Former Titans WR, Bobby Sewall Interview
Bobby Sewall played college football at Brown University. He was one of the better wide receivers / running backs to come out of Brown in recent years. He entered the 2010 NFL Draft, but was undrafted. He signed with the Tennessee Titans and played with them throughout the preseason. He was cut before the regular season started. This interview was conducted mid-way through the 2010 NFL season. [UPDATE: He recently signed in the AFL with the Jacksonville Sharks.]
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Strauss : Why do you make it important to connect to the fans?
Sewall : It is extremely important to connect to the fans because I am a fan too. I like talking to the fans because I feel like we really relate. Whatever team I play for, I know there will be fans that care just as much about winning the game as I do, so it is important to reach out to them. Also, it is an opportunity to make a positive difference in someone’s life, so taking the extra time is rewarding for both me and the fan.
Strauss : Who was your childhood star?
Sewall : My childhood star, other than my Dad, was Jerry Rice. I loved number 80, I loved the way he played the game, how he would score so often but didn’t find it necessary to celebrate because it was what he was supposed to do. He was going to go out there and beat on you for 60 minutes and enjoy it. All in a days work!
Strauss : When did you see your first live NFL game?
Sewall : I saw my first NFL live game when I was maybe 3 or 4 years old. It was in Philadelphia, and all I remember was the roar of the crowd and my dad said that I was scared of the mascot haha.
Strauss : If you could meet anyone, who would it be and why?
Sewall : I think I would most like to meet Peyton Manning. His knowledge of the game is immense, and I love the x’s and o’s of the game. I think I would get so much out of a conversation with Peyton Manning.
Strauss : What is your favorite song to listen to before a game? What pumps you up?
Sewall : Easy. I listen to “Victory” by P. Diddy ft. Notorious B.I.G. before every game. “Excellence is my presence, never tense, never hesitant” haha. I play the game with a swagger, a confidence, where I believe that you are sorry for lining up across from me because I am going to get in your head and beat you all game. I believe that type of swagger makes great players. Listen to Archie Eversole “We Ready”… Should get you and your team pumped for the game.
Strauss : What is your favorite movie of all time?
Sewall : Ok, so I am going to be a little cliché but truthful. I loved and still love Remember the Titans. Along with that movie, I like Boondock Saints, Happy Gilmore, and the entire Rocky collection.
Strauss : What is your favorite snack food?
Sewall : Greek yogurt with granola.
Strauss : What is your favorite type of pie?
Sewall : Pecan Pie or Apple Pie.
Strauss : If you could describe yourself as any ice cream flavor, what would you be?
Sewall : Black Rasberry. I initially called it my favorite growing up because it was my Dad’s favorite. I guess I am like that flavor because I am like my Dad.
Strauss : What is your favorite TV-Show?
Sewall : SportsCenter. I’ve also been really into Top Chef lately.
Strauss : What is your favorite meal?
Sewall : My mom makes the best Mexican food. Tacos, burritos, you name it.
Strauss : What is your favorite video game?
Sewall : My brother picked up Call of Duty Black Ops- I am hooked.
Strauss : Who is your favorite superhero?
Sewall : Superman. He can do it all.
Strauss : What is the one thing you can’t leave your house without?
Sewall : My iPhone. I keep track of everything on my phone- from emails, to twitter, to my diet, to my workout plan. It’s all there.
Strauss : What was your favorite NFL team growing up?
Growing up my favorite player was Jerry Rice and I loved the 49ers. I still have a poster up of Jerry Rice in my room that I was given for my birthday in first grade. After Rice left the niners, I then found myself a big colts fan and I am still a Colts fan today. (Don’t tell my fellow New Englanders haha).
Strauss : How long have you played football?
I have been playing football since the 4th grade (9 years old). A football was the first thing in my bassinet when I was born, and that’s all I have wanted to do since. My dad used to work with Ron Jaworski, and ironically enough Mr. Jaworski had me brought home from the hospital in a limo. In preseason we played a Monday night game against Arizona, and Mr. Jaworski saw my mom with my jersey on and yelled down from the booth. Boy, was that a special moment where everything came full circle.
Strauss : Did you play any other sports in high school?
Sewall : I played basketball all four years, became 1st all divison in basketball my junior and senior year. I played lacrosse freshman and sophomore year (what a great sport) where I was all state, but then I switched to track for my junior and senior year in order to help myself out in the recruiting process. I was the state champ in the 100 and 200.
Strauss : What is an experience with a sport other than football?
