Huddle Up with Gus
Joining me in the Huddle this week is Will Blackmon. He played for several teams in the NFL like I did but had a plan for his transition after the league. Blackmon attended Bishop Hendricken HS in Rhode Island. At Hendricken, Blackmon earned 2001 All-America first-team honors from USA Today, ESPN.com, SuperPrep and PrepStar as a senior. He was named Gatorade Rhode Island Player of the Year after his senior season. He played college football for the Boston College and was drafted in the fourth round of the 2006 draft by the Green Bay Packers.
We talked about many aspects of his life but one of the best stories was about when we played against each other in 2008. I was playing for the Vikings and Will was with the Packers. I do have to say that we still won the game despite a few interceptions.
Will lost count of how many glasses of wine he consumed that November night in Minneapolis long ago, but he remembers that the name of the restaurant, a steakhouse downtown, was Seven.
It was 2008, his third season in the NFL, and Blackmon, then a cornerback and return man with the Packers, was in town to play the Minnesota Vikings. Kickoff was slated for noon the next day, so the Saturday evening activities commenced with dinner among his fellow defensive backs. Charles Woodson, Nick Collins and Tramon Williams were all in attendance around the table. One glass led to another, and dinner led to a walk upstairs to a club, where wine continued to flow.
By the time the quartet retired to the team’s hotel, Blackmon’s eyes were glassy but he felt coherent. He awoke the next morning “feeling like garbage,” and considered his rejuvenation options, like an IV, Red Bull or pre-game workout.
But at the stadium, his partners in wine looked no worse for the wear. First, Woodson picked off a pass. Then, Williams poached one. Collins took back an interception 59 yards for a touchdown. Finally, Blackmon returned a punt 65 yards for a score.
“It’s the craziest thing,” he says. “All four of us played super well that day. Since that day, I didn’t get wasted, but I would have a glass or two while studying my game plan, watch the Saturday night games before bed.”
Thank you, Will for joining me in the Huddle and I wish you continued success in the wine business. Go to his website, https://thewinemvp.com and order some incred ible wine from Will and let him fill up your wine fridge or cellar.