I’ve always taken my preparation very seriously; not just in how I prepare for a game but in my approach to a season. That was true in college, and it’s true in the NFL—but it’s different. You try to keep the same work ethic towards the game because you know what you’re doing.
But it’s hard because in college you are playing up to 14 games with the Big Ten Championship and a Bowl game. In the league, with the preseason, you are playing 20 games. Tack on the playoffs and you can play up to 24. That’s like two college seasons almost in one.
So, you can’t really do that much because you’ll burn your body out. You have to find a different game plan that works for you. My first year in the league was tough; it was tough for me because I just didn’t know what to do.
That transition was hard. I didn’t come in with someone like LT, LaDainian Tomlinson on the roster. There wasn’t someone that was like my style of a runner that could show me the ropes. I had to figure it out by myself.
Running back is a physical position. You can’t go to a cornerback and be like “why do you do this?” They don’t like to hit. Their bodies don’t get beat up as much as mine.
So, yeah, it’s difficult, to find what works for you but it’s what you have to do.
Your form and what you do has to change from when you were in college. But the way you attack it when you get your workouts and things like that, it’s the same mentality. That’s why I linked up with Adrian Peterson. We have a similar running style. He’s someone that knows what the grind feels like.
I could talk to him, and he could help me work out how to go about my thing during the season.
But just like back in the day, in the NFL, it is important to have a way to hit reset; you now, hit pause and get away from the game for a little bit. We often have Monday and Tuesday off so what I do to get away from football completely in San Diego is go bowling.
It puts me back in that happy place and gets me away from football a little bit. Of course, people come up and ask you for pictures and don’t let you get too far away from it. But that is just what I do.
Sometimes I go to the beach and chill there on my days off to get away a little bit. It helps reset me. Once you get that 24 hours off or whatever, it’s time just to get it in gear.
Of course, all the training and preparation in the world doesn’t make it easy to play. Football is a brutal game that can take an incredible toll on your body. You try not to think about what the game can do to you, but it’s impossible to ignore.
You have to try and take care of yourself a little bit out there, but it’s also the profession we chose. So, when I go out there I’m not really thinking about CTE and things like that. I’m very aware, and obviously, the NFL is informing us-- but it’s just the game we play.
It is what God has blessed me to do. God has blessed me with this ability it’s what I got right now. There have been guys that have played and were just fine when they were done. Hopefully, I’m one of those guys.