Q&A with Former NFL Tight End Byron Chamberlain

Posted on November 16, 2011

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Tell us a little about what you have been up to since retiring from the NFL.

Since leaving the NFL I have gone back to school to complete my Bachelor’s degree in Communications at Wayne State. I’ve also tried my hand at coaching football at both the college and high school level. Currently, I’m working as an NFL analyst for NBC 7 in San Diego. 

You started your college career at the University of Missouri and transferred to Div. II Wayne State College in Nebraska to finish out your education and amateur playing career – What factored into your decision to transfer and do you think it turned out being a good one?

The biggest factor in me transferring schools was that I was struggling academically at Missouri. The decision to transfer was good for me because Wayne State provided me with the support I needed through smaller class settings and more hands on involvement from instructors.

Speaking of Missouri, what are your thoughts on all the conference realignment going on that is transforming the landscape of college sports?

I am a big fan of all the conference realignments because it is going to create non-traditional rivalries through giving teams the opportunity to play teams that historically were not on their schedule. As far as Missouri going to the SEC, it is going to be great for them. It’s going to provide them more exposure and elevate their athletic program to the next level. 

I have always wanted to know this from the perspective of a Tight End – Do you prefer to lay a crushing block to open up a hole for someone else to score a touchdown, or would you rather be the guy toting the rock across the goal line?

I definitely wanted to be the guy toting the rock across the goal line. I graduated from the Shannon Sharpe school of Tight Ends where blocking was not emphasized. LOL.

You had a pretty good stretch of on-field success for 4 seasons from 99-02 and you were actually selected to the Pro Bowl after the 2001 season. Tell us about the sense of accomplishment accompanying that honor.

For me, making the Pro Bowl was a really big deal because it was one of the goals I set for myself after being drafted in the 7th round. After being drafted so low I set two goals for myself: 1. to make the team and 2. to make it to the Pro Bowl. Making the Pro Bowl was important to me because it meant that I had gained the respect of my peers and I was considered one of the best at my position. That really meant a lot coming from the 222nd overall pick.

Two-time Super Bowl Champion – not a lot of people can say that. What does that mean to you and where do you keep your rings now?

Winning two Super Bowls meant the world to me because it’s the #1 goal of every NFL football player. It’s the dream of every kid who ever played the game. Therefore, to live that dream was awesome!  As for where do I keep my rings, they’re in a safe and they don’t come out very often. 

This year has been filled with labor unrest all over professional sports – What are you thoughts on the recently resolved NFL Lockout and what we are experiencing now with the NBA?

I’m glad the NFL resolved their labor issues without missing any games. The NFL has the greatest fans out of any professional sport, therefore it would have been sad to see them suffer due to the owners’ and players’ inability to compromise. The NBA has already canceled two weeks worth of games, let’s hope they can get it resolved without any more delays because fans deserve better. 

What players did you look up to as a young football player yourself?

Growing up in San Diego I definitely looked up to the “Air Coryell” Chargers. Dan Fouts, Kellen Winslow, John Jefferson and Wes Chandler were for sure my favorites. I also really looked up to Walter Payton.

You went back and got your degree after your NFL playing career – Firstly, what made you do it? Where did you get your drive late in life to do so? And tell us why others should do the same.

What made me go back to school to get my degree was the fact that it was always a goal of mine since I can remember. After retiring from the NFL, graduating college was the only childhood goal unfulfilled. I think others should do the same because I think education is important because it can open doors into future possibilities.    

Crystal ball time – Who wins the Super Bowl this season?

The Green Bay Packers.

You can follow Byron on twitter @bc_chamberlain

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