Liz: Welcome to the show Cameron, how are you?
Cameron: How are you doing Liz? I’m doing good, yourself
Liz: Really well, thanks Cameron. Thank you so much for taking the time out to speak with me. I know that you have just finished practice so I won’t take up too much of your time. Today’s chat is to help give our listeners an insight into the typical day in the life of an NFL and what life is like being an NFL player. So thanks again; I know that my listeners will love this.
Cameron: That’s amazing.
Liz: Thank you. I understand that you were born and you grew up in Jonesborough, Georgia. Was there an NFL team that you grew up following at all?
Cameron: Obviously growing up in the Atlanta area, our home team is Atlanta Falcons. I grew up, obviously a Falcons Fan. Just all for tradition. It’s our home team. It’s obviously what I grew up around and seeing pretty much every day of my life. So it wasn’t hard to gravitate to that team in the love for football.
Liz: At high school, you played football as both quarterback and wide receiver. You also played baseball and basketball. What was it that made you choose college football at the University of Tennessee and when did you know that that was what you wanted to do?
Cameron: I’ve been playing since I was 4 years old. I’ve grown my own separate relationship and love for each and every one of those sports. It came down to a time where I had to decide which path I wanted to take and keep pursuing. Football pretty much just overwhelmed basketball and baseball and I just sort of gravitated to that more and offers things like that started to come around getting into my sophomore and junior year of high school. Then I visited Tennessee and fell in love with the culture, fell in love with the school, the players, the coaching staff and everything that they had to offer. It kind of just set the rest of course and we are here today.
Liz: After the NFL combined; you were ranked in the draft as the 15th best quarterback by ESPN. What was your Draft Day experience like?
Cameron: It was amazing. I did a lot with family and friends. We actually just went to a bowling alley, a local bowling alley back home, Pinstripe Bowling Alley. We just had a good family time. We were able to have some drinks, have some food and bowl, and keeping me from sitting in front of a screen and waiting for my name to pop up in the Queens borough call. I did really want to seem relaxed and laid-back and have some of my close friends and families around. They kept me easy. They kept my mind off of everything and when the time came, everyone was very excited. I had all my locals there with me to enjoy that special moment with me as well.
Liz: That’s amazing.
Cameron: Thank you.
Liz: How difficult was it making that transition from college football to the NFL?
Cameron: It all depends on how you approach it as a person. I am a well-rounded, down to earth, very easily get along with everyone.
Pittsburgh itself is a – I call it home outside of home and everyone here is very nice. They always wish the best for, always help to put you in the best situations; not just working with you as far as football but just in life in general. I think that’s the biggest thing. I think the transition was coming from the south to the north. As you know down south, we don’t get a lot of bad weather like that. So, if anything, that was something just to get used to; but at a certain point you get used to that as well. So it’s definitely been a great transition.
Liz: Okay so you have been with the Steelers for a couple of years now. What would you say a typical day looks like for you?
Cameron: A typical day is that we start meetings around 8:30 in the morning. We come in we have an option to lift in the morning before meetings but meetings usually go around 8:30 to about 10:30 or so. 10:30 to 10:45 we have a walkthrough. Then we have our slow down time before practice. Once practice ends, we have a couple of meetings after practice. Normally we’re ranging about between 2 to 4 the cut off for the end of our day. So once you’re done with whatever you have to do inside the building for the rest of the day, you just have a lot of time to go home and reflect and have a down time.
I usually like to go home, obviously get some food and then maybe take a nap or something at the end of the day, then get up and see what the rest of the day has in store. Whether it’s to find time to go to a museum or a cultural thrift shop, or go see a movie. You still have a life obviously outside of football. So just making the most of the time that we have.
Liz: What would you say that you eat in a typical day? Do you have a strict diet, and have cheat days or do you allow yourself to have whatever you want when you want it?
Cameron: For me personally, I don’t eat beef or pork. I cut beef and pork out for a while now. It’s been about two years now. So I eat a lot of chicken and fish or chicken and salad. If anything, my diet kind of maintain its way or stay around chicken and fish. Obviously you’ve got to have your salad and vegetables and everything else. So, I’m slowly transitioning myself into vegan. I’ve taken the step in cutting out red meat; so now it’s just trying to keep that transition and finding my way around that.
