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Friday, 8 June 2012

TPL Interviews... Daryn Colledge

Welcome back to TPL and the second edition of our TPL Interviews... series. Today, we have the pleasure of bringing you former Packer and current Cardinal offensive lineman Daryn Colledge. Colledge is a 6 year NFL veteran out of Boisie St who was part of the Packers Super Bowl XLV winning team and currently starts at LG for Arizona. Daryn kindly took the time to answer our questions about his career in the NFL, how it felt to win the Super Bowl, and what his expectations are for himself and the Cardinals going into the 2012 season.

The Pulling Linemen: Hi Daryn. Thanks a lot for talking to us today. Your football career has taken you all over the country; starting out at North Pole HS in Alaska, spending 5 years in Green Bay, WI after 4 at Boise St, and now finding yourself in Arizona. Did you ever imagine growing up amongst the candy cane street lamps in North Pole you’d be playing football in the desert for a living? Am I right in thinking you only really focused on football as a senior at HS?

Daryn Colledge: I had a great opportunity in North Pole to play lots of sports, I actually had more baseball scholarship offers than football. Only really playing football my senior year made it fresh and exciting. At first it was just an opportunity to have fun and pay for school, the NFL was not on my mind. But once I started to get going I thought, "what the hell, why not go for it all?" I never imagined the amazing opportunity I would be given through football and the path it would take me down.

TPL: You arrived in Boise as a very raw and pretty undersized guy at 235lbs, but quickly went about making a big impact, turning yourself into a 4 year starter, and earning three All-WAC selections. Your replacement for the Bronocs after your graduation was Ryan Clady, another stellar NFL lineman. Is there something about that Boise facility that helps linemen to excel?

DC: Well I had a lot of growing to do. I really played high school football at 255 but I tripped down after basketball season so I had trimmed down. I came to Boise as an All State D End so I thought at 255-260 I was gonna get after a few people. Little did I know I was gonna have to learn to be an O Lineman and put a little weight on. Now it was the best thing to ever happen to me and I wouldn't change it for the world. As for the stellar O Lineman, I think Ryan and I had the opportunity to work under some great coaches, but also as two converted  D Linemen I believe we both worked extremely hard to become O Linemen and had to become real technicians. But in Ryan's case it also helps to be 6'7" with a 7' wing span.
A younger, less tatted Daryn

TPL: You obviously still have a great connection with Boise St, and you and your wife recently donated $150,000 to the school to help maintain the strength and conditioning facility there. Could you tell us a little about how much Boise still means to you and your family?

DC: Boise State and the city of Boise itself still mean the world to us. The city is our home, the people there are special to us. The university gave us so much, not just an education and a opportunity but it gave us each other. We will never be able to pay the City and the University back for all it's done for us, but our gift hopefully will continue the help for the next group that follows.

TPL: You were drafted in the 2nd round of the 2006 draft by the Packers, and instantly earned a starting spot. Right now, there are a lot of rookies going through the same thing you did, with OTAs, their first camp, and rookie hazing. Who can you remember from your early days in the league helped you to adjust to life? Another Boise St alum and offensive lineman Nate Potter was selected by the Cardinals in the 7th round this year, has he come to you for any help or advice?

DC: My experience at Green Bay as a rookie was frightening, crazy, exhilarating, and done in a flash. It's amazing trying to find your place, your role, and your locker. I mean most days you're just trying to remember the install from the day before, and here comes the next one. I was very fortunate I got drafted along with some great guys. Fellow linemen Tony Moll and Jason Spitz, we fought together and made friendships that will last forever. Also getting to play with three very talented Vets in Scott Wells, Mark Tauscher, and Chad Clifton, made my transition much easier. Plus with a guy like Joe Philbin coaching you, you wanna succeed.

As for Potter, he's got questions everyday, and as a hard worker he's just looking for ways to get better. But we have actually been working together for a couple of years. I spent a lot of my off seasons in Boise. Nate and I would get together with other players and work on technique and footwork drills before I had to head back for offseason training. It was a huge help during the lockout. It always energized me to go back and work with young hungry guys. It's a great reminder of where ya come from.

TPL: Of course, one of the highlights of your career must be winning Superbowl XLV with the Packers? How much can you remember from that night in Arlington?

DC: Truly a special moment in my life. It's such an honor to play this game at this level, but the chance to play in the SB and hoist the trophy are crazy rare. I remember in my second season speaking to our asst. O Line coach Jerry Fontenot and him telling me how rare the playoffs were, he had said in his 16 seasons he had only been to the playoffs 2-3 times and here I was in my second season getting ready for the NFC Championship game and three years later I would win a Super Bowl. Life's crazy but I am very blessed. The game was a blur, I remember walking up for the first play and going "wow I'm in the Super Bowl," I remember having a false start in the fourth quarter and thinking "damn my whole family saw that," and I remember the confetti falling. It was all so surreal. But after all the yelling and all the partying I remember riding back to the hotel on the bus and everyone was celebrating and for some reason I ended up with the trophy in my seat. I'll remember that 30 mins forever. It was just me and Lombardi, I was at the top of the mountain, and life was good.
DC protects one of the game's greats, Aaron Rodgers

TPL: One of the biggest rewards of winning the Superbowl is a trip to the White House to meet the President, but because of your move to Arizona you missed out on meeting Obama.  Did you suspect the Packers would choose not to invite you? Just how disappointed did you feel?

DC: It is a great honor, but when you move to a new team things change. I had a feeling there wasn't gonna be an invite coming my way. It was slightly disappointing to miss that opportunity and know that people that weren't even on the team were gonna take your place. But that is life, its not perfect. I've just gotta work that much harder to get Arizona a trip. But if Senator John McCain want's to make it up to me, I'm free most weekends until August.

