One of the best parts of this job (if you can call it a job) is being able to interview players and personalities that I watch on Sundays. The opportunity to stage a Q & A session with an actual NFL athlete is pretty damn cool, even if it’s via email and not in person.
Thus far in my 18 months at ITI, I’ve been allowed to chat with Max Jean-Gilles and Jon Runyan. And just last week I was able to add starting tight end Brent Celek to the list. Brent was generous enough to take time out of his very busy schedule and answer a handful of queries from yours truly. Needless to say, I was excited for the chance to chat with one of my favorite Eagles.
Without further ado, here’s my interview with the one and only Brent Celek.
ITI: Did you feel at all slighted by being a fifth-round pick, or were you just happy to be drafted?
BC: I was grateful for the opportunity to play at the next level. If anything, it was motivation for me to prove my worth to my new team and make them feel like they got a steal when drafting me, but I always play as if I have a chip on my shoulder.
ITI: What is the hardest part about transitioning from college to the pros?
BC: The lifestyle.
ITI: Which play do you love to hear called in the huddle?
BC: Tight End Screen
ITI: What are the challenges of in-line blocking?
BC: The strength and the size of DE you’re going against makes blocking difficult because they are so big.
ITI: Is there a tight end playing today that you model your game after?
BC: There isn’t any one in particular. I watch films on all Tight Ends and take bits from each one.
ITI: Which player has hit you the hardest?
BC: I haven’t been hit that hard yet.
ITI: Does it feel strange not having Donovan McNabb around anymore?
BC: Don will be missed but having players come and go is something we are prepared for, as it is just part of the business.
ITI: Playing in a city starving for a Lombardi Trophy, do you ever feel extra pressure when you take the field?
BC: Not really to be honest. I feel the same pressure each week. The fans expect wins and we just try to give them what they want.
ITI: Do you have any personal goals for the upcoming season?
BC: My goal is to help my team win the Super Bowl.
ITI: I know you’re focusing on 2010, but with the lack of a new CBA, are you at all concerned there could be a lockout in 2011?
BC: It is not something I have any control over so I focus on what I do have control over which is becoming a stronger, smarter, and all around better Tight End than I was the day before. But of course I hope it gets done.
ITI: The Eagles-Cowboys rivalry has always been bitter, but it has reached new heights in the last couple years. Do you gain any extra motivation when facing them?
BC: Any rivalry fuels motivation, and the more it riles the fans up, the more fired up the players get.
ITI: I saw on a chat recently that you’re a fan of Jim’s Steaks. So, how do you like your cheesesteak?
BC: With tomato, onion, provolone, and mayonnaise, thanks to Stewart.
ITI: What do you like most about Facebook and Twitter, and are you obsessed with either of them yet?
BC: I like being able to reach out and connect my fans. It is a great way to let everyone in on the life of an NFL Tight End. It is very rewarding. I encourage everyone to join me on Facebook and Twitter at www.facebook.com/BrentCelek and www.twitter.com/BrentCelek.
ITI: I’m a huge film buff, so I need to know. What’s your favorite movie and why?
BC: Shawshank Redemption and I don’t have to explain why.
ITI: Any message to the fans regarding the upcoming season?
BC: Our only goal is to bring a Super Bowl championship home to our fans and it is something that we are working towards every day.
So, he loves the Tight End Screen, hasn’t been hit that hard yet, likes provolone on his cheesesteaks and digs The Shawshank Redemption. Great stuff! I’d like to pass along my sincerest thanks to Brent and the fine folks at ESBL Sports Management for helping me set this up.