Time and Change is a series at BuckeyeNation where we chat with former Ohio State athletes.
David Patterson, 27, was a defensive tackle at Ohio State from 2003-06 after a successful high school career in Warrensville Heights, Ohio. He was a two-year starter and All-Big Ten selection with the Buckeyes.
A Lisfranc injury to his foot sidelined a professional career with the Atlanta Falcons and Saskatchewan Roughriders.
He currently resides in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., and is an insurance agent for State Farm in Upland.
Patterson is also a defensive line coach for Los Osos High School.
He is married to model Anansa Sims-Patterson and appears on the reality television show "Beverly's Full House" on the Oprah Winfrey Network.
BuckeyeNation caught up with Patterson recently and talked about his injury, his venture into reality TV and how he keeps up with the Buckeyes.
BN: The foot injury, do you ever look back and wonder, 'What if?'
Patterson: I did. For the first couple years, I thought about it a lot. It happened in practice at the first minicamp. I was doing pretty well and someone just happened to step on my foot. The Falcons gave me a chance. They could have given me an injury settlement and let me go, but they saw potential in me and put me on injured reserve and paid me for a full year without even playing. The next year when I came back, I just wasn't the same player I was before and it was one of the things where I would have to do a lot of management with painkillers and then practice maybe two days before it would really hurt me. But after that it would hurt to get up and walk. It was pretty hard.
That injury ended Matt Schaub's season last year. The one thing is when you're a smaller guy, it can affect you, but not as much. When you're a bigger guy and have a mid-foot injury, it takes a lot to come back.
Basically it's like the ligaments in my foot got spread apart and they had to take two big screws and close my foot back together. When you're a bigger guy – when I was with the Falcons they wanted me at 310 [pounds] – it was really hard on my foot. I just wasn't the same player. I wasn't the biggest guy. My game was more quickness. With that injury, I didn't have any of that. I remember not being able to get off the ball how I used to. At that level, I needed to be at 100 percent. With that injury, I couldn't be at the level and be really effective.
BN: What lessons did Jim Tressel teach you that you have taken into your everyday life?
Patterson: The biggest thing he told me is to add value to anything you're a part of. I coach high school football at Los Osos and I was talking to my players about that the other day. I asked, "How can you add value to the team?" It's one thing to be on the team, but it's another to make the team better because you're a part of it.
I had a player telling me he was going to work in his dad's business and I told him to get his grades up. I told him, "That's all well and good, but do you want to just work for your dad? Do you just want to drive a truck around for your dad or do you want to add value to your dad's business by increasing the profit, by making big decisions, and making the business better by being a part of it?" That's what I've taken into my business life, I want to add value.
I'll tell you the other thing that Coach Tressel helped me with, I was always the type of person that cared about people, but he showed me that on a deeper level. He had so much going on with the football team. It was 105 guys and all the assistant coaches, but he would know the players' parents by their first name. He remembered the high school coaches. Just having that personal relationship with everyone he encountered, he made you believe he cared about you. For him to have those guys and to remember my grandmother's name or my mother's name, I always felt like that was something other guys from other schools didn't get from their coaches. Those coaches didn't seem to take an interest in their personal life or care about those things.
BN: What's it like to be on a reality television show?
Patterson: It's a little weird. One thing you realize about reality TV is it's real, but it's not as real as people think. I mean, it's kind of hard to be as real as you can be. Anytime you see reality TV and it's a conversation between two people in a room, there's always about five, six, seven people in there standing over you with cameras and mics. It's a very unique experience.
BN: What did Columbus mean to you and how have the fans imprinted your life?
Patterson: I'm from Cleveland and Cleveland is a big city, but Columbus had a lot to do with the type of person I am today. It really broadened my horizon, the city and Ohio State in general.
The city I grew up in wasn't as diverse. I didn't have the interaction with people of all different nationalities and religions. When I got to campus, especially on campus, you meet different people from all walks of life, just meeting those people it opened it all up more and exposed me to everything. It helped me grow up and become a better person. That's one of the great things about Ohio State.
The fans always make you feel so appreciated. Anytime I met anyone and I let them know I played football or they recognized my name, the love and appreciation they showed me was incredible. It's overwhelming. When you're a kid and you're 18 and in school, you don't realize it as much, but when you get older and look back, it blows your mind how much people care.
My senior year [at Ohio State] I missed a couple games with an injury. I was looking online recently for a picture of myself for the high school program. I came across a message board where my name was on there. There was a guy on there that said "I couldn't sleep all night thinking about Patterson. He looked like he hurt his knee really bad." I just couldn't believe that someone out there cared that much about me being OK. You can't believe how much fans really care.
BN: The buzz is crazy in Columbus with the season right around the corner. How do you think Ohio State will do in its first year under Urban Meyer?
Patterson: I think if you look at what we have and Urban Meyer's history, even back to Josh Harris at Bowling Green, Alex Smith at Utah, or Tim Tebow and Chris Leak [at Florida], any time he's had a mobile quarterback to run his offense, he's done well. He was always able to do everything he did and used the quarterback position to keep everything going.
There were times we had the three first-round wide receivers on one team and we didn't score as many points as we could have or should have. It's going to be interesting to see a little more high-powered, aggressive offense from the Buckeyes.
Everyone talks about him bringing the spread offense to the Big Ten and how it's going to change. People forget Rich Rodriguez brought the spread to Michigan and it didn't work. The biggest difference is No. 1, Urban Meyer understands what it means to be a Buckeye because he was here with Earl Bruce. He understands what it means when Ohio State plays Michigan.
Also, he's keeping guys like coach [Luke] Fickell and coach [Mike] Vrabel. That Buckeye tradition is there. Rodriguez's spreads did really well, but if you look at those teams, they lost the trademark Michigan defense they always had.
BN: What's next for David Patterson?
Patterson: I have a daughter that's 13 months old and a son that is due in November. Becoming a dad with two kids is something I'm really looking forward to. One thing I'd like get into, when I'm Columbus I always listen to "The Common Man and Torg." When I'm up in Cleveland, I listen to my boy LeCharles Bentley's radio show. Sometime in the future, I'd like to do sports talk radio or have a segment on the radio. It's always interested me.
Right now, I'm just interested in coaching high school and helping these kids get better and continue on becoming a great dad.