In the first of its kind here on the NFLGirlUK.com blog, we had an opportunity to get an insight in to a ‘Day in the life of’ an NFL player. Allow me to introduce to you, Wide Receiver for the Jacksonville Jaguars – Bryan Walters.
Tell us a little about yourself
I am 28 years old and I grew up in Kirkland, Washington. I attended Cornell University and began my NFL career with the San Diego Chargers as an undrafted free agent. In my free time and offseason, I like get out and golf as much as possible. I am also an avid skier, will get back into that once I am done with football of course. I also enjoy a good game of ping pong.
Why did you want to become a professional football player? When did you know it was what you wanted to do?
Growing up, football was always the sport I had the most passion for. I also played basketball and baseball, but there was nothing like football season. From as long as I can remember, football was the sport I wanted to play.
Talk me through a typical day of a player in the NFL
On a typical day during the season, I typically get up at around 6:30 a.m. and head to the stadium to get a lift in. We try and get in a good, nutritious breakfast with protein and fruit. Depending on the day, we attend meetings for much of the morning. The meetings are broken up by special teams, offense or defense and position meetings. Each focus on different aspects of the game and are just as essential as the on-field preparation. We typically hit the practice field for several hours in the afternoon, which can get pretty hot during summer and the fall here in Florida. We have a little downtime after practice, that’s when we can get treatment for any injuries after practice and any meetings we may have, which is an important time to stay fresh during the grind. We typically leave the facility at around 6 or 7p.m. and I grab dinner and try to get as much sleep as possible. I am usually out by 10 p.m. so I can stay refreshed during the next day.
What does a typical game day look like? Do you have any pre-game rituals?
We stay at a team hotel for home and away games. We typically eat breakfast at around 8 a.m. for a 1 p.m. kick off. We can head to the stadium starting at around 9 a.m., and that gives us the ability to stretch and get ready for the game. Before games, I typically just listen to my 80s rock music and try to stay loose with my teammates.
What would you eat in a typical day? Do you stick to a strict diet and have ‘cheat’ days or do you allow yourself to have what you want, when you want?
During the season, I try to be as healthy as possible. We have a team nutritionist who selects every food that is available to us to ensure that it keeps us healthy. But sometimes for me, I need to eat anything and everything just to keep the weight on throughout the course of the season. I do have cheat days here or there, but you can’t have too many of them if you expect to be in prime condition for games.
What do you like to get up to in your downtime, when you’re not playing or training? What are your favourite hobbies?
What is the biggest misconception that people have about what it is like to be a NFL player?
People probably have a stereotypical image of what it is to be an NFL player, but I assure you that we are all different. We come from all over the world, come from different backgrounds, families, you name it. Definitely makes it cool when you step in the locker room and are exposed to so many different people.
The Jaguars have huge involvement in the International Series here in the UK. Have you been, what did you enjoy the most?
I went last year with the Jaguars for the first time. I did enjoy it. We didn’t have a lot of time to spend in London, but I did go downtown during the first night we were there. I got to eat fish and chips and see a lot of the landmarks, like the Big Ben and the London Eye. Above all, it’s cool to engage and reach a whole different set of fans that we don’t normally get to here in the States.
The great thing I have noticed when it comes to American sports is that it is largely based around the fans and their experience. How important to you are the fans? If you could give any message to them, what would it be?
The fans are everything. We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without them. Whether it’s on the field or in the community, they have our backs and to see how much they want us to win gives us even more incentive to go out there and give it our all.
Thank you so much to Bryan Walters for giving us some insight to his day and what it is like to be an NFL player. I appreciate him taking the time out of his schedule to answer my questions, and also thanks to the press team at Jacksonville Jaguars for helping to make it happen.