When TDdaily last met up with offensive guard Zane Beadles, he was days away from competing for a Super Bowl ring with one of the most potent offenses of all time led by a first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterback and a plethora of seasoned veterans. Now? Well, he’s still in Denver, but only for the week, hosting a fundraiser for his charity, the Zane Beadles Parade Foundation. Other than that, there may be no player who has seen a bigger change of scenery this off-season than Zane Beadles, who left the AFC-Champion Broncos and signed a 5-year, $30 million contract with the 4-12 Jacksonville Jaguars. Zane spoke with us earlier this week about his foundation, now in its second year, as well as his process of transitioning into more of a leadership role with his new team in Jacksonville.
TDDaily: So you’re currently in Denver to host a fundraiser this Thursday for your charity, which the website describes as a foundation for “children going through unfortunate situations.” Can you tell us a little more about your foundation and what kind of situations you work with?
Zane Beadles: This summer we’ve kind of revamped our mission—not revamped, but narrowed it, tried to make it more clear to people what we’re doing. But we’ve strived to help young people who are going through life changing medical experiences. And obviously those types of things are very stressful and very hard on kids and hard on families, our big goal is to be able to provide young people that are going through those things with opportunities to kind of get away from it and have some fun and get away from the every day stresses that they have and these treatments and things of that sort and just kind of get away from it, even if it’s just for a few hours. We’re striving to provide experiences and opportunities for those people to get out, whether it’s going to a Broncos game or a Jaguars game or getting up in the mountains and going fishing—things of that sort. That’s what we’re trying to do.
TD: Are you still partnered with Brent’s Place in Denver?
[Reader’s Note: Brent’s Place provides clean & safe housing for pediatric cancer patients]
ZB: Yeah, we still do a lot with Brent’s Place and we will continue to do that going forward. That’s been a great experience, and our long-term goal is, ten years down the road, to hopefully build more places like Brent’s Place around the country. It’s a very unique place, and we haven’t been able to find any other place around the country that provides the type of service they do, and we want to bring that to more people.
TD: How has that transition process been for you so far in Jacksonville? What are your initial thoughts on your new home in Jacksonville?
ZB: It’s been good so far. Obviously it’s different. I grew up in Salt Lake City and have been in Denver the last four years of my life, so moving to Northern Florida where it’s hot and humid and there’re no mountains and an ocean and a river and all that sort of thing—it’s definitely different and a transition and a new city. But the organization has been great, the city has been great, the fans have been awesome since I’ve been down there. I can tell it’s a very passionate fan base, even if it’s not a huge one; but people down there love the Jags. And I think we’re headed in the right direction. We’ve got work to do—there’s no doubt about that—but I’m excited to be a part of that, and hopefully we can build something fun and something special down there.
TD: What went into your decision to choose Jacksonville and, with that, your decision to leave Denver—if it was your decision, that is?
ZB: There’s a ton that goes into it. People always say it’s a business, and it absolutely is, but it’s also people’s lives and things of that sort. Obviously money does play a role into it, but there are plenty of other things that were a huge factor for me. Jacksonville expressed to me that they wanted me to come in and be a leader on a young offensive line, and I think that role was just something that was very exciting for me to do that and step into that role. You know, I went from being one of the younger guys in Denver to the oldest guy in the O-line room in Jacksonville, which is definitely a different transition but something that I’m excited about. I talked to a bunch of people that kind of knew what was going on in Jacksonville and knew about Gus Bradley and the new owner Shad Khan and [general manager] Dave Caldwell and what they’re trying to do down there. And like I said, we’re heading in the right direction, and it was something exciting, and people are very excited about it and very positive about it, and I wanted to be a part of something like that.
TD: Who are some of the leaders of that team that were already established when you got there, especially on offense where you have multiple starting positions shifting toward new and younger guys?
ZB: Chad Henne has been great. I think this is his second or third year in Jacksonville and he’s a smart guy that’s excited to be in the same offense again for another year; and he’s been around for awhile, so he knows what goes on in the league and what the season is all about. Also, Mercedes Lewis has been there his entire career, and there’s definitely a lot of respect for him and what he’s accomplished over his career—you can definitely tell that from the locker room. Those are probably the two oldest guys, other than myself. And then guys like Toby Gerhart—he hasn’t been THE guy before over in Minnesota, but he’s excited to be that guy now and we’re excited about that. Other than that, it’s guys that want to get better and want to be good and are very talented. Like I said, it’s exciting to be able to build this with each other and hopefully create something special going forward.
TD: Coming from a team that was right on the cusp to one that’s still growing together, is there any part of you that worries about the frustrations of those growing pains moving forward?
ZB: That’s not really something I worry about or can think about right now. I’ve always been the kind of person that when something happens I’ll address it at that point and overcome and put it behind me and move on to the next thing. But we’ll see what happens. It’s very exciting for me to build something with somebody. Much like we did in Denver, to come from 4-12 to where we were my last year in Denver, that’s something that’s very exciting for me to build in Jacksonville and I think everybody down there has that attitude and that idea about it and everybody is willing to come in and put in the work and that’s what needs to happen.
TD: What are some of your initial impressions of some of the differences in the coaching styles of Coach Gus Bradley versus your time with Coach John Fox in Denver and also your coordinators, going from [Denver Offensive Coordinator Adam] Gase to [Jacksonville Offensive Coordinator Jedd] Fisch?
ZB: You know, everybody has their own personalities and their own way of doing things. Gase and Fisch are actually good friends with each other, so that’s been kind of fun, talking with Jedd Fisch and he’s asking me things about Adam and even things not about football, interacting with each other off the field. I love Coach Fox and had a great time in Denver with him and have the utmost respect for him and what he’s accomplished in his career and the way that he coaches, but I’m very excited to play for Gus. He’s an extremely positive guy, always excited to be at work—energy like I’ve never seen before—and it makes it fun to come in every day and get to work and makes you look forward to getting in there and getting better. And that’s what it’s all about at the end of the day—being better than you were the day before—and if you take that approach, things will happen in the end.
TD: How about early impressions of what you’ve seen from Blake Bortles and other rookies like Marquise Lee and Allen Robinson and how they’re developing?
ZB: Everybody that I’ve interacted with and some of the new guys we brought in I’ve been extremely impressed with. The biggest thing is there’s just an excitement to come in every single day to work on our craft and work as a team to get better, and it’s a great environment to go into and it makes it fun. Practice can be one of the worst things out there. It starts to become “Groundhog Day” where you’re doing the same thing day after day and it can get old; but when you have guys with that kind of attitude, guys that come in and just attack the day every single day and try to get better, it makes it fun. It inspires you to be better than you were, and it’s just a synergistic relationship to where you just keep pushing each other to get better every single day.
TD: For all the Jaguars fans out there, what is it about this current team that they as fans should be most excited about heading into this season?
ZB: I think it’s just the passion and the desire to get better. Jacksonville hasn’t had a lot success in the last few years, and I’m sure the fans are looking for wins. And while we can’t predict anything, I promise you that this group is going to come work every single day to get better and put the best product on the field that they possibly can. And when you do that sort of thing and you have that attitude toward, you’re going to like the outcome and the results you get at the end of the day.
TD: Final question. We heard there’s going to be some karaoke featured at your fundraiser. What’s your go-to song?
ZB: [Laughs] Probably “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks. That’s a pretty good karaoke song there.
Matt Meier is a TDdaily contributor based in Los Angeles. Photo via USA TODAY.