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August 3, 2011

Redskins DB, Reed Doughty Interview

by Max Strauss

Reed Doughty played college football at University of Northern Colorado where he was a teammate of Chargers WR, Vincent Jackson. He entered the 2006 NFL Draft and was drafted in the 6th round by the Washington Redskins. He is known as a great tackler and has almost 300 tackles in his NFL career. He was a teammate of Sean Taylor and shares his memories with him. Check out our interview that was conducted before the 2011 NFL season.

To download the audio with Reed Doughty, right-click this.

Announcement : My name is Max Strauss with http://prointerviews.org/, http://facebook.com/ProInterviews/ and http://twitter.com/ProInterviews/. I’d like to welcome you to the interview with Reed Doughty. Doughty attended University of Northern Colorado, and while there he accumulated over two hundred tackles, over thirty pass deflections, and five forced fumbles, and six fumble recoveries. He is arguably known as the greatest student-athlete in University of Northern Colorado’s history. Reed was drafted in the 6th round, 173rd overall by Washington Redskins in the 2006 NFL Draft. He has played numerous games in his five year career, and has made many tackles on special teams and defense. Here is the interview with Reed Doughty and I hope you enjoy the collages also.

Strauss : How do you connect with your fans?

Doughty : It’s a balance being a family guy and I can’t be on Twitter/FaceBook every hour of the day, but I really try to answer fans’ questions on Twitter/FaceBook/SportsBuzz that I’m a part of. I really connect with them that way, and I give them my time during training camp signing autographs. I ultimately try to treat people with respect, with everybody that I meet. I can’t guarantee I’ll give everyone an autograph, but I’ll do my best.

Strauss : How did you start playing football?

Doughty : I started playing when I was seven, tackle-football. My dad was the middle school coach, football, basketball, track for thirty five years. I’m the youngest of three brothers. My oldest brother started when he was seven, so I’m sure that I played football when I was younger, but that was the first time I played organized football.

Strauss : What was your high school football experience like?

Doughty : It was really good. In high school, I was actually a kicker throughout my career as well. I was an all-state kicker and probably people don’t’ know that. I just wanted to play varsity really bad ,so I kicked and played special teams my freshmen year, then I started at safety and a few different offensive positions my sophomore, junior, and senior years. We went to the playoffs every year, but my senior year we were really good. We were undefeated and lost in the state championship game to a team we had already beaten. That was a tough one, but we were one of the best teams ever from my school. 

Strauss : Did you guys have any other NFL players from your class?

Doughty : No. I graduated with less than one hundred people in my class.  I was the first division one athlete out of my school and I played 1AA, so I didn’t even get a division one scholarship. I mean it’s a pretty small town feel, so it was a pretty big deal.

Strauss : What was the transition like to Northern Colorado? 

Doughty : I am glad that I had my freshmen year. I was like one of those kids that I felt like needed to redshirt and I am really thankful I did. I developed physically that year. I really just learned what the game was about. My freshmen year, that spring I just said that I am going to do whatever it takes to get on the field, special teams, whatever and I really tried to bust my butt to get on the field. I really feel that I took the same approach in the NFL and it’s what allowed me to be successful. Just doing whatever the coaches need and playing whatever special team they need or challenging guys on scout team. It was kind of a long road, but it was definitely worth it.

Strauss : So I was looking that your major was Sport Science. What was that major really like? How focused were you on academics while you played football there?

Doughty : I was hugely focused on academics because unlike a lot of guys who were ESPN Top 100 coming out of high school and All-Americans at Texas who know they are going to the NFL, I didn’t really have an inkling that I had a NFL shot until my senior year in college. I was really focused on my degree and what I was going to do after football. I studied science and I also had a PE liberal arts emphasis so I thought about teaching for a while because I had a lot of education classes. I also took classes like exercise physiology, biomechanics, learning how the body moves, sports psychology, a lot of different types of classes that I enjoyed and I’ll probably use them when I’m done.

Strauss : Are you going to be on Sports Science sometime helping out with all the research?

Doughty : The funny thing about my degree was that I started taking all the education classes and I realized that I really enjoyed the exercise science aspect more than I did the education. So I think when I am done I will get into the strength and conditioning arena and hopefully become a college or pro strength and conditioning coach. We will see, I feel like I have the background for it. We’ll see what happens.  Hopefully I have at least a couple more years playing, I’m not trying to worry about that yet.

Strauss : What was your relationship with Vincent Jackson [college teammate who left a year earlier]?

