The regular football season comes down to a little over 3 months - 13 weeks. The preparation, strategy, and focus is intense. For every NFL player, their story, journey and reason for being on the field is as varied as those who play the game. We took a moment to chat with New Orlean's native, 2015's NFC Champion Carolina Panther (#70) and Pro Bowler, Trai Turner. In his 3rd season in the league, he has been noted by Sports Illustrated (he also nabbed a cover) as one of the NFL's best guards. He's also a man who knows how to live in the moment, stay humble and loves wowing off the field with his sense of style.
ATHLEISURE MAG: When did you know that you wanted to be a football player? Share your journey of what the past few years have been like?
TRAI TURNER: I started playing football around 6 and I was like, I just want to do this. In short, I didn't really know how I would get there, but I knew that that was where I was going to go and I was going to do it. Some of my steps included playing football at St Augustine Highschool, which helped me out. I started in 7th grade and continued until 12th grade, excluding the crazy period of time with Hurricane Katrina that came. After the hurricane, I came back and finished up and got a scholarship to Louisiana State University for 3 years and boom here I am! That's what happened.
AM: You run a mean 40 yard dash - how did you get so fast?
TT: I think I credit that to my mom and dad and just having good genes. Being the big guy that I am (6'3" 310lbs), you don't really expect that I think - especially from an Offensive Guard at least. My parents gave me the gift and I just work hard.
AM: What was it like going to Super Bowl 50 and how did you prepare for that?
TT: You couldn't prepare yourself, it was one of those things where each time, I was stuck in the moment. So when I was at practice, I was focused on preparing for the Super Bowl. When I was doing media, my mind was focused on talking with the press about the game. When it was time to chill, I was in the mode of chilling before the game.
When you play, you always think about the moment of being able to play one of the biggest games, but I always stayed focused in my moments and mode. It's ultimately the greatest day of my sport.
AM: Your nickname is "The Professor" - how did you get the name and who makes your eyewear?
TT: My GM, Dave Gettleman gave me that nickname. I don't really like to go through a lot of he say, he works for me. It just came about one day (his glasses). I try to go a little square, because I'm a big guy and I have a pretty big face. I like to go with the square as it offsets everything else.
As far as brands, I have been wearing Tom Ford frames. What I usually do is I get sunglasses and then get my lenses perscribed to them. Before that, I had some Gucci's - I love adding various frames to my rotation. My favorite frames would have to be from Cartier - I love the elongated square frames that they make.
AM: Clearly you're a man who makes statements (which our Style Director, a Statement Stylist can appreciate) - s0 we have to ask about your red carpet appearance at this year's ESPY Awards, who were you wearing and what was the thought process behind the look - you're definitely comfortable in your own skin!
TT: I appreciate that. I know a lot of people look at big guys in a certain mode. I know I don't fit that mode but I'm just trying to build my own - that's all.
Elba designed the suit. I just told him that I wanted something in green (green is my favorite color). I looked at Kenneth Love's suit which was real casual and that's me, I'm not too over the top with too much going on. I just wanted something simple, nice and clean. The shoes were a special snakeskin print from Gucci.
AM: Will we see you design your own suits or do a collaboration?
TT: As far as my own line, right now I don't really think about that kind of stuff. My ultimate goal is to be some kind of brand ambassador - I would love to as I don't see many people who look like me doing those kinds of things. I would love to take on that task.
If I could take on a collab and just share my input as well as have my name on it - that works too. But as far as me having my own name on it, I'd rather to stick to wearing other people's nice clothes.
AM: Besides eyewear, do you have other accessories that you like to include in your style?
TT: I like watches - I think everyone has a go to watch. Mine is a simple gold one. I have 2 chains that I like to wear that signifies me - my SuckaFree chains which I wore at the ESPYS. But my glasses - that's my thing. I'm really getting into my frame game now and I'm starting to expand them.
AM: What is your personal style when you're off the field?
TT: I like to put on clothes. I feel when you put on clothes, you look good and you feel good. I started thinking that I have all this stuff, but then it just sits there - so I just put it on. So I try to look snazzy wherever I go - even when I go to work. I shop by pieces and not by the outfit. When I select my outfit, I say "I want to wear this piece today" and I throw on this look and it just looks nice. A lot of people don't see someone of my stature doing those kind of things. It's eye opening because of my size but it also looks good.
AM: What's your day like when you're practicing for the big game and what's the week look like?
TT: Mon we come in to see what happened - what went right and what went wrong. Just to see what happened in the game. Tuesday will be updates. We have practice on Wed through Fri. Sat you come in and put it all together and fine tune it. Sunday is go time and how you put it all together.
AM: I'm sure it's less intense, but what are your off-season days like?
TT: Off is not the same type of intensity, but it is still a pretty good work. I get up early in the morning to workout, take a nap in the afternoon and then kind of go shopping or something!
AM: You really liked how accessible Curren$y was to you and how you felt that was important - to be accessible to your fans. How do you do that with your fans?
TT: I'm trying to do a better job through social media. It's kind of tough in my position as I play Right Guard as people are not always looking at me necessarily. People who do look at me and do recognize me, I try to be open and approachable. I feel like I just play football honestly. My job is just broadcasted. Everybody has a job and so do I - I just don't watch you file papers or write articles - you watch me play football.
AM: When Cam Newton is celebrating with his Dab, how do you jump in?
TT: I kind of take the background on all of that. That's not really one of my fortes to get involved in the celebration. The reason why I say that is so much stuff be going on because of the rules and I don't want to make any mistakes.
I'd rather just do my job and once we get to the sidelines - we can cut up. Then when we get to the locker room, we can go all the way to get celebrations going.
AM: How do you stay balanced with so many things going on?
TT: I think it goes hand in hand with me putting on clothes. Think about it, you have to work extremely hard to afford nice clothes. I don't care what pricepoint you're at. To afford nice clothes on a daily basis you have to work extremely hard. Then the feeling that you get when you put them on, it just feels good - you look good. All of my energy is there. My vibe and my smile is there. It just brings them together and it makes my day that much sweeter.
More from the Oct Issue here