Huddle Up with Gus
Huddle Up with Gus

Episode · 1 year ago

Will Blackmon

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Joining me in the Huddle this week is Will Blackmon. He played for several teams in the NFL like I did but had a plan for his transition after the league. Blackmon attended Bishop Hendricken HS in Rhode Island. At Hendricken, Blackmon earned 2001 All-America first-team honors from USA Today, ESPN.com, SuperPrep and PrepStar as a senior. He was named Gatorade Rhode Island Player of the Year after his senior season. He played college football for the Boston College and was drafted in the fourth round of the 2006 draft by the Green Bay Packers.

We talked about many aspects of his life but one of the best stories was about when we played against each other in 2008. I was playing for the Vikings and Will was with the Packers. I do have to say that we still won the game despite a few interceptions.

Will lost count of how many glasses of wine he consumed that November night in Minneapolis long ago, but he remembers that the name of the restaurant, a steakhouse downtown, was Seven.

It was 2008, his third season in the NFL, and Blackmon, then a cornerback and return man with the Packers, was in town to play the Minnesota Vikings. Kickoff was slated for noon the next day, so the Saturday evening activities commenced with dinner among his fellow defensive backs. Charles Woodson, Nick Collins and Tramon Williams were all in attendance around the table. One glass led to another, and dinner led to a walk upstairs to a club, where wine continued to flow.

By the time the quartet retired to the team’s hotel, Blackmon’s eyes were glassy but he felt coherent. He awoke the next morning “feeling like garbage,” and considered his rejuvenation options, like an IV, Red Bull or pre-game workout.

But at the stadium, his partners in wine looked no worse for the wear. First, Woodson picked off a pass. Then, Williams poached one. Collins took back an interception 59 yards for a touchdown. Finally, Blackmon returned a punt 65 yards for a score.

“It’s the craziest thing,” he says. “All four of us played super well that day. Since that day, I didn’t get wasted, but I would have a glass or two while studying my game plan, watch the Saturday night games before bed.”

Thank you, Will for joining me in the Huddle and I wish you continued success in the wine business. Go to his website, https://thewinemvp.com and order some incred ible wine from Will and let him fill up your wine fridge or cellar. 

...welcome to what surely will be a doozy of a matchup. Brian. Here, sports fans. Whether your game is on the gridiron, at the diamond or on the links, we can only say mhm. Welcome to this week's huddle up with gusts. 15 year NFL quarterback Gus parents' passion for sports has taken him on the field and behind the bench is playing for seven NFL franchises with 114 TVs under his belt. Gus knows who the players are and how the games are. One. Uh, it's not every day you get to hang out with an NFL quarterback up. Okay, sports fans from the decked out and plush 16 31 digital studios. It's kick off time, so snap your chin straps on and get ready to huddle up with us right to left. Hey, everyone, welcome to another episode Grew up with us. I'm your host guests for about 15 year NFL quarterback, and I want to thank all of our people that that have really been making our show special over the last few years. I want to thank 16 31 digital news New partner virus Since before the new Year. I want to thank sounder FM for joining their platform. They've been incredible helping us to transcribe and do everything that we do, uh, to bring you more information to bring you better snippets through all of our social media so you can check us out at huddle up with gusts dot com. That's our great website. You can find clothes, all kind of stuff there. And you can find us, um, at social media at Hutto, up with gusts. So I want to thank everyone for for being, um, listening to the show today. I think today is gonna be a great show. Somebody that when I was leaving the league, he was coming into the league. But I love his story, because what he is doing now, I partake in a lot of that. So I think it's gonna be great. Interesting conversation, but we're gonna We're going to introduce, uh, Will Blackmon. He's the NFL wine M v p. And I cannot wait. Um, you know, when I was at the Vikings in oh, eight, Will you were running back touchdowns against us with the Packers. So, uh, it's great to see how you doing, buddy? I'm doing awesome. man. I'm excited, man. It's always, uh, great. Not just to, you know, link up and talk to colleagues, but support to man. So it was, uh, when when you asked me to jump on board, man, I was It was a no brainer for me. Yeah, I like your background better than mine. I got a brick wall and you got You got, like, all your your ball. My wife put all my stuff in the basement. I don't even know where it is. Yeah. So, uh, I like that I Our wine is more out front now than it is. Very nice. But so, so will Our show is very easy. It's about how sports shaped your life. And I know I think you're the second person. I interviewed an Olympian from Rhode Island, and now I'm interviewing an NFL player that grew up in Rhode Island. So tell me about what you remember first about growing up in, like that first sports memory you had And, um, you know, it could have been from a family member from an idol or just going out and playing in the backyard. What was that for you? Yeah. I mean, my my first sports memory was my my dad. My father, Wayne. He had he had all those old school, like VHS tapes, you know, NFL films by the stables with John Fasteners voice and Sam Spence. You know, scoring. Like I remember everybody in the credits. Like I watch those things religiously. So for me, my first sports memory was sitting down and just popping in those tapes. If it wasn't cartoons, I was watching, you know, the hidden inside the hidden NFL where they finally showed. Everybody miked up. Um, football follies, you know, like all those things. Like, I would watch those religiously. So for me, my first memory will be sitting down in the living room problem. Probably too close to the T v. Watching those who was your like, who? Who did you love listening to? Because there's always some crazy players. Like I grew up in Pittsburgh, right? So, Jack...

