minnesota Vikings. Yeah, that's crazy. So tell me about the Ivy League. Is there a lot of smack talk between schools when you're out there? E mean, Yeah, there's some smack talk, but it Z you know, you can imagine the kind of I mean, listen, we're not like wearing ascots and, uh, and smoking pipes. I mean, you know, if you're playing football in every, so you're you're probably a football player more than you are, and, you know, Ivy League material. But, I mean, yeah, it zits pretty intense. I just I think at the end of the day, though, there's, uh I mean, I have no idea what it's like if you play in the Big 10, if if there's a bond amongst all Big 10 football...

...players or not. But I think now that I'm really far removed from it, when you meet somebody who played football in the Ivy League, there's a There's a I don't know if it's a brotherhood, but there's there's a bond there. Well, I definitely think there's a bond there. I mean, you guys only get so many games, there's there's really no championship right there. It's just different how they approached it over the years. But those rivalries go back, you know, for such a long time. So you know, it's like when you go from one team to another. When you play for the Minnesota Vikings, you know your rivalries. Anybody in the NFC North? Uh, everyone. We're talking with Matt Birk. We're gonna take a quick break here, but we'll be right back in the 16 31 digital news studio. Hi, this is former NFL quarterback Gus Frerotte, 16 31. Digital advertising is your one stop shop to promote your business and get new customers for award winning Creative to getting as online in display video O T T connected TV and streaming audio Go to 16 31 digital advertising dot com. EMP. The multi format network is here to help create, produce, distribute and sell your content from or information. Send a message to info at a m p dot TV. That's info at double a m p dot tv Hey, K s I X listeners, you got a new show coming your way. Join me. Gus Frerotte, 15 year NFL Q B and host of Huddle Up with Gus. Every Sunday morning at 10 a.m. I talked to celebrities, veterans and professionals like Matthew McConaughey and dig for Mill about how sports shaped their life, joined gust Borat and his guests in the 16 31 digital news studio on Huddle Up with Gus every Sunday at 10 a.m. Here on sports radio. Okay, s I X has someone in your family lost a job recently, and now you can't afford your mortgage payment Or do you have a rental property and your tenants aren't paying you quick cash offer can come to the rescue and pay you cash for your home immediately. Yes, sell your home and get cash all over the phone without dealing with real estate agents and risking your safety by showing your home to lukewarm buyers. You don't need to lose your home to foreclosure. If you have any equity in your home, we will buy it and give you cash within days, all in a simple over the phone and virtual process called quick cash Offer. Now, before the economy gets worse, sell a home you can't afford or just don't want to get the cash you need. Today. 804 707113 804 707113 804 707113 That's 804 70 71 13. Hi this is former NFL quarterback Gus Frerotte telling you that 16 31 Digital news is your daily source for online news content featuring National and international stories on news, politics, entertainment, sports and lifestyle. Log on today at 16 31 digital news dot com. EP The multi format network is here to help create, produce, distribute and sell your content from or information. Send a message to info at a m p dot TV. That's info at double a. M p dot tv. Hey, everyone, welcome back in the huddle. You can find us at radio dot com wherever you listen to your favorite podcast. Now let's join the huddle. Everyone, welcome back to the huddle Up with the best on your host. Best for us. We're speaking with Matt Birk played for the Minnesota Vikings, so won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens. He was an All Pro, is a Pro Bowler man of the Year. Walter Payton, man of the year award winner. You name it Berks. Mr. NFL, he's done it all. He's even worked for the NFL when he left and retired. So, Burke, you've been in the NFL for for a long time on Ben. All of a sudden, you're this young kid at Harvard and you know, you follow sports at that point, you understand what's going on and tell me about your experience where you were when you found out that you were gonna get drafted, that you were gonna go play for your hometown? Well, I was, and I was in my dorm room because everybody at Harvard lives in the dorms and, uh, had it was a big dorm. There was eight of us eight guys, and we had this big common area. And, of course, uh, you know, it was the crowd was growing as the second day back then there's only two days of the draft. Is that as the draft was, what's going on? More and more people started coming in the room, and, you know, we're going to the sixth round, and it's like there's quite a few people in our room and way Have one phone, right?...

