On this episode of the vIQtory podcast we are joined by former first round pick of the Miami Dolphins, 7 year NFL Veteran playing along the defensive line – Jared Odrick. Jared talks to us about his road to playing college football at Penn State, navigating the NFL as a young man and then we dive into player protests (players taking a knee during the national anthem).
Being a former professional athlete and passionate on the subject, Jared is able to enlightens us with a thoughtful articulation on what is happening on multiple levels of these protests at an angle that uniquely qualifies him to speak on the matter.
Jared Odrick is on Instagram @MaxBaer75
Steve McGrath: Welcome back everybody to the vIQtory podcast, I am Steve McGrath, your host, alongside my co-host Chris Haddad, as always, and today we have another incredible guest. None other than Jared Odrick who is a seven-year NFL veteran coming out of Penn State. In 2009, I believe was a senior year, at that time he was twice an All Big Ten player and the Big Ten defensive player of the year his senior year.
Also, his senior year he was a consensus All-American. He was drafted in 2010 in the first-round by the Miami Dolphins and he finished his career with a Jacksonville Jaguars. Jared, thank you very much for coming on and talking – not just about your football career – but of course we want to jump into things you care about, what’s going on now and the important things in the world.
First we like to jump into our conversations with just sort of outlining what were you really going through when you were in high school, of course you’re a big time player that has options for where you want to play. Now, we know you went to Penn State but take us back to when you’re 17, 18 years old. Where do you want to go? Who do you trust with your future?
Jared Odrick: Well, I think thats tough for a 17, 18 year old kid. If you can have a good support team around you to help you navigate everything that may or may not come at you.
I was under the position where I was heavily recruited from a young age and so I had 2 older guys on the team that were a year or 2 older than me. They were a running back and a quarterback and they needed a lot of tape to be pushed out in order for them to even get DI or DIAA looks. What ended up happening is in the tapes they tagged me, the freshman on the video. It’s like hey – these are the two guys we want you to look at but also look at this guy whose only a freshman.
So because of that, a lot of coaches saw my size. By the time I was a freshman I was like 6’4”, 270 but the progression – the thing was, is that coaches started coming and in knocking on the door like, who’s that?
I think when that started happening, it increased from freshman year, hah, Miami illegally came to visit me my freshman year. Coach Kehoe, not to – hopefully he doesn’t get investigated by this – he came to me and said ‘Oh, I didn’t know he was only a freshman **wink wink** – and so what ended up happening my freshman year, sophomore year but especially my junior year and senior year was that.. Who was the Head Coach at Ohio State before Urban Meyer?
Steve McGrath: Tressel
Jared Odrick: Tressel, you know, I could name all the coaches but essentially all the schools started coming in and it started totally disrupting my day as a student. And this is where you say that it was impossible to be a STUDENT athlete when you start dealing with big time sports.
So there were a lot of coaches, a lot of recruiting coordinators are coming in but the thing was, my coach and my assistant principal was my high school coach.
What ended up happening was his office as a high school vice president became the office for the coaches to come through. So I would miss class like ten times a day because I had to go to these meetings with these coaches that would be coming to my school and so teachers would hate it. There were teachers that loved it and teachers that hated it. There were school kids and classmates that hated it and there were school kids that loved it. And it kind of just put me on this pedestal and set me up for a kind of interaction that was separated from everybody else.
So I think that one of my biggest struggles in high school was my socialization because you didn’t know who was really.. liked or disliked the fact that this experience was happening to you that was altered from all the other students and potentially teachers as well.
I think it was being able to socialize as a regular student after or during all of those types of visitations, and it’s usually called like keeping your head on straight is what people usually say, but it’s really focusing on what’s important and what got you to the point of even having recognition? So doing that and keeping that in mind is important, especially if someone is being heavily recruited.
Steve McGrath: Now you played high school football in Pennsylvania. Was Penn State the school that you would kind of thought would be nice to go to from an early age, or, I’m just curious as to why that was the place where you decided to go.
Jared Odrick: Well. The area I grew up in is heavy heavily sedated with Penn State fans – no there’s just a lot of Penn State fans that are there and my mom – she grew up in and around that. She never really understood it. Well, she did and she didn’t, she just felt it was very cult-ish.
