1st and 10 with Bryant McFadden
First and 10 is a feature that runs in Steelers Digest, the official publication of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Cornerback Bryant McFadden took time out to talk with Teresa Varley and shared his thoughts about a variety of topics, including starting, interceptions and hard hits.
You started nine games in 2006 and in 2007 you didn't have the chance to start. Is it tough to get that feeling and then not start?
It can be a little tough at times, but you have to be prepared at all times. You have to play your part and do you role. Whenever it's time for you to do a little more just be ready and willing to give the extra motivation you already had stored up. It's part of the game. There are going to be ups and downs throughout you are going to have to fight though.
What's the feeling when you get an interception and is it more about the read you get or just reaction?
It's a great feeling. It's something you strive for. Whenever you are able to do that it brings a feeling of fulfillment and joy. As far as the play, it's dealing with reading and reaction. It's a little bit of both. It's a combination. You have to be able to read it to react properly. It goes hand-in-hand.
What is the hardest hit you have ever laid on an opposing player?
When I was at Florida State and I knocked an opposing running back out of the game. I put myself to sleep a little bit. I was dazed. It was my freshman year. He didn't walk off the field; they had to carry him off. I limped off, but it was the hardest hit.
You host your own television show. How did that come about and what has that been like for you?
Somebody came at me with the idea. I was kind of excited about doing it because I wasn't one of the premiere guys on the team. I have been doing it the last two years. It's been coming along pretty good. It gives me something to do. It's a chance to talk about football and other stuff off of the field with my teammates and just have fun with it. I interview them and joke and laugh. It brings a little enthusiasm.
You also have a radio show. How do the two differ?
With the television show I am dealing more with a live audience. With the radio show you are talking over the airwaves. You sometimes get the chance to interact with people when they call in. It's kind of similar getting the chance to interact with people you might not know. But doing the television show you have more people in front of you so you don't have the time to be camera shy. On the radio you don't have to deal with that.
Is it more challenging to do the shows following a loss as opposed to a win?
It is. But you still have to go at it with a positive attitude and keep it professional. It is much, much, much easier to do the radio and television show after a win. But it's the NFL and losses will occur. You have to bounce back and forget about it and continue to focus on the next game.
You have a strong knowledge of the history of defensive backs in the NFL. How did that come about that you gained that knowledge and does it expand beyond your position to other positions?
I know a lot about guys in the NFL and college players; the whole nine yards. I have been watching football my whole life, growing up with older people, my uncles and older cousins and all they did was watch football. I applied it as a youngster, watching different people, memorizing who they are and what they did, what they are known for, where they came from. It still applies today. I am a fan of the game when I am not playing. When I am playing I am sitting on the sideline watching other people. Just the knowledge of the game and knowing who walked the steps I am trying to walk. I know about guys like Jack Tatum, Night Train Lane, Coach (Dick) LeBeau. Those are outstanding guys, Hall of Fame type guys. Watching some of the highlights of how they played the game brings a lot of joy to my heart. They played the game with such reckless abandon. Even though they are changing the way we try to play now, seeing how they had no seatbelts on when they played it made the game a lot of fun to watch.
You keep footballs from interceptions and fumble recoveries. Why is that something that is meaningful to you and what do you do with them – are they displayed somewhere?It's memorabilia. You aren't going to be able to play this game forever. You want to have some mementos that I can show to my family and kids that I once was in this league. Coach LeBeau always tells us it's better to have been a has-been than a never been. I can always say I was a has-been.
Your rookie season you went to the Super Bowl. The next season the team missed the playoffs. Was that a quick lesson in it's not that easy to make it that far?
They kind of spoiled me my rookie year, fresh out and going all of the way to the Super Bowl. It puts you in the situation that whenever you get an opportunity you have to take advantage of it. You never really know. It's a tough league and you have to take every game like it's your last game and take advantage of the situation. It was a tough situation to go through but you learn from and benefit from in the future.
You had a special bond with both of your grandmothers. Can you talk about that?
Both of my grandmother's, who have since passed, raised me. I lived with one of them and the other one lived right down the street. I had the best of both worlds. They made sure I had everything I needed to have and disciplined me the right way. They made sure I always gave God the glory. They are gone and I wish they could see me play right now. They always knew I wanted to be an NFL football player since I was age three. That's all I talked about. I am fulfilling a dream for me and for them.