Interview with NFL Super Bowl and Pro Bowl Player Brendon Ayanbadejo Interviewed By Ben Tatar of CriticalBench.com - May 2008
1) Critical Bench: It's Ben Tatar from www.criticalbench.com and I am here with Brendon Ayanbadejo from the NFL. Brendon is not only an NFL athlete but he has played in the 2007 Super Bowl and Pro Bowls, including the 2008 Pro Bowl. Brendon it is great to have you here with Critical Bench today! Introduce yourself to Critical Bench readers!
My name is Brendon Ayanbadejo. I have played in the NFL for 5 years. I have played for 3 years as a Bear and now I'm playing for the Ravens. I played in the 2007 Super Bowl and Pro Bowl as well as the 2008 Pro Bowl. I play outside linebacker but I am known as a special teams guru.
2) Critical Bench: Brendon, what was it like winning the NFC championship and then going to the Superbowl? Tell us about what it was like being a part of a Super Bowl experience!
The Super Bowl was amazing. It was an opportunity lost. We had the team and we could have been kings of the city. However, we dropped the ball that game. That having been said the NFC Championship was the biggest win of my football career. It was amazing as we hosted the NFC Championship Trophy to the Chicago fans snow was falling to cap the perfect story!
3) Critical Bench: Did it feel better to win the NFC Championship or did it hurt more to lose the Super Bowl?
As an optimistic person it felt better to win the NFC Championship Game. I pretty much had to let the Super Bowl go. It was an amazing experience but nothing will ever come close to winning that NFC Game in Chicago as the snow sprinkled down on soldier field! That was the epitome of my NFL career thus far. I hope to top it with a Super Bowl win as a Raven.
4) Critical Bench: Brendon you have played for UCLA and in the Canadian League in the past. How is playing in the NFL different than playing college football and playing in the Canadian League? Is it sweeter winning in the NFL than in Divison 1 College Football, the CFL or in any other league that you have ever played for?
The difference between the NFL and any other league is that the NFL is the biggest, baddest, fastest, most popular sport in America. Nothing compares to the NFL in the States. For me winning is winning. I compete in everything I do. I savor victory in the gym just as I do on the football field. The NFL is hard work and it's just that work! When you win on Sunday, it's no longer work. When you lose it becomes work. 9-5 grind like everyone else in America. We just get paid a lot more.
5) Critical Bench: Tell us what NFL teams you have played for in the past! What was each experience like?
I've been a bear, a dolphin, and now a Raven. Each team has its pros and cons. I'm glad to be a Raven now. I've always played their physical brand of football
6) Critical Bench: Now that you're living your dream, is there anything in life better than playing in the NFL?
There are tons of things in life better then playing in the NFL. Fortunately for me, I am living my dream and not too many people get to do that.
7) Critical Bench: What is the worst and best part about playing in the NFL?
The worst part about playing in the NFL is when people stereotype you. They assume you are arrogant or a jerk because you play in the NFL and they assume you make 3 million dollars a year which is not the case for the majority of NFL athletes.
The best part is helping people. When someone gets excited to meet or see you at a charity event. It's priceless to see a smile on a kids face. The NFL is magical in that way.
8) Critical Bench: What do you like to do during the off season and during your time away from the NFL?
I love going to the gym and getting on a bodybuilder program during the off season. My body usually recovers and gets 100% healthy a month after the season. I enjoy my free time with the family and feeling good while doing it is priceless!!!!!
9) Critical Bench: Give us your training routine! How do you train?
I train like a bodybuilder! I do one body part per day in the off season. I hit it hard and I hit it fast. I usually do 5 movements 3 sets each. 45-60 minutes and I am done and pop a protein/recovery shake in immediately.
10) Critical Bench: Does your training change during the NFL Season? How does your training change during the NFL season and during the rest of the year?
Yes my training changes during the season. I cut down from 5 days of lifting a week and one body part per day, to 3 days a week and hitting 2 body parts per day. Monday's are chest and legs. Tuesdays are shoulders and back. Wednesdays are biceps and triceps. I need the rest of the days to recover and get ready for Sunday. I get a little smaller and leaner during the season, but my strength pretty much stays the same as long as I don't get dinged up. I also drop my movements from 5 movements per body part to only 3 movements. My muscle endurance goes down a lot but my initial strength stays good!
11) Critical Bench: What's your diet like and what supplements do you like?
I have a very simple diet. There are so many things I just don't eat because I am a picky eater. My staple foods are chicken, beef, rice, pasta, eggs, cheese, and protein shakes. I am a sucker for a chocolate meal as well. I try to limit that to the weekends. Supplement wise I am big on BSN products. I love nitrix and BSN Protein. Other products I use are ZMA Twin Labs, Joint fuel twin labs,
CRE-ALKAYNE SCI FIT and essential Enzymes. Passion 4 Life is another supplement I really love, http://www. passion4lifevitamins. com/ ! It's a non mainstream supplement but it does wonders on how I feel on a daily basis. The last supplement which is questionably my most important supplement is Life Wave Patches. I use these for recover, muscle building, anti aging, sleeping, and joint pain. They have a whole line of amazing product and they are all external. You don't have to ingest anything. http://www. lifewave. com/
12) Critical Bench: What is life like between games every Sunday?
Life between games is pretty focused. I spend the time with my family and prepare my mind and body to play each week. There is an occasional player night out. For example, all the linebackers will meet up for dinner and go out after, or have a poker night at a player's house.
13) Critical Bench: Has there ever been a moment in the NFL that has changed you?
Nothing in the NFL has changed me. Playing in the NFL just goes to show the ideas and dreams my parents have fostered in me are true. When you put your heart and soul into what ever you are doing, you will come out on top. Never give up and always chase your dreams.
14) Critical Bench: What is your advice to others who would like to be an NFL athlete someday?
Playing in the NFL is not always about talent. There are tons of talented enough people to play in the league but never make it because they lack work ethic, dedication, focus and discipline. "Hard work beats talent every time talent doesn't work hard!"
15) Critical Bench: Brendon, it has been an honor talking to you today and giving us a glimpse of what it's like being an NFL Athlete. We wish you the best as a Raven and future as an NFL athlete! Is there anyone who you would like to thank?
I would like to thank the fans for all their support and I would like to thank my family for teaching me never to give up and for always believing in me!