Nobody is allowed to use the phone that day. I'm gonna strangle you. If you tried to get on the phone waiting, waiting, waiting, and e remember, it would ring and everybody would be quiet. I talk and you know, you know how teams call and say, Hey, we're you know, we're thinking about taking it with this next pick, and so I e take a calling and hanging up. And I would say it was the It was the Chiefs and it was the Packers. And then I got a call. It was it was Denny Green who was. He wasn't a scout. He was the head coach, the Minnesota Vikings and I was a big Vikings fan, and I knew he wasn't calling to say, Hey, we're thinking about taking the head coach only calls if they're going to take it. He said, Do you want to come play for the Minnesota Vikings? And I was like, Are you kidding me? And he said, Oh, your name is gonna pop up on the screen right here And it popped up in the room, went nuts and it was a great moment. You No, no, no cell phones. Back then gusty. I could remember I e. I was talking toe talking to people for the coaches and the press, and it took me like an hour and a half toe. Get free to call my mom and dad. And, uh, when I called home, I said, Did you guys hear? They said, Oh, my gosh, somebody just called us and told us I mean, this is an hour and 15 minutes late. Uh, and they just heard that I got drafted by the Vikings, but that z how the world was back then it wasn't. It was an instant like it is a game. That was, I mean, obviously, obviously a great day for for us. It was a great day for you. I was just talking on a show last night that I do. It's called Thursday Night Tailgate, and, uh, I was saying like, I don't know if I would have wanted to go back home and play for the Steelers even though I tried several times because I know even when I visited back home as a player, the calls, the people that that wanted things, that tickets can I see you? Can I do all this? And because we were talking about Dwayne Haskins and everything he's going through at the Washington football team because that's his hometown and I think he kind of went down the wrong road. And I think you're a shining example of when you do go play at your hometown. What what good things can happen and how the positivity can work. So tell us about that. You go back home from Harvard and and now you're in Minnesota. How did you deal with all those situations? Well, if you're a quarterback, it's probably a lot harder because you're the guy, right? That position is unique and a lot of ways, you know, for me, it was great. Um, I come back home, my family, my friends, my you know, my buddies from high school. I wasn't some big football star when I left, so they don't really care. When I came back that I was still playing football, you know, they they loved me and cared about me for who I was not what I was doing. Um, yeah, You certainly get a lot of the those people on the fringe that all of a sudden start coming at you a little bit. But it was that was felt. He was always pretty easy for me because I had just a great, great core and I really needed him because when I when I got back here to play for the Vikings, it was It was a lot like college when I first got to college, where it's that big step and it's a lot of failure. At first, I mean, for my first two years, I was a backup and I had to go to work every day in playing scout team, and I had to block Johnny Randle or try to block Johnny Randle. I blocked Randall for two years, so like what's I mean? You get up. It was like, Oh, you're playing for the Vikings? That's awesome. I'm like, You don't understand what my days look like, you know, way go out there. There is he never took a playoff in his life for a practice walk through is nothing so like, you know, you just keep failing over and over and over. It's hard, and there's somebody where it's really hard. So it was great kids to know that had that support and just just kept just kept plugging away, plugging away and again. I'll say anybody who's had success and sports knows that is not you, necessarily you're part of it, but just got to be in the right situation. And, you know, Mike Tice was was was probably the exact coach that I needed at that time. Mike played a long time in the NFL. He fought for everything. He was a tough guy, so he toughened me up and got me ready. And in my third year, there was a the starting center. Jeff Christy, Pittsburgh I Hey, he left the of free agency and Mike said, We'll give you a chance. Thio win the starting center position and s o, you know, having those two years to learn to get my butt kicked by John. But toe sit behind Jeff, who was one of the best in the league and just watch him and learn from him. We actually room together on the road like that. If I had gone to a team in a situation where they needed me to play right away, I have gone out there and I would have failed miserably. And then, you know, in the NFL, if if you're young and you don't you don't show some success early on, they'll just they'll get ready in because they got you got a new draft class coming in next year. You only get so many chances on film for teams to see if you can do it or...

