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.