Doughty : That’s another interesting story. We actually met at another school’s recruit visit when we were both getting recruited. It was a division two college and we both kind of decided there that we both kind of asked each other “Are you going to come here?” and I said No, I think UNC is a better fit for me and he said “me too” and he said hey if you go up there do you want a roommate? I said, ‘sure’ and we ended up being roommates our freshmen year. Obviously right off the bat people could see how talented Vince was. The funny thing about that is that he had no division one offers, he was not as big in high school and he played at a small Colorado Springs high school that was predominantly a basketball school and predominantly a running team, not football so he didn’t get a scholarship from University of Northern Colorado until they saw him play basketball. Obviously, a lot of teams missed on him. We knew how talented he was and he ended up not redshirting his freshman year and he was an All-American punt returner his freshman year, so obviously he was very talented. We probably would have been roommates longer, except I got married after my freshman year so I didn’t need a roommate after that.

Strauss : Do you still keep in touch with Vincent Jackson?

Doughty : Yeah, not every day. We got along great. But being married and going to school, we kind of went a little bit of our separate ways. We still keep in touch and we’re definitely friends, but we don’t get a lot of opportunity to hang out. The last time I saw him was when we both got inducted into the Northern Colorado Sports Hall of Fame last year, so we both went into the Hall together at University of Northern Colorado, so I got to see him and catch up with him. So, that was cool.

Strauss : Your senior year you were a Draddy Trophy finalist, what was that like?

Doughty : That was a really, really good experience.It’s nice being recognized for the way I play. I was a two time playing all-American but I’m more proud of being a three-time academic all American. It’s kind of nice be the Draddy award kind of symbolizes the culmination of both of those things of excelling both as a student and an athlete. So looking at who else was there with me was really cool. Rudy Nischlinger won it that year, I think he plays for the Chiefs, he’s a center. So, it was a really cool experience and I still have the post graduate scholarship that hopefully I’ll be to use after I’m done playing and we’ll see what happens.

Strauss : What was your draft day experience like?

Doughty : It was really cool. It was pretty laid back. Because I graduated in December, I didn’t have an opportunity which is when I graduated in December, I didn’t have the opportunity to have a graduation party, so I told people we’ll have a draft day party/graduation  party just kind of a celebration. I had no idea if I’ll get drafted or not. My agent said, ‘Anywhere from the fifth round to undrafted’ and I knew I’d get an opportunity, it was just a matter of when, so I kind of made the most of it. We watched it on TV at this little clubhouse where we were staying and it was really cool where we were staying. We had a potluck, and we all hung out.

Strauss : What was your first training camp like in the NFL?

Doughty : The first team training camp was very tough. I came from Colorado and I mean it gets hot here, it gets 90’s and high 90’s, I think its supposed to be 97 today, but we don’t get that humidity. Going out there in D.C., everything you’re doing as a rookie you’re trying so hard, you’re trying to figure things out mentally the coaches are riding you, it was extremely hot. It was like a heat wave, like 112, 114 degree heat index. It makes you question really early, “Is this something that I’m willing to fight for? Do I really want to do this?” and I said, “Yes, I’m going to do this”.  If I’m going to be out here in this heat, I’m going to make this team, I’m going to make it happen, so, it was one of the hardest experiences I’ve ever had, but definitely one of the most rewarding.

Strauss : What was Coach Gibbs like?

Doughty:  Coach Gibbs was awesome. I think I really can credit him to my opportunity in the league and why I was drafted. He really tried to draft hard nosed football players, smart, stayed out of trouble, family people. I really appreciate that, that he gave me that opportunity and that he saw something in me and I made that team my rookie year and was able to contribute at the end of the year all on special teams. I was able to start some games my second year, so, I am very appreciative of that opportunity. He was not only a great coach in my eyes, but he’s a great person. When my son was dealing with some health issues, my son had a kidney transplant when he was 18 months. Coach Gibbs actually called and I wasn’t home at the time, we were at the hospital but he left a long message on my phone and left a prayer, prayed for my son and me over the phone. It means a lot that its more than football for him.

Strauss : What was your relationship with Sean Taylor? 

Doughty : It was interesting because I was with Sean for two-three years and my rookie year, I was pretty intimidated. He didn’t talk much so I really didn’t know what to expect. I couldn’t tell and it was like, does this guy liked me, does he hate me, does he care? He was just trying to work, but one thing I realized about Sean really quickly was that as good a player he was, he worked extremely hard. The more I got to know him the more I realized that’s just misunderstood. I still remember at the end of my rookie year, I ended up starting on special teams and I was playing really well and I bothered my hamstring a little bit. It was the last week of the season. I had to take the scout team reps because I was a backup, all the special team reps, and some regular defensive reps and Sean came over and was like, “I see your hamstrings bothered let me take some of your scout team reps for you”. For a Pro Bowl Safety to do that this late in a season, even if it was for one down to take extra reps this late in a season just spoke to me what type of player that he was. I got to know him more in my second year when my son was going through some problems and he was always asking how he was doing. I still remember before the Tampa game, he got hurt and everybody expected that one of our other safeties, who was a veteran for eight, nine, ten year veteran to start in his place of him and they chose me instead and he said, ‘I know you can do it, just have confidence.’ That meant a lot to me that he believed in me. He said that before we went to Tampa, right before he passed away. That meant a lot.

