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Rodney Bailey, Steelers Defensive Lineman, 2001-2003, 2006

APRIL 25, 2013

Rodney Bailey:

First, can you let readers know what you are doing with yourself since the NFL and how you got started in your post-NFL career?

I’m the regional director for Visalus. I’ve been doing that since I’ve been out of the NFL. Before that I was on tv – the New Network’s Average Joe and the Wall to Wall Sports Show, a local show in Columbus, Ohio.

Can you let readers know more about Visalus?

The VISALUS 90 DAY CHALLENGE is the number one weight-loss and fitness platform in North America. This program is endorsed by celebrities from all walks of life, including, Jessica Biel (actress) Ray Lewis (athlete), Khris Humphries (athlete), Hulk Hogan (athlete/actor), LisaRaye McCord (actress), Master P (rapper), Alfonso Ribiero (actor), Taylor Armstrong (reality show, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills).

Not only am I an independent promoter of the 90-Day Challenge, I am also a customer/believer; I lost 86 pounds in my first 90-Day Challenge!!! Please take a look at this overview link (http://www.overview.bodybyvi.com), and at the attached flyer. I would love to host a challenge partiffy anyone if they are  interested. At this party you will:- Taste the delicious Vi-shape shake, which is the centerpiece of the 90-day challenge.- Watch a short DVD that introduces the 90-day challenge to you.- Learn about the opportunity to become a promoter of the challenge, and earn residual income. – Ask questions about the challenge.- Order products.

The only cost to have me host a challenge party is your time! Please let me know when you’d like to schedule a challenge party, and feel free to call me with any additional questions, at (614) 216 8927.

How hard was it for you to adjust to life after the NFL and what was your biggest adjustment?

It was trial and error. It’s definitely not easy. You go from something you love and have a passion for and you look for something that mirrors that. Basically though what you accomplish in the NFL is second to none. And there’s no exit plan from the NFL. You have to be creative. Anything I can say from those leaving the NFL is to know what you want to try to do early on and try for that.

You were a very highly touted player coming out of high school in Cleveland – named the Cleveland Touchdown Club player of the year and one of the top 40 high school recruits. What made you decide to play for Ohio State and ans what was your high school position?

I was a defensive end in high school. I set a goal and committed to Ohio State right before my senior year. It was the only place I wanted to go. It was my favorite school and a no brainer for me. I had no other visits – it was Ohio State or bust and I’m thankful for the decision.

You were drafted by the Steelers in the 6th round in 2001. How hard was it for you to make the team as a later round pick and how did you manage to do so?

You are definitely right – it’s not easy. You need to take a business approach to it – to be a professional. Come in in shape and work hard. Most rookies come in with a big learning curve so you have to be sharp – in practices and in games. You have to be on every single day.

Who helped you most to adjust to the NFL as a rookie – both on and off the field – and how so?

Coach Mitchell. He was a big inspiration for me – still is. He worked me very hard because he was potential. He told me I needed to grow up fast – that this wasn’t college. And he was right.

He was more than a coach. He kept it light. He was a friend. You talk to any other lineman – any other player – and they’d say the same thing.

Was it frustrating having to adapt to a 3-4 defense – especially with so many high quality linemen like Hampton, Smith and Von Oelhoffen there?

Casey and I came in together in the same draft class. I watched the defense growing up – how hard it worked. I saw that the defensive lineman in the 3-4 were different. I was thankful to have Aaron and Kimo there to serve as great examples to mirror. They worked extra after practice with us to have us prepared. They made sure that the rookies were as polished as they were. It was a big inspiration for me. We wanted to care for the older guys like they cared for us and it made us work harder for the unit.

It wasn’t that hard to adjust. There were so many blitz concepts – but you’re still a defensive lineman. The principles are no different – get off the blocks, use your hands and make tackles. It’s a team defense. You’re not counting tackles. You’re playing a team concept.

Some say the scheme is too complicated and young guys don’t get a chance to play because of that. Is that true?

That’s just an excuse. It’s not true at all. The defense can simplify your job. If you know exactly what’s asked of you and what you are supposed to do…. When things go right, you know why. It’s a team defense that makes you want to play for those linebackers behind you.