...not. And if you can't, they'll just they'll just move on real quickly. So for two years I got toe kind of hang out and learn and develop. So do you feel like that isn't important? Because, you know, we see so many guys come in the NFL that can do it, and then there's so many they can't do it. They these teams, they throw them out there without any experience. They say, Oh, they played at Penn State, They should be good on den. They go out and they fail miserably and we see it with quarterbacks, with linemen, with everybody, um and so do you feel like that? There should be that grace period of They need to learn a little bit from the older guys. They need to learn some a little bit from the coaches before they make that big jump to being a starter. I think that's ideal, particularly with quarterbacks. I mean, I'd be sure to get your take us, but you know it's it's more of a curse than a blessing, I think to be drafted early on in the first round is a quarterback. Because you're getting drafted, do a really crappy team. And they're drafting you because they need you to play like ASAP. And so you know that doesn't work out a lot. I mean, look what I mean. Patrick Mahomes is Patrick Mahomes, but he got to sit for a year and watch Aaron Rodgers got to sit for three years. Maybe that's not what they would have chosen. But I bet looking back, I bet they could say, Boy, that that was helpful. That was really helpful. Eso Yeah, I think if it's and and but it Zain, it goes back to the U Sports discussion. Now, in the NFL, there's no patients. You know, Coach is not a lot of coaches that have enough security where they can tell the owner. Hey, look, we're gonna play a lot of young guys this year, and we're probably gonna go four and 12, and you're gonna have to trust me. Um, you know, coaches are pretty much on most of our on on one year contracts. Unless you're unless you've got some equity in the bank like a Bill Belichick or John Harbaugh. Mike Tomlin, you gotta you gotta win every year. Please be competitive. So they need these. They need young guys toe to step up on deep play. Well, now and they but, um, don't have the time Thio sit around and go through the growing pains with you. Yes. So what do you think? For you? I mean, when you started playing playing right, you sat for a few years, you started playing at center. Um, what do you think that first year really taught you like Because you just became an all Pro after that. And so you had this backup knowledge from watching Jeff Christie. You went against one of the best players ever against you every day on Ben, all of a sudden, you get in the game. What do you think? That the first year, What was the big learning lesson for you? Um, doesn't it for me? My first year, it waas The biggest thing was how every single week, um, obviously, you got to show up and play. It's one thing to be Just be practicing. And if you're if you're a backup, Okay. Wednesday Thursday you know, it's a it's a practice. Your practicing full speed but full speed practices, not full speed game e mean now It was like I'm doing all the practice and every single week you've got to be physically ready to play on Sundays and, you know, on Mondays you wake up after playing on the old Metrodome turf. It was miserable and it was like, Man, I gotta play again next week and the week after in the week after E. Remember early on thinking, How am I gonna make it? How's my body going to make it on DSO? You just kind of get into that zone where it's literally you just live you live one week at a time and then it did. It becomes one day at a time. Like what? I can't. It's Tuesday. My body feels like crap. I can't even worry about Sunday right now. What do I have to do? Tadeusz Faras getting that routine of treatment and getting the film work and lifting and and all that and, uh, again I had great, you know, I gotta watch Jeff and then that my first years, Todd Steussie and Korey Stringer and Dave Dixon guys like that. So knowing that they were doing it and being able to watch them do it, I mean, was I wasn't gonna be like, Well, I'm not gonna Obviously, I'm not gonna tap out like I can't do that. I mean, those guys were counting on yet. Um, but it was just kind of that that that physical grind of actually playing 65 70 snaps every Sunday takes it takes a little getting used Thio. Yeah. And I know that that room you were in too if you didn't bring it every day, you were gonna hear about it. Yeah, the vets were they were vets. They there was a standard. And Mike Tice, um you know, he liked Thio. He was looking for for opportunities where maybe you weren't. Maybe you were feeling a little sorry for yourself. Or maybe you weren't. You were You were turning it down a little bit. Is we used to say when you're pulling around on a on outside zone or a screen pass, are you Are you really? Are you really going after the guy? Are you Are you turning it down? And, uh but that's the That's the mentality. You know, so much of it, Gus. So much of it is mental, right? I mean, everybody in the NFL is...