Lambert, they always had those follies of him talking about with no teeth. Exactly. But who's yours? Uh, you know. Gosh, I love I love the coaches. Like I used to love listening to, like, Sam Wish like I thought, You know, I really loved his. His dialogue with the coach is also a Glanville to Jerry was hilarious. So for me it was more so listening to the coaches than the actual players. I thought it was cool, and then it was funny to, you know, they would show the guys who played in the sixties and the dialogue was the same back then than it is now. So it's pretty. It was pretty entertaining for me. Yeah, you know, football hasn't changed a whole heck of a lot, like as far as some of the verb ege and linkage that goes along over all these years, you know, it's still the same field. It's still the same distance and all these things. Um, so I'm sure a lot of the verb is that you heard on the field. You know, guys were talking about the same stuff. It's just, uh, Social media has changed at all. Or even just, you know, there was. I can't remember what you play. It was, but he got It was in the 60. He kind of got, like, cheap shot a little bit. He was like, Hey, if you do that again, man, he said, I'm gonna sock you a good one. And so no thereby. Because it's like, yes, we're playing a physical game. But, like, all right, let me know what kind of game it is like. Is this a type of game where you're going to try to come after me? So I want to be prepared? Or is it is it going to be a healthy battle? Like we're just gonna compete? Like, let me know, let me know what kind of game it is. It was funny that they had that same kind of banter, you know, way back then. Yeah. You know, it's funny, Will is that makes me think about like I played in the Pro Bowl and my first snap. I dropped back to pass junior sale blitzes, Right? There's no blitzing in the Pro Bowl and he drills me. And then, like, there's no protection for that right there. We're not we're not supposed to blitz. And, uh, he's like, Welcome to the Pro Bowl. Look like, oh, man, there's gonna be a long day, but you never blitzed again. But, you know, that's just like that. Just remind you what you were talking about is like That's just how it was like, let me know what kind of day it's gonna be. Very nice. Yeah. So, um, so growing up for you, I think I saw that obviously, you played football, you were in track. And then, uh, you played basketball as well. So you were a three sports star in Rhode Island. So what was the US? Right? That's how it was that we we just played everything, you know, it wasn't it wasn't like how it is not living on the West Coast and everything's football is year round. You know, guys are guys have the season. And then after the season, they get into these seven on seven circuits and after seven on seven circuits, there's, you know, more camps. And and then they actually have spring football in high school here, which was mind boggling to me. Yeah, because that was track season for you. That was baseball season for me. Like you needed a break from football at some point, right? I Well, I just thought to like well, when I lived on the east coast, so it was cold, So everything went indoors, you know, But but for sure, I watched you know, some documentaries that future Wayne Gretzky. And he was like, Look, when hockey was over, I put my stuff in the garage and play baseball. Same thing with Michael Jordan, he said. When basketball. So I put my stuff away and play baseball like that. That's just that was what it was. I went to the next season, right. I either went and played a U basketball or ran the indoor track. And then in the spring, I continue to play, you know, basketball and, you know, ran track or whatever. And then I didn't I didn't really start playing organized football until the summer. So so, yeah, for me to play three sports is because just playing with my friends, You know, we one day we play this one day we played a different sport. You know, I'm surprised we didn't try cricket, you know, we would have played anything outside, but yeah, that's that's just where it came from, man. Just I was. That's just what we did was a way of life. So did you have a Did you grow up in a like I grew up in a neighborhood where you got on your bike. You went to your buddy's house, and whatever ball or sport was for that day, you just went out and played it. So did you grow up in a neighborhood like that then? Like because with football, we played Wolf about all the time, right? Yeah.

No, that's how it wasn't. And I kind of it's gonna sound weird, but I I scored a little bit because, you know, on my street, there was a There was a bunch of, you know, kids and teenagers. But across the street from my house was a group home, you know, for for for a bunch. And that place had about maybe 15 kids in that home. You know, it was it was an apartment complex. And so when it was when it was time to play, you know, and and and across the street was a church, and it was a huge parking lot. So we were, like, prime for, like, elite football games or whatever we wanted to do rate in my name. And, you know, my parents knew where I was. I was literally across the street. You can see me. So I was there all day and all night with all the kids, so yeah, whatever. Whatever it was that day, that's where we played, man. One of my favorite things growing up was going and playing late basketball. Like when the lights came on like we had a hoop court room with the lights on and all summer you would just play. We play hoops all night long, like, and I don't know if kids do that today. Do you think they do that today? They, you know, they really don't. And it's again, you know, California. I think it's like 80 degrees today, and I would drive by and look around like man. There's empty courts like we used to have to sneak in someone's yard to find a good rim with a net. You know, I mean, try to play and these sorts of gorgeous. But we we actually were driving to, uh, my mother in Law's house the other day, and I saw one kid outside, like just dribbling, practicing his shot and what have you I was like, Okay, that's pretty cool. So, yeah, it's, you know, obviously things have changed. You know, there's there's more, there's more of a social media life, you know, think you evolve. Things change. You know, it's all good. I totally get it. And also to this, there's more. Um I feel like there's more personal training nowadays when it comes to perfecting your craft. Where before, you know, if I wanted to try and move, I would try it in the street over and over and over until I was like, Okay, like, this is this is cool. I'll perfect it. So that's why, for me, it was interesting when you know, I played two hand touch, you know, nonstop until I pretty much mastered it. And then when I finally and this is, like by six years old. And then by the time I signed up for actual organized football, I was like, Oh, wait, they have to actually tackle me now. You know, that's already tried. Every single one of Barry Sanders moves in the street, so Well, you know, that's funny, because I never really I never had a throwing lesson. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You just went out. I was always Terry Bradshaw growing up right now and playing at the local high school field, and we had people from all over would come and play on Sundays and and we just go out and play and I don't remember, like my dad would, you know, teach me things. But other than that, there was no super organized, anything growth for me growing up. And the other part was that we didn't have, like some guy yelling at us all the time about doing it this way, doing it that way. You just figured it out on your own. And the other great thing was, everybody played. We had kids from all different talent levels and everybody participated, and you just figured it out. You have to figure it out, and that's I feel like that's where you become the most creative, Um and then right, Yeah, when you're playing against all different talent level, you know you're gonna go against guys who are way more superior, who are older. I was always the youngest. I had to know the brother and I was always the youngest out there, So for me to find my way was, you know, I had to keep going. I had to keep fighting until I got to find my way because I wanted to play you know. So I think just naturally, playing outside my competitive nature happened where, you know nowadays is, you know, you have a training for this training for that. You know, I actually, right now I do, you know, mindset training and mental performance coaching to help guys with that. Because this just has to be, You know, I mentioned, you know, earlier, before the show, like, talent can come from anywhere and and a prime example. Gus is So I you know, I live...