She simply didn’t want me to go there because everyone around us was like eyes all glazed about for Penn State. What ended up happening through the recruiting process, so my final five schools were Virginia, Virginia Tech, Florida, Georgia and Penn State.
The reason Penn State stayed on there was because of a coach. Coach Larry Johnson. Larry Johnson is now the D-Line coach at Ohio State but he was a coach at Penn State for like 20 years or something like that. When he recruited me, he came in with a plan. He had a vision that I didn’t see for myself.
He laid out a plan and knew exactly what was going to happen: ‘If you are the same person you are here and I can expand upon that when I get you to Penn State – you will be a…’ Now there is a few things that we did not accomplish in this plan..’you will be a freshman All-American, by the end of your sophomore year you’ll be an All Big 10 Player, your senior year you’ll be an all Big Ten player. You’ll be an All-American you’ll graduate from Penn State and you’ll be a first-round draft pick.’
And there were other things in-between there like you’ll get this degree and you’ll do this and you’ll do that and he had this whole plan laid out. But he connected it to who I was at that point in time and there was no other coach that laid out such a vision or spoke so motivatingly and I think that was my biggest decision because my mom didn’t want me to go to Penn State.
She was like ‘go somewhere else, go be different, go further, go farther than what everyone else is telling you to’ and I was like, ‘yeah I get that, but when I go further I don’t feel the way he makes me feel. Like, he makes me feel like I can do anything’ and I think its following those people that make you feel like you can do anything – as long as its pointing you toward your actual goals. So I think that’s what coach Jay providing. That’s why I went there.
Steve McGrath: Awesome. Thats essentially a how-to for recruiters right there. But Jared, I just wanted to fast forward a couple years, you know, you may not have checked every box on the that coach had provided for you, but you do ultimately become a first-round draft pick and you go to Miami. I have to imagine being a first-round pick – that comes with a lot of weight on your shoulders. A lot of expectations from all the fans and what the organization has for you.
How did you adjust from being this, you know division one football player to now a first round pick, all this money that’s put into your hands, all these expectations that are placed on you. How do you mentally deal with just making that jump now to being around grown men and having this be a full time job?
Jared Odrick: You know similar in how we talked to going from high school to college, what we were talking about with automization – like its trying to lay the basic groundwork of okay this is the new setting and this is what I need to do in order to find success in this setting.
It is re-programming what you need to do to find success and I think that was tough. Especially in a place like Miami. I think my career would have been different with the personality that i have if I would have landed in Green Bay. Now I may have found things to entertain myself but in Miami they roll right up on you and yeah, its usually packed in a nice, tight pencil skirt but it’s..
Yeah, it was it was difficult. But I think what ended up happening like so when I was drafted I had one agent, Peter Schaffer. And then after I was drafted and I go tot Miami I realized, since I don’t have a girlfriend or a wife, I don’t have kids, my mom isn’t moving down with me, I don’t have friends that are living with me – Im going to need someone, somebody here.
There was an agency that was recruiting me that had a team of people all in one area, which was Miami, and that was Drew Rosenhaus and he had a team of people, of runners and people beneath him and his brother who ran the agency that would, that would get me protein shake deals, that would get food delivered to my house, that would get my car cleaned or service that would pick up my parents or anybody coming from the airport.
It automated all of these things that would otherwise be stressors on my mind to think about because otherwise I had this career and access to things and money and this and that. So it’s like I picked the group of people – so I fired Peter Schaffer after I got drafted.
His wife wrote me a very, very nice letter telling how great of a person I was for doing so. I thought it was really interesting to send that to a 21 year old. Anyways, she wrote me a nice review and then I continued with firing him because he wasn’t there to help me in the physical space that I was in that I needed help with. And it made a lot of logical sense, even if it didn’t make sense to the “Commitment” that was made.
But, forewarning to anybody that’s continuing with football – like there’s a lot of people in a lot of different situations whether it is agency and player, whether it is program and player or franchise and player, that the idea of commitment and something that is above the idea of money takes a hold of the relationship when its not that at all.
When it is about money, they want to introduce that idea into your head early on. So find a group of people that can help you do what you need to do in your physical space to help you further your career toward your goals and I think its the same thing we said about high school and I think it is the same thing going into the pros.
It’s having a group of people that help automate the things that don’t necessarily help you with your career – like picking up people at the airport.