...obviously talented, has the ability to do it, But then it really becomes about about mindset and your mentality, about how you're going about your business, because there's a lot of guys that are qualified toe have your job or that job. There's a lot of guys there's. There's more guys good enough to play in the NFL than there are positions. And so I think that that's what separates guys that stick and guys that don't our mental approach that they have to the game and to their jobs. Yeah, it is hard because you're in the locker room, you're doing the same thing day in, day out. Maybe you're changing some of the plays. You're really going through a long season and it's the same stuff day in and day out and for me, I always love to have a little fun, pull some pranks in the locker room, do some stuff, really not hurt anybody. But sometimes people saw that as I wasn't focused or being serious and uh, you know, sometimes it's just There were just things I had to do to get through it mentally, right? Because I had kids. And you know this when your kids were home in your wife, all of a sudden, you're married, and you got three little ones at home and things that coaches don't care about that stuff, right? It's just about getting your job done and doesn't really matter what you got going here. You got to get it done. So you have to learn how to cope with all that as well. Yeah, I know. You gotta have fun. Fred's Amber Liddy, the longtime Vikings trainer, uh, who used toe by the time we were there, and he was kind of Ah, trainer emeritus, if you will. You told me. He told me, and I said, because you got to make sure you have fun when you come to work and it's so hard. And there's all this pressure and you put so much into. But yeah, you have to have those released times. Those valves play pranks, tell jokes, Just go out in the locker room, make fun of guys. Um, you know, I would say you're never gonna laugh. I'm never gonna laugh. A Zhar da's. I laughed in the locker room. Uh, it was just man. It was big because everything was just so intense. And you needed it so much that when something funny did happen or you like it just made it that much better. Because it's like you. You just you needed that just to get through the day. Well, there's so many experiences I had in Minnesota that I never had anywhere else. Like we would play dominoes in the morning, right? It was like, Whatever got to the table first before there would play, right? Well, I love that. And Thais would come down and read the paper like bitch about the sports section. You know, there's a head coach, you know, otherwise, but there's a head coach coming down and sitting with us and read the sports section in the equipment room. Well, you and Boston I and Shaun Hill, or playing dominoes. It's like, this is crazy. What is this? And then and then we'd come in for lunch if we'd have lunch set up in our locker room. Well, what was that on Friday, right? Yeah, that was a good move. move, Move. Oh, the pork chops. They're really made pork chops. Oh, yeah, The body balls from JD Heights and the pork chops, the best. The best man, That's those are the things that got you through, right? Yeah, but you're looking like you're getting your pork chopping in the back of the locker room. There's the dude standing naked changing and you're going, Where am I gonna eat? So you just go sit in your locker, you find the training room E. I mean, just think about that. So that's crazy. That old facility, it sounds ridiculous now, but back then, it's like That's all we knew. E o cribbage Burke would be kicking somebody's button cribbage every day like there was just that was your down. I was that man. I love that stuff. It was it was e was just reminisce 1008 when I came back. Um, I remember I was I was not with my family. I was commuting from ST Louis and I drove through this little town and they had a great little doughnut shop and I brought the doughnuts in, and Pat Williams looks at me and goes my donut. And then That's kind of how the whole doughnut club thing started. Like Pat was like, I want the biggest doughnut they got. So every Saturday morning, I remember at the end of the year I'm bringing like, 12 dozen doughnuts and through the equipment room door, just carrying him in for everybody. And and we used to make that one little trainer. What was his name? He was like an intern or something. We made him eat that big German chocolate donut. Every like, um, they What was his name? We all say way. I think I think I think was a Rob Roach, because there waas Roach. I don't know. Those were the things that you know, whether it's Friday lunch in the locker room, Saturday morning Donuts card games on the plane, you know, I mean...