...in a pretty, pretty nice, you know, affluent neighborhood, and and I actually helped coach some of these kids, But anytime they go play at a different team, it's like, Oh, you know, those those boys from this neighborhood, you know, they have no no dog in them, right? You hear that? No toughness or whatever it is. And it's just based on their environment so that we had this one receiver and, you know, I was like, Gosh, she has. He has the body, um, of of like, he's like 6364 these massive hands, you know, and and I'm like, Gosh, he has a perfect division one body, but there's just he's just like soft. You know, like he just doesn't go for it. Doesn't embrace the challenge. Like, doesn't like all these things that Oh, my gosh, if he can just make that mental switch, it would help him. So what did he do? He You know, there's obviously I live near the Trinity League, and that's the, You know, the the number one number two team in the country are in that league. And he started going to all these tournaments. Uh, that had all these five star kids, and I think he got to. The point was like a fighter fight. They kept trying him, caught messing with him. And then I remember one tournament. He got into a shouting match with one of the top top recruits in the country, and it was using all the, you know, curse words. And I remember I pulled him aside and I was like, Dude, I was like, You know, you gotta watch your mouth and then I kind of pull them closer, and I was like, That's what I needed right there. That's what I'm talking about. I need to see that. And then he made that switch and ever since then. He kept every tournament, every single game he played, and he was just going for it and going for it. And just he finally found that that fire inside of him, where he's like, Okay, I'm going to challenge anyone and everyone and then he finally He's a junior now, and he just picked up an offer from Utah and Yale and Columbia. So I'm like, You know, it's but it's you can be anywhere. But it's like Like what? What is the process? Right? You know, I think it. I think it's great that kids, because kids today don't you know, just like we were talking about when you're in the backyard or when you're going to play with all your buddies. Like you said, there's a parking lot. We didn't care if there was cement and stuff. Yeah, I wouldn't play and you just got scuffed up. You got beat up and you had a battle. And if something happened to you, your buddies picked you up and you got tougher. Um, my dad worked in a factory, right? He was a mill guy, and you weren't allowed to be soft around my dad like not like in a mean way, but just like you know what I mean. Like, and I feel like kids just got to learn a mental toughness, and sometimes you can teach that, but sometimes they just have to, like, just like the example you gave. They have to go out and figure it out for themselves. Yeah, And I'm glad you I'm glad you mentioned about your father because I was when you mentioned in terms of, like, you have to figure it out. You didn't have a coach screaming at you, tell you to do this. And I'm like, Well, you know, I had my father was a correction officer, right? He was a prison guard. Oh, yeah, you know what I mean? So he he was people is tough to And even even with our, you know, our kids, I'm like, I'm gonna I'll be our kids. Toughest teacher in toughest Coach. Now, that doesn't mean I'm a jerk and mean to them all the time, But it's like, no, like, I'm gonna I'll be assertive, but I'll show tons of love first and foremost, but I'll be assertive. And there are no, you know, all kinds of expectations what it is. And therefore you're never here. Our kids say my coach doesn't like me. Oh, my teacher doesn't like me like you'll never hear them say that because, like I can deal with this person. My dad's tougher at home exactly like come on now, Like the teacher is telling me to do this like all right, I'm not gonna be like, Oh, Daddy, the teachers like me. It's like, Dude, So it's get it. That's why that's why I can play for any coach I have. I...