Chris Haddad: Now, how much does the Miami Dolphins as a an organization help you with that? Because we had Dan Orlovsky on the podcast and he said one of the hardest things to him was moving up to Detroit as a 21, 22 year old kid. Never been there before and all of a sudden he has to grow up, right? So how how much does the Dolphins help you get acclimated? I mean you mentioned it too on top of learning a playbook, on top of bonding with your teammates – I mean there’s a lot to go on for a 21 year old kid. I say kid in a sense that you’re still young and still trying to figure out the world. How much does the organization help you out as well or are you kind of on your own?
Jared Odrick: I think every organization is a bit different but I think the Dolphins, I think showed me from very early on that it’s like a you’re on your own type of thing. There was somebody, I think it was my rookie year… yes, it was my rookie year, I did my rookie program with him – Caleb Thornhill. He was a huge help, he’s still with the Dolphins developing guys. He was the Director of Player Development. Not every director of player development is created equally. He is definitely a guy that has gone above and beyond what that position asks for because what that position traditionally asks for is a former player to kind of be a – hate to say – it’s to be in a position of like overseer. And I’m not sure if you know what an overseer is but thats on a slave plantation when its like ‘Hey Boy, get back in line’ type of thing’ where if a guide shows up late for or doesn’t show up for practice. It’s like that’s the guy who goes and gets them. If a guy is having issues with the team or a coach or whatever is – that’s the guy that goes ‘Hey, I’m a black guy that did what you did so listen to me’ right. So thats what ends up happening but Caleb was so different, he actually wanted to empower individuals and what he started doing and implementing in the rookie success program was – which every team has to have but once again, they’re not all created equally – was introducing empowerment. Which I was even resistant to as a first round pick because ‘What the f*ck are you trying to empower me for? They just gave me $7 million, like I’m doing the right thing obviously.’ But you don’t recognize until you start to go through some of those motions that your brain starts to open up to other ideas and you go – Oh sh*t, I really appreciate what he is doing and what he’s done. So yeah, the Dolphins – when I got the call in the green room at the Radio City Music Hall it was like ‘Hey Jared, this is Jeff Ireland’ – ’Hey whats up, what’s going on’. He was like ‘Uhhh’… like he was stalling – like say something – but what I eventually found out was that they were trying to trade the pick before they made it official, but they were already on the phone with me. And so it was like ‘uhh, uhh, uhh’ and then like 3 minutes later it was like ‘Well, ok – do you want to be a Dolphin?’ And it’s like, do I have a choice? So they’re like, yeah well, you know welcome to Miami and I’m like great, cool but in the middle of that you’re not actually taking that apart where it’s like do they actually want me? You’re like ‘Oh f*ck, I’m a Dolphin!’ So then, what I thought normally happens is that they fly their first-round pick into town, do a press conference, hold of the jersey, shake the owner’s hand or the GM’s hand so I was like ‘Hey when am I coming to Miami?’ and they were like ‘Yeah, uh, just show up for rookie minicamp’. And I was like ohh… okay. alright. well.. and I didn’t know – is that normal? I asked my agent why aren’t they flying me down and doing this and that. So automatically I felt like – did they even want to pick me? Did they pick the wrong guy? I just thought that was really funny that’s how that started off my whole career was like they were trying to trade the pick but ran out of time. And so, I felt like that and not having the press conference but also getting there and especially when I broke – I fractured my leg the first game. Right after my first tackle for loss. I was like ‘yeah, I f*cked up CJ Spiller in the back field’ and two plays I fractured my leg which I had actually fractured before in college. I come back six weeks later but in between that and when I fractured my leg, I got a note in my locker from Jeff Ireland, right, that said ‘Hey we drafted you in the first round for a reason. Get back on the field.’
Chris Haddad: No kidding.