Sewall : I love competing. A great memory was when we won the division in basketball. We would play our rivals, Middletown, and the gym would be full. Also, going undefeated in track and field winning the team championship was a terrific accomplishment.
Strauss : When did you realize that you were going to play football in the NFL?
Sewall : My sophomore year in high school I started at QB. That was a big deal in my hometown to have a starter as a sophomore, especially at the quarterback position. I was 1st team All Division that year, and that’s when I knew if I kept up working as hard as I was that I could play somewhere in college. It’s important to note that I was a QB my whole life until I attended Brown. That is why I was lucky enough to play QB, HB, and WR at Brown U.
I always dreamed of playing in the NFL, and would often times be embarrassed to tell people that was what I wanted to do in life because I feel like they expected my say something more realistic like a lawyer or businessman. People started to believe that I could do that after my sophomore season at Brown. In this one game against Dartmouth I had what some call the best single game in Ivy History. I started the game at tailback for the first time in my life playing the position. I rushed 15 times for 144 yards scoring 4 TDs. I also caught 18 passed for 141 yards, and I also threw 1 pass for 41 yards that resulted in a TD. I was exhausted after that game! I always thought I was capable, but after that game I believe is when people realized I had the raw ability to have a shot at the next level.
Strauss : If you weren’t playing in the NFL, what would you want to do?
Sewall : I am not sure exactly. I am leaning towards a career in financial planning when I am all done playing football. Not only do I think it would be a great skill to have in order to allocate my own worth, it would be a very lucrative and fun job. Since I am not on a practice squad now, I have been coaching my brother’s freshman football team. This experience made it clear to me that coaching will be in my future some day.
Strauss : What is your favorite memory from your attending college at Brown? (more the better)
Sewall : I have many favorite memories from attending Brown. The camaraderie and friendships I had on the team are irreplaceable. My number one favorite moment was winning the IVY title at home my junior season. Having the clock count down and celebrating what we all worked so hard for was indeed number one. The first time I stepped on the field in the Princeton game, at Princeton my freshman year was another big moment. My first touchdown, sophomore year against Holy Cross on a 33 yard slant route was big too. (As you can see I remember it all like it was yesterday).
Strauss : How did the number process work out at Brown?
Sewall : I chose number 8 because I love wearing a single digit number. I wore number 4 in high school, so I thought I would wear 8 because moving up to college I am stepping up my game so I doubled my old number.
Strauss : What impact did your high school coach have on your college and professional career?
Sewall : I had two terrific high school coaches, Bob Monteiro and Tim Coen. They had two very different philosophies but had one common denominator- they are winners. I learned so much about how football relates to situations in life, as well as how to be a humble winner. Perseverance and teamwork are evident in anyone’s life and football definitely showed me how to shape those two characteristics. Coach Monteiro coached with raw emotion, his will to win and philosophy that nothing could break you really taught me I could do anything. Coach Coen, taught me how to enjoy the game, to play loose and with a swagger. He also taught me how to manage my team and the game. Both coaches were paramount in developing my leadership qualities.
Strauss : Describe the changes between high school to college.
Sewall : The toughest part of the jump is not the physical part of the game, it’s the mental part. If you have been recruited or selected to play on a college team then you already know you are capable of playing at that level with your continued work ethic. That’s easy. The hard part is learning how to play at the college level, learning what your coaches expect from you, and how to alter your game to be successful.
Strauss : How has your game improved from your freshman to your senior year?
Sewall : The game slowed down for me. With that, I mean that the mental part is now easy. I play faster than I have ever played, and now I can do it on the fly without worrying about making mistakes. I learned how to watch film, and dissect my opponent. The easiest part of the week is stepping on the field on game day, because I know I am prepared physically and mentally to dominate.
Strauss : What did you learn from playing football at Brown?
Sewall : I learned about the flow of the game. There will always be ups and there will always be downs, but it is how you manage yourself and your team during these ups and downs that will ensure a victory at the end of the game. Playing this sport, I learn everyday and I love it. Learning the offense and how defenses try to defend it was something I enjoyed and did well.
Strauss : What was Brown Bear football really like?
Brown was an awesome and unique experience. I chose to go to Brown and forego many scholarships offers in the Atlantic 10 because of the question my mom asked me- “If you God forbid you broke your knee and couldn’t play football, where would you be happiest?” That answer for me was undoubtedly Brown. I chose to attend the school because I knew I could get a high quality education and play high quality football. I knew I probably wouldn’t play QB anymore, so Brown would be the best place to play receiver because we really throw the ball.
