Each week, host Bryce Johnson interviews intriguing guests on his syndicated faith and sports radio show UNPACKIN’ it. We highlight a portion of that interview for your enjoyment and encouragement. This issue, Bryce is joined by two-time Super Bowl Champion, Chase Blackburn. Chase played for the New York Giants from 2005-2012, and is in his second season as a linebacker for the Carolina Panthers. You can listen to the full interview HERE.
BRYCE JOHNSON: Chase, we are glad to have you on the show today. How do you balance family and football now that the season has started?
CHASE BLACKBURN: It gets tough. I have three boys and as far as balancing the two, we have “family days” on my off days, and when I get home late, I try to play with them and help out with bath and bed and that kind of stuff. Thank God I have a wife by my side that understands what I do and is a great mom to our boys.
BRYCE JOHNSON: How difficult is it to turn off that football mentality when you’re playing game after game, but then being in the moment and present with your family at home?
CHASE BLACKBURN: Honestly, not too hard for me. I’ve always been able to do that, as far as balancing my personal life and football. As far as my attitude and how I play aggressively on the field and then coming off the field, I am blessed with the characteristic of turning it on and off and keeping football on the field and the rest of my life as a separate entity. I think that’s important because a lot of times the aggressiveness as an athlete and a competitor can be carried over to our personal lives and be disastrous as times.
BRYCE JOHNSON: What is on your heart today, and what has God been recently teaching you?
CHASE BLACKBURN: Just continuing to grow with the guys in our locker room. Reaching out to guys and getting people that aren’t involved in our Bible studies and chapel and trying to reach out and gather more people and bring them in and let God reveal Himself to them. I think that is my main focus. And then, obviously, as far as football goes, to stay focused and have perseverance throughout the season because it’s not a sprint. It’s a marathon and you have to be patient and understand that not everything is 100 percent and easy all the time; and God is going to be with you on the walk.
BRYCE JOHNSON: There are always position battles in sports and especially in football. You have a young linebacker, AJ Klein, fighting for that starting position, and you have set an example by saying you want to compete, but also want to help him as well. What goes into that mindset and the importance that you feel to still have character and be a team player even throughout a position battle?
CHASE BLACKBURN: That’s just the way I think God wants me to live my life, as far as trying to do the right thing all of the time, even when it’s not easy. I think the right thing to do is help everyone around you and no matter what, in the end, God will work it out. I’ve been blessed to play this game for 10 years now…going on my 10th season…so it’s been a great run, and as you grow in this business roles change and that’s the way it goes.
BRYCE JOHNSON: Either way, whether you’re starting or not, what is your leadership style or role with the Panthers in the locker room as that 10-year veteran? What do you take on and say, ‘This is what I need to make sure that I’m bringing to the table in this locker room’?
CHASE BLACKBURN: I’m just going to try to bring leadership and I try to lead by example through my work ethic and my energy. I try to lead through knowledge of the game and explain it and share that information with other players. Just any way I can, even when I’m not starting, by taking a special team’s role; whatever it is, I’m willing to do it. I think that’s another way I can show guys who were always “the man” in college that you have to accept different roles to be a champion-caliber team.
BRYCE JOHNSON: So glad you were able to join us today, Chase.
This column was featured in Sports Spectrum’s first issue of Fall 2014. Log in HERE to view the whole issue.