Jared Odrick: That’s after I fractured my leg. So I come back 6 weeks later because we’re about to play the Pittsburgh Steelers and I’m like Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Oh, that’s where I’m from, everybody’s going to be watching this game so I got to come back. Well that week I get pumped up with a bunch of drugs and Toradol – that I take willingly, because most people are ignorant towards what they do to you – and I start practicing that week on a fractured leg and I wasn’t looking good, even though everybody was telling me that I was. And two practices in that week I break my left foot because I’m compensating, I didn’t plant on that right leg so I break my foot. And so the GM didn’t speak to me for the rest of the year and if he saw me in the training room he would ignore me. So the thing was, is yeah, you realize that you are on your own if you have nothing to offer them
Chris Haddad: I was reading a story earlier this week and I don’t know how valid is but it was on the Tennessee Titans and how Taylor Lewan had a concussion Vrabel went to him and said ‘hey you’re going to sit out this week’ and Taylor was like ‘No, I’m ready to play’ but he said ‘No, we need you for the long’ so I mean that’s the complete opposite end of the spectrum where the head coach went to his essentially best left tackle and said hey, we’re going to keep you out this week.
Jared Odrick: But, thats also the story you hear about
Chris Haddad: Of course, right. Yup, so segue from that – you end up in Jacksonville. Gus Bradley set the foundation, I guess, for what is there today. Marrone and Coughlin are in there now. Can you talk a little bit about the defense, you were part of it as well. What made the defense so special like it is today.
Jared Odrick: I think it’s getting the right pieces in place for the defense and I think they were slowly building that and I think, you know, Marone always had the right sentiment in approaching the game of football. I think a lot of people like the way he approaches – he’s a guy’s guy which is something we continually say every year is a dying breed, but he’s a guy’s guy. I think the D-Coordinator, I always want to say it was Todd Bowles but it wasn’t. Todd.. something.. Whose the coordinator there? Bald head. He was my d-line coach and I can’t even think of this f*ucking name because there’s so many coaches my mind right now.. Todd Walsh. I think Todd Walsh, he is a really good defensive coordinator in terms of motivating guys to play. It was just – when I first got there it was Bob Babbage. See, Bob Babbage, he was the D-Coordinator and the head coach was Gus Bradley and you see they kind of mirrored each other in terms of their sentiment. They were such great guys, but they weren’t great football coaches. And I think that’s one of the things, that they were great guys and had compassion. A lot of times when you’re a leader of men the have this physical objective, compassion is good to have, but its not one of the leading principles of a team that is going to do something physically damaging to other people. I think in the way that you think everything trickles down from your leading principles compassion was definitely up there for Gus. And that’s why he’s one of my my favorite coaches or one of my favorite people that I came across in football but definitely not one of the best coaches. He knew a lot about football, but I think, in terms of being a head coach, I don’t think that his compassionate personality was best fit for that. But in terms of a man, I think he is a great man. I think it highlights, just in saying that, it highlights how you can be a great man but not a great player or coach and how you can be a sh*tty man and you can still be a great football player or a great football coach. Obviously, I think we want to try to find both, but I think ended up happening is that the defense is finding the right places or the defense is finding the right pieces to fit that defense. It is successful if you have the right players running the right schemes moving the bodies the way their best fit to move. I think that’s something that you saw with Calais Campbell. I played that position and I, only now not playing, realize the things I wasn’t able to use like my left foot was stuck, my right hip was this but I think Calais Campbell and the way that he moves perfectly fit that position and when you look a guy like Jack, Miles Jack. Like if you look at him, we call that bad body. He doesn’t have an impressive body to him. There’s nothing really overly impressive about him but the thing is that him, that body type, the way he moves fits that defense. I think a lot of people don’t understand how important it is for people to use great players within specific schemes that give the most it can to a scheme and that you can suck the most out of a player through specific schemes and that takes placement. I think theres a lot of people that don’t recognize that, that theres a lot of linebackers over Ray Lewis’ career but Ray Lewis had the perfect meshing of a defense that highlighted him and the personality to grab the attention.
Chris Haddad: How many guys do you think are caught in a bad scheme and like do you think –
Jared Odrick: Hundreds. Tons.
Chris Haddad: You think it’s a lot?
Jared Odrick: I think that the majority of the league are ridiculously talented athletes and players. Whether they’re caught in the right scheme or the wrong scheme, that is the dividing line. Whether like we’re using you properly or not.
Chris Haddad: Yes. I was thinking about that too. Like there’s got to be. Because once you get to the NFL level like I think most of its scheme right? So I can only imagine how many bad – like good players are just either behind someone who’s starting or even caught in a bad scheme and just have that bad luck.
