Ok first let me say this, if it comes off as a fluff piece, I am sorry. I like this stuff though. I like learning more about the men on the field, and off. That said, I was shocked by how cool both these guys were. I knew Tim Shaw and I would have some things to talk about as we are both strong Christians (leave comments about religion out of this please). However I had no clue I would be able to carry on a real conversation with both men so easily. Now I must say, I valet park part time and have for years just for the fun, exercise, ability to drive cool cars, and the extra blow money (not actually used on blow), so I get to meet a bunch of celebrities here in Nashville. Thus I am not completely star struck but at the same time, I kind of was, as obviously I care more about the Titans than I do country music. That said, it was kind of cool eating dinner 2 tables away from Reese Witherspoon Friday night though. I am not trying to tell all this as a "look how cool it was for me" but more as an attempt to allow everyone a glimpse into these two players. I feel like it strengthens the bond to the team when you know more about the men on the field. I am very thankful I went and got this first hand insight. Also, this is my best attempt at accurate paraphrasing as I did not record nor write down the actual conversations, I hope that is clear. I wasn’t there for an interview, but after reflecting on the night, I thought I would share.Now to some of the good stuff. First off, I commend both of these guys for making it important to be a part of a great, yet unknown cause. www.carrytheload.org is the group and their purpose is to remind society, and especially our generation, the real meaning of Memorial Day. The real meaning happens to not be cookouts, blue crabs, and beer. According to Matt, Tim Hasselbeck did a part of the relay and told him about it, he contacted the group because he wanted to do something too. Matt then tweeted it out, and Tim Shaw decided he wanted to join him. I tweeted Tim and Tim messaged me and said come on down.
Tim really respects Matt, and says the whole team does. He said that Matt conducts himself in a way that you almost have too, and there is not reason not too. Tim probably mentioned that Matt has been playing for 16 years about 5 or 6 times in 2 hours. Tim is an awesome guy. He answers followers on twitter and regularly professes his faith to his followers (again, my post, my opinions on religion are all that are needed). That said, if I was ever actually posting stuff for the site, I would obviously not put that in there. Now this part may come off as man love, but Tim Shaw is a really big dude. At one point he said he felt like a wimp since a few of us Vets had 50+lb ruck sacks and said "maybe I should wear yours" I replied jokingly "well no, cause then I would be with wimp without a ruck". After a few giggles, I replied "besides, I don’t think the straps would stay up on your triangular shoulders there". Matt and I bust out laughing. Tim snickers at me and says "yeah, the trainers won’t let me do anymore shrugs. Like, he was serious. Dude is big. He is also a funny, humble, and a real life kind of guy.He talked about buddies of his, talked about going to the movies, and other things you and I would do. He goes to church somewhere that he was invited too because they have a Sun night service, as you could see the convenience there during the season.
Matt was there with his wife Sarah too. Very nice lady. Very fit. Matt was not what I expected. He was taller and more muscular than I thought he would be. Those QB pads just make most of them look like they have a gut I guess. He was also more like you and I than I expected. As I told him that I was a fan, and respected his work, he interrupted me and said "all that stuff on your uniform, I respect your work man". That was awesome. Like one of those "carry around in my pocket for a long time" kind of memories. He was super interested in each of the Vet’s stories. As was Tim. And Sarah too actually. Matt asked me if I was the one they talked to on Twitter, I confirmed, and he kept saying over and over again how he thought that was awesome that I came because he put it on Twitter. So did I. He made constant jokes. They (him and Sarah) both really like Parks and Rec, and like anyone with a brain, loves, admires, and repsects the legend that is Ron Swanson. They are also big Modern Family fans.
This part won’t make much sense for out of towners, but those that know anything about Belle Meade will find it funny. If you live there and get offended, shut up and go eat a money sandwich with a flaxseed smoothie while you cry about it. SOOO, Belle Meade is the $$$ part of town here in Nashville. It’s where Al Gore lives (whose house is awesome by the way). The crime rate is probably something like 0.000234 (+/- .004%). Some of the homes you must cross a tranquil little brook to get too. Yeah, its like that. So there is a 4 lane road with a wonderfully manicured median. They reserve the inner two lanes for runners, bikes, etc. Now please know, this was a Thursday night at 11:00 pm at this point. 2 minutes after I made a joke about fat Belle Meade cops and them having nothing to do, one pulls up to us. He asks us to move from the outer lane, into the inner lane. He has no idea who we are, or who is with us. Matt is in the back and the cop doesn’t see him. Matt sort of snickers when the cop says this, as we haven’t see a car on this road in like 25 mins. He starts walking up to the cop, and Sarah whispers "He’s got this". Matt says "Uhhh Hey Sir, how are you. HI, I’m Matt" and leans almost into the window so the cop cleary sees who he is. The cop gasps "ohh hey man, wow, hey man… how are you.. wow, you guys walk wherever man, its cool" (or something similar) and a good laugh was had by all. As Matt returns to the group, he looks at me and says "you weren’t kidding about those cops man". I replied "nope, I love cops man, like 4 of my best buds are police officers, but these guys are basically registered rent a cops, private security for Nashville’s high and mighty, and pretty much any one of us could out run any one of them, with our packs on". He replies "sounds reasonable from what I saw".. again, funny guy. Typing it doesn’t do it justice.
