NFL Player Tavon Wilson on Family & Prioritizing—OFF THE CUFF

This week we go Off the Cuff with NFL Free Agent, Tavon Wilson. In this interview, he provides insight into a professional athlete’s perspective on life under COVID-19 conditions. Here’s how it’s affecting him as a free agent.

Watch The Full Interview on YouTube

Tavon Wilson Interview Key Points

In this interview, Tavon addresses the following issues:

  • How he has been able to maintain his focus and training during the lockdown environment. 
  • The challenges of training outside a team environment during the current situation.
  • The specifics of his training.
  • How the pandemic forced him to re-evaluate his off-season and getting back to basics training.
  • His balance of bodyweight and free weight training.
  • His prospects going into Year Nine of his NFL career.
  • How the longevity of his career was impacted by his early experiences with the New England Patriots.
  • How the lockdown situation has impacted him personally and what he is doing with his free time.
  • The benefits of spending more time with his family.
  • The adjustments that Tavon and his wife have made during the lockdown to keep their relationship healthy.
  • Tavon’d advice to younger athletes to help them stay focused in the COVID-19 environment.
  • The importance of living in the moment.
  • How the current situation will affect the free agent market.

 About Tavon Wilson

Tavon Wilson is an NFL Pro Football Player who is currently a free agent. He was drafted by the New England Patriots in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft. However, many of the leading NFL analysts questioned the pick, as Wilson was virtually unknown at the time. 

Tavon Wilson on the football field

Wilson will serve as a back up free safety in the regular NFL football season. In his pro debut, he recorded four tackles, two pass deflections, and made his first career interception off a pass. On October 7, 2012, he earned his first career start, collecting a season high ten combined tackles. 

Wilson finished his rookie season with 41 tackles, six pass deflections, and four interceptions.  He completed his four year rookie contract in 2016, becoming a free agent. When the New England Patriots chose not to re-sign him, he got picked up by the Detroit Lions. They signed him to a two-year deal. Wilson was selected during training camp to be the Lion’s starting strong safety. He competed his first season with Detroit with a career high 89 combined tackles, two pass deflections, two interceptions and a sack in 15 games and 14 starts.

In 2018, the Lions re-signed Wilson to another 2-year contract.

