Huddle Up with Gus
Huddle Up with Gus

Episode · 6 months ago

Will Blackmon


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,, 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, 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 doozyof 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 upwith gusts. 15 year NFL quarterback Gus parents' passion for sports has takenhim on the field and behind the bench is playing for seven NFL franchiseswith 114 TVs under his belt. Gus knows who the players are and how the gamesare. One. Uh, it's not every day you get to hang out with an NFL quarterbackup. 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 upwith us right to left. Hey, everyone, welcome to anotherepisode Grew up with us. I'm your host guests for about 15 year NFLquarterback, and I want to thank all of our people that that have really beenmaking our show special over the last few years. I want to thank 16 31digital news New partner virus Since before the new Year. I want to thanksounder FM for joining their platform. They've been incredible helping us totranscribe and do everything that we do, uh, to bring you more information tobring you better snippets through all of our social media so you can check usout at huddle up with gusts dot com. That's our great website. You can findclothes, all kind of stuff there. And you can find us, um, at social media atHutto, 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 ofthat. So I think it's gonna be great. Interesting conversation, but we'regonna 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, Willyou 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 tocolleagues, but support to man. So it was, uh, when when you asked me to jumpon board, man, I was It was a no brainer for me. Yeah, I like yourbackground 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 evenknow where it is. Yeah. So, uh, I like that I Our wine is more out front nowthan it is. Very nice. But so, so will Our show is very easy. It's about howsports shaped your life. And I know I think you're the second person. Iinterviewed an Olympian from Rhode Island, and now I'm interviewing an NFLplayer that grew up in Rhode Island. So tell me about what you remember firstabout 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 andplaying in the backyard. What was that for you? Yeah. I mean, my my firstsports memory was my my dad. My father, Wayne. He had he had all those oldschool, like VHS tapes, you know, NFL films by the stables with JohnFasteners voice and Sam Spence. You know, scoring. Like I remembereverybody in the credits. Like I watch those things religiously. So for me, myfirst sports memory was sitting down and just popping in those tapes. If itwasn't cartoons, I was watching, you know, the hidden inside the hidden NFLwhere they finally showed. Everybody miked up. Um, football follies, youknow, like all those things. Like, I would watch those religiously. So forme, 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 didyou love listening to? Because there's always some crazy players. Like I grewup in Pittsburgh, right? So, Jack...

Lambert, they always had those folliesof 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, SamWish like I thought, You know, I really loved his. His dialogue with the coachis also a Glanville to Jerry was hilarious. So for me it was more solistening 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 inthe sixties and the dialogue was the same back then than it is now. So it'spretty. It was pretty entertaining for me. Yeah, you know, football hasn'tchanged a whole heck of a lot, like as far as some of the verb ege and linkagethat 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 ofthe verb is that you heard on the field. You know, guys were talking about thesame stuff. It's just, uh, Social media has changed at all. Or even just, youknow, there was. I can't remember what you play. It was, but he got It was inthe 60. He kind of got, like, cheap shot a little bit. He was like, Hey, ifyou do that again, man, he said, I'm gonna sock you a good one. And so nothereby. Because it's like, yes, we're playing a physical game. But, like, allright, let me know what kind of game it is like. Is this a type of game whereyou're going to try to come after me? So I want to be prepared? Or is it isit going to be a healthy battle? Like we're just gonna compete? Like, let meknow, let me know what kind of game it is. It was funny that they had thatsame kind of banter, you know, way back then. Yeah. You know, it's funny, Willis that makes me think about like I played in the Pro Bowl and my firstsnap. I dropped back to pass junior sale blitzes, Right? There's noblitzing in the Pro Bowl and he drills me. And then, like, there's noprotection 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 along 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 waslike, let me know what kind of day it's gonna be. Very nice. Yeah. So, um, sogrowing up for you, I think I saw that obviously, you played football, youwere in track. And then, uh, you played basketball as well. So you were a threesports star in Rhode Island. So what was the US? Right? That's how it wasthat we we just played everything, you know, it wasn't it wasn't like how itis 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 getinto 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 highschool here, which was mind boggling to me. Yeah, because that was track seasonfor you. That was baseball season for me. Like you needed a break fromfootball at some point, right? I Well, I just thought to like well, when Ilived 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 WayneGretzky. And he was like, Look, when hockey was over, I put my stuff in thegarage and play baseball. Same thing with Michael Jordan, he said. Whenbasketball. So I put my stuff away and play baseball like that. That's justthat was what it was. I went to the next season, right. I either went andplayed a U basketball or ran the indoor track. And then in the spring, Icontinue 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 thesummer. So so, yeah, for me to play three sports is because just playingwith my friends, You know, we one day we play this one day we played adifferent sport. You know, I'm surprised we didn't try cricket, youknow, we would have played anything outside, but yeah, that's that's justwhere it came from, man. Just I was. That's just what we did was a way oflife. So did you have a Did you grow up in a like I grew up in a neighborhoodwhere you got on your bike. You went to your buddy's house, and whatever ballor sport was for that day, you just went out and played it. So did you growup in a neighborhood like that then? Like because with football, we playedWolf about all the time, right? Yeah.