Jared Odrick: Now, there’s a lot of like just absolute freaks that would be good at whatever they do. But you see that there’s a range even within the Freakonomics of this person being the freak that they are. Like Julio Jones is going to be Julio Jones wherever you put him. But, the thing about Julio Jones is that if you have a Matt Ryan, like, you are Julio Jones times 10. So the thing is like you need the right pieces in place and you need just the right owner, the right GM, the right two head coaches, the right schemes, you need the right quarterback to align for your career to blossom and bloom. It also comes back down to an individual level of what you’re doing. But I think there are a lot of people that are held back because they are not in the right situations.
Steve McGrath: Jared I wanted to ask you just one last question about actually playing football before we talk about some of the things you’ve been up to more recently. I feel compelled to asked you because you were such a dominant athlete, you know, how did someone that played at the highest level – pretty much if you’re going to rush the passer, you’re going to go power move or you’re going to go speed move. Over the course of your career, even if you want to look back at Penn State, how did you build those different moves? How did you decide when you want to use them? Was it play-by-play? Is it more, you know, the guy that’s lined up against you and spending that time and film understanding who you’re going against? I just wanted to pick your brain a little bit about that.
Jared Odrick: Well there’s different factors that come into your mind throughout the week when you’re preparing for an opponent whether you’re talking about a team or an individual that’s going to be across from you. There are certain teams that move certain ways so it’s like so yeah, there’s speed. There’s a speed rush. There’s power rush and that usually… You can predicate that off of.. I’m going to power rush because I am on the interior line and this guy, this center is – usually center’s are the weakest blockers – and if I am playing in a 0 or a 1 on top of the center and he’s 282 pounds and he’s the back up center because the starter got hurt, well I’m going to everything I can to power him, and power him and power him to get him to fall into me because he is so worried about how light he is in the ass. So there’s different things where like thats position and depth chart but then it’s also knowing that my matchup across from me is lighter and understanding that he is likely going to overcompensate at times. So if I really continually get him to use his strength and to get his lower body weight to lean into it because he doesn’t have the strength so he has to lean into it as much as possible – then thats when I know I can.. it’s not speed, it’s more of a finesse where I can get him to lunge forward.
Chris Haddad: Like a leverage play, sure
Jared Odrick: So you can think about that, but then there’s times where there’s a whole week dedicated to rushing the passer. Rushing Tom Brady is totally different than rushing.. when we prepared to play RGIII or something like that. Like Tom’s not going to run out of the pocket and if he does run out of the pocket, he’s not running far, right. So we’re not going to play for the scramble – we’re going to play to the pocket. So what we do, a lot of guys will push to collapse the pocket. Collapse the pocket or at least get him off the mark. So we’ll have one guy that’s designated to either master speed rush, so if you go around the pocket you will push Tom up in the pocket. But if you go up and under then you push Tom out of the pocket as a defensive end. So we have one speed rush guy going around the end and push Tom up with an arterial guys are going to do nothing but power rush. So there’s different ways like even if your guys 330 pounds right that you’re going up against on the interior, you’re still going to power rush based upon how the quarterback moves and how the offensive scheme is. So there are multiple variables that come into how you decide how you’re going to rush but then there’s times where situationally – like okay, I am playing against the Falcons and they’re down 16 points and there’s 12 minutes or 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter. Well, if it’s third down I’m pinning my ears back and I’m rushing every time I’m going to make them beat me draws and screens. It’s like if it’s draws and screen to you better run that and you better run it well because I’m pinning my ears back and I’m hedging my bets. So even if it’s a speed offensive tackle, if I pin my ears back – they call them ‘Dancing Bears’ they are offensive tackles that can actually move. If I get a dancing bear on the outside and I know he can keep up on my speed rush, them I know that I’m going to take him up, take him up, take him up and all of a sudden I go to take him up and boom, I counter with the power or I counter inside and there’s so many variables that go into it when you end up talking about it, you know, it’s a simple game but there’s complex ways of looking at it. So it’s like, It’s yeah, there’s so many variables that go into what a pass rush is that it’s kind of like trying to pick 1 or 2 variables that you are going to play off of which will allow you to play off of.
Chris Haddad: That’s great. Especially for our young listeners to. To be able to understand that.
