From The Pros: The Five Tools You Need To Make It To The League

From The Pros: The Five Tools You Need To Make It To The League

Do you have big dreams of making it to the league one day? To some, that might sound like a longshot, but every pro football player started out right where you are now – playing the game they love and dreaming of turning it into something more. So we asked some of the game’s best what it takes to turn those dreams into reality. From the pros themselves, here are the five tools you need to make it to the league.

1. Accountability

If you’re going to set big goals for yourself, you have to be ready to make sacrifices and put in the work. Coaches, trainers, teammates, and parents can give you the tools and support to play your best, but the fire you need to overcome obstacles and make it to the top can only come from within.

“My biggest goal for this season is to push myself against competition and get better every day,” said 2021 Minnesota draft pick Kellen Mond. “I will always have a super high standard for myself and I want to be able to set the bar high in everything that I do. The best advice that I would give to another kid with dreams of making it to the league would be to be your biggest self-critic. Do not allow others to have a higher standard for you than yourself.”
 
“Coaches, people who are working with me and helping me succeed and accomplish my goals, they matter,” said Philly QB Jalen Hurts. “Their voices matter. But as a leader, I try to be a man who’s going to do my job. I hold myself to the highest standard possible. So anything anyone else says, it doesn’t mean much to me.”

2. Work Ethic

Being accountable to yourself first means that every new workout, practice, and scrimmage is a chance to run tighter routes, make cleaner catches, or hold coverage better than the athlete you were yesterday. In a game of inches, most of the important growth happens when no one’s watching. It’s incremental improvement over time that’s going to make all the difference on game day, whether you’re lining up at a JV scrimmage or a Division I State Championship.

 

“Don’t let anyone outwork you,” said Los Angeles safety Derwin James. “You can’t control how much natural talent you were born with, but you can control how hard you work. Be early to practice. Stay late. Make sure you’re getting extra work in in the weight room or watching film. That’s the only way to make it.”
“You see my success on Sunday,” said Green Bay lineman David Bakhtiari, “but the work that goes in is Monday through Saturday. It’s in the offseason where I really sharpen my iron, put myself in the best situation so when I do come back and play, I can ask my body to do what’s necessary, to go through all the obstacles of a long, rigorous season.”
“You get out what you put in,” said Jalen. “I pride myself on putting something in every day – mentally, emotionally, physically – whatever it is, it all matters. You have to compete at everything you do.”
“It really comes down to just working hard, being a good teammate, and focusing on improving every day,” said Tampa Bay wide receiver Chris Godwin. “If you’re able to focus on that, then I think you’ll continue to improve and you’ll see your game take new strides and you’ll be a better player overall.”

3. Teamwork

It takes more than just a roster of talented players to build a championship team. You need chemistry, and that means building trust with your teammates and making sure you’re in sync on game day.

 

“You’re only as strong as your weakest link,” said David. “The offensive line is one of the few positions where all five of us need to be working together to have success. You can’t have individual success. I would say offensive line is the team position within the ‘ultimate team sport.’”
“The biggest lesson I learned from Tom Brady was just how simple you have to make the game,” explained Chris. “So many coaches are used to sticking to their formulas and philosophies, but really it just comes down to percentages. You’re trying to put yourself in the best position to be successful by adjusting plays at the line, being on the same page as your quarterback, and just making sure you’re putting your team in the best position to be successful.”

 

4. Resilience

In such a physical sport, setbacks are bound to happen. Suffering an injury can feel devastating, but the key to getting back in the game is to focus on healing and rebuilding your physical strength. After a season-ending meniscus tear in 2020, Derwin James had to face watching his team from the sidelines, but he refused to let adversity ger the best of him.

“It’s been tough for sure,” said Derwin. “Every time you watch a game and you’re not on the field, you keep thinking about all the plays you could make to help your team out. You have to be mentally tough to keep doing the rehab day in and day out, because it can get grueling for sure. Thankfully my teammates are always there supporting me, because a lot of them know what it’s like. I also lean on my family pretty heavily – they’ve always got my back encouraging me, telling me that I’ll come back stronger.”

 

If you make it to the top, it won’t just be physical injury that can derail you. The business of pro football can be overwhelming, and mistakes or losses on the national stage can be tough to recover from.

 

“As a team, you have to forget quickly in this business,” said David. “It can be very ‘what have you done for me lately,’ and that can leave a sour taste in your mouth. You should use it as motivation, but you shouldn’t dwell on it, because dwelling on something isn’t going to get the job done. Hard work, dedication, preparation, facing adversity, and making the necessary adjustments to get over that adversity is what you need to do in this league.”

 

5. Belief

Playing college ball or making it to the pros takes more than talent. It takes dedication, drive, and – maybe most importantly – belief.

“If you believe in yourself, anything is attainable,” said Jalen. “Put your mind to it, and you can go get it. That’s the message I send out to all kids, everywhere. Do what’s right because it’s right and go get it. You’ve gotta believe in yourself before you do anything.”

 

And when that belief pays off? Well, there’s nothing like it.