...victory Monday's you know, that was those were the things. Those were the memories those were. Those were the highlights, you know, you work so hard, and then to have those to have those fun things or traditions, that's just that's part of the whole experience. And those are the things you really miss. I don't miss playing it all. I don't know about you guys. See, I don't really miss plan. I got I got my film, but I miss I miss that kind of thing. Oh, yeah, I I actually enjoyed that, Like in 2008. My last year in the NFL was the first year I ever got to control the radio. The stereo. So I had my little red iPod when I weight lift and I that's what I put on all these dudes to be lifted. And I put on my old, you know, 70 80 rock or whatever I was listening to at that time. And it would be like, What is this? I'm like, this is great music. What are you talking about? You know, but these young kids, they don't want to hear all that stuff. But I'm like, maybe someday you'll get to 15 and you'll be able to do it. Yeah. Music wasn't as portable back then. So when when I had control the radio on Fridays, I called the Who Fridays Because I played the who and these guys would come in. These young guys, they would beg me to change it like the music was so important. I'd always say like. All right, you can You can have control the radio. If you can tell me who sings this song and you know, they would always just like you know, it's like some 23 year old kid db or something. Uh, you'd be like Rolling Stones. The Beatles, like there's just like they never who e z Yeah, Control. The radio is such a big deal, man, because it was one. It was like you were senior then, like you were big time. If you if you have control the radio, you're like, man, I have made it in the NFL. And then the second thing was, I mean, it was real power, like guys who paid for you to play a certain station or bitch about the country music or whatever. It was just that zone things. It was great. It was great. So I wanted one thing I wanted to ask you because I did it seven times, right? I went to new teams a bunch of times, and you kind of get used to it after a few times. But you went once, right? You went to the raisins and played for them, and you go toe. You know, you hear stories about what the Ravens locker room was like in a different atmosphere. And I had to assume it was way different than what the Vikings was like. So tell us a little bit about that. You go to a place where you know, it's run by Ray Lewis and and some of those guys on defense and and just what an atmosphere, what a teams they had. Yeah, it was. It was definitely different and going to a new team late in my career. It was It was good. It was It was pretty comfortable in Minnesota, but go to a new team, totally new surroundings, New City. And then it's like, I gotta I gotta prove myself like I'm 32 33 years old. I'm like, you know, when your mindset is different because, you know, you know, everyone knows you, but they don't really care what you've done. They want to see what you what you got now, right? And they were coming off a F C championship, so yeah, I mean, I was a little bit, you know, it's a little bit on edge because it's Ray Lewis and Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs and Baltimore. The whole brand was built around the defense and defense carried the day. Uh, and so it was a little bit intimidating. And you kind of tell when I was there to what they was John Harbaugh second year and talking to guys who had been there a long time on offense. They're like, Yes, we are the You know you don't know what I'm saying when I say this. The red headed step child here, like defense, bullies us. It's always about defense. They look down on the offense, and they were really There was a conscious, conscious effort from the offensive coaches of, like, really changing the mentality of guys that played offense like we don't we don't back down from these guys. We don't care. And it was just the timing was right. Um, Joe Flacco was a young quarterback had, like Ray Rice, Laurent McLean. You bring in a guy like an Anquan Boldin and all of a sudden, now not only did you have talent, but I think you had tough minded guys and about my square in my second or third year in Baltimore, it kind of got about, even with offense and defense. And then by the time I think I left, I think the offense was actually a little bit ahead of the defense. And so I mean, in practice, we didn't take. We didn't take anything from the deal. There was no, there was no pushing after the whistle. There was none of that. You know, there's always fights in practice, but about the about halfway through my time in Baltimore, it got it got super competitive. And I think the defense finally realized that, Hey, the offense is not, you know, we're not there. Not a handicap anymore. And I think guys like Ray and appreciated that because for most of their careers, defense had to carry the day if they were gonna win, the defense had to play lights out. And that wasn't the case anymore. Yeah. Yeah. So you you experience the whole Super Bowl, Uh, you know, and winning it. Tell me before you know we let you...