No, that's how it wasn't. And I kind ofit's gonna sound weird, but I I scored a little bit because, you know, on mystreet, there was a There was a bunch of, you know, kids and teenagers. Butacross the street from my house was a group home, you know, for for for abunch. And that place had about maybe 15 kids in that home. You know, it wasit 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 parkinglot. So we were, like, prime for, like, elite football games or whatever wewanted to do rate in my name. And, you know, my parents knew where I was. Iwas literally across the street. You can see me. So I was there all day andall 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 goingand playing late basketball. Like when the lights came on like we had a hoopcourt room with the lights on and all summer you would just play. We playhoops all night long, like, and I don't know if kids do that today. Do youthink 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 byand look around like man. There's empty courts like we used to have to sneak insomeone's yard to find a good rim with a net. You know, I mean, try to playand these sorts of gorgeous. But we we actually were driving to, uh, my motherin 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'smore, 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 itcomes to perfecting your craft. Where before, you know, if I wanted to tryand 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, itwas interesting when you know, I played two hand touch, you know, nonstop untilI pretty much mastered it. And then when I finally and this is, like by sixyears 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 athrowing lesson. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You just went out. I was always TerryBradshaw 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 wejust 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, anythinggrowth for me growing up. And the other part was that we didn't have, like someguy 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 everybodyparticipated, and you just figured it out. You have to figure it out, andthat's I feel like that's where you become the most creative, Um and thenright, Yeah, when you're playing against all different talent level, youknow you're gonna go against guys who are way more superior, who are older. Iwas always the youngest. I had to know the brother and I was always theyoungest out there, So for me to find my way was, you know, I had to keepgoing. I had to keep fighting until I got to find my way because I wanted toplay you know. So I think just naturally, playing outside mycompetitive nature happened where, you know nowadays is, you know, you have atraining for this training for that. You know, I actually, right now I do,you know, mindset training and mental performance coaching to help guys withthat. 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 primeexample. Gus is So I you know, I live... a pretty, pretty nice, you know,affluent neighborhood, and and I actually helped coach some of thesekids, 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 ontheir 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 massivehands, you know, and and I'm like, Gosh, he has a perfect division one body, butthere'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. Sowhat did he do? He You know, there's obviously I live near the TrinityLeague, and that's the, You know, the the number one number two team in thecountry 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 waslike a fighter fight. They kept trying him, caught messing with him. And thenI remember one tournament. He got into a shouting match with one of the toptop 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 waslike, That's what I needed right there. That's what I'm talking about. I needto see that. And then he made that switch and ever since then. He keptevery tournament, every single game he played, and he was just going for itand 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 thenhe finally He's a junior now, and he just picked up an offer from Utah andYale 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. Ithink it's great that kids, because kids today don't you know, just like wewere talking about when you're in the backyard or when you're going to playwith all your buddies. Like you said, there's a parking lot. We didn't careif there was cement and stuff. Yeah, I wouldn't play and you just got scuffedup. You got beat up and you had a battle. And if something happened toyou, your buddies picked you up and you got tougher. Um, my dad worked in afactory, right? He was a mill guy, and you weren't allowed to be soft aroundmy 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 youcan teach that, but sometimes they just have to, like, just like the exampleyou gave. They have to go out and figure it out for themselves. Yeah, AndI'm glad you I'm glad you mentioned about your father because I was whenyou mentioned in terms of, like, you have to figure it out. You didn't havea 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 evenwith our, you know, our kids, I'm like, I'm gonna I'll be our kids. Toughestteacher in toughest Coach. Now, that doesn't mean I'm a jerk and mean tothem all the time, But it's like, no, like, I'm gonna I'll be assertive, butI'll show tons of love first and foremost, but I'll be assertive. Andthere are no, you know, all kinds of expectations what it is. And thereforeyou're never here. Our kids say my coach doesn't like me. Oh, my teacherdoesn't like me like you'll never hear them say that because, like I can dealwith this person. My dad's tougher at home exactly like come on now, Like theteacher 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'swhy I can play for any coach I have. I...

