I wrestled in high school at 188 pounds, so I wasn’t very big. You could say I wasn’t very big, but I was slow and a combination of both. When I went off to college I went to a Division II school, Central Connecticut State University. I started off playing outside linebacker and did that for two years. Then as I got a little bit bigger, up to about 205 pounds, I needed to make some money. I took a semester off from school and went down to Brunswick, N.J., and worked on the loading docks and went to Rutgers at night. I had a full-time job and slept in the warehouse for about six months and made some money. During that time, I worked out and got myself bigger and stronger and got up to about 245 or 250. I came back and all of a sudden was made an offensive lineman. I did all of that work to get bigger and stronger and a little faster and they moved me to the offensive line. I ended up being an offensive lineman my last couple of years of my college career, which was very unspectacular.
What was your career highlight, and why?
We were playing against Montclair State and I was playing against a guy that everybody said was going to get drafted in the NFL. He actually got drafted by the Jets. Let’s just say I hung in there. We were a wishbone team, so it wasn’t too hard. I was scramble-blocking and cutting people. I think I just made him mad at me and he just beat on me a little more. I hung in there for four quarters. I didn’t win very many of the battles but I stayed out there and fought. I think I got MVP for that game just for hanging in there and not having to ask for someone to come in and take my spot. It got me to appreciate the different levels of football, and to be an NFL player you are in a very elite group.
How would you summarize your career?
I think my career as a player was very productive in the sense that it brought me to my current career. I loved being a part of a team. I loved the locker room and I was always the first one in and the last one out. I loved being a part of the team and that team atmosphere. I would say it was productive not in the actual football-playing sense as much as kind of formulating what I was going to do in my career.
How do you feel your experience as a player has helped you as a coach?
You can’t relate to this level unless you play at this level because it’s a whole different ballgame than college or high school. Every day you're evaluated. Every day your job’s on the line. Every Sunday you’re critiqued on Monday in the newspaper and by your coaches. It’s a totally different experience at this level, so I don’t know if actually playing has helped me understand more. I think coaching and talking to players and seeing all that they go through has probably helped me more than playing Division II football. It might help a little that I played as long as they don’t go watch the tapes because they’ll say, “You call that playing?” Not everyone can play in the National Football League or play Division I football, but to be a part of a team, I’m glad Division II and Division III schools give kids a chance like myself and like my son (Ben Sherman), who’s playing Division III football up at St. Norbert College in Green Bay, to play and experience that team environment. It gives them a chance to continue and play and do something that they really enjoy doing. Not everybody can play Division I and get a Division I scholarship or be drafted in the National Football League. But the opportunity to play, I think you learn a lot from playing the game of football. There are a lot of lessons to be learned and I know I learned life lessons playing and also coaching football.