Liz: Yeah, vegan is something that I’ve noticed that more NFL players are picking up. So good luck with the transition because I suspect that that’s not so easy.
Cameron: Most definitely. Outside of that, you have your snacks; a lot of granola, a lot of PB & J, a lot of fruits. I stay away from a lot of chips and things like that. Every now and then, if anything, I might cheat with a couple bags of chips or something but for the most part it’s pretty strict.
Liz: Definitely snacking is my downfall. So you mentioned that when you’ve got downtime that you’ll go to a museum or thrift shop and that kind of stuff. What kind of hobbies do you have away from the game?
Cameron: I like to bowl. Sometimes, some type of craft. Sometimes doing something around the house; really just nature. Pittsburgh has a lot of great places, as far as fishing areas, waterfalls and different things around there. So it is really just going out there and try to find things to do to keep me active.
Liz: When it comes to game day, do you have any rituals at all.
Cameron: For the most part it stays the same. So I always like to get up early in the morning and get up and stretch and move around. I don’t like to get up and just be sitting around just waiting for the rest of the day to pass by up until game time. So, I like to get up and move around, get a nice practicing knee, stretch, get rolled out and do whatever I need to do before I have to head to the Stadium.
Normally on Game Days, we have to get there 2 hours before the game. So I really stay on that 2 hour mark. Once I get in the locker room, it’s kind of just vibe out to my music, stretch, give myself last-minute adjustments in preparation for the game. Over the course of that time, that the time is winding down to Game time. Once game time comes around its all go.
Liz: You’ve played in stadiums all across America. Is there a stadium that you have enjoyed playing at the most, or is it perhaps a team that you love playing against the most?
Cameron: I think the biggest team or the ones that I’ve liked the most have always played amazing games. Our division is Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens. It just depends on the atmosphere, there’s always a playoff atmosphere every time we go home or away with those teams. We see those three teams, twice a year. So we take a lot of pride in our team winning the division and having control of the division and having control of the AFC overall. It kind of starts there. So always when we play those three teams, it’s like a big thing for us. It’s obviously a big thing for me. Just going on the road and taking care of business the same as we do at home.
Liz: Now American football continues to get bigger and bigger in the UK, especially now that we have a purpose-built stadium in London. Are you hopeful that the Steelers will come over and play in London soon?
Cameron: Yeah, I’m so jealous. I see teams week in week out, playing in that amazing stadium and that amazing atmosphere. I’m really hoping that within the next year or next couple of years, Pittsburgh is one of those teams to obviously take advantage of that and really make the most of the opportunity.
Cameron: Amazing, one of the great things that I have noticed when it comes to American sports generally, is that it’s largely based around fans and their experience. How important to you are the fans? It’s amazing; like you said: We have all these opportunities to enjoy these cities where we go. When we go to cities, we obviously get there a day before and you have a lot of down time before we have to hone in and be in our rooms and have night jeans and all those things. So I think the biggest thing is taking advantage of those opportunities. Just being able to see what else is out there in the world. Whatever country you are in, whatever country you are in, whatever state you’re in, whatever city you are in. Each city and like I said all those places have quality things about it that you should be able to enjoy as well; especially when you have the time to. Every city we go to, we always go out to eat, together as players. We go to the mall or find little areas to go to just to experience it. Like I said, enjoy that life outside of football. That really just well rounds your time.
Liz: Absolutely. My final question; Cameron if you could give any message to the fans here in the UK, what would it be?
Cameron: I would say, we really appreciate you guys, the hospitality and love and support. We continue to expand and grow together. That’s what it is at the end of the day. We’re all growing at East Avenue. Continue to build relationships, spend time; obviously get to know each other and build off of that. We I really appreciate that. We really appreciate everything on both ends as far as allowing that. You guys allowing it from us and then receiving as well so, greatly appreciate it. It’s a lot of love, a lot of respect. Hopefully Pittsburgh can get over there soon to put on a show for you guys.
Liz: That would be amazing. Thank you so much Cameron. It has been lovely speaking to you. Thank you so much for taking the time to speak to us.
Cameron: Thank you so much. Thank you guys