Tuesday night we had the honor of being invited to Gatorade’s Player of the Year Awards, a celebration of the top male and female high school athletes in the country (the winner of Football Player of the Year was the Virginia bound Andrew Brown). In attendance at the event in downtown Los Angeles, among others, was Eddie Lacy and Steven Jackson, both of whom were gracious enough to give TDdaily a few minutes of there time. Below you can check out our conversation with the Falcons veteran, where we talked about his secret talent, the Falcons offensive line and more. To see our interview with Lacy, click here.
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TDdaily: First off, can you believe that Eddie Lacy doesn’t watch football?
Steven Jackson: I believe it. Young people these days [laughs].
TD: So Hard Knocks. When you first heard that the Falcons would be on the show this year, you’re reaction was what?
SJ: Finally I think a lot of people are going to get to know who I am.
TD: So you’re looking forward to the show?
SJ: I’m looking forward to telling my story. I think a lot of people, well I think a lot of people don’t know my story because of all those years I spent in St. Louis and being in a smaller market where opportunities like this just didn’t come. This is just going to be me telling my story 11 years later.
TD: You’re really into photography and have traveled all over the world for your art. So, what’s the craziest place you’ve been to?
SJ: The Amazon in Brazil. I was there for four days, but the funny thing about that story and why it was so crazy for me is because they lost my luggage. So I’m in the middle of the Amazon with one pair of clothes and I’m not exactly a normal size. They had no store to buy anything so literally all they had was what the employees wore—some khaki shirts and a little t-shirt. So I had to buy it—I bought the outfit and wearing it around and that whole week all these Europeans kept coming up to me and asking what the day’s activity was.
TD: And those clothes fit you?
SJ: No, no way. It was pretty form-fitting.
TD: OK, out of all the places you’ve been to, you’re favorite was what?
SJ: I think romantically it would have to be Italy. From an adventure standpoint I’d have to say Peru. I really had a good time there. I climbed Machu Picchu there, did the whole hike. It’s crazy and it was beautiful, and when you’re there you really just appreciate the whole history.
TD: Have you ever had to eat anything ridiculous at any of these places?
SJ: Not really. I guess the most ridiculous thing that I’ve ever had to eat was probably I said I wanted some sushi one time and I got a plate with live fish on it. It was actually squid, and it was still crawling. I was like, No thank you.
TD: You were recently quoted as praising Mike Tice, your new offensive line coach. Can you explain what difference you think he’s going to make, and how an offensive line coach is able to make a difference?
SJ: It’s kind of a new world in the NFL now—it’s a passing game, so running the football and teaching the technique of run blocking is something that’s really not taught. Mike Tice, though, he’s from the old school, though—he played in the NFL. He understands what it takes to make the blocks, stuff like what are the appropriate angles to take to get to defensive guys. And let’s face it, the guys on the defensive side of the ball are more athletic than the ones blocking for the offense, so they [offensive blockers] need to understand thees techniques in order to get an advantage, and I think what’s happening is that some of that stuff is being overlooked and not being touched on.
TD: And you see that happening throughout the league?
SJ: Yeah, I believe that is a trend in the league—the bigger more athletic guys are on defense. The running back, the guard, the offensive lineman, they are not the premier athletes in the game.
TD: You mention athletes—is Julio Jones as crazy-good of an athlete as we imagine him to be?
SJ: Absolutely. Just his capability, man. Like last year, against the Patriots I think it was a Sunday night, and he was going up against Aqib Talib, and he was draped all over him and Julio just pulled in that pass. And he does stuff like that all the time.
TD: Last one: what’s something, other than the love of photography, that people would be surprised to learn about you?
SJ: I don’t know if it’s anything surprising, but I do enjoy autobiographies. My favorite one is Nelson Mandela, but a very different one I just read, and really liked, was Arnold Schwarzneger. Completely different men, but their rise, and what they understood and stood for. What stuck out to me about Arnold, though, was that he couldn’t even speak English when he first came to America.
TD: You gotta write your own now?
SJ: Hey, man, gotta keep working first.
Yaron Weitzman is the editor-in-chief of TDdaily.com. Follow him on Twitter @YaronWeitzman.