...played for the craziest coaches, and atthe end of the day, right and I learned, is what my father, too, is. That Andthis I think this is for any pro athlete, is when you know your coachhas, 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 withunderstanding that, you know, when you're on an NFL team were all comefrom different backgrounds were all different, and some coaches just saythis is what I do and that's it, like one way. Yeah, and sometimes that wassometimes that was a little bit hard for me when they when? When I was youngand I was having kids and I was moving around, it was they didn't care. Theyjust wanted production out in the field, right? And I think sometimes you haveto take a little deeper dive into kids because just like that kid, if you'reif you're close to him, you know that he needs a little mental push. I needthat That I wouldn't say coddling, but he needs to know that. Hey, Coach gotmy back like, Hey, you went over to him and said, Hey, you can't do that. Butthen, you know, this is what we need. He needs that reminder. Like you'resaying, Yeah. Yeah. So I had a high school coach, um, actually was myfather in law. But before he introduced me to his daughter because him, hiswife were divorced. So he introduced me to do his daughter when I was incollege. So he was my high school coach before I ever knew my wife. But he wastough, like he was old school. He was tough and and, you know, he lets youknow if you were doing it right or wrong. What was probably that's part ofwhy he introduced. He was like, uh, just can't handle. Handle. What wasyour 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 interestingbecause he loved football, but he never He never made me lift a weight. Henever made me drink a protein shake. He never had me do anything unless UnlessI wanted to, you know, And I had a lot of there was a lot of fathers on myteam 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 Iwanted to talk about it, he didn't want to talk about it, you know, he was Hewas He was that kind of father. So, um, but yeah. No, my high school coach, youknow, 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 aspassionate, you know, some guys look again. I went to a Catholic all boyshigh 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 endup succeeding. And I just remember when I was, like 14, I was playing varsityand remember, I fumbled and he hated gloves. Hated he hated gloves. Andremember, I fumbled. And before I even made it to the sound like he just ranup. 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 getit. He let me get away with gloves all year because I never and then put theball on the ground. And then finally, the soup I fumbled out of They want tobounce, though. No. Excuse me, it was a touchback. That's what happened. Uh, hewas just not just the fumbles living. Give me those damn gloves. But But onceI started getting some, like, you know, some attention, he went above andbeyond for recruiting for me. um, even even lying on the tape saying I was 6to 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 Gatoradeplayer of the Year and Rhode Island, right? Yeah. Yeah. It's funny, becausemy high school stuff every like, I used to read the Tomlinson report all thetime. And Tom Lemming actually like he he came to my house, you know? And Iused to watch the Army game, and I played in the Army game, and I gotinvited to the Nike camp, and I also made first team us today. So I got allthose 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, ascrazy as stubborn as he was. Um, again, I can handle it as long as I know. Likeyou got my back, you know? Yeah. Yeah, I was always that way too. Like I I gota lot of grief from Harry. Um, you know, he was a tough guy. You know, we alwayssaid he had, like, three moves. He had the cannibal or he just hit in the facemask. He take two guys, heads up on him again. I mean, he was old school. 42years of coaching football. He's seen some stuff, right? He's he he was Hewas great. In one way, he was in the Hall of Fame for coaching inPennsylvania. 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 ofso many kids. Like he took guys home. You fed him when I didn't have you knowwhat 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 thatpart. They can't even see it. You know what I mean? And even with our dad, youknow, 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 soI'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'sthe number one. He worked in a prison number two, and he got to take care ofthree kids. You know, I understand if there is some days, he's just he justdoesn't feel like hearing it. You know, some days he just he just wants to goin 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 houseisn'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 toI'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'rehaving a great, um, senior year. You're also really good in football track. I'msure in every sport you played, what was your decision making into going tocollege? Because I think you went to Boston College. That correct? Yeah, Iend up going to be, so I don't know. I went through the whole recruitingprocess. Um, I, you know, it came down