From Pee Wee to the NFLOne of my first memories about football is getting tackled by my brother. When I was six years old, my mom didn't want me to play football. My brother and the Pee Wee league coach had to beg her to let me play after I snuck off to a practice. My mom knew I'd be all right after I scored five touchdowns in my first game. From that point on she let me play.
My first football team was sponsored by a little grocery store called Booker Street Grocery. From there I went on to play at Northside Junior High.
Between my spunky beginnings with Booker Street Grocery and record-setting career with the Green Bay Packers, I worked some odd jobs to get by. I was a part-time carpenter in college and fell through a roof while shingling.
My dad told me if I wasn't in sports or extracurricular activities I had to work. I worked with my dad during the summers in the logging industry. Those jobs are too hard.
It's hard to believe now that those jobs could be any harder than the workouts I put myself through. My off-season workouts can get strenuous. But, this is nothing new for me. I've tried to overachieve for as long as I can remember. I learned that from my brother. He just said if you want to be better than anybody, you have to outwork them. Ever since, I've been doing that. It just comes natural now.
Playing wide receiver comes so naturally to me now, I feel like I've been playing the position since Pee Wee league. Actually, I was a running back until college. In my senior year of high school I scored 14 touchdowns and gained over 700 yards. I made the transition to wide receiver in 1988, my freshmen year at the University of South Carolina because the school had two established running backs at the time. I didn't want to red-shirt my first year, so I agreed to the switch and had a 'dream season' as a freshmen All-American. The Gamecocks went 8-3 and met Indiana in the Liberty Bowl.
Football wasn't even my first love. I was a state champion track star in high school. I was also among the best track athletes in the world after winning the 110-meter high hurdles with a time of 13.9 seconds at the Keebler International Prep Track and Field Invitational in June, 1988. I chose football, however, because there is no money in being a track star.
It was a good choice. I not only graduated from college with a bachelor of science degree in Retailing but was the sixth receiver picked in the National Football League draft. I was happy to be drafted but my draft selection disappointed me. I was the sixth receiver chosen but selected in the 3rd round as the 62nd overall pick. And, on top of that, I was drafted by Green Bay. The Packers were the last team I wanted to play for at the time. Not only did they have a great receiver in Sterling Sharpe, they weren't a good team.
I wanted to play for San Francisco and the West Coast offense. And, I essentially got my wish when Mike Holmgren was hired away from San Francisco before my first year. Everything changed when coach Holmgren took over. He implemented the San Francisco offense and instilled a winning attitude in us. Holmgren told us we will be a great team and to bring that attitude out on the field.
Now, Green Bay is the best organization in football. They've always had loyal fans. Win or lose. But now we have a great team. Offensively and defensively we are a close group and sincerely care about one another. When times are tough you need guys who will stick by you.
My future beyond playing football is unclear. I may end up working as a minister in some capacity and the music career is also an option I will consider. Coaching football? Now that's a different story. My Football Camp for Kids is as close to coaching as I want to get right now.
My words of advice to kids: Do what you enjoy but don't limit yourself. There are many opportunities in life.