...played for the craziest coaches, and at the end of the day, right and I learned, is what my father, too, is. That And this I think this is for any pro athlete, is when you know your coach has, like, your best interest and there's no ego. I'm all yours, you know, that's our real well. And I think, too, that coaches have a struggle with understanding that, you know, when you're on an NFL team were all come from different backgrounds were all different, and some coaches just say this is what I do and that's it, like one way. Yeah, and sometimes that was sometimes that was a little bit hard for me when they when? When I was young and I was having kids and I was moving around, it was they didn't care. They just wanted production out in the field, right? And I think sometimes you have to take a little deeper dive into kids because just like that kid, if you're if you're close to him, you know that he needs a little mental push. I need that That I wouldn't say coddling, but he needs to know that. Hey, Coach got my back like, Hey, you went over to him and said, Hey, you can't do that. But then, you know, this is what we need. He needs that reminder. Like you're saying, Yeah. Yeah. So I had a high school coach, um, actually was my father in law. But before he introduced me to his daughter because him, his wife were divorced. So he introduced me to do his daughter when I was in college. So he was my high school coach before I ever knew my wife. But he was tough, like he was old school. He was tough and and, you know, he lets you know if you were doing it right or wrong. What was probably that's part of why he introduced. He was like, uh, just can't handle. Handle. What was your high school experience like, Was it was one of your coaches, Your mentor? Or was it just your dad? Who was that for you. So my father was interesting because he loved football, but he never He never made me lift a weight. He never made me drink a protein shake. He never had me do anything unless Unless I wanted to, you know, And I had a lot of there was a lot of fathers on my team where they were just gonna hold crazy, and he never made me do anything. And And when we after a game, if I didn't have a good game, unless I wanted to talk about it, he didn't want to talk about it, you know, he was He was He was that kind of father. So, um, but yeah. No, my high school coach, you know, uh, got arrested. So Ron Moscow, he was absolutely crazy. I mean, crazy, crazy, crazy. And and I found it entertaining because I looked at it as passionate, you know, some guys look again. I went to a Catholic all boys high school, and so he was crazy at some of those kids. And they're like, Oh, you know this coach. But the ones who handle it, you know, stayed and end up succeeding. And I just remember when I was, like 14, I was playing varsity and remember, I fumbled and he hated gloves. Hated he hated gloves. And remember, I fumbled. And before I even made it to the sound like he just ran up. And he's like, he's like ripping the gloves off my hand and he, like, Chuck them in the air, You know, he was He was that guy and I was like, I get it. He let me get away with gloves all year because I never and then put the ball on the ground. And then finally, the soup I fumbled out of They want to bounce, though. No. Excuse me, it was a touchback. That's what happened. Uh, he was just not just the fumbles living. Give me those damn gloves. But But once I started getting some, like, you know, some attention, he went above and beyond for recruiting for me. um, even even lying on the tape saying I was 6 to 1 90 when I was 5 10, 1 65. like I my tape was really good. You know, people can They're like, Okay, where's the 6 90 guy? You really Gatorade player of the Year and Rhode Island, right? Yeah. Yeah. It's funny, because my high school stuff every like, I used to read the Tomlinson report all the time. And Tom Lemming actually like he he came to my house, you know? And I used to watch the Army game, and I played in the Army game, and I got invited to the Nike camp, and I also made first team us today. So I got all those accolades which was one beyond me. I still can't believe it to this day. Like whatever. 2030 years later, Um and,...

...yeah, he he went above and beyond, as crazy as stubborn as he was. Um, again, I can handle it as long as I know. Like you got my back, you know? Yeah. Yeah, I was always that way too. Like I I got a lot of grief from Harry. Um, you know, he was a tough guy. You know, we always said he had, like, three moves. He had the cannibal or he just hit in the face mask. He take two guys, heads up on him again. I mean, he was old school. 42 years of coaching football. He's seen some stuff, right? He's he he was He was great. In one way, he was in the Hall of Fame for coaching in Pennsylvania. So those coaches are you have to take him with the great assault. They can teach you a lot. They can be tough on you. But he also took care of so many kids. Like he took guys home. You fed him when I didn't have you know what I mean? Like, there was a lot of great all these about all that, too. And I think that that you sometimes you have to take the good with the bad. Well, some some people, even parents, can't even they can't even get to that part. They can't even see it. You know what I mean? And even with our dad, you know, you know, he was super tough, but I just I knew at the end of the day. I'm like, Okay, so I lost my mom when I was young, like, six years old. And so I'm thinking, like, Okay, my dad works at the prison. Okay, that's number one. And he lost it. You know, he obviously lost his wife, you know, which. That's the number one. He worked in a prison number two, and he got to take care of three kids. You know, I understand if there is some days, he's just he just doesn't feel like hearing it. You know, some days he just he just wants to go in the room and just chill and relax. Like I get all that or if he's like, Hey, you know, make sure you guys clean the house, he gets home, The house isn't clean. He's he He's livid. I get it, man. You know what I mean? Yeah. Were you the Are you the youngest? Yeah, I'm the youngest. Yeah, I'm the baby to I'm baby four, so, yeah, I get it. Like sometimes it's good. Sometimes it's bad. You never know. So, um, so now you're Gatorade player of the year. You're having a great, um, senior year. You're also really good in football track. I'm sure in every sport you played, what was your decision making into going to college? Because I think you went to Boston College. That correct? Yeah, I end up going to be, so I don't know. I went through the whole recruiting process. Um, I, you know, it came down to Notre Dame, Wisconsin, a Michigan state, Iowa, and BC, and I had a I had a lot of Big 10 schools like they came out early, I think because Wisconsin was on me tough that everyone else like, Oh, let's see who they're talking about, who they like. So But I'm like, when I was getting on these big 10 schools, I was like, Have you guys not seen the tape like I don't I don't running between the tackles, guys, I was a scatback. I bounced everything, you know. And a big 10 at the time was a big back league, you know, And Wisconsin, just in my Ron day just went to the NFL, and, um, I was like, you know, but I had incredible visit, but for me, it just came down to a man like BC. That was my first offer at 14, and they just It just felt right and at the time to the Big East was super competitive. I mean, the you you know, they they they they were still there in Virginia Tech and pit in West Virginia and Syracuse, like all those teams were really, really good. You know, at the time. So and it was like, Okay, I'm their number one guy. It's I didn't really care so much about the distance from home, but I did. I did play a little fat. It did play a little factor because I didn't want my dad to come to that, you know? So all that worked out and yeah, that's how I end up going to B. C. Yeah, No, that's That's awesome. And so you go to you go to B C. It's a it's a pretty, you know, Like you said, the Big East is a good league. Um, so when you know you seem like you're everything I've read about you, you seem like to think about the future a lot and like, you kind of understand it. Like when I was reading about when you were with Washington and you kind of...