to Notre Dame, Wisconsin, a Michiganstate, Iowa, and BC, and I had a I had a lot of Big 10 schools like they cameout 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 Iwas getting on these big 10 schools, I was like, Have you guys not seen thetape like I don't I don't running between the tackles, guys, I was ascatback. I bounced everything, you know. And a big 10 at the time was abig back league, you know, And Wisconsin, just in my Ron day just wentto the NFL, and, um, I was like, you know, but I had incredible visit, butfor me, it just came down to a man like BC. That was my first offer at 14, andthey just It just felt right and at the time to the Big East was supercompetitive. I mean, the you you know, they they they they were still there inVirginia Tech and pit in West Virginia and Syracuse, like all those teams werereally, really good. You know, at the time. So and it was like, Okay, I'mtheir number one guy. It's I didn't really care so much about the distancefrom home, but I did. I did play a little fat. It did play a little factorbecause I didn't want my dad to come to that, you know? So all that worked outand 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'reeverything I've read about you, you seem like to think about the future alot and like, you kind of understand it. Like when I was reading about when youwere with Washington and you kind of...

...had this mindset of of knowing that atsome point this is going to be over. Um, you know, I gotta take a figure outwhat my next step is. But when you were in college, was it only football foryou 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 highschool. 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 understandrecruiting, I was like, Okay, I'm gonna go for it. And then sure, when you'regetting recruited, you know, I said all the right things like, Oh, I want to goto a school that has the balance of academics and athletics, you know? Iwant I want the both just in case backup plan, like all those things getengraved in your mind. And then I think it was going into my sophomore junioryear. I was on the cover of sporting news, right. Um I thought I had it next to me, but Iwas on the cover of sporting news like, Hey, well, it could be a prospect. Iwas like, Oh, this is getting real. You know, like, you know, I have her futureNFL, 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 infootball like that's I kind of was like, I'm just gonna go for it, you know? Andeven though I was, you know, aware of the future, I literally put all my eggsin 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 wantedto get there, especially when it became more realistic. Yeah. You know, it'samazing when you get those little tidbits like that. Hey, you know, thismight be a possibility for me. Um, you know, mine. Yeah, And then that's whatI want to pursue, right? Like there was no when I was in college. There's nolike, major corporation coming to see me and saying, and you're gonna be oursuperstar. But the NFL's calling and saying Hey, you could play in the NFLis like Okay, that's that's kind of all I need. Right. Um hey, everyone we'retalking to Will Blackmon, the NFL Wine M v p uh, You know, I appreciate youguys 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 youget the perfect package three manscaped, we'll throw in a couple other gifts foryou, right? You can also get these high performance manscaped boxer briefs. Andalso, you can get this great, uh, T shirt with it as well. Or I think alsothey may throw in this awesome sack for you, Uh, the travel shed bag to storeall your grooming goodies. So when you order the perfect package three pointfrom manscaped dot com, you can get 20% off by using my code. Gus Frerotte, f rE e r o T t e, and save 20%. And also get it shipped for free. And you orderthat perfect package three point. Oh, and you get all these wonderful items. Hey, everyone, welcome back We'retalking 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 continuedhis career. And I love what he is doing... because I think it's just amazing,but, well, you know, you're at Boston College, you're getting ready to gointo the draft we were talking about, uh, you know, these aspirations ofgoing to play in the NFL. So tell me about that whole process for youleaving Boston College and and making that lead to the NFL. Well, my processwas probably one of the most unique. Simply because my first three years Iplayed corner right in the in college. And then I remember my and I alsoreturned. I was I returned punts and cakes, and then going into my senioryear, we graduated. Maybe like, four of our senior receivers, right? And we wehad, like, some unproven guys. You know who we're gonna step in and pretty muchI think they felt like the only skilled guy who they knew for sure can dosomething with the football was me. So I got called into the office and theysaid, Hey, man, would you be interested in switching receiver? And after seeingthat that, uh, front page about me, like getting drafted that corner, I waslike, Hell, no, like there's no way I'm switching to receiver. And then, um, wekept 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, Youknow what? I was like, I'm