 

“Hearing my name called on draft night was an unbelievable feeling,” said Kellen. “One of the best feelings ever. You only have one opportunity to get your name called and it was something that I have worked for my entire life. Knowing all the work that it took to get to that point makes that moment extremely special.”
“Playing for my hometown team has been awesome,” said Chicago tight end Cole Kmet. “Growing up I loved watching some of those guys – Brian Urlacher and Charles Timmons – how they played, how they went about their business, it’s something I try to emulate. So, my advice to anyone trying to make it to this level is continue to work hard and enjoy playing the game you love.”

 

 

Now that you’ve got the tools, it’s time to stock up on the gear you need to make it to the top. Kick off your season with the best football apparel, cleats, accessories, and equipment – all in your team’s colors – when you shop Football By Color at eastbay.com.

Davante Adams Teams Up With Eastbay To Give Back To Palo Alto High School Football Team

Davante Adams Teams Up With Eastbay To Give Back To Palo Alto High School Football Team

In March, Green Bay wide receiver Davante Adams went back to his alma mater, Palo Alto High School, to surprise the football team with some advice, inspiration, and – with Eastbay’s help – fresh gear.

Adams knows that giving back is about more than just the physical items you’re giving. It’s about supporting the next generation of athletes who are looking to build a name and a future for themselves both on and off the field. And it’s about the lasting impact sport can have on young people and their communities.

 

“My time here at Pally shaped who I am. All my experiences, from state championships to the occasional losses that we had, we got to learn from that. How to win, how to come together as a team. A lot of what took place here, I feel like it shaped me for who I am in the league. The things I’m able to achieve, I can attribute to this.

Sports is a huge thing. It holds communities together. It was the #1 outlet for people in my neighborhood growing up in East Palo Alto to kind of have an escape and a way to stay out of trouble.

To be in a position now where I’m blessed to be able to do what I love and receive opportunities like this to team up with Eastbay and make this happen for the kids – it’s life changing for them, and I know that. It brings me instant gratification to be able to do that for them.”

– Davante Adams

Check out our images from the event:

 

Davante Adams Palo Alto Giveback Team Picture
Davante Adams Palo Alto Giveback Shoe Table
Davante Adams Palo Alto Shoe Giveaway
Davante Adams Palo Alto
Davante Adams Jordan Retro 10 TD Football Cleats
Davante Adams Nike Football Cleats
Davante Adams Palo Alto Football Players
Davante Adams Shoe Autograph
Davante Adams Palo Alto High School Shoe Giveaway

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NFL Playoffs Trivia: Test your Knowledge of NFL History

NFL Playoffs Trivia: Test your Knowledge of NFL History

As January rolls around once again, we’re reminded that this is hands down the best month for football. The stakes are higher, competition is tougher, and it’s finally time to crown another Super Bowl Champion. With all the excitement building for this year’s playoffs, let’s take a trip down memory lane and relive some of the greatest moments in NFL playoff history in quiz form. It’s time to test your knowledge about playoffs past and see if you’re truly an NFL superfan.

5 Pieces of Advice from Davante Adams

5 Pieces of Advice from Davante Adams

Davante Adams grew up like many other kids – going to school, playing with friends, and attending the Boys and Girls Club. In his free time, Adams’ parents encouraged him to pick up sports in order to keep busy and stay out of trouble. So, Adams dedicated himself to improving his athletic skills, and his hard work began to pay off. During his senior year of high school, Adams helped lead his team to the CIF National Championship, but fame was never his end goal. Adams’ motivation for success was more selfless: he simply wanted to give back.

“I didn’t want to be famous. I wanted to be successful,” Adams said. “I wanted to do everything I could to help my family out and give mom and dad everything they gave to me.”

Now, going into his sixth season as wide receiver for Green Bay, Adams realizes that his potential to give back reaches further than just his family. Through his words and actions, he can impact the next generation of athletes.

Davante Adams shaking hand of young kid from Boys and Girls Club.

“The kids running around the Boys and Girls Club are me,” Adams said. “It’s important to invest in kids because setting a good example for them will shape the future and put us all in good hands.”

Regardless of what grade you’re in or what sport you play, Davante Adams believes you hold the power to create a bright future, so here’s five pieces of advice he has for you:

1. Have fun playing sports but be safe.

“I play football because I love the sport and have fun playing it,” Adams said.

It’s no surprise that Adams is an advocate for youth sports because of the effect they had on his own life. Adams believes that not only do they provide a method of keeping kids active and healthy, but he says it can also benefit kids socially.

“Getting involved in sports gives kids something to do, and it helps out with relationships as they make friends,” Adams said.

Although competition is fun, Adams points out that there’s an element that needs to be taken seriously.

“The number one thing is to always be safe,” he said. “They have different levels – flag football if you don’t want to worry about being tackled, or if you want to play tackle football, that could be fun too. Either way, wearing a mouthpiece is big. People think it’s so your teeth don’t crack, but it also helps prevents concussions if you get hit.”

Boys and Girls Club kids chasing Davante Adams while he runs with football.

2. Your passions may change, and that’s okay.

One thing that makes Adams a unique football player is that he didn’t start playing football until 11th grade. His first love was basketball. He began dribbling at the age of five and kept playing through high school, lettering all four years.

