NFL Media's Oklahoma Drill series presents exclusive, quick-hitting one-on-one interviews with players and coaches from around the league. No nonsense -- just football experiences directly from the source.
Defensive end, Retired
Born: April 3, 1982
Experience: 12 NFL seasons
My daughter in a couple of the takes yelled in the back, "Daddy, don't fall off the horse." So just a couple, but all of the credit goes to my wife. It was her idea and it worked out well.
Neil Smith, a Kansas City guy, and the other guys on the D-line used to tell me, "Hey, Jared -- do something funny after a sack." So I used to do all this dumb stuff just to entertain them. Then they were honoring Neil Smith at the game and so I did his hit-a-home-run thing after I got a sack. He told me, "You need to pick something." And I asked him how he came up with that. And he's like, "You need to pick something that is relevant to your life and just stick with it, whatever it is." So I grew up on a ranch and did some calf roping and stuff when I was little, so I just did it and it stuck. Neil Smith gets credit for me coming up with an original sack dance.
The last handful of years, it's truly been year by year. My goal was to go to 10 [years] and see what happened. You know, for me throughout my whole career, if I felt I could give everything I had and if I could prepare to be at the level I wanted to prepare at, go forth. Towards the end, dealing with some injuries and stuff like that, it just ... Being on four teams, too, I was like, Ehh. It was starting to go down a path that I really don't want.
I've always been able to do things on my time table. My decision getting to Carolina and my conversation with Chicago to get me there was awesome. And I was blessed to be part of that process. I was to the point where it wasn't going to get much better -- other than winning the Super Bowl -- and who knows how long it'd take to get back. Mentally, I was ready -- so after talking to my wife and kids, I kinda knew.
I think everybody else was more worked up about it than I am. I've been playing football for 25 years, since I was 8 years old, so for me it was like, Alright, I think it's time to do something else.
Relax a little bit. I swear, being retired, you'd think you'd have more time, but people book that up. Honestly, my family, this kind of stuff, we'll see where the good Lord leads us. But other than that, just try to relax a little.
That's a pretty long list of guys I have a lot of respect for -- for different reasons, too.John Browning was a teammate of mine in Kansas City who I love dearly. The guy is a phenomenal player and steadfast with the kind of man he is. Eric Hicks is another guy who taught me so much. Will Shields is a huge role model of mine. Tony Gonzalez ... the list goes on and on. You know, there were guys at each section of my life. Ryan Longwell is a guy I really look up to with the way he lives his life with his faith and his family, and he really taught me a lot. There's been several people along the way that I admire for way more than what they do on the field.
Oh, hardest quarterback to sack? I mean ... probably Peyton. I only got him once in my career. He just gets rid of the ball so fast.
For me, it's fun to be charitable and give back. For a brand the size of Prilosec OTC to want to find a cause -- and have me be a part of it -- was really cool. The whole process at the home game to hang out with the veterans and cook a little something and just kinda relax and also have fun for a good cause. With that, we also partnered up with Taste of the NFL, so we were able to provide a million meals for hungry families.
My faith and family are the things I'm most proud of. I think just the way I played the game. I tried to do it the right way. I tried to play with energy and excitement and for the love of the game.
My motivation was never money, my motivation was never fame. I wanted to play for the respect of those who played before me and the respect of my peers and give the fans something enjoyable to watch.