Who were some of the biggest characters on those teams and what made them so? Any funny stories to share of your time with the team?

Oh, countless guys! Keisel – he and I had a lot of laughs together. Every guy was a character on the team, it seemed.

Cowher let the craziness go – he embraced it. Hampton was one of the funniest guys in the world – he always had a smile on his face. My roommate was Kendrell Bell – he and Haggans were some of the funniest guys. They all had their personalities, but we all came together. We were  a tight unit.

Oh -and Jerome Bettis. What an awesome personality. He personified what a great teammate was.

You left Pittsburgh after the 2003 season to play for New England and won a Super Bowl with the Patriots. What made you decide to sign with New England and how hard of a decision was that for you?

I was a restricted free agent at the time. I had the offer sheet and it paid me considerably more than what I would have made otherwise. I was difficult to leave behind a family and go to a new team. Many don’t realize how difficult it is.

We won a Super Bowl, which was one of the coolest things. Then the following year I lost the Super Bowl after I signed with Seattle and we played the Steelers!

I came back to afterwards to where my career began – in Pittsburgh. I am a Steeler. Black and Gold is what I bleed. What you are is where you come from.

Did you get a good amount of ribbing from your teammates and what made you decide to come back?

Oh we had a lot of fun with it. I left then got a Super Bowl win then lost to the Steelers in the Super Bowl. They told me “You got one but we got you back!” So we were even (laughing)…

How were the Steelers different from those other teams you played for?

The greatest thing about the Steelers is that it is a family. You’re treated well – if you were a first round pick or a free agent, you’re a family member. No matter if you played for one year or twelve years, you’re a Steeler for life. That’s unique to most NFL teams. My time in New England, Seattle, Arizona…I’m still remembered as a Steeler. That’s due to a great fanbase and locker room.

What are some of your favorite memories now looking back on your time in Pittsburgh, and what makes them so?

I was born and raised on the West Side of Cleveland. Our rival was the Browns. For me, the epic battles in those games – and getting the better fo Cleveland was something  great to be a part of.  My family were Browns fans!

One of the most electrifying moments was in my second season – the 2002 wild card game versus Cleveland. We came back from over three touchdowns to beat the, It was an awesome, defining win for us. Many family members didn’t speak to me for three-to-four weeks (laughing).

Just remembering the bus rides to Cleveland – I was very thankful to be a part of that.

Any last thoughts for readers?

I love the city of Pittsburgh – it’s one of my favorite places in the United States. The food and enthusiasm…and all of the time. In the offseason and in-season. I’m glad to see the tradition keeping on as new players come in.

I’m proud of my seven-year career. I got the chance to play with great friends and for great coaches. It was a lot of fun. I didn’t know what the NFL life would be like but I’m very, very, very happy to have worn the black and gold helmet for four years of my career.

Chris Dahlquist, Penguins Defenseman, 1985-1988, 1989-1991

APRIL 28, 2013

 

First, can you let readers know about your post-NHL career – how you got started in the financial business and what you enjoy most about it?

My first taste of the financial service industry came in the fall of 1994 while playing for Ottawa Senators. As an NHLPA Player representative during the 94′ Owner Lockout, the deadlocked negotiations with the owners sure seemed like the season might get lost. With that in mind I joined a small investment firm in Minneapolis and got my first taste of the financial service industry.  I continued to spent a portion of my office season gaining additional experience until retirement.

Since Retiring in 1998 I have grown a Financial Service business with Prudential Financial, focusing on Individual Asset management and helping small businesses with their benefits coordination. I really enjoy the diversity of my practice. Whether it is helping individuals work through the challenges they face in growing their assets or working with business owners to help them build sustainable benefit packages in these uncertain times gives me a different challenge daily.

From a family standpoint, I’m very fortunate to have my own business and the flexibility of schedule to help coach both my son Chad and daughter Charly during their youth hockey years.

What lessons from your playing career and coaches have helped you most to prepare for this line of work, and how so?

As a professional athlete, you have pressure to perform on a daily basis. There is an instant response to good or bad performance. As a player, you need the ability to rebound from a bad shift and not get too excited after a good one. Consistency and persistency is an invaluable trait when dealing with the volatility of the financial markets and the growing of a business.