Find Tavon Wilson Online

Watch The Full Interview on YouTube

  • All right, Off the Cuff. We’re on one in one. I’m just catching up with a lot of you guys my old teammates, obviously. A lot of guys still playing, just trynna get some insight, how you guys are doing, especially it’s such a wild time in sports altogether.
  • Yeah, definitely, definitely. Definitely a wild time. We’ve never been in this type of situation before as athletes. As an athlete regiment do things accordingly, know your whole life.
  • Right now there’s always spring training and things like that. So you gotta learn to adapt. I’ve tried to adapt as best I could and put as many things in place as possible. So that could continue to be successful.
  • Ever since our days back to college, what 12 years ago, it’s crazy to think about 2008. We went up to Illinois together and you always been one of the hardest workers. So I definitely know you’re doing what it takes in terms of staying in shape and staying ready for what’s next. It’s pretty much June. And the unknown has to be I don’t know if a training is gonna happen in July. It’s looking like all signs pointing towards we’ll be, all right? The games may be a little weird in terms of crowd, but I’m hoping that we can definitely get back to football. But what are you doing, obviously, what are you going into your ninth year? Oh yeah, you’re going into your ninth year. With COVID going on, how is the preparation different? Obviously it’s a lot different. What are you doing to stay in shape during times?
  • I’ve been through the process, through OTAs and mini-camps and all those things for many years. So, now I’ve just tried to stay on the same schedule. Obviously it’s different because I don’t have any teammates or coaches or anything. As far as my workout goals, as far as the way I approach it, it’s been the same. I’m watching film already. I’m on the field already catching the ball, lifting and running. So I’ve been blessed to have good space outside where I could do all my work at the house. It’s been a blessing.
  • Nah, that’s good man. Like I said, I already know you putting in the necessary work, man, ’cause that’s just part of who you are. So that’s good to hear. In terms of staying ready, ’cause obviously the workouts have changed completely, right?
  • Oh for sure, for sure.
  • Are you doing more body weight stuff? You still lifting normally? Is your trainer giving you a program or?
  • I think early on with, us having the shut down and everything like that, it took me back in being able to approach the off-season a little differently because I know it was gonna be a while for us to play football. So I broke my body back down to try to get back to the smaller thing, reemphasizing those smaller muscles and strengthening those things. And now I’m into the more heavier feeling and start put more weight on the bar and start to build strength for things like that. So I think it gives us more time to focus on ourselves as individuals and try to become better as an individual players, rather than being so much there with the team. And everyone puts you in a box and everyone say, hey, this is what every DB we want, every DB to be doing. Right now, I’m my own contractor. So I’m doing everything specific for Tavon Wilson and how I could become a better player. And improve my game to whatever team I will be on.
  • Right, I won’t obviously disclose what those teams are. But I’m excited to see where you end up. I know you’re gonna be a valuable asset to whatever team you’re a part of. And I know you still got a lot left in the tank. Year nine, man, that’s crazy.
  • Crazy bro. 2008, we was at the spring game, pulling up 18 years old.
  • That’s crazy man. Yeah, and you’re going to year nine in the NFL man. That’s, That’s.
  • I know bro. That’s pretty awesome. If I would’ve told you at that spring game you was going to go nine years in the NFL, you probably would’ve been like, okay.
  • All right, sign me up
  • All right, sign me up, sign me up. That’s a long time bro, especially with the statistics saying, I don’t think a lot of people realize that, was it two and a half years or something like that, is the average length of a career?
  • Two and a half, three years. I might think, early on, having ability to be around those good players in New England and those guys that’ll do it the right way. Those guys show you the way to do it. So, hats off to those guys who have been great mentors to me and showing me the right way to do it. And that’s a big reason why I’m continuing to do it, and going into year nine.
  • Right, I just remember, you would ’cause obviously you moved on to play professionally before me. I remember you would tell us, hearing the stories about the Patriot locker room and then once I graduated and then got to like be around it and then hanging around the guys and things like that up in New England, I could see how your mindset developed But I think coach Zook did a good job of getting everybody ready for that next step.
  • Oh, for sure.
  • You already prepared like a pro in college. So I knew it was gonna be easy transition for you. I wanna transition a little bit off football, get people, insight to how things are going personally. Obviously during these times we have a lot more free time on our hands. So have you picked up any new hobbies? You reading any books, any new interests, anything fun?
  • Straight fatherhood man. I think for me, not being at the home all the time and having this opportunity to spend extra time with my boys with no school and no me teaching them school and things like that. And spending more time with my wife. Me and my family definitely needed this time. I think, when you get caught up in the flows of life and things that you gotta do, some of those people that’s there every day can get forgotten about. So I’ve taken this time to really pour a lot into my family, pour a lot into my myself mentally, try to recoup because, you know for eight years straight, every month it’s something new. You gotta do something new, something different, something new. And this is our third year in our house and I think this the first time we stayed in our house for a month straight without going anywhere. So we’ve been really trying to enjoy each other, build our family the right way. And just continue to grow together.
