I understand you almost went to Columbia University. You must have been quite a student, yes?
Well, it was always education first for me. It's a one-in-a-million chance that you'll make it as a professional athlete, so education was always first in my household. Before I could go out and play sports, I had to take care of the books. It came down to Columbia or Northern Colorado. I had some Division II offers, too. I had a 4.1 GPA and was (fourth) in my class. Columbia was really appealing, but the Ivy League schools don't really give athletic scholarships. I didn't want to leave college with a bunch of loans. So I took the partial scholarship at Northern Colorado and ended up playing basketball my second year to get a little more (financial aid) to get my school taken care of.
What were your aspirations outside of football?
My interests have always been around business. Northern Colorado has a great business school; probably one of the top five west of the Mississippi. Now I invest in a few restaurants in San Diego. I've got a partnership in a real estate business out of Reno (Nev.). I'm involved in Lacer Headwear, which is the hat I'm wearing. I like to try some different things. And I'm always learning.
Why didn't anyone recruit you coming out of high school?
I don't know. I had size. I was 6-3, 190 (pounds). I played both ways, safety and receiver. I was honorable mention all-state and had decent numbers. We weren't a powerhouse in high school football. We were like 4-6 in my junior and senior year. And Colorado Springs is not exactly a hub for (college recruiting). It's not like schools from the SEC are coming around to recruit. I sent tapes out and got no callbacks.
You seem to know a little about hard work. You had a number of jobs when you were younger, right?
I've had a lot of odd jobs. My first job was working at a Super 8 motel cleaning rooms. My best friend's grandfather was the manager, and it was a summer job for us. We didn't, like, wear aprons or anything. We did maintenance. I also sold Kirby vacuum cleaners. Honestly, I did very well with it. I was a shy kid. I didn't like speaking in front of crowds. But somehow, I managed. I used to catch the moms at home in the afternoons and play with the kids and clean a couple spots on the carpet. And next thing you know, you're closing a deal. It was an experience. I also was a cook at the airport. I worked at a military base, in the kitchen. I worked at Domino's (pizza). That was one of my favorite jobs. You got to drive your own car. You kept all the tips, and they paid you a little money for your gas. Hey, I couldn't always ask mom and dad for money for a pair of new kicks all the time, so I worked. I wanted to be able to have a little independence.
Here are our weekly questions: What's playing the most on your iPod right now?
It's hard for me to pinpoint one thing because I have such variety. (Rapper) Kendrick Lamar had a recent album that I like. I like hip-hop. But I also listen to a good bit of country. Jason Aldean has a new record that's pretty good. You're going to find a lot of combinations with me. I listen to even classical music.
What website do you visit most?
Actually, Bloomberg.com. My financial adviser and I are pretty close, so we talk quite a bit. I'm always interested in the market and the economy. It just has a lot of good stories about what's going on overseas. I like to stay up on things.
This might be a dumb question, but is there a reality TV show you watch regularly?
I do actually watch some, but it's not like the Kardashians. I watch the ones on A&E like stuff on alligator hunting and the gold rush show. I love that kind of stuff. I love Swamp People. And I love Food Network, too. I love food, and I love to cook. I like Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and Man vs. Food. Intervention, too.
You like to cook? What's your best dish?
Right now, I'd say that turkey I fried (on Thanksgiving) was pretty good. I think I did a great job. I make a pretty good manicotti. I make grilled chicken tacos, too. Those are my two go-to things.
Your dad was in the Army, and you moved around a lot. What was your favorite place to live?
The time in Germany was probably most memorable. We actually lived off the base, and we were kind of in a little German community. We had a sheep pasture (nearby) that always had sheep. I always remember they would get out all the time. You'd wake up in the morning, and there'd be 40 sheep running through your front yard. You'd see the farmers trying to round them up. But it was great. While we were there, we went up to Sweden, visited Paris. I was about 10, so those memories are distinct. I think that's where I want to go in the offseason; take a trip back to Europe and see some different things as an adult.