...go here, but I got a couple other questions for you. But tell me just about that experience for you, and I mean, I played 15. I know other guys like my like Ryan Fitzpatrick. He's played 16. Some of us don't even get to sniff it. You've been there. You wanna tell us about that experience for yourself? I mean, obviously, it's It's what you wanna do. That's the goal. And if you play a long time and you don't doesn't happen, I mean, you start to wonder, is it ever gonna happen? Which was me. But it happened. I mean, as far as playing in the game, you're so laser focused. At least I was. And I was like, Don't be the guy that screws it up like E. I mean, I was like, I am gonna make sure. Then I'm gonna take care of my job. I don't want to say I wasn't I wasn't playing not to lose playing, But I was like, no matter what happens, I'm just gonna make sure that like I do my job, I'm probably never been so laser focused on dial. Been ever in my life. People say, Well, make sure you enjoy yourself. Oh, wait. I'm not gonna, like, relax and enjoy myself and then, you know, snapping over the quarterback's head or something. So playing in it is just It was almost kind of like it's almost outside of space and time, like I don't even know if it really happened. But winning it in the way that we did kind of way to do a safety kick. We had to tackle them way up three points when when that guy got tackled and you kind of look around for a second. That's your teammates, and you're just like I really can't e can't believe it happened, you know, on, then your family is running out on the field. It's just it's just one of those. You don't have many of those moments in your life right where it's just pure elation. And I don't know, man, it's I know. I'm very cognizant of the fact that nobody deserves to win a Super Bowl. Guys like you and a lot of the guys play a long time and never get the chance. And so I think at the end of the day, when I look back at, I just feel fortunate to be on a team that was able to put it together and and be able to do that. It's a great memory. Do I think it validates my career? or anything like that. No, it doesn't. Because guys were a lot better than me. Never won a Super Bowl. So you just fortunate that that you're kind of right place, Uh, right time and we talk about those memories. And believe me that that night after the Super Bowl, I got I got a lot of memories and just glad glad that I have Yeah, no, I do to, you know, and it's fun to share him. And it's fun to bring him back because, um, you don't get to do it as often as you want to. You know what I'm saying? So I appreciate you coming on with me and and, you know, reliving some of those because, uh, I never took more pleasure in winning anything than when I would win Bones and, uh, in the locker room against you and Moss. So, you know, grand. He thought he was the best. You went to Harvard. I'm just this guy that's playing backup quarterback, and I'm beating people in bones. So it was a lot of fun. Here's the thing when you got two minutes, So you even know how to play dominoes. We taught you and then you became you became a very good player, Domino. So when you won, I actually took some pride in that, too. Yes, Yeah, but you never taught me cribbage because I just couldn't figure it out. It was just too much for me. But I have taught my a domino. Now, Yeah, it's math was not my strong suit. But, Matt, before I let you go, you've had an amazing career. You've got a great family. Tell us what you're into now. And I mean, I know you've done a lot since you left the NFL, but tell us what you're into specifically these days and how all of our listeners can confined you. I guess if you wanna find you Goto, Matt Burke and company dot com, I do a fair amount of speak in corporate and faith based speak, and I really like doing that stuff is a Sfar as business interests, I helped launch an app called Super Squares, which is a really fun, easy game. You play it, it takes predictions and combines it with the old football squares game that we all play football parties. It's free to play. Takes two minutes and you win some pretty serious prizes, just about giving fans a little bit extra adrenaline and fun when they watch football, which is now that I'm back to being a fan, that's what I want. So I said, Hey, I want to create a product that that does that and it's called Super Squares and, uh, that in the eight kids keep me pretty busy, gussy. Oh, yeah, I I don't know how, like I follow you on on thing. I don't know how you're doing all this stuff. And then you got eight kids, too. So I always just assume you're doing like a video from your car driving to one of your kids. Events are going to see another kid in college like E. Remember those days? It's crazy how busy you get. So enjoy a brother. It's kind of it's kind of a blur, but yeah, we're trying. We're trying to enjoy it as well. It's here. Well, I appreciate you, Matt, and I appreciate you coming on and joining me today on Huddle Up with Gusts. It was a pleasure talking to you and catching up on some old stories. Superfund reconnect. And once you get If you come through Minnesota, let me know. I gotta I gotta bone set in the closet somewhere. Weaken, Weaken. Slap him down one more time. Alright, We're gonna do that. We're gonna go catch...