Steve McGrath: Chess match in the trenches. So Jared, you know of course we know your last season playing in the NFL was 2016 and since then. –
Jared Odrick: Hold on, hold on – real quick. I don’t mean to cut you off but to make it simple, to make it simple – if you have something. If you are Khalil Mack or if you are somebody that has something that they do very, very, very well – don’t abandon that. No matter what it is, don’t abandon it. Get better at it and keep it this weapon that you can do. Whether it is speed rush, power move, long arm, trap, swim, whatever it is – do that. Bludgeon them to death with it, then switch it up. Don’t abandon what you do simply because of what this other team is presenting until it fills you. Sorry!
Chris Haddad: That’s awesome. That’s great.
Steve McGrath: So what I wanted to ask next is, you know, very obviously you’re an eloquent speaker, you’re a thoughtful guy and you’ve been able to use, you know, your talents as a person and funnel that into different things whether it is writing, you know, ‘Who Do you Cheer For?’ or I saw also that you have been an executive producer in three short films, you know, you have a lot of you know creative abilities. How do you go about actually channeling that producing something and just for example the ‘who do you cheer for’ was a very thought-out piece that really brought to light things that you me, as a big football fan, I was kind of unaware of. We hear about Colin Kaepernick or Eric Reid, but we don’t necessarily hear about anyone else that’s involved in these types of conversations, so not that I necessarily have a very good question, but I wanted to just sort of to just sort of give you the stage to talk about really what you care about, and how do you go about articulating it?
Jared Odrick: I just did a talk, a conversation with a former sociology class that I had at Penn State, it was with Sam Richards.
Steve McGrath: Yeas, you must have put that on Instagram or Twitter because I just saw that.
Jared Odrick: Yeah, that I was able to speak with them and it was a great opportunity because I was able to communicate with people that are really trying to use their head and figure out how to perceive the world. I was thankful for that. A part of that post that capped that interaction, I had said you know, I thank that this whole Kaepernick thing, when people kneel.. the whole energy behind it, I think it’s the same energy when you talk about ‘you’re writing this article and you’re producing this and you’re doing that’. there’s.. the energy behind to the movement to kneeling for a lot of guys is because they sense that there’s something wrong or off or that there is a discrepancy somewhere but they do not have the articulation to be able to voice that, so the least that they could do is kneel. They can make a motion to say ‘I don’t know but here’s something’.. ‘I don’t know but, yeah… I’m with Kap!’ . They aren’t articulating anything, a lot of guys that are kneeling – now the Kenny Stills’ are a bit different – but what happens then? Then they go see what Kap is saying and they go see what Eric Reid saying and then they kind of repeat that – it’s not because they thought it themselves. They just know there is an energy behind… Like, yeah I see black people being shot, I see black men being treated differently then other men in our society and they may have felt that growing up or they may have seen other people within their family or friends who have been treated differently within society – and not always just violence with guns and cops, but just the idea that there is a difference and I think sometimes that, you know, that energy can lead somebody to make an action, a physical movement, which I think football is the expression of energy. Football is an art and it is an expression like all sport is and it’s through movement. Kneeling is literally mirroring what the football player is doing as an artist. It is using physical motion, void of words and articulation, to express a feeling. I think that’s what kneeling is an extension of the same person that is playing football, so it makes sense to me that players would kneel and not really say anything so I think what that is, is players kneel when they don’t know what to say and then players that continue standing – well, they’d rather stand and keep everything the same as to the point from when like from when they started playing football to where they got where they wanted to be as a professional football player because they would rather identify as a world-class football player than as an undereducated activist, right? So it’s like I kneel it’s like all of a sudden I have to have a reason for kneeling. But if I stand, I don’t need a f*cking reason. I can stand and still stand upon, well… you know the mikes aren’t coming into my face when I stand. So, it is this subliminal incentivizing of not causing emotion I’m not saying it’s incentivizing to not be an activist or incentivizing to not think a certain way on certain civil rights. But, it is incentivizing solidarity, right because you’ve been rewarded for that solidarity and it’s rewarded you. It’s allowed you to get to the point that you’re at the have the platform that you do have. So why would I kneel when I can’t articulate something as an activist or I don’t know the history of the plight of black people in multiple areas, right, even though I am a black person – or at least the majority of the league is saying that to themselves. It’s like, well, you know, as a football player, and you know disrupting all of this it almost feels disrespectful to the game, even though it’s not. It feels disrespectful to the game because the game has given you so much and this is a process of the order that has allowed me to get so much and get to this point. There’s so many guys that are filled up with emotion before the game, during the national anthem and its not so much that they are thinking country. That’s the time that everything is reflecting, everybody is reflecting upon everything that has led them to this point where they get to go out and f*cking do something that everyone in the stands, everyone on TV who is