It’s been an eventful week. Most of the events were positive, but probably the most important event of the week is our game and that was definitely negative.
It’s been a really tumultuous season. I guess “tumultuous” would be a good word to describe it thus far. Fortunately, we have four more games which is definitely a lot. Our playoff destiny is no longer 100 percent in our hands — which is difficult — but we still have a chance, so I think it’s important that we try to step up and sustain some consistency and shoot for the highest goal. I think that’s the only thing we can do and that’s the culture of this organization and of this city.
So like I said, the week was busy. I had the fancy hors d’oeuvres gathering with Mr. Bowlen and Coach Shanahan and Jay Cutler was there and a few offensive linemen and a bunch of people who had contributed to the Charities to Children fund which is something that Mr. Bowlen and his wife have been involved with for a long time I assume — at least as long as I’ve been here. It was fun to hang out with those people.
It’s always funny because I’ve done it the last few years since I’ve been here. It’s always funny how the night starts off and everybody’s a little uptight. I’m not like that at all. I guess in my attempt to loosen people up by the end of the night I either have a bunch of big fans or a couple of people saying, “Who’s that weird kid?” I don’t drink, so you can’t blame it on alcohol; I’m just energetic. I hate being bored and people talking about all kinds of boring things. So it was pretty lively; we had a good time. I stole the camera from the cameraman that was there and got some really good shots. Hopefully I’ll get credit for those pictures. It was a fun night though. That was cool.
Friday I was named as the Broncos’ nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. I can’t put into words how major an honor that is. To be as young as I am and to be able to do that means a lot to me. Any time you can beat Champ Bailey and John Lynch and Jay, who were the other nominees for our team, it feels like an amazing honor and I just appreciate it. It’s something that’s clearly important to this organization is to have our hands in the community and I feel fortunate and blessed to be a part of an organization that feels as strongly about it as I do.
After that I headed down to the Boys & Girls Club for my normal Friday visits, which I really had to do that Friday because I just got an award for my work in the community. If I’d have just gone home and went to sleep I would feel like I was stealing the award or something.
Now I’m up against the rest — 31 other team nominees. I haven’t checked to see who else is nominated. I’m not going to lie and say it doesn’t matter whether I win or lose because I really want to win. I’m competitive. I was happy that I won the nomination here and I would love to win the real Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. That’d be a pretty great honor, but I know my chances are slim. Unfortunately with awards like that, it’s not always 100 percent the man of the year. It’s kind of one part man of the year and two parts big-time superstar athlete.
Last year I know it was a split award between Drew Brees and LaDainian Tomlinson and the year before that was Peyton Manning. I know that Brees did some great things in New Orleans and I’m not sure what Tomlinson’s initiatives were, but they’ve all done a tremendous amount of work in the community, but I can’t imagine that those guys have done more than I have. Maybe over the course of their careers because it’s been longer. So anyway, it’s just my competitive plea, I guess, but realistically it’s not going to happen.
Anyway, the real reason why I’m here is to play football and we have not been playing well the last couple of weeks or on-and-off through the course of the season. It’s always difficult to move on after losses like that and the implications that it has on the rest of our season, but I think part of being a mature professional athlete is learning how to deal with it and separating each game from the one before and even each play from the one before because you’ll never have a successful season or a successful play if you’re dwelling on how great you were the week before or how horrible you were the play before. You can never quite move on and get ready for the next step if you do that.
That’s something that I’ve learned through the years of playing football — how to deal with wins and how to deal with losses. It’s a tool that’s become useful for me and I imagine will become more and more useful the older I get and as I get married and have kids one day. It won’t be a good idea to come home all depressed and angry at my kids because we lost a football game. I’ve learned that. I know when I was a kid, 9, 10, 11 years old playing, if I lost a game I’d be upset and shed tears at the end of the game and be devastated for the rest of the week. It’s just gaining this perspective through my experiences in life and certainly the Sean Taylor thing last week and losing my friend Darrent has really given me some great perspective on life.
When I’m out on the field, there’s nothing more important than getting my job done on the field at that time, but once you leave the field it’s almost insensitive to take yourself that seriously. I can’t head down to the Boys & Girls Club and be in a bad mood all day and treat the kids terribly because I didn’t have the best weekend. It’s just the same with all facets of life. I think most people learn how to do that in their jobs or in just their daily life. You can’t bring those negative feelings home and things like that.
It’s unfortunate that I’ve had to employ that skill so much this season. We’ve lost more games than I’m accustomed to — and that this city is accustomed to, actually — and this entire organization is, so it’s definitely disappointing, but it’s important to try to move on from that and have great practices this week and win our coming game this weekend.
It’s not too bad dealing with the media after the games, but the questions — everything’s better after a win. It’s a lot easier to answer questions and talk to people and the bus ride and plane ride home is a lot happier. It’s inevitable that a win or a loss is going to affect you, but it’s all part of the job. I think that’s one of the things that athletes do forget is that interacting with the media is part of our job description. Win, lose or draw, it’s important to have a good functional relationship with them because it’s kind of your gateway to the fans. Not everybody is fortunate enough to have a blog like me and have a direct gateway to the fans, so other than that, the media is the only way you can contact them. That’s how I deal with the media.
Sometimes when they ask dumb questions or questions that might (tick) me off, I remind myself that I’m not talking to an annoying reporter but I’m talking to the fans, because they’re the ones that are going to read the column or listen to the radio show.
Speaking of fans, this Friday is the NFL 201 at Dove Valley, which I talked about before is kind of a training class, the second-level training class on football for women. I’ve done it every year since I’ve been here and it’s always a lot of fun. It’s a great experience. We have a good time. My group, we do a lot of laughing and have fun and learn a little about football, but mostly just have a good time.
Well I guess that’s all for this week. We’ll go out and try to get back to winning on Sunday. All ready!