Brown Bear football is a family. A family based on a winning desire and tradition. The moment I set foot there I felt like I was in a big family and I felt everyone was working as hard as they could to win games. I immediately knew that I was in the right place.
Strauss : Who was the hardest player get by in college? why?
Sewall : I think the toughest players to get by were the guys that I played against every day in practice. Dave Clement was a student of the game and someone that really helped me improve, he was the best defender I faced.
Strauss : What impact does your college coach have on your pro career?
Sewall : Coach Estes is someone who has always believed in me from the beginning. I loved how he would be like a father to me and really push me to be a better player. Knowing that he trusted me to have the ball in my hands when the game was on the line and that he wanted the best for me made our relationship special. I did not want to let him down.
Strauss : What was your Brown Pro-Day like?
Sewall : It was a stressful experience, but I was ready for it and confident to show what I could do. I knew that my numbers would be very good, much better than anyone thought a kid from the ivy league could put down, so I was excited to show the NFL what I was capable of. I ran a 4.37 and 4.39 on two scouts clocks, and they made me run an extra time to make sure it was accurate! I also jumped 42 inches and they made me remeasure and jump again to ensure the accuracy to that test too! I thought that was comical. Needless to say, it was a huge day in the process of making the NFL so I was confident and ready to show the scouts the type of person and player I am, and that I would be a good fit for their team.
Strauss : What was your draft day experience like?
Sewall : I was expecting later rounds to free agent. The day was very long, and I was just hoping someone would take a shot on me. I was confident that if I could get into a camp and learn how the finite things about playing the receiver position that I would pick them up quick and would work as hard as humanly possible. As the 7th round was ending Tennessee called and my heart stopped. I answered the phone and was told they were offering me a free agent contract and my house erupted in happiness. I was very pleased with that phone call, but I knew I hadn’t made the team yet. That was and is my ultimate goal. I will not be satisfied until that happens, and I know I am capable.
Strauss : What number are you in the NFL? Why?
Sewall : I am number 15. I was given that number. I like it because it is not your normal WR number, so I can make it my own.
Strauss : What do you expect from playing in the NFL?
Sewall : I expect to be challenged every day, and I expect to continue to grow as person with all the challenges that lie ahead. I hope to fulfill my position on the team completely, with the on the field work, to the off the field work and the media. I expect to complete a life-long goal, and to set new ones. I also will expect the unexpected.
Sewall : Could you have predicted how far football was going to carry you?
Sewall : I could have never predicted. I always wanted this opportunity and dreamt about it, but for it to be coming to fruition is really something. I could have never predicted how this experience in the NFL has played out for me thus far. There has been many ups and downs like I talked about earlier, but I am going to work my hardest to ensure I can come out on top in the long run.
Strauss : What was going through your mind when you finally signed with the Titans?
Sewall : “Time to go to work” Literally that is what I said to myself. I knew I had accomplished something by getting a team to take a shot on me, now it was time to show the Titans that they made a good decision and that I could do it.
Strauss : What do you look for when you watch film?
This is a loaded question as well. You watch film for a variety of reasons, but here are a few that can hopefully help you become a better player. Watch film to watch yourself. Watch yourself play your position, are you making the right reads, how is your form, are your hustling every play? Watch film to study your opponent. Study your opponents overall scheme, like what coverage they would play on third down, or how they disguise their coverage. Watch film to study your direct opponent. For me, I would watch the corner and see how he breaks on passes, if he plays hard on runs, where his weaknesses are. And also watch notable people that play your position, see what they are doing and how you can borrow their techniques to make yourself better. There are many reasons and ways to watch film, all of which are important.
Strauss : How important has film been to your development?
Sewall : Film is paramount. The more you know about yourself and your opponent the easier and the faster you will play on gameday. You will make less mistakes, you will become technically sound, and you will have an edge on the person playing across from you.
Strauss : What has been the hardest thing for you to do since you started playing football?
Sewall : The most challenging thing for me to do since I started playing football is occurring right now. I am trying to compete and stay at an elite NFL level while waiting to get a call from a team. It is very disheartening when you know you can play at that level and yet you don’t have the opportunity to show it just yet. I need to stay motivated and determined to become a better player everyday so when that call comes, I can answer.
Strauss : Who do you compare your game to? Why?