watching, that they don’t get to do. That this is an awesome opportunity as these three fighter jets fly across and rumble all of our chests before we go playing this game. There’s a real, visceral feeling to that and I think by kneeling it’s almost like you’re saying yeah, I feel that, I see all this emotion, I feel all that and boom here I am kneeling right now. I’m putting all of that and I’m taking that energy away from you, from that feeling, and I am putting it into kneeling so you hopefully see the power of what is that pregame ritual of playing allegiance to the flag or pledging allegiance to the flag and I want you to start to to use that same energy in that emotion, but the positive, or positively or negatively towards kneeling or towards what I am kneeling at or towards. And so yeah, I think there’s a lack of articulation and I think the energy behind me doing things like producing movies or trying to write on certain projects, or other films, or TV shows, or me trying to write about CTE. I’m currently in the process of making a documentary about CTE and what I actually think it is. And all of that, I think, is the same energy that makes a player want to kneel and invest in an alternate narrative of their own experience. And I think that kneeling is just a tipping of the iceberg of recognizing that you’re an individual and I don’t think that there’s a lot of players that recognize themselves as an individual I think. I think there’s a lot of players who pay lip service towards themselves as individuals, but how can you build a morality or a moral compass separate from the game when the game has given it to the whole time. Like, I didn’t create what the moral compass of a good defensive lineman should be it was kind of laid out before me like yeah, what it in my schedule and what I should do and the principles that I have and me feeling welled up at hearing the pledge of allegiance, or the national anthem, and there were so many things that were laid out before me and I think that the kneeling is such a disruptive thing because all of those people that are in the sport and all of those people that view the sport have always seen it as a collective sport. Right, it’s one of the most collective sports there is. Now basketball is totally different, where it’s type of collective sport, but it’s a group of individuals. Where football is a group of faceless soldiers where, it’s like there’s, at any time, there’s like six Williams’ on the field like all with the same name on the back and a variance of numbers and you can’t see their faces and it’s actually a relinquishing of an individuality. It’s a relinquishing of individuality and personality especially when you have the face mask, right? And I think there’s so many factors that go into like when there is any type of play of individual effort or individual thought – thats what really disrupts this cohesive idea of football both for the player or the spectator. Meaning, the owner or the team, the manager, general manager anything within the incubus of football or the spectator. It is a jolt to see somebody having morals different or separate from the game that has given them so much.
Steve McGrath: Sure, it certainly really makes a player question who they are where they doing, what are they doing, how do they voice that or do they voice it or is it just physical. I think you said it best, it is the tip of the iceberg
and it’s hopefully – I don’t think it’ll be quick – but at least it should start having more conversations, momentum being gained toward really covering ground
Jared Odrick: But, I think that’s one of my biggest… one of my biggest critiques of Eric Reid and Kaepernick is that I don’t think they’re speaking enough. I think they have this platform and I think now they are protecting it, as opposed to continuing to speak and articulate what they actually want to see change, because I don’t really know if any of us really know what a revolution looks like. I think we’re all a part of lip service towards a revolution and changing ourselves and changing our Collective and our inner subjective ideals, but I don’t think anybody really knows what to do in terms of a revolution especially when you start re-investing in the idea of being sponsored by Nike so there’s a lot of different things swirling around if we’re talking about Eric Reid or Kaepernick but just the idea of individualism and I think the kneeling – when you start talking about Eric Reid and Kaepernick and why we hear about them and not about myself or other players who have opinions or a desire for discourse. I think those opinions are easily, I don’t want to say manipulated, but steered towards a national agenda and monetization. When you start to use common sense and personal responsibility in speaking about being an individual, It’s not as monetizeble as saying this whole group of people is oppressed and were doing this and were doing that and it’s racism, racism, racism.. Racism to you (points), racism to you (points elsewhere), and racism to me looks different from all three of out perspectives. What you think is racist (points), is not what you think is racist (points elsewhere), is not what I think is racist, but it might be what this other person thinks is racist. When you take a platform full of subjectivity – meaning, like, it looks different to everyone of us well then it’s literally, and I hate to say it, but it’s literally a taking the platform of what ‘God says’, right because it’s subjective. And so you can then you can bend the narrative towards whatever you want it to be – it’s not objective. It’s like woah, where did they produce this racism? Where are the raw materials for it? Can we put a tariff on somebody that is producing it? Can we stop it dead in its tracks? No, you can’t because it looks different to everybody and it will transform every time that you create a new policy it will transform and we’ll be like ‘oh we thought we ended racism before’. You cant end it because its not a real, visceral thing. So thats my issue with taking the podium with racism, is that if you don’t make it objective, then it can continually be your platform forever.
