As part of the 2013 NFLPA Rookie Premier, 21 top NFL Rookies conducted a healthy lifestyle and fitness program for 150 3rd-5th graders from Sunrise Elementary in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles. This One Team | One Community initiative encouraged youth to stay fit while having fun in a safe and competitive environment.
The kids enjoyed fresh smoothies and participated in non-contact football stations led by the Rookies. Developed in partnership with LA’s BEST (an afterschool enrichment program of the Los Angeles Unified School District, and in support of Let’s Move!), the clinic proved to be a success- with each student smiling and cheering his or her fellow teammates on.
The event was geared towards both boys and girls, not only in support of fitness for all, but more specifically: football for both genders. Amongst the new rookies and coaches, Deeann Rivera, a former professional female football player, also came to speak to the students- particularly the girls, about being able to play football professionally when they grew up.
Although the event was for the kids, it seems that the rookies were having as much fun participating and helping at the clinic. One player spoke of how football is the love of his life, but his passion is being able to come to the community and give back at events such as this one. Gavin Escobar, 47th pick in the 2013 Draft, shared the same sentiments. We got a chance to chat with him for a few minutes during the clinic.
Pro Player Insiders Interviews the Dallas Cowboys’ newest Tight End, Gavin Escobar at NFLPA Rookie Premier Youth Fitness Clinic at Sunrise Elementary School, Los Angeles, CA.
Pro Player Insiders: Has this been a dream of yours your whole life?
Gavin Escobar: Yeah definitely. Probably, my first love was Basketball and once I started playing football- it was definitely my second love.
PPI: What does it feel like to be here right now? I mean, you’re in the NFL, you made it!
GE: It’s great being out here with these kids. I remember when I was this age and I loved to play. I played sports all the time. It’s just fun being around these kids who are enjoying life and enjoying running around.
PPI: So you’re here as a role model for them (the kids). Who were your role models growing up in the NFL?
GE: In the NFL, I liked watching guys like Jeremy Shockey, Tony Gonzalez, and Jason Witten. Football-wise those are my role models.
PPI: Now, what current players are you looking forward to playing with the most?
GE: It’d be great to catch passes with Tony Romo and learn from Jason Witten. So I’m really excited for the opportunity.
PPI: You’re going to the Cowboys- what are you excited to see in Texas?
GE: I don’t know much about Texas. I’ve heard Austin’s really cool, so I’m gonna have to check out that sometime. I’ve been to Fort Worth before. I don’t know much about Dallas either, but I’ll have time to explore in the offseason.
PPI: Are you happy to be in the NFL? Are you glad to be on the Cowboys?
GE: I’m happy to be with the Cowboys and stay with them as long as I can.
PPI: Did you have a distinct moment when you told everyone else “I want to be in the NFL” and it became your goal in life?
GE: I remember during the recruiting process in high school… I was a wide receiver in high school, and I had a coach who was playing overseas at the time; and he told me, “You know if you stick with Tight End you could really play at the next level.” And that kinda stuck with me going into college and I was always thinking NFL from that point on.
PPI: Did people always tell you that you should go into the NFL or that you should play basketball- HOW TALL ARE YOU?
GE: I’m 6’6”. Basketball, I’ve been playing that even before I was playing football. But through high school, I kind of realized I’m better at football… and I love it too.
PPI: So where can we find you when you’re off the field?
GE: Off the field you can find me out in the open, doing something fun…nothing crazy, obviously. But I like being active. I like doing this kind of stuff, so that would be great to do in the community in Dallas. I just like being on my feet, not so much playing video games all day, you know?
PPI: A very active player… Now here in the NFL – you’re not only going to play, you’re going to learn the business of football? Have they started to talk to you about all of that?
GE: I’m learning as I go. I’m hearing stuff from players, hearing stuff from the NFLPA. I’m learning a lot right now- I’m just taking it all in.
PPI: You’re first game in the NFL, who or what will you be thinking about on that day?
GE: I’m going to be thinking about my assignments and my plays. Cause I’m not trying to mess those up. That’s what I’m going to be thinking about.
PPI: So now for a couple fun questions… What is your favorite food or restaurant?
GE: Fast food wise, I’m gonna go with In N Out. Restaurant wise, I went to Flemmings once during the recruiting process and that was one of the best steaks I’ve ever had, so I’m gonna go with Flemmings.
PPI: Did you grow up with In N Out or was it a trek for you?
GE: I was born in New York and lived in New Jersey for a while, but I had some family out in California, so whenever we would come visit, we would always go to In N Out. So that’s been my spot.
PPI: What’s your favorite clothing brand or store you like to go the most.
GE: I’m not too big on shopping or clothing really. I wear shorts and a T-shirt as much as I can. So I’m gonna just say Nike, they got the best stuff that I like.
PPI: Do you have a favorite musician/ artist/ or band?
GE: You know I’m kinda old school. I like listening to anything like Jackson 5 to the Temptations, stuff like that, on a regular basis at least.
PPI: Now here’s a question, are you a dancer though?
GE: Yeah, I’ll dance. I mean I probably won’t dance for you right now, but…
PPI: …We can maybe find you on the dance floor later on?
PPI: Do you have a nickname?
GE: No… well actually, you know, some people like to call me Pablo because of my last name, but I don’t know if that’s appropriate…
PPI: ¿No hablas Español? (You don’t speak Spanish?)
PPI: ¿Yo puedo hablar mas que tu? (I speak more than you?)
GE: I can understand a little bit. My father spoke it fluently when he grew up, but my mom doesn’t so it never got passed on to me. So I’m working on Rosetta Stone. …I need to.
PPI: That’s good. Or you can just go on an extended trip somewhere…
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