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A personal thank you to John Urschel

Last season, I attended my first training camp. I flew across the country, from Colorado to the east coast, to become closer to the Baltimore Ravens. I was lucky enough to receive media access to the Baltimore Ravens facilities.

It’s intimidating, finally seeing these players in person.

My first day at camp, I was fresh to the scene and didn’t understand how this all worked. In smooth fashion, I stood in Terrell Suggs way of the podium. Suggs said, “Excuse me,” as he put his hand on my shoulder to wade through the crop of reporters, while I picked the worst place to stand. Great start, right?

I remember thinking, “I’m just some kid from Wyoming, how did I make it this far?”

The first few days, I hung back—way back— to understand how things operate. What to ask, what to say, everything. I also found a spot to stand, out of everyone’s way.

Over a week passed before I started asking players questions. Didn’t want to interrupt the other reporters, and there aren’t many questions to ask that the veteran reporters aren’t going to. Let the professionals handle it, and when I think of something good, I’ll finally hop-in.

That finally came about when John Urschel was at the podium. He received question after question about his studies in math. He talked about how he’s trying to focus on football now, and he’d receive another about his pursuit in education.

I finally asked him a question about football, the first he received at the podium. Was run-of-the-mill to everybody there, and I know I’m making it a bigger deal than it is, but it was the first time I spoke at the pressers.

I asked if it’s tough to help teach the younger players, when they’re gunning for his own position.

I hardly remember the first two sentences of his answer, I was nervous and too focused on if I’d actually used a complete sentence. He gave a thorough answer though, and it helped put me at ease.

Like I said, it wasn’t a big deal. He answered a question. I was a reporter and he answered it. Nothing amazing about it, but it helped me personally.

I was looking forward to talking with John this season, and I was going to ask him for an interview so I could give him a quick thank you and then ask more about the upcoming season; his positional battle for the starting center job, or if he’s competing with Alex Lewis for left guard. But since the man retired, I decided to write this on Baltimore Beatdown. I have the platform, might as well use it.

Good luck to John Urschel. Congratulations on you and your fiance expecting a child. Thanks for answering a rookie reporters question.