Yesterday, I was able to give you an exclusive look into Vontaze's background, but today I was not only able to get an exclusive interview with him, but I was able to bring you an exclusive video of him working out in Mesa, Arizona with his new trainer Charles Smith of Lotus Progressive Performance Systems. Charles was nice enough to release some exclusive inside video's of Vontaze in his workouts. I was also able to talk with a few people close to Vontaze, and a former NFL player who went through similar problems on and off the field. Marcus Thomas of the Denver Broncos, who had similar problems coming out of college at Florida was able to overcome the problems and he has a great message for Vontaze at the end of the interview. Here it is All Eyez on Me, the Exclusive Interview w/ Vontaze Burfict, ILB, Arizona State University. (Read Part 1 here)
My Great Movie 1 (via jkaltved)
Who was your role model growing up?
I would have to say my brother, I always wanted to follow his footsteps, he played football. When I was young, I would follow him around at the practice be his personal waterboy. I never really liked football, but after seeing him playing against other schools and how competitive it was, I took a liking to it. I didn’t play football until my first year in high school.
Who played the father figure in your life?
My mother was my father figure, she had a tough task. She played both Mom and Dad, I had an Uncle who was there for me as well, when I needed a man. He was that role model for me.
How old were you when you found football?
I have always played football with my brother and Uncle and other s in the community, but I never played organized football until my freshman year, where I was the starting Quarterback for the football team.
Was football a way out for you?
No, I wouldn’t say that, I loved the game. As a football player it made me a better person, it helped me get to college and get my degree. I knew after my freshman year that I had a passion for the game and that is when I knew I wanted to play football.
You have never been charged with any crimes is that correct?
No, I have never been in trouble with the law.
Do you think you had a good junior year, personally?
It was below average, and I have had better years. Nobody is perfect, but it was definitely below average.
You got into a fight in your locker room during an offseason, correct? What happened?
It all started on the field, we were taking part in seven on seven, and we were always told not to hit on these drills. A wide receiver ran a drag route across the field and he took a shot at me. I wasn’t expecting it, but it really annoyed me, because I could have hit him, but I didn’t. He began to instantly talk trash, maybe his emotions were high. Then afterwards he came up to me in the locker room when I was taking off my pads, and began talking again. I told him step away, but he pushed me and then threw a punch. I ducked the punch and threw one back. I know now it was a bad move, because that is my teammate but I let the emotions get the best of me.
I know you play with tons of tenacity and I admire that, but being a football player takes both skills and discipline, how can you change the penalties?
I have been talking with Nick Barnett, who is part of the Prestige Management team, and he has been teaching me a ton of things. Personally he is teaching me things such as the personal fouls are detrimental to my team, my coaches and my locker room. He has told me, all you do by getting a penalty is break up the trust between your teammates and your coaches. I need to understand that this game isn’t about me but about the team, I play on.
There are rumors saying that, you had to be told where to line up, and that when your mentor was benched, you didn’t know your assignments, what do you have to say about that?
That is totally false, I don’t know who they are saying my mentor was, but I am assuming that is Brandon Magee. We would correct others if they didn’t know their assignments but never once was there a time where somebody had to tell me where to line up.
Why were you benched in the MAACO Bowl?
I don’t know, I was never told why, I guess it was just the coach’s decision. I really wanted to start that game so bad.
After the NFL Combine you stated, you blame your performance on immaturity. Why should NFL teams expect you to be different in the future?
It was part of growing up, who is not immature in college? I have been trying to change my image with the media. Even my trainer has been trying to get me mad and upset in training to see how I will react in training when I am tired. I am ready to make an impact on the field.
You were slower than almost every Defensive Lineman at the Combine, what happened?
I was nervous and tight, I didn’t get to stretch, but I ran badly. I have never had those cameras on me before, the spotlight was on me, and I choked. I have never felt that before, it was ugly.
What Private Workouts and visits have you been on? There was a report that said you haven’t had any?
No, I haven’t had any personal workouts or visits.
A report surfaced saying that you went to Vegas a few days ago, to walk the strip, and go to the Casino. What did you go to Vegas for?
Wow, it was my friend’s birthday, and it was a 24 hour vacation to spend time with my friend. It is crazy how people will take anything and make a story out of it.
What are you doing to change people’s perception of you?
Doing different interviews so people can get to know me, there are people that will call for interviews and I don’t mind answer the questions.
What has been the most positive thing you have done in your life?
In high school, I was the guest speaker for a pop warner football team. That was a great experience for me because those little kids looked up to me.
What does it mean to you, to play in the NFL, arguably the best league of all time?
It means a lot to me, I have been watching the Draft’s since I was little. I am a huge fan of John Elway, and I never thought I would be in this position; it was suppose to be a fun time for me and my family.
With just under a week away from the draft, what have you learned most about this process?
It is a very long and stressful process. I am using it as motivation in the gym, and it is showing. I have stomach muscles coming out, I have gotten bigger and faster.
If you are not starting on a football team, how can you help your football team?
Well, I don’t even think like that, I don’t think about not starting. When I come into a practice on the first day, my number one job is starting. I don’t care if it is Ray Lewis in front of me, I will compete every day, I will make him work harder, if anything,
What will you bring to an NFL locker room?
I am going to bring a lot; I am a real humble, shy and friendly type of guy. On the field, I am a passionate player, I want to go out there and hit somebody. You can see the look in my eyes, and hopefully just that alone will get you pumped up.
"Vontaze should have been disciplined differently, but because he never really spoke to the media, it probably hurt him more. He was never really able to get out his side of the story, so the reporters always ran with what they were told, even with the personal fouls. The media was only able to get one side of the story and that is what they ran with." – Doug Haller, Arizona Republic
-"I began training with Vontaze after his poor performance at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Since then I have been putting Vontaze through some of the most strenuous workouts, starting with two a days, and as you can see it helped him. One of the biggest things we work on in training is taking responsibility when you make a mistake. His determination and focus has become one of the biggest differences. He is starting to believe not only in his self, but his play." - Charles Smith- Trainer, Lotus Progressive Performance Systems
- "I went through a similar situation, make sure you tell Vontaze, that God put eyes on the front of our heads for a reason, so we can look forward, not backwards, Keep your head up and stay focused." – Marcus Thomas, DT, Denver Broncos
We look at our kids as quality individuals, that is why we pursue the players we do. Whether he goes 10th in the draft or if he goes as a priority free agent, nothing will change because to us it is about a long term relationship, and a long term commitment. I personally think he is going to do very well, and surprise a lot of people."– Charles "Chuck" Price – Agent, Prestige Sports Management
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