Don’t get me wrong—talent, determination, work ethic and great coaching got me from DeSoto, Texas, to the league, but the body and mind can only take you so far. I believe you need imagination and creativity to truly take it to the next level as an athlete today.
Since our Super Bowl win, my life has definitely changed in ways I could never have imagined. I had the craziest six months of my life, and as my off-season came to an end and we went back to camp, I was able to reflect a bit about my journey and how I got to where I am today.
Athletes today at any level who put in work and try to live up to their potential can do well. Absolutely. But they are just following the script. I like to create and write my own. And the action in my story is just getting started.
What it comes down to is: I am not just number 58, a stat line or the guy with the glasses that was on Dancing with Stars. These are just small parts of my identity and do not come close to defining who I am as a person or telling my full story.
Creativity fuels my soul, and I express that in everything I do. From the jump-steps and speed rushes, to the swim and spin moves that I use to get past the tackle to sack the quarterback, to the jokes I tell to break the tension in the locker room, to how I farm my chickens, to how I dance on Snapchat, everything I do is done in my own unique style. I don’t want to be like anyone else. I only know my own way.
So I’m a little confused when I look around the sports world and see the state that the games are in today. Where is the creativity? Where is the inspiration?
Yes the games have evolved, some rules have changed, but things have become pretty much expected, almost cookie-cutter. It seems like we’ve seen it all before. But in truth, we haven’t even scratched the surface.
Sports can bring us to tears, make us feel happy or sad. They can inspire us. But without creativity, sports are boring. Without creativity, sports just aren’t the same. Creativity of the mind, creativity of the soul, creativity of the body. It’s all connected and it all matters. By bringing creativity to sports, I can shape my own reality. With creativity in sports, we have fans saying, “Did you just see that?!” When athletes make the highlight reels or trend on Twitter, it’s creativity that makes the difference.
Every time I strap on my pads, I’m representing my family, my upbringing, my Aggies, my teammates, my city, our fans and everything else that makes up who I am and who I want to be. But without creativity, none of it would be possible and I’d just be another guy who made it to the league.
That’s not enough for me though. I want to be among the greats, and my creativity will help me get there.
Opening night and our title defense can’t come soon enough.