...had this mindset of of knowing that at some point this is going to be over. Um, you know, I gotta take a figure out what my next step is. But when you were in college, was it only football for you was study, um, you know, class and everything. Pretty serious for you? Yeah. I mean, it was kind of a process for me, like even even going to high school. I had no idea how recruiting worked, so I was like, Okay, you know, I just I'll just go to my local college. And then once I got to understand recruiting, I was like, Okay, I'm gonna go for it. And then sure, when you're getting recruited, you know, I said all the right things like, Oh, I want to go to a school that has the balance of academics and athletics, you know? I want I want the both just in case backup plan, like all those things get engraved in your mind. And then I think it was going into my sophomore junior year. I was on the cover of sporting news, right. Um I thought I had it next to me, but I was on the cover of sporting news like, Hey, well, it could be a prospect. I was like, Oh, this is getting real. You know, like, you know, I have her future NFL, and yeah, even though, you know, I paid attention to studies, it was like, the more real the NFL became, I was like, Okay, like, I'm majoring in football like that's I kind of was like, I'm just gonna go for it, you know? And even though I was, you know, aware of the future, I literally put all my eggs in one basket because I was like, I really want to, like, play in the NFL. Even though I never talked about it out loud Deep down inside, I really wanted to get there, especially when it became more realistic. Yeah. You know, it's amazing when you get those little tidbits like that. Hey, you know, this might be a possibility for me. Um, you know, mine. Yeah, And then that's what I want to pursue, right? Like there was no when I was in college. There's no like, major corporation coming to see me and saying, and you're gonna be our superstar. But the NFL's calling and saying Hey, you could play in the NFL is like Okay, that's that's kind of all I need. Right. Um hey, everyone we're talking to Will Blackmon, the NFL Wine M v p uh, You know, I appreciate you guys listening, and I want to thank sounder and, uh 16. 31 digital news. We're gonna take a quick commercial break with okay with us fans. When you get the perfect package three manscaped, we'll throw in a couple other gifts for you, right? You can also get these high performance manscaped boxer briefs. And also, you can get this great, uh, T shirt with it as well. Or I think also they may throw in this awesome sack for you, Uh, the travel shed bag to store all your grooming goodies. So when you order the perfect package three point from manscaped dot com, you can get 20% off by using my code. Gus Frerotte, f r E e r o T t e, and save 20%. And also get it shipped for free. And you order that perfect package three point. Oh, and you get all these wonderful items. Hey, everyone, welcome back We're talking with Will Blackmon will played in the NFL. The you play for the, uh, CFL for a year. You know, really? I spent, like, a week, and you were there. It was too cold, you know, whether it's not the weather that was cold. Yeah, well, you know, um, you know, will's played a long time, and he's continued his career. And I love what he is doing...

