In step with JJ Birden

  JJ chats with me on everything from running track at the University Of Oregon, catching passes from Joe Montana, and everything on his new book due this June.   MB: Firstly, allow me to thank you kindly for agreeing to speak to me this afternoon. Which sports did you play growing up? JB: I did gymnastics for 2 years; however, not many people know. I played baseball. I played football from my sophomore year of high school through college and nine seasons in the NFL.   MB: Wow, I would not have guessed gymnastics; however, I know it is common for kids to play two sports. What lessons do you feel sports taught you? JB: I learned how to focus, setting up time management, teamwork, as it is not all about you. In addition, once I reached my goal I knew I had to repeat the whole process.   MB: At the University of Oregon you were an All American in Track And Field. Which events did you do? JB: I ran the 4X100 meter relay, the 110 hurdles and the long jump.   MB: That sounds like fun; however, very busy. JB: It was and I enjoyed it.   MB: You said you walked on the football team your second year at Oregon? JB: Yes, I really wanted to join them my freshman year; however, it was not allowed for freshman at the time.   MB: During the NFL Draft you were selected by the Cleveland Browns in the eighth round? JB: Yes, I was. MB: That had to be exciting! During my research for our interview, I learned you only had two practices for the Browns before sustaining the ACL tear. You were preparing for the Olympic trials at the time. How did you handle that? I imagine that had to be disappointing to say the least! Yet, you made a way. JB: Well, it ended my track career immediately. Later, I thought to myself; NFL, you injured me and now you are stuck with me!   MB: I really admire that. Many people would have been adrift after that. I have no idea what I would do in that situation. But you set new goals and went forward. I respect your ability to do so. JB: Thank You.   MB: What do you think of the Chiefs currently? JB:I think they have a good team. They have a good QB in Alex Smith; good rushing game with Jamaal, excellent defense and a great special teams. I was happy to see them sign Jeremy Maclin. I believe they need to continue to add playmakers on both sides of the ball. I look forward to the draft. I played with four different teams in the Browns, Cowboys, Chiefs and Falcons; but the Chiefs are my favorite team. [caption id="" align="alignright" width="278"] Birden amassed 3400 yards in seven seasons as a Chief.[/caption]   MB: Do you see any similarity to yourself and DeAnthony Thomas? JB: I see some similar qualities.. He has great speed and is great at making people miss. I believe you will see him improve this season. He is now in his second season in this system, and that will help him.   MB: JJ, do you stay in touch with your teammates? JB: Yes! Social Media has brought about so many opportunities. It is a great thing and helps us to be better at staying connected. It used to be much more difficult.   MB: In today’s NFL there are so many things happening. Do you feel that an owner can be overly involved in the running of their team? I mention Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins as an example. Moreover, how do some compare or contrast to Lamar Hunt? JB: I think so. Lamar was great that way. He did not stand in the way. Carl could do his job. Marty had freedom to coach. Players could play. Lamar believed in hiring great people, and then, he allowed them to do their job. Some owners get too involved and it affects their team.   MB: Speaking of the team, how did it feel in that huddle the miracle win at Mile High? What was that huddle like? JB: It was surreal. Joe was great in the huddle. His calm in the huddle carried over to the rest of the team. You knew he could march down the field and score. We knew it and went about our jobs. It was great to win because there had been four games I had been part of and we had lost them. Elway had the same sort of gift for winning like Joe. I was happy to win that game.   MB: The Chiefs play the Lions next season in the UK. What do you think of playing overseas? In addition, do you think a team will be set up there in the next few years? JB: I think it is great. We played a few games overseas; I played in Japan with the Browns. I played in Germany and London with the Chiefs.   MB: Since you retired, what have you been up to? I know you are working on a book; tell me about it. JB: I work with Isagenix in the Health & Wellness industry. They focus on four main solutions. First: Weight Loss. Second: Energy and Performance. Third: Healthy Aging. Fourth: Wealth Creation. I am also doing some motivational speaking in reference to my nine seasons in the NFL.   MB: That is great and rather unselfish. You are helping others recognize the signs. I would like to thank you for giving me an opportunity to seek my dreams, too. JB: Oh, I am glad. My new book, When Opportunity Knocks; 8 Surefire Ways to Take Advantage (Pre-order Here) will be available in June.   MB: Why do you think we fail to take advantage when opportunity arises? JB: That is a good question. Well, I think sometimes we do not know. We are scared. We don't know what our passion is. We allow others to silence us.   MB: I know you have a big family; how do you stay close? JB: We have dinner every Sunday Evening. We do not restrict other activities the kids do; but we save Sunday nights for dinner because we know we will not always have the opportunity to be together like this   Millissa Beaton is a graduate of National Football Post's Introduction to Scouting and Scouting Boot Camp. Follow her on Twitter @SportsWizard28
Millissa Beaton
I Love My Kansas City Chiefs. I enjoy talking sports and am also writing about them too. Everyday I want to improve. I value my friends, family, working out. Batman, Star Wars & X-Files fan. I want to work in the field. I am forming my own radio show with my good friend @tweaked74 . Give us a listen to learn about what your favorite team is doing. We will have great guests and would love to hear from you! Go to Blogtalkradio.com

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