  • Right. Nah, that’s awesome man. Actually, I think Whitney touched on that too, when I spoke to him and a few of the athletes that I’ve spoken to, is that people don’t realize how, nobody realizes how much work goes into during the week. People feel some type of way when you don’t answer their texts back and all that good stuff. But it’s no hard feelings, it’s just man, I’m grinding. People don’t realize how much of a grind a season truly is. But, I think this is a blessing in disguise. Obviously not for a lot of people ’cause COVID is a very tough situation. We’re losing a lot of lives and a lot of jobs are lost and all that good stuff. But for the people like yourself, I think there is a bright side to it that obviously you’re now allowed to get some more time with your family. Make up for some time that was lost while you were grinding to be the best NFL player you possibly could be, that also provides for your family. So it’s pretty good to hear that insight. But I gotta ask, also one of the things that you’re hearing during these times is the husband-wife relationship has got a little strained because obviously you go from spending not that much time together, to spending a 100% of your time together. Has there been any, obviously, you and your wife, obviously just going to your wedding, you guys are just like homies.
  • Right
  • I know you guys are okay, but is there anything you guys are doing to adjust to just always having to be around with each other?
  • Yeah, man. Luckily we got different spots in the house where she goes spend her time on the screened den porch or I go in the basement. Or she might go over her mom’s house, or I might go over there or. We just try to make sure that we’re not overcrowding each other. Obviously I’m not in the house a lot. I wouldn’t be in the house a lot if it wasn’t for these circumstances. So we try to take advantage of that time but also balance it to whereas we’re not overcrowding each other. So obviously, marriage is tough and things come up every day so we deal with stuff just like everybody else. But we manage it and we enjoy it. We think this time is great for us. We’re growing together. So we couldn’t be more appreciative of this time. Obviously it’s a bitter sweet thing but we’re just trynna look at the bright side and take advantage of the time that we do have.
  • Nah, that’s awesome man. Like I said, I love you guy’s relationship. It’s truly a good one. You guys have a special bond. So I know it’s working out. And the kids man, I gotta get down there, soon.
  • I need some back up bro. These jokers getting big.
  • I got them bad knees man. I could only last so long before I take my ass. I’ll sit right in that black chair.
  • Right, right. It be like, hey man, y’all gonna have to give me some time.
  • I be man, a couple ACL’s.
  • They’re fun though man. They’re a blast though bro, to keep me young, you know what I mean? Like playing football is a young man’s game, you know what I mean? So having be able to run around with guys all day and spend a lot of time with them. It’s just so much fun bro. That I wouldn’t rather be doing anything else at this time. I think I got the best team for this spring that I possibly have, my wife and my two boys. You know what I mean? So it’s great.
  • Yeah, that’s amazing to hear man. I’m glad you get to spend a lot of time with your wife and your kids and just really focusing on fatherhood. And obviously, you them well and all that good stuff. But like I said, it’s a blessing in disguise for people like yourself, obviously, again, not for everybody. But to have these moments as they’re growing up, ’cause these are obviously the most important times in terms of developing who they’re gonna become.
  • Sure.
  • As future men, future athletes, like whatever it may be. So I’m sure they’re enjoying the time and loving having dad home. So that’s pretty cool, man. What advice would you give to some of the younger athletes out there? Doesn’t have to be pros. Because obviously this COVID thing has affected all levels of sports. What advice would you give them for how they should be staying ready right now for what’s to come? Obviously there’s guys who are more than well-off, who played a long time, like yourself. But then there’s guys who are practice squad, just trying to find their way. They were on a futures deal or something like that. There’s also some rookies, they didn’t get a chance to show themselves. And Rookie OTAs. So I’m sure a lot of guys out there just trynna feel like they’re really behind the eight ball. They haven’t really gotten a chance to show themselves. They’re gonna be thrown into the fire in training camp. And again, this pertains to all levels, obviously, even in college. Guys aren’t gonna be able to prove themselves throughout the summer. And then a lot of guys just gonna have to show up to training camp, whether it be high school, college or the pros. what advice would you give guys in terms of A staying ready, B how they should be preparing for that moment and how they should be thinking about it?
  • I would say the main thing I would tell people is don’t waste time wondering. You know what I mean? So many people get caught up in what ifs and what’s that. But if you have an opportunity and you going into an opportunity, you know it’s gonna be there. You might as well work like you know it’s gonna be there and work hard to be the best at that opportunity.
  • Right.
  • At the end of the day, everyone’s going through it. You’re not the only person that’s in this situation. And you’re trying. There’s other people out there that’s trying to get better and get ready for the season too. So you just gotta be able to find ways and find different motivations to prepare yourself to be ready for your opportunity. Because the games won’t stop. They’ll resume at some point and we’ll be expected to be ready. So you guys just gotta figure out whatever they feel they need to do to be ready. Because we’re gon’ play at some point, we just don’t know when.
  • Right, I think that’s a really good point because just talking to a few guys, I know the unknown, it’s crazy. It’s obviously affected the free agent market. Obviously you would already been on the team and things like that had things been different. I know you’re feeling good about what’s to come and all that good stuff. So I think that type of insight is good. I think that type of insight is good not just for professional sports but also for real life, for work when you go back to work. I think a lot of people are living too much. Not living in them, you should live in the moment but dwelling on a moment as opposed to capitalizing on a moment, figuring out–
  • Yeah