“Growing up, some of my biggest influences were AI and Deron Williams. I watched how they moved on the court, and I’d try to mimic that,” Adams said. “I always had a mean crossover; I just had to figure out how to incorporate it into my releases and route running.”

No matter how much you plan, you don’t know what the future holds. Adams didn’t know that learning basketball skills as a young kid would help him become a great football player; he just followed his passions and dedicated himself to the sport. So whether you see the big picture or not, give 100%, always.

3. Listen to your parents and take school seriously.

It’s a cliché saying, but it bares truth: hindsight is 20/20. Now that he’s an adult (and a soon-to-be parent himself), Adams realizes the importance of listening and heeding the advice that his parents gave him.

“Listen to your parents when they tell you to stay in school and take your schooling seriously. That’s the biggest thing,” Adams said. “I didn’t do that well when I started high school, and by the end, I had to catch up in order to graduate and become eligible for D1. The hardest thing in life is having to work backward. So listen to your parents, they know what they’re talking about.”

Davante Adams and Boys and Girls Club Kids flexing their biceps.

4. Dream big and work hard.

“Growing up, football was an outlet for guys to get away and set us up for life,” Adams said.

He knew that if he worked hard to dominate the sport, he could earn a free ride to college, so that’s what he set out to do. After two years playing in high school, Adams left for Fresno State on a football scholarship, and two years after that, he was drafted by Green Bay.

You always want to set your sights on the biggest dreams possible.

-Davante Adams

Although Adams admits that returning to NorCal as a local legend was once a dream of his, he’s still adjusting to the reality.

 “Yes, I dreamed it would get to this point, but it was just a dream to begin with and now being in this position – coming back to the Boys and Girls Club, like the type I grew up going to – there are kids looking at me like the figures I looked up to when I was young. It’s surreal.”

Davante Adams and Boys and Girls Club kids kneeling in circle on football field.

5. Leave your own legacy.

Adams says he’s been inspired by LeBron James and the impact he has both on and off the court, and Adams hopes to inspire people in similar ways.

“I want to leave a legacy of greatness whether that’s in my community or the sport I play,” Adams said. “Being able to give back to my community sheds light on my character and lets kids know how important it is for them to do the same.”

It’s important for people to know how much something means to you, so I want them to know that I put everything into the game — blood, sweat and tears.

-Davante Adams

Adams’ legacy only reaches so far, but his impact on the next generation can start a chain reaction for a positive future because everybody has the potential to impact others with what they leave behind.


To shop Davante’s look head on over to eastbay.com, and to see his interview with two kids from the Boys and Girls Club, check out our video page.

Darnell Savage Jr.: 3 tips to prepare yourself for success

Darnell Savage Jr.: 3 tips to prepare yourself for success

Darnell Savage Jr. doesn’t shy away from a challenge. As far back as he can remember, he’s been proving doubters wrong and shattering the expectations set for him.

“Even as a young kid, I always felt like I had something to prove,” Savage said. “I feel like I hold myself to a higher standard than anybody. I think my goals are far above what other people would expect them to be.”

Savage Image 1

So, while some may have been shocked to see Green Bay pick Savage with the 21st overall pick in the draft, he viewed it as confirmation of his talents and a chance to show the rest of the world what he’s really made of.

Eastbay got to sit down with the 21-year-old defensive back, and he gave us some insight on how he prepared himself for the spotlight. His three pieces of advice are:

1. Embrace your setbacks. They only make you stronger.

Savage Image 2

In his junior year of high school, Savage broke his right femur, resulting in a long road to recovery that would challenge the young star mentally and physically. But Savage didn’t use the injury as an excuse – he vowed to come back bigger, faster, and stronger.

“Just being out of football and not being able to do simple stuff on my own was definitely difficult,” Savage said. “It challenged me mentally but also helped me grow as a player and a person. Luckily, I only broke a bone and bones heal. So I’m actually thankful for it.”

2. Become a student of the game

Savage Image 3

When Savage entered the draft, most of the talk about the promising prospect revolved around his physical attributes. Media and scouts alike focused on his gaudy combine numbers and insane play speed in the secondary. But if you ask Savage himself, he says that his understanding of the game is what makes him stand out in a league filled with talented defensive backs.

“My best attribute is my mind. I’m an extremely smart football player and that allows me to play a lot faster and with a lot more confidence,” Savage said. “Knowing what everybody on the field is trying to do also allows me to play in a bunch of different spots. I can play corner, nickel, or safety, and I think that brings value.”

3. Don’t just talk the talk. Walk the walk.

Savage Image 4

Savage’s last piece of advice is simple and straightforward – if you’re going to talk up your play off the field, you better be able to back it up on the field.

“I’m usually pretty quiet and humble because at the end of the day, it’s your play that speaks,” Savage said. “You can say whatever you want, but once the coaches turn on the tape, they’re either going to see what you said or they’re going to see something completely different. So, if I do talk about my abilities, I mean it, and I’ll back it up when I’m out there on the field.”

To shop the Under Armour Rush product and training gear Darnell Savage Jr. uses to elevate his game at the highest level, visit eastbay.com.