TPL: In your 5 years in Green Bay, you blocked for 2 elites QBs, in Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers, but since your move to Arizona you’re working in front of much less experienced guys. Have you had any difficulties in adjusting to the change in system, and do you feel any increased pressure when you’re protecting a QB that might need that half second extra to get the ball off?

DC: The opportunity to play in front of Brett was great, a first ballot Hall member, but stressful at the same time, you felt like if you screwed up the town might run ya out with pitchforks. Blocking for Aaron was awesome, he's a special talent and one of the truly good guys in the game. A true pro, a humble man and a rare talent, while there I was proud to call him a friend. As for my new QB's there has been some real adjustments, with the lockout we didn't have the opportunity to gel and learn the system as well as we needed to before we were out taking live bullets. As an O Line there were times we were letting them down and times they were doing the same to us. But by mid season we had started to figure it out. OTA's and mini camp were huge for us this season, no matter who is the starer this season, I like our odds.

TPL: What are your expectations for the Cardinals in 2012? The NFC West is always a wide open division, even though the 49ers ran away with it last year. Will there be playoff football in Arizona come January? How about on a more personal level? What a lot of Cardinals fans will want to know: how’s the elbow feeling after the surgery? Any lingering problems?

DC: I expect great things out of the Cardinals this season, we were in almost every game last year and we split with San Fran, people are sleeping on us and that's ok. We are right where we wanna be. We wanna bring a pride back to the desert and give these fans a great season. This place is getting ready to blow up with football. The goal every year is the playoffs but to be honest you don't wanna settle for anything less then the Super Bowl. We get ourselves in this year and it could get special. As for me physically I'm the healthiest I've been in three years, due to contracts, lockouts, and moves, I had to put surgery off for too long, but I'm ready to roll and expecting big things this season.

TPL: The death of Junior Seau brought a lot of attention to the concussion issue in the NFL. The uncertainty about their long term impact led your fellow offensive lineman Jacob Bell to announce his retirement, despite the fact he’s never had any significant issues with them. Do concussions worry you, and as a father does Bell’s decision force you to consider your position in the league?

DC: Junior's death hits home for all players. Its tough to wake up and see and hear about players and athletes in sports from hockey and boxing also suffering, or taking their own life. Its a scary thing, my family, my wife, and my daughter, are my whole world. Every player is out there saying well that's not me, or it won't happen to this guy, but we really don't know. I know I have a responsibility to provide for my family, and I love this game. But if I start to question my ability to be a husband and a father, there might have to be a reevaluation of my work status.

TPL: Is the concussion issue something players are discussing amongst themselves, or is all the talk coming from front offices and league offices rather than the guys on the field?

DC: Players wanna play, and we talk about how these rule changes will effect us by taking us off the field, which can effect our job security. But most guys don't wanna talk about the elephant in the room, that is what we might have to deal with after our playing days are over. Most just try to ignore it. We all know we are taking chances but the short term is what is on most players minds.

TPL: The NFL has announced a move back to a mid-1990s policy of requiring all players to wear thigh and knee pads as part of the standard uniform. Do you think this is a good move? Will it affect you personally? Is the league clutching at straws to show its commitment to improving safety in the game?

DC: I think the league is doing what it can to make a violent sport as safe as possible. But it does not really effect me that much as a fat guy playing in the trenches, I like to be well protected. But for the speed skill guys, they don't like to feel bound up, and those things will slow them down and make them look so uncool, just ask them. 

TPL: Through-out your career you’ve shown yourself to be very durable, not missing a game in 4 years at Boise State, or in 6 years in the NFL. In 2008 you played 100% of the Packers offensive snaps, and 97.4% in 2009. What’s your secret?

DC: Constant fear of losing your job, if you go down and the dude behind you plays well, you might be headed home. I've never wanted to let my teammates down, I feel like we fight for each other, I always wanted the guys around me to know I was gonna be there until I couldn't do it anymore. Beyond that good luck, great trainers and strength coaches, Alaskan blood, and phenomenal facial hair.

TPL: Outside of football, you’ve got many fingers in many pies. You, and fellow ex-Packers Jason Spitz and Tony Moll own a wine company called “Three Fat Guys”, you’re heavily involved in charity work, earning you the Packers Walter Payton Man of the Year award in 2009, and you’re listed as a beard and tattoo aficionado in various profiles. Do you have any plans for what to do after football? Is there a niche in the cross-section between wine, beards and tattoos for a very specific charity?
DC: Football is what I do, but I hope to not be defined by it. I've got all types of passions and loves outside of the game. I think its all about finding those things and continuing to grow in them. I don't know exactly what I'll due after football, if I'm lucky enough to play long enough to do what ever I want, I think I'll work on our wine, coach kids and be a huge part of my daughters life. Also as much golf as possible. As for the bearded, tattooed, wine foundation, I'm sure that idea's already taken.
These 3 Fat Guys know their wine...

TPL: Finally, we just wanted to give you the opportunity to tell us about some of the charities that you’re involved with, and hopefully we can help spread the word about some of the work they do. 

DC: It seems that today everybody has a charity or a foundation, my wife and I decided we wanted to be available to assist our teammates with theirs. So we work with them all, we love the kids. But with my little brother being in the military service and much of our family serving at one time or another, the military is a huge part of what we do and hope to continue with.

TPL: Thanks again for talking to us Daryn, and all the best for camp and the 2012 season!

DC: It was fun, thanks for the opportunity.

You can follow Daryn on twitter at @DarynColledge71 and find his facebook page here.
And don't forget, you can follow The Pulling Linemen (@PullingLinemen), and also find us on facebook here!

- Phil Gaskin (@sosayitisaid)
- The Pulling Linemen

1 comment:

  1. Great interview Phil, now get on with the thesis :P