...now because I think it's just amazing, but, well, you know, you're at Boston College, you're getting ready to go into the draft we were talking about, uh, you know, these aspirations of going to play in the NFL. So tell me about that whole process for you leaving Boston College and and making that lead to the NFL. Well, my process was probably one of the most unique. Simply because my first three years I played corner right in the in college. And then I remember my and I also returned. I was I returned punts and cakes, and then going into my senior year, we graduated. Maybe like, four of our senior receivers, right? And we we had, like, some unproven guys. You know who we're gonna step in and pretty much I think they felt like the only skilled guy who they knew for sure can do something with the football was me. So I got called into the office and they said, Hey, man, would you be interested in switching receiver? And after seeing that that, uh, front page about me, like getting drafted that corner, I was like, Hell, no, like there's no way I'm switching to receiver. And then, um, we kept kept me and cultural Brian kept having meetings and I kept saying No, no, no. And then he just told me to think about it, and I was like, You know what? I was like, I'm gonna get drafted, like already had that in my mind. I'm going to get drafted and like, this might be like the last go around for some of our seniors. You know, like they're going to They're not going to get drafted. They're going to go get jobs and what have you. And it'll be cool to go out on top with a bowl win. Yeah, with a winning record in a bowl. And you know, we already won three straight bowl games and I was like, You know what I said, I'll try it out in spring ball. I'll try it out on spring ball and then I go and try it out in spring football. And Gus, I wanted to. I wanted to play slot. I ended up winning the X job and and, you know, the ex job is the dude. You're on the line. You're not motioning Nothing. You are the guy. And I said, Well, can I still play? Defense is like, Yeah, we'll put you in, like, situations. Maybe two minutes. Maybe third down. You come in and shadow the number one receiver. What have you So that was my senior man. I played, like 90 98%. I was actually 100% receiver. Never came off the field, Really? And a little bit of defense is still returned kicks and punts. And so, you know, I'm getting evaluated for every position on the field. And so going into, um, I went to the Senior Bowl as a corner. I went to the NFL, combine as a receiver, and so I'm getting interviews left and right for different positions. Corner, receiver, corner, receiver. And it's like all over the place and they said, What do you want to know? What do you want to play? That had to be confusing. Well, you know, I was like, everyone was like, What? What do you want to play? And I'm like, you know, pretty much wherever I get drafted, the highest. And so what happened was I actually met with the Atlanta Falcons, and they said, um, yeah, we really like your receiver, man. And you know, if you're if you're there, you know, free agent, we'll get you as an undrafted free agents as a receiver. And I was like, If that's what they see me as a receiver, then I don't want to play receiver, right? Exactly. Like that's going back to saying, Hey, what kind of days it's going to be right there telling me already. Okay, we're Yeah, my evaluation is an undrafted free agent receiver. I was like, Then then I'll just pick corner, You know, if that's what they think of me. So that's kind of what happened, man. So, you know, my whole thing was I had a lot of value because I can do a lot. But, you know, if you're gonna get drafted in the first round, you need to master your position. That's kind of how I saw it, you know? So So what happened with the draft? I end up going fourth round. You know, I knew I knew Transposition was gonna hurt my stock. But being able to play multiples issues is why I was able to play 12, right? So yeah, draft. It was interesting because it wasn't so much of sure. I wish I got drafted...

...higher, but it's not like where you got drafted is who gets drafted before you, you know? That's right. That's that's where you're like Pa. You know, I I went against this dude I I played against. I did this. I've seen it. So it was cool, man, and I they always say to us the team you barely talked to I interviewed with so many teams and I probably talked to Green Bay for, like, two minutes in the hallway. They interviewed me for a receiver like two minutes and just had me, like, drop a route tree. And I did that and then left and they draft me as a corner. That's crazy. And how that stuff works. You know, one thing I want to ask you is obviously being a quarterback. I know the receiver position. I know the defensive back position because that's what I watched every week, right and watch. Our receivers I watched are the opponent in the You know what their keys were, what their talents were. You know who we're going to tackle those things. One thing I never watched just because it just didn't have to was the special teams part and returning kicks. Like when I played against you in O A. And I was with the Vikings and you were the Packers. You returned to kick in both those games to share one in Green Bay and one in Minnesota. I'm pretty sure give me the mentality like I always like me and these because the dudes, like I remember guys sniffing like smelling salts, getting ready to run down and make the tackle like these are just straight shots coming at you like they they're something. You catch up. Yeah, they're trying to give me that mentality of that like aspect of it. I mean, you got to kind of be fearless. You do? Yeah, because like you said, it's not just smelling some, but there are guys who are getting a million dollars just to run down the field and take your head off, like there. You know, there are specialist for that. I was actually always afraid of returning punts. I was big on returning kicks, obviously, because I feel like I had a lot more space. Was like, gosh back, you know, even remember just watching the highlight video of Troy Paul model in college, Just laying somebody out before you even touch the football human missile. Yeah, and I'm like, Oh, my goodness. But it's like it's kind of like when I got to the NFL, it was like, Okay, well, you're behind Charles Woodson, your behind L. Harris. And, you know, this is kind of your fast track to like getting some playing time. Um, and I just I was like, let me just go ahead and just just go through it and just just go for it, you know? And yeah, you have. You have to be super crazy. But at the same time, I understood I understood, like, protections. I understood. You know who was the most dangerous person like? I understood all those things on on the team. So, you know, if we had six box, that means we have six guys in the box and we had doubles on the outside. And if I had doubles on the outside then I pretty much knew the only person I need to worry about is the personal protector, because he's not accounted for, you know? And so I really don't understand why they don't double the outside guys more often. Like I Because because you have a free you have a usually you have a free runner in the middle. Yeah, that's what happens if you double the outside guys, then the personal protector. No one's blocking him. So he has a straight shot down the field. And I feel like you could juke him way better than you could juke one of those outside guys. So, like, there, you know what I mean? I when I coached in high school, that was my thing. I'm like, we're gonna block up there for the three fastest. And then because while I had his eq Elliot returning punts and cakes too, so that helped. But yeah, that's crazy to me. And so did you ever like say that. Hey, Coach, we gotta block this guy this week. Like when you're watching film? Yeah. I mean, no, I mean, not really like we kind of had an understanding. And it's kind of like the guys knew I was good at returning, so they already went above and beyond. That's kind of what happened in Chicago with Hester is like they knew they had a guy. So they go above and beyond when you have. You know, I'm sure the linemen receivers knew, like, Okay, when AP gets the ball...