Strauss : Do you have a favorite memory with the Redskins? 

Doughty : No man. There’s just a lot great memories, great people, friends that I met along playing. It’s a revolving door in the NFL so I miss a lot of the guys that have kind-of come and gone. There’s definitely some big wins that I remember. There was this one game that I wasn’t even playing in my rookie year, when I wasn’t I was a backup and our QB Mark Brunell and we beat Jacksonville with seconds left in overtime with Santana Moss catching the pass down the sidelines that was pretty remarkable. Couple of games later, I intercepted a pass against Dallas and ran it back halfway, then we got a penalty, but kicked the game winning field goal. Then probably the biggest win for me, was playing Dallas my second year we had to beat them to get into the playoffs we won six straight coming in and beat Dallas at home. It was so much fun, and that was my only playoff game so I went out there against Seattle and started a playoff game, so that was special.

Strauss : What’s a better feeling for you making a big hit and forcing a fumble or having an interception? 

Doughty : Well, I can’t say I have as many interceptions as I do tackles, but for the game itself it’s better to have an interception because its game changing it’s a turnover. But, personally I like making great tackles and big hits because that’s me and my personality. But I’d like to create more turnovers to change the game.

Strauss : Do you have a favorite tackle in your career?

Doughty : Yeah, My rookie year I was kind of coming into my own and I was getting an opportunity to play on special teams and I got a really big hit on the kickoff I got Tom Jackson’s Jacked Up, so that was pretty cool.

Strauss : Do you have a nickname?

Doughty : No, I don’t its kind of funny because some of the guys call me, “Dude” a lot and when Fred Davis came to the team he started calling me dude all the time like “Wassup dude”. I’m not going to say what up playa or whatever else everyone wants to say. I guess Fred started calling me, ‘Dude’ and it kind-of stuck between me and Fred but I’ve never been a big nickname guy. Everybody just called me Doughty.

Strauss : Who’s helped you develop the most as a player?

Doughty : I’d just have to say my dad because he instilled me a work ethic. I obviously have my two older brothers and my mom to also thank because they were very helpful. God of course gave me some ability obviously, but I’ve never been a guy like “this kid is so ridiculously talented” . I was always “Oh, he’s got some talent, but he is willing to work for it.” So, I feel like my work ethic it’s the biggest reason I’ve succeeded so far

Strauss :  So there is a report that you read people’s’ lips very well… 

Doughty : Yeah, a lot of that stuff is pretty much blown out of proportion, but I do have a hearing loss. I have been a chairman for the Hearing Loss Association of America. I also work for the National Kidney Foundation because of my son. I do have a hearing loss. I do wear hearing aids. I can’t say it doesn’t affect me at all or else I wouldn’t have hearing aids. When you have 90,000 screaming fans at FedEx field, I’m not sure hearing is the most important attribute to have. I don’t feel like it has limited me in a great way or anything like that. I’m not deaf and I wouldn’t be ashamed if I am. I think some of those reports have been blown out of proportion.

Strauss : Has it been beneficial in some instance?

Doughty : No. To be honest the biggest thing that affected me was in meetings and building relationships. You don’t hear some people.  It’s like this phone conversation, sometimes on different phones I hear better than others. It can become pressuring for the other person or for myself when people don’t communicate well. If I’m talking with the guys and I have to ask them, ‘What?’ two or three times. It’s not as fun a conversation. I think it’s harder to build relationships. It’s hard hearing in meetings when coach has his back to the board and doing a coaching point, and I might miss something and they’d be like, “We talked about that at the meeting.” and I’m like coach, ‘I did not hear anything about that.’ That’s a big reason why I got hearing aids. I’m really an advocate for the Hearing Loss Association, just so that I can let young people know I can erase the stigma associated with hearing loss. Hearing aids are no different from glasses; it’s not that big a deal. It’s something that helps me in relationships to communicate and I am not ashamed of it.

Strauss : Besides your role with these foundations, could you go into more depth with what you have done off the field? 

