Playing professional football was a dream of mine for many years. I still feel lucky every day for the opportunity to play in the NFL, and it is a privilege to do so.
But while many fans think of our jobs only as performing on Sundays, there actually is a lot more to it. Playing football is, in fact, a job. And the hours we put in our office – Reliant Stadium – each week might surprise some people.
To give you a glimpse at the day-to-day life of a player in-season, I've decided to go through my schedule from Monday through Sunday. Granted, things can change depending on the week and given other circumstances, but this is more or less what I do on a weekly basis.
Monday - The day after the game on Monday, I pull into Reliant Stadium around 10 a.m. I like to get in the cold tub for a few minutes before I do a full-body lift in our weight room. If I am beat up from the prior game, I get some treatment for those injuries or aches and pains. Afterward, we have meetings from 12 p.m. until a little before 3 p.m. Then we're off for the day.
Tuesday - Tuesdays are our off day, but usually I try to get out and perform some service in the community. Yesterday, I went and visited the Boys & Girls Club for a few hours. That was a lot of fun, and I enjoy giving back. I think it's important to have a positive presence in the community, because we get so much support from our fans.
Otherwise, I try to rest up as much as possible on Tuesdays, and I don't wake up until I have to. Our off day is huge, because in the NFL it's so easy to overwork yourself. This job is so high-stress that it can get to you. If you don't take a little bit of time for yourself, it can wear away at you. You have to get that away time to recharge your batteries. The last thing you want is to be worn out by Sunday, mentally or physically.
Another reason why Tuesdays are important is because it generally is the day when players are most sore. I always feel the most beaten up two days after I play, so it's nice to be able to relax, because it can be a struggle some days. Some Tuesdays I feel like taking a seat on a couch in front of the T.V. and watching movies all day because I feel that sore.
Wednesday - Wednesday is when the real work begins – the game preparation. I get to the stadium around 7 a.m. The first meeting is at 7:45 a.m. Before then, I just get treatment if I need any. Meetings last until close to 11 a.m. We have a walk-through from 11:15 a.m. until about 11:45 a.m. Then we have lunch and open locker room, where the media can speak to us and ask us questions about the upcoming opponents or whatever it may be.
At 12:50 p.m., special teams guys go out to the practice field. I don't get out to practice until around 1:30 p.m. The entire team is on the field until about 3:30 p.m. for practice. After that, we have meetings from 4-5 p.m., and then we watch some more film from 5-5:30 p.m. It ends up being a long day, usually from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., but I don't mind.
Thursday- Thursday is pretty much the same thing as Wednesday. But the only difference is practice is a little harder. We wear pads and it's more of a physical day of preparation in practice. But the schedule is pretty much the same.
Friday - Friday we start to cut back a little bit and get ready for the game. Mornings are still the same. The only thing we eliminate is the walk-through before lunch. So instead of that, we just go out to practice a little bit earlier. We get off the practice field between 1 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. and there is pizza and Popeye's chicken waiting for us in the locker room for lunch. After that, I get in the cold tub and get a lift in. So I get out of here around 3:15 p.m. on Fridays.
Saturday - Every Saturday morning we have meetings at the stadium. A lot of the players come in early for treatment and they try to get their legs back from the week. We have meetings from about 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. It's an easy day. No practice. We just try to get our minds right for gameday.
When we're at home, we go to the team hotel later that night. So from 11 a.m. until about 7 p.m., we're off. If we're on the road, we're traveling most of the afternoon, and we have a little time off once we arrive at our hotel before meetings begin. From 7:30 p.m. until 9 p.m., we have meetings in the hotel. Then that night we stay in the hotel and take buses to the stadium for the game on Sunday.
So that's about it. I do some film work away from the team as well on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Some teams I've played a lot before and I'm familiar with their offense and their personnel, so I won't watch as much film of them. Obviously, if I haven't faced a team before, I'll watch more tapes of their games. In all, I watch about four hours of film by myself. That's in addition to all the film I watch in team meetings at the stadium.
When studying film, I look for tendencies. Some guys are quicker than others. Offensive linemen, based on their alignment off the ball, might give away something. With some guys, their feet click together when they shuffle back in pass protection, so that tells me that they're susceptible to the bull rush. I just look for any weakness to give myself an advantage. Sorry, I won't give away any other "tells." I don't want to help my opposition that's reading this.
Anyways, remember to drop me an e-mail if you have any questions. I'd be happy to answer them.