gonna get drafted, likealready had that in my mind. I'm going to get drafted and like, this might belike the last go around for some of our seniors. You know, like they're goingto They're not going to get drafted. They're going to go get jobs and whathave you. And it'll be cool to go out on top with a bowl win. Yeah, with awinning record in a bowl. And you know, we already won three straight bowlgames 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 andand, you know, the ex job is the dude. You're on the line. You're notmotioning Nothing. You are the guy. And I said, Well, can I still play? Defenseis like, Yeah, we'll put you in, like, situations. Maybe two minutes. Maybethird down. You come in and shadow the number one receiver. What have you Sothat 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 returnedkicks and punts. And so, you know, I'm getting evaluated for every position onthe field. And so going into, um, I went to the Senior Bowl as a corner. Iwent to the NFL, combine as a receiver, and so I'm getting interviews left andright for different positions. Corner, receiver, corner, receiver. And it'slike all over the place and they said, What do you want to know? What do youwant to play? That had to be confusing. Well, you know, I was like, everyonewas like, What? What do you want to play? And I'm like, you know, prettymuch wherever I get drafted, the highest. And so what happened was Iactually met with the Atlanta Falcons, and they said, um, yeah, we really likeyour receiver, man. And you know, if you're if you're there, you know, freeagent, we'll get you as an undrafted free agents as a receiver. And I waslike, If that's what they see me as areceiver, then I don't want to play receiver, right? Exactly. Like that'sgoing back to saying, Hey, what kind of days it's going to be right theretelling me already. Okay, we're Yeah, my evaluation is an undrafted freeagent receiver. I was like, Then then I'll just pick corner, You know, ifthat's what they think of me. So that's kind of what happened, man. So, youknow, my whole thing was I had a lot of value because I can do a lot. But, youknow, if you're gonna get drafted in the first round, you need to masteryour position. That's kind of how I saw it, you know? So So what happened withthe draft? I end up going fourth round. You know, I knew I knew Transpositionwas gonna hurt my stock. But being able to play multiples issues is why I wasable to play 12, right? So yeah, draft. It was interesting because it wasn't somuch of sure. I wish I got drafted...

...higher, but it's not like where you gotdrafted is who gets drafted before you, you know? That's right. That's that'swhere you're like Pa. You know, I I went against this dude I I playedagainst. I did this. I've seen it. So it was cool, man, and I they always sayto us the team you barely talked to I interviewed with so many teams and Iprobably talked to Green Bay for, like, two minutes in the hallway. Theyinterviewed me for a receiver like two minutes and just had me, like, drop aroute 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 youis obviously being a quarterback. I know the receiver position. I know thedefensive back position because that's what I watched every week, right andwatch. Our receivers I watched are the opponent in the You know what theirkeys were, what their talents were. You know who we're going to tackle thosethings. One thing I never watched just because it just didn't have to was thespecial 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 inboth those games to share one in Green Bay and one in Minnesota. I'm prettysure give me the mentality like I always like me and these because thedudes, like I remember guys sniffing like smelling salts, getting ready torun down and make the tackle like these are just straight shots coming at youlike they they're something. You catch up. Yeah, they're trying to give methat mentality of that like aspect of it. I mean, you got to kind of befearless. 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 thefield and take your head off, like there. You know, there are specialistfor that. I was actually always afraid of returning punts. I was big onreturning kicks, obviously, because I feel like I had a lot more space. Waslike, gosh back, you know, even remember just watching the highlightvideo of Troy Paul model in college, Just laying somebody out before youeven 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, thisis kind of your fast track to like getting some playing time. Um, and Ijust I was like, let me just go ahead and just just go through it and justjust go for it, you know? And yeah, you have. You have to be super crazy. Butat the same time, I understood I understood, like, protections. Iunderstood. You know who was the most dangerous person like? I understood allthose things on on the team. So, you know, if we had six box, that means wehave six guys in the box and we had doubles on the outside. And if I haddoubles on the outside then I pretty much knew the only person I need toworry about is the personal protector, because he's not accounted for, youknow? And so I really don't understand why they don't double the outside guysmore often. Like