Sewall : I would compare my game to a Percy Harvin type player. That is what I was always called in college. I played WR, I played in the backfield, I played QB and ran the wildcat. I love doing all those things and take pride in doing them all well. I pride myself on the ability to always make the first guy miss and being a deep threat, having the ability to go up and get the ball with my hands. I think Percy Harvin does all those things well. Larry Fitzgerald is another guy to marvel at when you talk about going up, getting a ball and catching with your hands.
Strauss : What have you learned from your teammates?
Sewall : I have learned from my teammates that we are all in the same boat, and that it is a business so you have to bring it every single day.
Strauss : Who is your best buddy on the Titans?
Sewall : My best buddy on the Titans is probably Lavelle Hawkins. All of the receivers are a close knit group, but Hawk is the man when it comes to helping you become a better play and helping you out anywhere he can. Quality professional. He has helped me better my route running, and help me with the mental aspect of the game. He was always there to remind me to play with confidence, that I had the ability, just go do it. Hawk would always be right there to congratulate me if I made a big play in practice or to come and suggest something I could do to get better.
Strauss : What is your favorite memory that is not football-related?
Sewall : I would have to say the birth of my younger brother Matthew. I am the oldest of four, and below me are two sisters, so when Matthew was finally born I was pumped! I take a lot of pride in helping him in all facets of life, and he is my favorite player to watch in any sport, at any level. Stay tuned.
Strauss : What is your nickname?
Sewall : Haha my teammates have given me a few nicknames throughout my playing days, but I mostly go by Sewall. Some of the nicknames suggested were “Bobby Sewall The Touchdown Fool” or “Sticky Fingers Sewall.” Chris Simms used to call me “Bobby Dangerous” or the “Great White Hope”. All in fun.
Strauss : What is your favorite charity? Why?
Sewall : Great question, and there are many charities and organizations worthy of your dollar. I particularly support the American Cancer Society. I lost two grandparents and an aunt to cancer, of three different varieties and I think the fight against cancer is a fight that needs the worlds full attention and support. I also think the Boys and Girls Clubs of America are great places to invest, as there are many activities a child can learn and take part it to help them cope and find their way in life.
Strauss : What is an experience you have had that changed your life?
Sewall : Many experiences in my life are worthy answers of this question, and many of those experiences come to mind every day and serve as guidance for me. I have been blessed with a wonderful, healthy family, surrounded by a tremendous support group of friends and family, and have been blessed to grow up in a great town that has given me the tools to be successful. You have currently caught me in a crossroads in my life where I can lie down and quit trying, and say making it this far was fun, or I can work even harder than I think I can and achieve more than I could dream of accomplishing. Any time in my life that gives me guidance during this trying period, is when I was a freshman at Brown and thought I deserved a spot on the field. No one was going to give me that spot, I had to go out there and take it and prove I belonged. Long story, short, I did that. It took many nights where I was very angry, many practices were I was feeling discouraged. But overcoming and earning my own spot on the field, a spot that no one had slotted for me, was so rewarding. Those hard times that led to my success, fuel me today.
Strauss : What is your favorite quote?
Sewall : “Impossible is nothing”
This “Footprints in the Sand” poem was my grandfather’s favorite, enjoy!
One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there was one only.
This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints, so I said to the Lord,
“You promised me Lord, that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?”
The Lord replied, “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.”
Strauss : For someone aspiring to play football in the NFL, do you have any advice for them?
Sewall : I do. My advice is to work as hard as you possibly can if you really believe in that cause. If you fail at something it should never be because you didn’t work hard enough at it. If you really want it, go get it. Also, do not let anyone tell you no or that you cant do something. Many times I have had people make excuses for me as to why I couldn’t be all state, be all American, be in the nfl, but DON’T every let anyone do that to you. If you believe in yourself, then go prove them wrong, and with hardwork and perseverance, you will.
Strauss : Is there anything you want to tell your fans that I have not asked?
Sewall : Thank you to you Max, and to everyone who follows and keeps up with me. You can find my fan page on FaceBook. http://www.facebook.com/BobbySewall. I am very blessed and thankful to be in the position that I am in, but can never be satisfied. Any questions you or anyone else may have, feel to free to ask me there or on twitter. http://twitter.com/BobbySewall.
Strauss : Thank you Bobby Sewall for taking your time!
Sewall : Thank you Max and ProInterviews for this well thought-out and detailed interview. I am pleased to answer any further questions that you have. I would also like to applaud you on your dedication to school, football , and your website. This type of dedication is a skill that will take you far in life and will make you successful at whatever you put your mind to. Everyone loves a worker, and someone who is passionate about what they do. Keep up the great work.