Doughty : I know a lot of players choose to have a foundation. I have chosen to really put my time and efforts with a few foundations that are already flowing, that I knew that I could benefit the most. I have been the honorary chairman for the National Kidney Foundation for the last couple of years, and I have done some PSA’s for them. I have been the honorary judge for the DC101 Chili cook off which is the biggest fundraiser for the Kidney Foundation, it’s a million dollar fundraiser. There are a lot of great bands and chili out there. I have been different chairman for different golf tournaments for the Kidney Foundation like Kidney Ball. I have spoke at special appointments at Congress. I have done different things with the Kidney Foundation. I have also worked the Hearing Loss Association with different fundraising walks and trying to benefit their funds and create more research and awareness. Those are the two main foundations that I support and that I really wanted to be a part of. There are a few smaller ones as well like The Spinal Research Foundation. I had back surgery after my third year and I do some stuff for them. The Kidney Foundation and the Hearing Loss Foundation are obviously things that are close to my heart and are things that have affected me. Those are the things I really pour my time into. 

Strauss : If you had to describe yourself as any ice cream flavor, what would you be and why?

Doughty : Oh man… I would just say vanilla. I’m pretty vanilla, but I’m still good. (laughs). I don’t know if I’d ever win most outlandish personality award or anything, or most interesting guy but I think what people see are what they are going to get. 

Strauss : For someone who wants to play in the NFL, what’s the best advice that you could give them?

Doughty : I would say, take one year at a time. I know there is a lot of middle school and high schoolers that want to play in the NFL, and it really just takes such a culmination of good opportunity and hard work and making the most of opportunities. There are just so many things that go into it. They really just have to focus on the moment and what am I going to accomplish today? This week? This season? This year? Many high school kids ask me how do you make it, and I tell them that I’m about to go condition, you can come with me. Then they say “Oh man, I have to go do some stuff.” Kids want something, but their not always willing to work for it. That goes with school and staying out of trouble; it’s all a culmination for me to getting to the NFL. 

Strauss : Is there anything else that you really want to tell your fans that we really haven’t discussed?

Doughty : No man, I appreciate NFL fans for all sticking with us through this lockout. It hasn’t been fun but I’m excited to football and I appreciate the Redskins fans. There are a lot of people that have followed me and know my story and have given me support. I’d love to be back, we will just have to wait and see.

Strauss : Thank you so much for your time Reed, I really appreciate it.

Doughty : No problem man! Keep up the good work and I’ll talk to you later. 

Announcement : Thank you for listening to the interview with Reed Doughty. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you leave your comments below as well! Please check out my website https://prointerviews.org/ for other interviews, “LIKE” the Facebook page at http://facebook.com/ProInterviews/, and follow me on twitter at http://twitter.com/ProInterviews/. Please subscribe to me on YouTube at http://youtube.com/ProInterviews/ Thanks again for listening! Stay tuned for more, and feel free to contact me!

->Here are the personal questions that Reed Doughty answered.<-

Strauss : Who was your childhood star?

Doughty : Honestly, my childhood idol was my dad. He was a coach and a teacher for thirty-five years. He’s the one I looked up to. But as far as watching football while I was growing up in Colorado, I was a huge Broncos fan. Steve Atwater was probably my favorite player.

Strauss : Have you ever met Steve Atwater?

Doughty : The funny story about that is when Coach Shanahan came to the Redskins last year, they a lot of times have ex-NFL guys as training camp interns to see if they want to try their hand in coaching, see if it’s really for them. Terrell Davis and Steve Atwater were both interns. I was a big Terrell Davis fan as well, but Atwater was helping the DBs last year, so I got to meet him and talk with him. I got to pick his brain a bit, so that was a really cool experience. I should have gotten an autographed jersey from him at some point. But, being in training camp there wasn’t a lot of time for that.

Strauss : Who was your favorite team growing up?

Doughty : The Broncos were definitely my favorite team growing up. I followed them, watched their games, and watched a lot of college football as well. I was a huge sports fan in general.

Strauss : Who was your favorite college team to watch?

Doughty : Growing up, I actually attended a lot of Northern Colorado games. UNC, we call it around here. That was where I ended up playing. It was a smaller town and had a small college feel. We would go down and enjoy the game with my mom, dad, and brothers.

Strauss : What is your favorite movie of all time?

Doughty : Braveheart for sure.

Strauss : What is your favorite T.V. show?

Doughty : Not really, I like Seinfeld a lot. But, I really don’t watch it anymore.

Strauss : What is your favorite type of pie?

Doughty : Thanksgiving Pumpkin pie is definitely up there. One time, my wife made me Strawberry Rhubarb Pie which was awesome.

Strauss : If you could choose your last meal, what would it be?

Doughty : Probably a really good steak, and really good, fresh grocery vegetables. I don’t think much beats that.

Strauss : Thank you for answering the personal questions!

Doughty : No problem at all.

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