Steve McGrath: Right and Jared, quite obviously this is a longer conversation that we would really like to have, but unfortunately for right now, we kind of have to cut it off because of we have to jump. We’d love to have you on to discuss it further and get into CTE, but we have a little bit of a time crunch for right this second, so I’d like to just – I don’t mean to cut you off
Jared Odrick: I get it man, I’m long winded
Steve McGrath: And I love it. It’s just, unfortunately this just one of the few times that we have to jump to make another obligation.
Jared Odrick: Think football, think football, think football
SM: Haha, sorry. But if you could re-adjust – I need you to let me know what is most important in the football world having the number one offense of the number one defense?
Jared Odrick: I mean if you want to make money: offense. If you want to win championships: defense.
SM: Fair enough. If you could only play one – the 3-4 or the 4-3?
Jared Odrick: Me, personally – I love playing a 4-3, 3 technique. Because you’re the f*cking guy, you can do whatever you want. The whole defense will run off of you and that’s what I experienced at Penn State. So going from the 4-3 D-Tackle, being the guy to the 3-4 defense where you’re just a guy.. it was just, it wasn’t the greatest.
Steve McGrath: Yeah and you’ve already mentioned guys being the wrong scheme, so it makes sense. Did you have one or even a multiple pregame rituals that you stuck too?
Jared Odrick: Yeah, 50 Cent’s: I’ll whip yo head
Steve McGrath: Nice
Jared Odrick: Because I always felt like I was about to go rob somebody whether it was like the team that I was playing or whether it was the Dolphins like for giving me a check at the end of the week. You know, I’m about to go rob somebody – somebody is giving me that mother f*cking paycheck (laughs). So it was like I’ll whip your head, so there were certain songs from certain albums I was feeling during that time but I would always come back to I’ll whip yo head. That stuck pretty well.
Steve McGrath: I can’t wait to blast that in the gym later today. Which would you prefer if you could only have one a strip sack or a pick?
Jared Odrick: Is it a strip sack or do I recover the fumble or we just ending it at that?
Steve McGrath: Sure, you recover the fumble too.
Jared Odrick: Yes, strip sack recover fumble because if you get an interception as a D-lineman it doesn’t make you a better defensive lineman. It’s more fluke than anything. Strip sack makes you a better D-Lineman
Steve McGrath: Is there one coach or player that you wish you would have had the chance to play with?
Jared Odrick: Yeah, I said no to Bill Belichick. He’s one guy who I definitely would have liked to see how he operates. But from what I saw and felt at the Patriots facility when I visited – because that’s why I’m going to play for my eighth year – I just couldn’t do it. I had offers from the Patriots, Jets, Eagles which were all really good teams but I said no. I think it would have been interesting if I would have been inside the House of Bill for a year.
SM: Definitely, makes sense. Last one before we let you go. What’s most important, I think I know you’re going with this, the players or the scheme.
Jared Odrick: Well it’s the players in the scheme… I think it’s a combination of both. I want to say you can’t do anything without the players, but there’s good players or there’s shitty players in good schemes that do well but I mean, I’m always gonna side on the side of the players because that just bodes well for them making more money. The other side of it is because if it’s all scheme, then they’ve got a reason to pay players. so players.
SM: Awesome. Well Jared, thank you so much for coming on and talking, obviously we want to continue this conversation, but for right now we want all of our listeners to know they can find you on Twitter @JaredOdrick on Instagram search Jared Odrick and the handle is @MaxBaer75
JO: Max Baer. Yeah, I take a lot of breaks from Twitter because I think it’s bad for people but Instagram is where you can find me.
SM: Jared, thank you so much for coming on