I Because because you have a free you have a usually you havea free runner in the middle. Yeah, that's what happens if you double theoutside guys, then the personal protector. No one's blocking him. So hehas a straight shot down the field. And I feel like you could juke him waybetter than you could juke one of those outside guys. So, like, there, you knowwhat 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 Ihad 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 gottablock this guy this week. Like when you're watching film? Yeah. I mean, no, I mean, not really like we kind ofhad an understanding. And it's kind of like the guys knew I was good atreturning, so they already went above and beyond. That's kind of whathappened in Chicago with Hester is like they knew they had a guy. So they goabove and beyond when you have. You know, I'm sure the linemen receiversknew, like, Okay, when AP gets the ball... we don't block for this dudeanyway, you know? So that's kind of how it was for me and, um, you know, andright and again knowing where you were on the field, No one Is that the rightfoot kicker or a left footed kicker? Because they both the both the ballspins into each arm differently. You know, knowing where is his distance.You know, remember, I hated Kendrick punch in Chicago because it is theWindy 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 kickand you actually just go for it. And so, like the guy you mentioned the twogames because I have two funny stories about those games, right? So the firstgame was it was Aaron Rodgers first start when you finally took over. Butthat first game was also the first time. Who is not my wife. She ever saw meplay football. Okay, so listen. So she, uh and she wasn't big, like she likedfootball, 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 rememberthat game. I'm not fair catching anything. I'm getting terrible fieldposition, 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 goodoffense. 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 probablyleading the league in part returns, you know? He said, Just get 10 yards, justcatch it, get 10 yards, get a first down. I'm like, Okay, cool. So then Icatch it. I get 10 yards and everyone is just like, changing from me andexcited. And I'm like, Okay, you know, he's calmed down and then I get anotherpoint. I think it's fair. Caught it and then boom, Chloe hits a line driveright to me, and I'm like, All right, get the 1st 10. I'm like, Oh, shoot, I'm still runningAnd then I get 2030 and then boom, like that's the When I took to the house thefirst one, and I just remember I just don't even celebrate or Lambeau Leapwhen they just ran right to the sideline and try to get my wife tofootball. Um, so that was That was the motivation for the first one. It was Ithas 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'sand 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 thatpoint, you know, you're like, Okay, I sold this one pretty good. Yeah, like Isaid, she didn't She didn't care about it, but she was excited for me thatYeah, but if you're sitting in the stands in Green Bay and you rathertouchdown 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 youcome 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 Pevery time. That's what I know. I know he went off that game, but so the nightbefore Charles Woodson, he took all the defensive back to seven, right?Downtown at restaurant, Great restaurant, by the way, and just, youknow, it was a short flight from Green Bay. So we landed early, and MacArthurgave us plenty of time to hang out. So,... know, ended up going to the seven.We had a bunch of wine. It was still early, but we kept having one. And thenwe heard music and the ladies like, Yeah, there's kind of somewhat of alounge upstairs. So we went upstairs to the lounge, and then Charles ordersmore wine for us and and, as you know, we get like, a couple of tequila iscoming by. And then remember Troy Aikman and Joe Buck? They were calledthe game. They stopped by to say, What's up to us, and we were there fora pretty long time. I remember getting back to the hotel for meetings, and I'mlike, you know, I get one of those youngmoves 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. Iwas 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 atthe Metrodome. And I remember all of us weren't feeling that well. And we getto the game, I do the I V I do the p l a. All those things to get myself readyto 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 wasgonna Yeah, And then then Tremont gets an interception. Jamal Williams and I'mlike culture moms up and coming. You know, he's already playing well andthen sorry to recap Olympics, right? And then it wasn't the first one thelast. So and then Nick Collins gets a pick six. I'm like, Okay, Nick is, youknow, 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? AndI'm like, Well, certainly my time has to be coming soon. And then, sureenough, you know, I get a kick and it was actually six box. And I think Ithink it was Eric Frampton who ran down the field scot free. And he was good athis job and and right before I caught it, Like you said, I just made a quickside step and he