I know why you’re probably here. There’s been a lot out there in the media about me this off-season — about my teammates, about our team. And I’ll get to all that that. But you really want to know what the craziest part of my off-season has been?
I have two kids now, and they’re both walking. And I’m telling you: You don’t realize how dangerous your house is until you have little kids running around.
We had to put plastic covers on all the electrical sockets, gates at the top and bottom of the stairs, little rubber pads on the corners of all the tables … it’s crazy. And I never realized how many sharp, breakable and chewable things we had on the bottom shelves of our bookcases, either. So we had to take everything off the bottom shelves.
Then, we had to take the shelves off so the kids wouldn’t pull them off or climb up on them.
Lock all the cabinets. Lock all the drawers. Every time you turn around, you’re like, “Nooo! Put that down!”
Every day, you’re trying to save them from something.
But I love it because … they’re my kids, and it’s fun. It’s challenging. I’m learning a level of patience I never even knew I had.
Of all the joys I’ve been fortunate enough to experience in my life, fatherhood is by far the greatest. So when the season ends, that’s what I focus on most. I focus on my kids. My family. I have to, because when the season comes back around, this game … it consumes you. You think about it all day and all night.
That’s probably the toughest part of my job at this stage of my career. To have success in this game, you literally have to live it — and while I do that, I also have to find a way to put in the time and effort it takes to be the best father possible. It can be a difficult balance to maintain.
It’s funny, because my son, Rayden — who’s 2½ — kind of understands what I’m doing now whenever I leave the house to go to work. So now, when I go to an early morning workout, if he’s awake, he wants to come with. It’ll still be dark outside and I’ll be in sweats, ready to walk out the door, and he’ll come out, still wearing his pajamas, and he’ll say in his little voice, “I wanna work out too, Daddy.”
How do you say no to that?
It’s tough. So sometimes I take him out to the field with me. And when I do, he shadows me. He chases me down no matter what I’m doing. If I’m on the field backpedaling, he’s right there next to me, trying to backpedal, too. It’s pretty cool. And it’s kind of perfect because when I’m out there, I’m getting my work in. But at the same time, I’m enjoying being with my son.
My two kids … they’ve been my biggest focus since January.
But nobody wants to talk about that. Nobody outside of my inner circle seems to want to talk about my family, or my kids, or even how I’m feeling now that I’m rested and ready for my seventh NFL season.
All anybody seems to want to talk about is the off-season trade rumors, or Russell Wilson, or the Super Bowl from two damn years ago.
And don’t get me wrong. I get it. That’s the world we live in. We live in a world of headlines and clickbait and speculation and sensationalism. So I just go with it, because it’s part of the job.
People don’t believe me when I say it, but honestly, this off-season — aside from chasing two kids around the house for the first time in my life — hasn’t been any different than any other off-season. Business as usual, as far as I’m concerned.