And obviously it never hurts clients relationships in Minnesota if you can give a good hockey story or two about Badger Bob Johnson or Mario Lemieux.

How difficult has it for you to transition from the NHL to a second career – and how were you able to do so?

The transition to a more rigid work schedule was not as big a hurdle as I thought it would be. Pro athletes reach that level through sacrifice and regimented work. The greatest challenge when transitioning out of the game for me was the drop in income. A major decision I made when playing was to defer some of my earnings till after retirement. This allowed my family to maintain our current lifestyle (with a few downward adjustments) while I grew my practice to a level we needed. There have been and continue to be hurdles with the balancing of life but last year I reach a milestone. After thirteen years as a financial advisor, this is now my longest career.

You read today about the struggles many NFL players face in transitioning from football to a post-sports career. How does the NHL help players do so – if at all, and is the issue as big with former NHL players as it is with NFL ones?

The NHL didn’t offer much support when leaving the league. In their defense, I don’t think it is owner’s responsibility to prepare or protect their players when its time to leave their employment. The responsibility lies with the players and the NHLPA. The PA is better equipt to oversee this and have done a better job of late. They sponsor “After Hockey”

You first made it to the NHL in ’85 with the Penguins. Who helped you adjust to the NHL – both on and off the ice -and how did they do so? Any examples?

Tough guy Steve Martinson of the Flyers organization gave me fighting lesson the summer before my 1st year. I figured since he set the AHL penalty minute record that he had some experience. He obviously wasn’t that impressed with me since he was my opponent in my first fight as a pro. In an exhibition game he came out and lined-up across from me at the face-off and said, “Coach told me to “Go-you” since you’re running around”. I was taught right then that there are no friends when you have a job to do and never let up on anyone…friend or foe.

You were known to be a tough defenseman not afraid to fight. But were there aspects of your game you felt were under-rated because of your “tough-guy” role?

That reputation of me being a tough-guy fighter is probably a little over-rated. Out of necessity I was a big body checker and that just resulted in some scuffles.

Who were some of the toughest players you went up against during your NHL career, and what made them so?

Cam Neely, Gary Roberts, Keith Tkachuk…stats say it all  50 goals- 200 PIMS

After over five years in the Pittsburgh organization, you found yourself in Minnesota. What prompted the move and how difficult was that transition for you?

I was actually only in Pittsburgh for five years before the trade to Minnesota. The first move is always the hardest for an athlete but I think Bob Johnson said it best when he called the house to tell me about the trade. Badger said, “I have some good news and some bad news. Bad news is we traded you today…but the good news is you’re going home.” Going back to Minnesota made that first trade transition a lot easier for us.

How has the game changed, from your perspective, since you played, especially as it relates to the role of the enforcer/tough guy?

The game has gotten much more defensive than the 90′s. There were typically five to six defensive specialist on each team. I can’t think of more than a dozen players in the league that would block shots. It is expected today that your 50 goal scorer dives in front of shots. Paul Cofee would always say after blocking a shot that he just lifted the wrong leg.

What are your favorite memories of your time in Pittsburgh?

Day one of my first training camp when I was training on the bike next to Giles Meloche (39 yrs old) and I told him that my squirt team used to hand out Oakland Golden Seals Stickers back when he was playing for them.

Getting engaged to my wife of 25 years Jeanie while going down the Mt Washington Incline on Christmas Eve 1986.

Sweeping NYR in 1988-89 playoffs and the fans throwing bottles at our bus as we drove out from under Madison Square Gardens.

The Penguin Christmas Dinner at the Igloo with my wife at a table with 19-year-old Rob Brown and his 16-year-old date…Alyssa Milano and her nanny.

Watching Zarley Zalapski’s dad save EJ Johnson with the Hiemlich maneuver when he was choking on a piece of steak.

Assisting on Mario Lemieux’s 4th goal of the night during my first NHL Game in St. Louis. Little did I know his seven-point night would be more points than I would get in my next three years.

Scoring a goal in my third NHL game and then going 70 games before my next.