We know that every NFL player is extremely talented. They wouldn't have made it this far if they weren't. But playing in the NFL is more than just physical talent. So to find out what drives them, focuses their energy and mind and is important to them, I asked several Jaguars the following question: "Who was and is your biggest football influence?"
The answers were diverse and interesting.
Today we find out about former Grand Valley State offensive lineman Cameron Bradfield, a fourth-year player from Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Who was your biggest football influence growing up?
Bradfield: I would say when I first started playing, it was my friends. I didn’t really follow football that much growing up. I was more of a basketball player, but I started playing when I was 8 years old and it was mainly because my friends were playing. We would play street ball and stuff like that, but they had already been playing organized football and they asked me to come out and I was like, 'Sure. I’m not doing anything else this summer, so I might as well go out.' So I would say initially it was them.
Were you a big kid?
Bradfield: I was tall. I was always a tall kid. I wasn’t big. Didn’t play offensive line until I got to college. I probably played every position except [offensive line]. I played running back, I played some tight end, wideout, linebacker, defensive line. I didn’t really like gain a lot of mass until I got to college.
So what position did you play when you got to Grand Valley State?
Bradfield: I came at tight end. It was primarily tight end. Or D-end. Whichever one they wanted to put me at. But, yeah, I came in at tight end. Was about 230 [pounds]. I would say probably that offseason, going into like May or June, probably gained 25, 30 pounds. That’s how that whole offensive line thing started.
What about high school? Who was your biggest influence there?
Bradfield: I would definitely say my high school coach [Sparky McEwen at Creston High in Grand Rapids, Michigan]. He definitely lit a fire under me to really push me a lot to be better than everybody else. I would say I was a decent high school player but he really pushed me to be great and really taught me what it means to have a work ethic and stuff like that. So, I’d definitely say him.
Were you one of those guys that skated by on talent alone?
Bradfield: Pretty much. Like I said, I came up playing a lot of basketball and [in] high school I took it serious. I wasn’t joking around with the sport, but I really thought of it as a second sport to basketball. He said since my ninth grade year: 'Yeah, you think you’re going to play basketball. You’re going to be a football player.' Back then, I’m like, 'Yeah, OK.' He was right.