...like we don't block for this dude anyway, you know? So that's kind of how it was for me and, um, you know, and right and again knowing where you were on the field, No one Is that the right foot kicker or a left footed kicker? Because they both the both the ball spins into each arm differently. You know, knowing where is his distance. You know, remember, I hated Kendrick punch in Chicago because it is the Windy City. It was horrible. So this there's so many factors that do matter, you know, versus everyone thinks like oh, just catch it in return. I was like, No, there's a lot, but it is the most rewarding when you get the right kick and you actually just go for it. And so, like the guy you mentioned the two games because I have two funny stories about those games, right? So the first game was it was Aaron Rodgers first start when you finally took over. But that first game was also the first time. Who is not my wife. She ever saw me play football. Okay, so listen. So she, uh and she wasn't big, like she liked football, But she didn't care if I was good or not. She didn't really care, but I was like, Okay, she's coming to this game. It's Monday night football. Like I need to like, I need to do something I need to. So I just remember that game. I'm not fair catching anything. I'm getting terrible field position, and Mike McCready is like, What the hell are you doing? I'm like, I'm just I'm just trying to go. I'm just trying to score Coach. He goes, man, just protect the football and get good field position. We have a good offense. So remember Robert Brooks? He was on our side line, just, you know, hanging out, watching the game. He pulled me to the side. He's like, Look, dude, you look real like crazy out there he goes. Listen, when you he said, When you catch the football, he said, Just get the 1st 10 yards He said, because think about it. If you average 10 yards apart return, you're probably leading the league in part returns, you know? He said, Just get 10 yards, just catch it, get 10 yards, get a first down. I'm like, Okay, cool. So then I catch it. I get 10 yards and everyone is just like, changing from me and excited. And I'm like, Okay, you know, he's calmed down and then I get another point. I think it's fair. Caught it and then boom, Chloe hits a line drive right to me, and I'm like, All right, get the 1st 10. I'm like, Oh, shoot, I'm still running And then I get 2030 and then boom, like that's the When I took to the house the first one, and I just remember I just don't even celebrate or Lambeau Leap when they just ran right to the sideline and try to get my wife to football. Um, so that was That was the motivation for the first one. It was It has nothing to do with the team or trying to win the game. It was like, Let me show my wife that I can play football. No, that's awesome. That's and that's what we do. You know, you're playing for somebody something, and and, you know, that's just I love that story because she probably was, like, at that point, you know, you're like, Okay, I sold this one pretty good. Yeah, like I said, she didn't She didn't care about it, but she was excited for me that Yeah, but if you're sitting in the stands in Green Bay and you rather touchdown back and you jump in the stands and the place is going crazy, that does. Because my family, when they're it's it's an amazing place. It's so much fun to be there, No doubt. All right, so tell me about when you come to Minnesota and you run back. So we wanted the game like I've seen you. You definitely. I know. Despite your three picks. Yeah, just give it to a P every time. That's what I know. I know he went off that game, but so the night before Charles Woodson, he took all the defensive back to seven, right? Downtown at restaurant, Great restaurant, by the way, and just, you know, it was a short flight from Green Bay. So we landed early, and MacArthur gave us plenty of time to hang out. So,...

...you know, ended up going to the seven. We had a bunch of wine. It was still early, but we kept having one. And then we heard music and the ladies like, Yeah, there's kind of somewhat of a lounge upstairs. So we went upstairs to the lounge, and then Charles orders more wine for us and and, as you know, we get like, a couple of tequila is coming by. And then remember Troy Aikman and Joe Buck? They were called the game. They stopped by to say, What's up to us, and we were there for a pretty long time. I remember getting back to the hotel for meetings, and I'm like, you know, I get one of those young moves like you can't You can't keep hanging with the older dudes, man. Yeah, their experience their experience. So I just remember I just laying in bed. I was like, Oh, man, I let me take a Tylenol and hopefully tomorrow I'm good. I give the next morning and I feel like absolute crap. I'm like, Oh, man, like, why did I do that? You know, and this is an important game is in Minnesota at the Metrodome. And I remember all of us weren't feeling that well. And we get to the game, I do the I V I do the p l a. All those things to get myself ready to go and then out the gate, boom, like Charles gets a pick. And I'm like, Okay, this Charles, you know, that's that's what he was doing. Anyway, Charles was gonna Yeah, And then then Tremont gets an interception. Jamal Williams and I'm like culture moms up and coming. You know, he's already playing well and then sorry to recap Olympics, right? And then it wasn't the first one the last. So and then Nick Collins gets a pick six. I'm like, Okay, Nick is, you know, rising superstar like he's probably the best safety I play with, and I'm like, Gosh, everybody we went out with is making plays, you know? And I'm like, Well, certainly my time has to be coming soon. And then, sure enough, you know, I get a kick and it was actually six box. And I think I think it was Eric Frampton who ran down the field scot free. And he was good at his job and and right before I caught it, Like you said, I just made a quick side step and he just totally whiffed. And then, you know, I ended up scoring that one. So all four of us who went out the night before ended up making a huge play that should have helped us win the game. You know, based on all the analytics, right? Sometimes analytics don't matter, but you know, it is what it is. You know, I had a I had a kid named Adrian Peterson. Uh, and I told him I remember at the end of that game and I said, Hey, Pete, I'm coming to you with the ball every time. He's like, All right, let's do it and just drop back to pass. Dink it down to him. We make two guys miss and then get a first down like it was Just be two headed monster over there in the backfield. So that was Yeah, we had We had a good team. We had a good team. So you had this great long career. I know you go. Well, I know you got to go, but, um, tell us a little bit, like so you get to Washington, and I've read kind of the stories on you about Hey, I want to get into this wine thing. And I know that Charles really helped you understand that, you know, you know, because I know you felt like there was no diversity in it, And you felt like, Hey, this is probably something that, you know, maybe I shouldn't get into. But, Charles, Really, from what I read, Charles, really help you get into that and then made you realize that that this is for everyone, which it should be. Yeah. So yeah. So I never even thought of the diversity part. You know, I thought of I thought of it in terms of like, you don't see any, you know, African Americans, you know, in that profession, it was just a I just thought was untouchable, Right? Right. But then having Charles being a vintner and being in the wine for a long time, Yeah, it was pretty cool. But my whole thing was I'm like I enjoy wine. It's just such a cool, rich history and the way it's educated and talked and talked about. You know, sometimes people talk over your head like it's this luxurious thing that you can't have. And I'm like It's just it's just fermented grape juice. You know what it is, you know. But there's really cool history. So for me, man, I immediately wanted to learn more. So before I even thought of a...