just totally whiffed. And then, you know, I ended up scoringthat one. So all four of us who went out the night before ended up making ahuge play that should have helped us win the game. You know, based on allthe 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'mcoming to you with the ball every time. He's like, All right, let's do it andjust drop back to pass. Dink it down to him. We make two guys miss and then geta first down like it was Just be two headed monster over there in thebackfield. So that was Yeah, we had We had a good team. We had a good team. Soyou 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 kindof the stories on you about Hey, I want to get into this wine thing. And I knowthat 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 thatand then made you realize that that this is for everyone, which it shouldbe. 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 justthought was untouchable, Right? Right. But then having Charles being a vintnerand being in the wine for a long time, Yeah, it was pretty cool. But my wholething was I'm like I enjoy wine. It's just such a cool, rich history and theway it's educated and talked and talked about. You know, sometimes people talkover your head like it's this luxurious thing that you can't have. And I'm likeIt'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 learnmore. So before I even thought of a..., I went and got my you know,level two through Level two certification through the Wine andSpirits Education Trust. I got my Level one Somalia. I just took my love ofthree, uh, W set exam and I just finished school at Sonoma State. Theyhave a wine business, so I Yes, I've been doing all the education for justjust 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 ofwineries in Virginia. So I used to go to Leesburg and hang out, you know, atthe vineyards there and work on those. And then I originally wanted to have myown wine label, and it dawned on me he was like, Well, you know, I learnedthat That's pretty tough. At the end of the day, you have to be able to sellproduct you have to want. And so I was like, I have such a unique networkingconnection that let me just be the middleman. You know, I'll just have awine club in a country or service, and the wine club is cool. You know, twobottles I pick from like known wineries so that people can get education. Andthen also, I do other country or stuff like, You know, I just Josh Josh Allenwanted to go to pass a robust, so I helped him go there and Matt Ryan has awine 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'skind of a full service conscious. You know, man, I never have wine longenough to have a hopeful seller. So it goes pretty fast in our house, but Ibuy to try. That's right, That's I am to, uh, my wife. And our favorite onelately has been orange swift. You know, he sold originally too, I thinkPrisoner 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'sthat's what it's gonna be you like, what you like. Don't worry about whateverybody else is drinking and doing and doing all those things. So tell usTell all of our fans how they can find you and any guys out there that I cantalk to about, you know, NFL. I think it's a wine. M v P. Is that right? Isthat you know the wine? Yeah. I mean, honestly, the best thing is just go tomy my main platforms at Will Blackmon, whether it's Twitter instagram, um, oninstagram, I'm more active in terms of, like my family life, my wildlife, myathletic life and then Twitter. I just talked a bunch of crap, so right. Ilove it. I love. Well, well, you're a lot like me. You made a ton oftransitions in your life. And I love the transmit position you made afterthe NFL into a career, and you really took it. And you have thatentrepreneurial 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, itdoesn'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 thewheel, man. It's like, now what? You know. Now, what do I do? Yeah. No. AndI appreciate, you know, I mean, that's, like, for me. We got we got our firstsponsor, You know, Manscaped, that's like, manscaped. Why am I going to talkabout that stuff? But, you know, they gave me a sponsorship. So it's hardfiguring that part of life out. So some, um you know, I appreciate you. Iappreciate I'm gonna definitely stay in touch with you because that's anotherconversation. We gotta talk about that. Yeah. Yeah, because you've got to helpme 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 weirdrule. Yeah. There's a couple of guys on the who played for the union. I had todeliver them wind through, like, six different trucking people. So we'llfigure it out. We'll figure it out. I got all kind of guys that can help medeliver it to my house. So Will Blackmon, I I appreciate you sharingyour story with us, giving us a little insight into your background and howsports shaped your life. Thank you for joining me on how to up with Gus. Thankyou so much. I appreciate it, man. All right. Hey, everyone. Thanks forjoining me on. Huddle up with Gus. You can check me out every week on sounderFM, and I also want to say, Hey, look,...

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

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