  • Ways to create opportunity for themselves that makes them more successful in the future or progress towards something. A lot of people I don’t think are taking the necessary advantage of this opportunity. It’s like, look, we’re here, let’s have the mindset, the positive mindset of how can we refocus to make the best out of the situation and not just make the worst out of it.
  • I think when you have time, you know what I mean? With time, you can do a lot of different things. You know what I mean? I haven’t just been training this off-season. I’ve been getting more into the stock market, looking into other businesses that I wanna explore. So when you have time, you have the ability to do those things and that’s the one thing you don’t wanna waste your life, is your time. So many people may get caught up in life right now. And I even, I almost was guilty of it myself. You know what I mean?
  • Yeah, yeah. The first couple of weeks, I get up, take my boys to school, go work out. Then when school stopped, I started sleeping till nine o’clock. I ain’t slept till nine o’clock in five, six years. You know what I mean? It’s a constant battle every day, constant fight to be what you wanna be. And you just gotta be ready for that fight every day.
  • Right, right, 100% bro. I think that’s awesome insight. Yeah, man, these times definitely tough but again, I think there’s gonna be an end. And I think guys just, men and women, I think we just need to be prepared mentally, trying to do whatever we can to really come out of this as best as we can, in any way possible. There’s lots of good stuff out there, lots of good information that people can be digesting a lot, lots of knowledge et cetera. So I definitely think there’s ways to move forward. Obviously I know we’ve already talked business. How can we work on some things on a business level to put you in a really good position. Not just now, but longterm.
  • Right.
  • Create that generational wealth for you and your family. So, I’m excited to take a deep dive into that with you and a lot of my other college teammates. And you guys are like my brothers. So definitely wanna continue to work together. We definitely need to, I think even connect even further. ‘Cause man, 12 years like years
  • Yeah I know. Yeah man and it’s been to have someone like you that care and wanna be there for guys, is something that we can’t change. Something that we can’t even begin to express the appreciation for. You know what I mean? It’s so many people that come into your life that wanna to take, take, take, or got this idea or got that idea. But someone that’s genuinely been there. That’s seen you grow, seen your interests. Bro, you don’t even really understand. Every time you caught me talking, talking business or try to help me expand my brand, that just show how much you care because it’s so many different calls that’s for something else. You know what I’m saying?
  • Yeah.
  • You must appreciate those phone calls, you do.
  • For me, it’s never a want, I’m all about good vibes, good relationships. There’s nothing more valuable to me than that. If something comes out of it where we both, benefit from it, awesome. But if it’s not benefiting you, it’s not benefiting me, I just love our friendship and that’s what matters to me the most. And I would never wanna do anything to hurt that. And I truly care about all my friends and seeing them succeed, not just for themselves, but for their families. Friendships and these bonds that we have is everything. And these times have taught me that the most. To where, during this time I think another great practice is for us to try to get in touch with those people that you maybe have, because of being busy, not on purpose, but because you were so.
  • Try to reconnect.
  • Yeah, just reconnect. Because we were so in the weeds with what we were doing, it becomes hard to stay connected with everybody. But I think these times have really allow people to reconnect, find that time to reconnect. And this is a great time to do so. Of course it shouldn’t take these types of situations to do that, but so be it. I think there’s a way to have a positive outcome so that’s awesome. I wanna ask you one last question and then we’ll wrap it up. Has this made you appreciate your craft even more and what you do? In terms of going through this situation or is it just like any other, obviously it’s not like any other off-season. But is it what it is?
  • It’s made me appreciate my family more in a way because just being able to be around them more. When you’re caught up in so many things, when you’re so caught up at work, you don’t really realize how much you’re not there. So then when you get around them and you start to notice different things and is like okay, I appreciate the time with them. You know what I mean? I appreciate being able to do these things with them because I haven’t been able to do. And I haven’t been able to do it with a clear mind. I could be at an amusement park with my kids, but I know in two weeks I gotta go to training camp. Or something like that. So having this time with my family, my wife and kids, at this time with nothing on my mind, is great. Because I’m fully focused on them. Yeah, I’m getting better at football and all those great things as well. But my total focus is on them and trynna continue to grow with them at this moment.
  • Right. Yeah, that’s awesome man. I’m super glad you’re really enjoying this time. I know you’re already locked down, but I know once you sign that deal for your next move, I know that you gonna be really focused. Whatever team gets you is gonna have a motivated individual who’s ready to make even more of an impact. Get about three to four more years up out him. You might have a 12 year career, man. What’s going on?
  • Oh man, we gonna see, man. We gonna take this thing year to year and see how this thing shake out.
  • Man, you gonna have a decade.
  • Body feeling good though, best it’s ever felt. So we’ll see, I’ma ride this thing out though.
  • Nah, yeah that’s dope man. Well, I’ll let you get back to the family time and the workouts. Whatever else you got going. I’m sure you got that out of the way already but let you get back to chilling, man. It’s always great to talk to you, my brother.
  • Yeah, for sure bro. Sure bro, we definitely gonna link.
  • Yeah.
  • Appreciate for having me on too.
  • Oh, yeah for sure. Let’s connect on some of business stuff, we’ll make it happen.
  • Oh yeah, I bet.
  • Okay, cool.
  • All right bro, bro, have a good day.
  • You too.