...business, I went and got my you know, level two through Level two certification through the Wine and Spirits Education Trust. I got my Level one Somalia. I just took my love of three, uh, W set exam and I just finished school at Sonoma State. They have a wine business, so I Yes, I've been doing all the education for just just I really wanted to learn. And even when I lived in Washington, Virginia, actually, he knows where Washington is. Football team. Uh, there's a bunch of wineries in Virginia. So I used to go to Leesburg and hang out, you know, at the vineyards there and work on those. And then I originally wanted to have my own wine label, and it dawned on me he was like, Well, you know, I learned that That's pretty tough. At the end of the day, you have to be able to sell product you have to want. And so I was like, I have such a unique networking connection that let me just be the middleman. You know, I'll just have a wine club in a country or service, and the wine club is cool. You know, two bottles I pick from like known wineries so that people can get education. And then also, I do other country or stuff like, You know, I just Josh Josh Allen wanted to go to pass a robust, so I helped him go there and Matt Ryan has a wine cellar, and I helped Matt Ryan with his wine cellar, and, um, you know, I did Reggie Bush. Justin Tuck's I do a bunch of wine cellars, too, so it's kind of a full service conscious. You know, man, I never have wine long enough to have a hopeful seller. So it goes pretty fast in our house, but I buy to try. That's right, That's I am to, uh, my wife. And our favorite one lately has been orange swift. You know, he sold originally too, I think Prisoner wine company, You know, he had prisoner and all that, but I don't know. We've always We just kind of been stuck with cab people. Uh, you know? Yeah. You know, and and that's what I always think is tell people, is that that's that's what it's gonna be you like, what you like. Don't worry about what everybody else is drinking and doing and doing all those things. So tell us Tell all of our fans how they can find you and any guys out there that I can talk to about, you know, NFL. I think it's a wine. M v P. Is that right? Is that you know the wine? Yeah. I mean, honestly, the best thing is just go to my my main platforms at Will Blackmon, whether it's Twitter instagram, um, on instagram, I'm more active in terms of, like my family life, my wildlife, my athletic life and then Twitter. I just talked a bunch of crap, so right. I love it. I love. Well, well, you're a lot like me. You made a ton of transitions in your life. And I love the transmit position you made after the NFL into a career, and you really took it. And you have that entrepreneurial spirit, and I love it, and and a lot of guys search for that, and you found it, so yeah, You know, as you know, it doesn't. You know, it doesn't matter how long you played, how much money you made, all the accolades. Part two is hard. It's like taking the hamster off the wheel, man. It's like, now what? You know. Now, what do I do? Yeah. No. And I appreciate, you know, I mean, that's, like, for me. We got we got our first sponsor, You know, Manscaped, that's like, manscaped. Why am I going to talk about that stuff? But, you know, they gave me a sponsorship. So it's hard figuring that part of life out. So some, um you know, I appreciate you. I appreciate I'm gonna definitely stay in touch with you because that's another conversation. We gotta talk about that. Yeah. Yeah, because you've got to help me get some boxes delivered to my house. And I'm ready. Yeah, that's you know, but I live in Pennsylvania. They have weird rules here, So they have weird rule. Yeah. There's a couple of guys on the who played for the union. I had to deliver them wind through, like, six different trucking people. So we'll figure it out. We'll figure it out. I got all kind of guys that can help me deliver it to my house. So Will Blackmon, I I appreciate you sharing your story with us, giving us a little insight into your background and how sports shaped your life. Thank you for joining me on how to up with Gus. Thank you so much. I appreciate it, man. All right. Hey, everyone. Thanks for joining me on. Huddle up with Gus. You can check me out every week on sounder FM, and I also want to say, Hey, look,...

...we got a new sponsor and manscaped You can go to their website manscaped dot com. You can put the code Gus Frerotte at f r e r o t t e into the box into the code, and then you get 20% off and free shipping in any of their products. They have great stuff. The new lawnmower. They have great products for guys. So go there. And ladies, if you want to help your man out a little bit, you can help them out, too. So go to manscaped dot com. Put that code gusts Friday and save 20% have a great to everyone, and we'll see you next week. And that's a wrap Sports. Thanks for joining in the Fun at 16 31. Digital Studios for another to huddle up with featuring 15 year NFL quarterback restaurant Huddle Up with Gus, is proudly produced by 16 31 digital media and is available on Apple music.

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