...some northern pike and musky to I'm ready for that. Maybe we could go out And Dave Dick Dixon's Ah, little little shed ice somewhere I wanna be Oh, thank you. Uh, e think Dave weighs about £500 now. I'm not standing next to Dave on the ice. I don't care how thick it is. Uh, that's pretty good. That's pretty good. Alright, Berkeley, take care. Be safe and healthy, my friend. And happy New Year. Good brother. Happy New Year. All right. I want to thank everyone for joining us on another episode of Huddle up with gusts. You can find us wherever you listen to your favorite podcast. If you're in Texas, you can listen to us on K s, I X and Corpus Christi. And, uh, we're here at the new 16 31 digital news studio. Check him out on social media as well. You can find me at Gus Frerotte or at huddle up with dust. So appreciate you listening? Have a great day and Happy New Year. Hi, this is former NFL quarterback Gus Frerotte, 16 31. Digital advertising is your one stop shop to promote your business and get new customers for award winning Creative to getting as online in display video O T T connected TV and streaming audio Go to 16 31 digital advertising dot com EP The multi format network is here to help create, produce, distribute and sell your content from or information. Send a message to info at a m p dot tv. That's info at double a m p dot tv Hey, K s, I X listeners, You got a new show coming your way. Join me. Gus Frerotte, 15 year NFL Q B and host of Huddle Up With Gus Every Sunday morning at 10 a.m. I talked to celebrities, veterans and professionals like Matthew McConaughey and Dick for Mill about how sports shaped their life. Join Gust Borat and his guests in the 16 31 digital news studio on Huddle Up with Gus every Sunday at 10 a.m. Here on sports radio. Okay, s I X attention business owners, you and your customers are listening to this commercial right now. Face it. Every business needs customers, even yours. The sports circuses of prime time, nationally syndicated program that's carried on ABC, NBC, CNBC and Westwood. One news affiliates, plus CBS, Fox and NBC sports affiliates across North America, with coverage from Hawaii to New York. Also, the sports circus is available to the 180 million subscribers on my heart radio and the sports circuits gets about four million website visitors per month, which could click through your website and bring sales. The sports Circus provides great content featuring celebrity guests from sports and entertainment to our audience every weekday, which your company could greatly benefit from by increasing your visibility, foot traffic, eyeballs to your website and calls from potential customers. Call us right now at seven 0 to 7999 935 again 70 to 79 9993 five or email us at info at the sports circuits dot com. That's info at the sports circuits dot com. Drive your sales today by advertising with the sports circuits Has someone in your family lost a job recently and now you can't afford your mortgage payment Or do you have a rental property and your tenants aren't paying you quick cash offer can come to the rescue and pay you cash for your home immediately. Yes, sell your home and get cash all over the phone without dealing with real estate agents and risking your safety by showing your home to lukewarm buyers. You don't need to lose your home to foreclosure. If you have any equity in your home, we will buy it and give you cash within days. All in a simple over the phone and virtual process called quick cash Offer. Now, before the economy gets worse, sell a home you can't afford or just don't want to get the cash you need today. 804 707113 804 707113 804 707113 That's 804 70 71 13 Hi, this is former NFL quarterback Gus Frerotte telling you that 16 31 Digital news is your daily source for online news content featuring national and international stories on news, politics, entertainment, sports and lifestyle. Log on Today at 16 31 digital news dot com I am. The multi format network is here to help create, produce, distribute and sell your content from, or information. Send a message to info at a m p dot TV. That's info at double a m p dot TV.

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