When you go to Anthony Averett’s Instagram, you’ll quickly notice Anthony isn’t in most photos alone; rather frequently, you’ll see his one-year old daughter, Gia Averett.
Not only is she glued to his side on most photos, you’ll also see Anthony’s “Highlights” section of his account with two groups, titled, “GiGiWorld,” and “GiGi Averett.”
I caught up with Anthony today after practice to ask about football, but also family.
“I noticed on a lot of players’ social media, they’re usually hanging out with friends and doing stuff.” I began. “Meanwhile, you’re with your daughter constantly. She’s always on your story. What’s her name?”
“Gia,” Anthony quickly responded, “Gia Averett.”
You could see him almost swell up with pride just talking about her.
“And how old is she now,” I asked.
“One!” Averett said. “She turns two November 25th.”
“Is she going to be a track star just like you?”
“Absolutely.” Averett said, before I could even finish the question. “She has it. She got it.”
“Is that the toughest part of training camp? Spending so much time here?”
“Oh yeah, of course,” Averett said. “Of course, it’s the toughest time. But during the season I do a good job spending time with her, balancing being a father and playing football.”
It’s not surprising to hear a father’s greatest difficulty is the absence from his toddler, even when they’re leaving to work where the job is playing one of the most difficult positions in football.
Speaking of football, Averett and I did also talk about the first day of training camp.
“So last year I actually grabbed you about the third day of your practices, after you strung together a few of them. You talked about how important first impressions are. Does it feel like it’s the same thing with year two, or do you feel it’s more of a continuation of what you’ve already worked on?”
“Now, I’m definitely more comfortable with this upcoming season,” Averett said. “I definitely feel more comfortable. First impressions are always important—just as important as every other practice too, though. I just need to stay consistent and I’ll be fine.”
“I was reading about Nick Saban and how he plays a pattern-match defense,” I said. “Is that something you ran a lot when you were over in ‘Bama?”
“Yeah, that’s probably about 75% of the time, pattern matching.”
“Is that something you’ve seen installed at all in the defense last year or even this year with Earl Thomas III joining as that deep cover 3 safety? Is that something we might be able to see?”
“Yeah, I feel like we’ve been doing that since last year, too. Since I’ve been here, at least. I’m not saying [the Ravens] took that from [Alabama], but there are a lot of similarities.”
Shortly after, I asked Averett if he has any goals for 2019.
“I’m actually working on that right now,” Averett said. “One goal is definitely stay healthy. Last year, I missed a [lengthy] amount of football. This year, I’m going to take care of my body better.”
“16 games, from start to finish,” I asked. “That’s the main goal?”