WPI: Football has been in your family for a long time. What was it like as a boy knowing your father…
One On One: Brodie Croyle - Part II
WPI: You made an interesting debut in your first NFL duty in Pittsburgh. Your first NFL pass was a touchdown - unfortunately it was in the wrong direction as Steelers safety Rian Wallace picked off your first career pass. Herm Edwards liked the fact that you went right back after it in the next drive.
Players have commented to me about how calm you are and how confident you are with your abilities. They mentioned to me that your initial NFL pass, the fact it was a touchdown for the other team, didn't seem to faze you very much.
Croyle: The first throw was a blur. Honestly, it was a blur. We line up and we're in a protection and I thought (Troy) Polumalu was in a blitz and then I look up and he's twenty yards downfield. It was a bad read, bad throw. It's a good story now. I guess it's a funny piece for anyone to laugh at me.
But as far as the calmness and confidence I've had that since I played little league baseball. I don't let things bother me. Now my wife Kelli, she is the one who gets stressed over everything and she can't understand how I do it. I tell her that if something bad happens that something better has to happen to you. That's the way I've always looked at it. If I throw a pick, I throw a pick. If I throw a touchdown then I have to go do it again. Like I said, don't get too high, don't get too low. If you do it that way your team will feed off you. That way if you're down by 20 points they can look at you and see you're the same person. If that happens, they'll believe this kid has got it together and he might bring us back.
WPI: This offseason Herm Edwards made it very clear you were going to get an opportunity to start, but the team had to resolve the situation with veteran quarterback Trent Green. Did the experience teach you anything and specifically did you learn anything from Green himself?
Croyle: He taught me how to handle adversity with class. You can't ask for a better person to learn from. People in Alabama would tell me that he has it going on. You know, he never missed a practice, showed up for every meeting and that speaks volumes for him and the character he has. But it was never a distraction. As you know, I sat in the locker next to him and we still talked about football, life and fishing. It was never a big deal with us.
WPI: It's clear to me this locker room has a lot of respect for you. It seems to me they are willing to go to war behind you. How does that make you feel?
Croyle: It makes you feel good. But before you can lead, be the quarterback, and the guy who everyone is going to look up to. You have to win your teammates over. I've tried to do that through offseason workouts and OTAs. I can see that they're slowly starting to gain more trust in me and starting to look past my first year and that I'm not a rookie anymore and slowly getting to the point where I need to be. But I know I have a long way to go before I consider it's my team. I'm going to be the leader and playmaker. But I don't need to be that right now because we have Larry Johnson, Tony Gonzalez and Eddie Kennison. Right now it's just to make the plays when they are there. Don't be supernatural, don't try to be John Elway and win the game. That time will come. It's now a matter of keeping their confidence and proving that when I get the chance, that I'm ready to go.
WPI: At Arrowhead you really never experienced the hometown rumble last season, but I would think the fact you've played in front of record crowds, the third week of the season when the Chiefs play their first home game, you'll be comfortable. Have you thought about that moment and what you'll be feeling?
Croyle: Honestly I don't know if everyone works like this, but I honestly don't see them or hear them. Once the game starts it's like being in minicamp. You just go out and play. I know you hear other people say that they feed off the crowd, but I have to wonder if they're totally into the game. Because, if you are totally into the game you don't hear the crowd. To me its just football.
WPI: Your family has done some pretty special things in the community in Alabama. They started the Big Oak Ranch, a Christian Home for troubled and abused kids. I know you've spent lots of time working at the Ranch but how did your father decide to start something that today is legendary in not only Alabama but other parts of the South?
Croyle: My Dad was 19 and he went to work at a church camp for the summer. He met a kid who was a timekeeper, and his mother was a prostitute. My Dad shared with him how he can change his life and get everything straightened out. A year later at the camp the young kid came back and he had changed his life and his mother's life. It was at that moment that my Dad realized that he had a gift. So once he was done playing football at Alabama and began to think about playing pro ball, he went to Coach Bryant who gave him some good advice. Don't do it unless you're willing to marry it. My Dad said that he wasn't willing to marry it in the NFL so he started the ranch with 180 acres, five boys and a little farmhouse. Six months later he married my mother. Now some 30 years later they have a boy's ranch with 11 homes with 80 kids and a girl's ranch with seven homes and 50 kids. It's come a long way.
WPI: What do you hope to do in Kansas City in regards to charitable endeavors?
Croyle: Ultimately I'd like to start up my own foundation and all the money I raise, I'd like to give back to the ranch. At the same time there are a lot of things that I'd like to do in Kansas City. This is where I'm going to live. This is my community and I want to help. I'm already a part of Third and Long and CASA. Anything I can do with kids and to help then I'm there for it.
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