OK OK, now onto the football stuff. The good stuff so I am going to try and keep it short, and it is sweet trust me. So of these will be Q/A and some will just quotes they made.
ME – So Matt, I gotta ask, what do you think of Kendall?
Matt – I tell you what Daniel, I say this as a very long time fan of the game of football, not as QB of the Titans. So I am being objective. If Kenny is healthy, there is not another corp of WRs that is anything close to this one. NO, SF, NYG, and NE all have a good group of guys, but nothing like these guys. Even if Kenny isn’t 100%, if Kendall is what he looks to be, we are still top notch. This offense is going to be scary.
T.S. – Leadership is something that is natural for most people. Some of these guys come in and are natural leaders. Like Colin, his work ethic, the way he plays, and just the way he handles himself makes him a leader.
T.S. – The last coach had just lost his edge. He lost his control of the players. Where as Munch carries himself in a totally different way that just commands respect. We all respond to that.
-Matt- Man coming in here with these guys has been great. This team is full of tough, hard working, back breaking kind of guys.
T.S. – I had to jump on a new guy today at practice cause he kept lining up wrong. Stuff drives me crazy.
Me -Is that cause you were the special teams Captain?
T.S. – yeah I guess somewhat. More of its I guess cause that is kind of how I am, how most of us are.
Me- You mean like there is a hierarchy or unwritten rank structure.
T.S. – Awww man absolutely. Like this guy was a rookie last year and spent all year on the practice squad, so he is basically still a rookie, and he does it all the time, so I felt it was my place to say something. And he listened, cause he knew I was right to say something. Now if that was someone like Matt who has played in the league 16 years, I would have went about it differently.
Me –What weight do things like Pro Bowls, contracts, or draft round play into all that.
T.S. Well normally the Pro Bowl and higher paid guys already know what they are doing, but high draft picks can definitely present a problem.
Me – How so?
T.S. – Well say like the guy today. If he was a 1st round pick, I still would have said what I said, but he most likely would have acted very differently.
Me – And why is that? (I knew the answer, was just looking for more info)
T.S. – Well because they already got paid, or they know for sure they are about too. A lot of times, those guys kind of have a chip, an air about them. The know that the team needs them, and has paid them, so they act differently.
Me – Like Vince?
T.S . – (Just laughs then thought about for a minute) Like with Matt, man as long as he has been in the league, if he talks, people listen. He has been great for all of us. It’s a fresh start for us. He has so much knowledge about the game in general. We have a lot of those guys. Like bringing in Hutch. He has been around a lot and he is a tough feisty guy.
Me- So what do you think of this offseason, draft and FA?
Matt – I think we added a ton of help where we needed it. What do you think of it?
Me – Really? (at this point, I felt like a 15 year old girl that just got pulled on stage at a Justin Beiber concert) Well, I like it. I will be honest, and I am not saying this just to kiss up, I hated chasing Peyton. Hated it. Thought it was a useless waste of time. Other than that, the draft was pleasantly shocking. I wanted a WR at 20, but thought Kendall would already be gone.
Matt (cuts in) – Apparently so did our guys
Me – Yeah I heard that. But in FA, and the draft, I feel like we got hard workers, speed, and a good mix up proven track record and potential.
Matt - I would agree with all of that.
Me – So Tim, gotta ask you one more thing. We open against a tough stretch, how does that effect the team right now, like preparing.
Tim – What do you mean?
Me – Like we open the season vs. Tom Brady and the patriots, and then follow with a tough 3-4 weeks. Does that get the guys pumped up?
Sarah – A very tough start for sure
Tim – It is a tough start, but right now, we are just worrying about right now.
Me- Come on man, that’s coach speak.
Tim – Really, we are just focusing on learning everything being instilled this year that wasn’t there last year. Do we know that we have a rough start? Yes, for sure. I guess that does make us work harder knowing that we definitely cannot come out weak, but we want that. We welcome that. If we are as good as we think we are, those weeks should be nothing.
Matt and Sarah in the Red. Tim Shaw with his huge shoulders in the White shirt is standing next to me in my uniform. By the Way, I am a hair shy of 6'2 and 230lbs.. so yeah, Tim is a pretty big dude since he makes me look like that girl on the Justin Beiber stage again.
I hope this got my point apart and wasn't just rambling. I wanted to show that some of these guys we treat like royalty, kings, and heroes, are just great normal guys. In my mind though, these two are heroes too.