JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Confucius.
The Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end certainly doesn’t qualify as one of history's great philosophers. When it comes to what’s happening in the Twittersphere, however, Branch has his own existential, Hundred Tweets of Thought, "I tweet, therefore I am" thing going.
Branch regularly dispatches motivational phrases, thought-provoking questions, and advice to his more than 12,300 followers. He even has his own term for those little nuggets, too: #WindmillWisdom. It’s his way of connecting with the fans and having fun at the same time.
Excuses will always be there for you, opportunities won't #WindmillWisdom
- Andre Branch (@BranchNout90) August 10, 2014
"I definitely want to interact with all the fans," Branch said. "That's what we do it for out here, our family, our friends, each other, and the fans, because that's who comes here every Sunday and roots us on. So, for the loyal fans, why not interact with them?"
The origin of Windmill Wisdom is tied to the origin of the Windmill, which is the dance that Branch does after a sack or a big play. He leans back and rotates both arms in giant circles. Branch had come up with the dance during his rookie season in 2012, but he called it the money dance. Fans and members of the media called it the Windmill, however, and that's what stuck.
Windmill Wisdom was born by accident. Branch had been tweeting motivational phrases, quotes and advice, when a friend first gave him the inspiration for the title.
"He was like, 'Man, that's some Windmill Wisdom right there,'" Branch said. "And I was like, 'Oh, that's a good idea.' So I stuck with it. I asked all the fans on Twitter how they felt about it. They loved it, so I just kept it going."
Fans do seem to like it. His Windmill Wisdom tweets are regularly retweeted and favorited, and sometimes fans even drop one on him, too. There have even been times when a fan has tweeted Branch and asked for help.
Branch gets his information from various sources. His mother, Paulette Battle, will give him some ideas, or he'll hear a quote or see a motivational phrase somewhere else and use it. He said he's always looking for something to use.
"I might hear something from you and I'll be like, 'Oh, that was pretty good,' and I'll tweet it," Branch said. "Or if a fan tweets me and says, 'Man, I need some Windmill Wisdom.' I've got them. I will tweet them back."
Branch says his favorite Windmill Wisdom came from his mother: "There is no paradise without sacrifice."
"I don't know where she got it from, but she told me that and it stuck with me," Branch said. "That's been sticking with me for about five years, since she told me. I was like, 'Man, that's a good one.'"
F. E. A. R Face | Everything | And | Rise #WindmillWisdom
- Andre Branch (@BranchNout90) February 4, 2014
As you might expect, Branch's teammates sometimes give him a hard time about his tweets. Like offensive tackle Cameron Bradfield, who said he's curious about where Branch gets his material.
"You make me wonder now if I should ask him where he gets his stuff from, if he went to Barnes & Noble and grabbed a book of 101 sayings or something like that," Bradfield said. He wasn't surprised when told that Branch's mother gives him some ideas: "Hey, his mom is a smart lady then. Very smart."
But Bradfield said there's no chance that Branch came up with any of them on his own. Or that he got help from any of the other players in that corner of the locker room.
"They're defensive linemen," Bradfield said. "They're not the smartest apples in the bunch."
Not only does defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks not have a favorite Windmill Wisdom tweet, he said he's not sure why fans seem to like them. But he does like the fact that Branch is interacting with fans with his true personality, which allows them to feel a connection to the team, and he wants Branch to keep posting.
"I don't know where the hell they come from and I don't know why it's so popular because it isn't any senior wisdom, but they all like it and enjoy it," Marks said. "He embraces; they embrace it.
"... I get so tired of it on Twitter, Instagram. I stop looking at my accounts. It isn't wise in my eyes, in my thoughts. I've got my own wisdom, but it's fun for him. He's a [funny] guy, he likes to play around. He has fun with it, so I'm all for it."
Wisdom is nothing more than healed pain #WindmillWisdom
- Andre Branch (@BranchNout90) April 25, 2014