The Baltimore Ravens were able to pull out a tough win on the road against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. One bad thing about the win was the loss of tight end Dennis Pitta. This means that rookie tight end Crockett Gillmore will have an increased role. This is a good thing for Gillmore as he is all about football all of the time.
The “football all of the time” mentality is something that Gillmore developed as a youngster in a small Texas town called Bushland. There isn’t much going on there, but one thing that they take seriously is high school football. Bushland is not the biggest place. The focal point of the town is the stadium.
“We went to the state championships. We lost the game but we went to work the next day. We had guys that came in for training the day after a loss in the playoffs. We had so much support. You’re talking about a town of no more than a 1,000 people but we had 5,000 people at our games on Friday nights. I remember when I cut my hand during a game and had to get stitches on the side line. We were that type of real community.” Gilmore said.
The way that things went at Bushland helped prepare Gillmore for the next step, playing college football. Gillmore spoke glowingly about his high school program and their work ethic. He said; “My high school coach could be a head coach in college with how he went about everything he did. If you’re willing to put in the work, he would open the weight room at six every morning. We worked out similar to a college program. It was an easy step to go from high school to college.”
Playing in a football first program in high school led Gillmore to have even bigger expectations for how college should be. He pointed that out as one of his biggest adjustments when he went off to college. He expected it to be football all of the time. He didn’t like how there were a lot of limits with school and what you can and can’t do.
“You’re a young student athlete without time for a job but you have to perform and make the school money but you can’t get food. It was a nuisiance. On the field, there was a learning curve as far as the scheme and what you have to do but for me the biggest problem in college was that, my problem was that it wasn’t football all of the time.”
Gillmore and New York Giants offensive lineman Weston Richburg were teammates at Bushland and are the first two players to go to the NFL from their high school. They were teammates at Colorado State University as well. Both were at the Senior Bowl. Gillmore was a late addition as a replacement for the injured Aaron Colvin. He made a nice catch that really impressed me during 7 on 7 in his first practice. He also scored the first touchdown of the game.
The competitive side of Gillmore came out when I asked him how the Senior Bowl and the East West Shrine game helped him. He felt that he had something to prove and made it a goal to go out and do just that.
“Getting the chance to go play against the guys that you had to always hear about from the SEC, Pac 12 and how great they are made me come in with my bad attitude that I’ve always had. I was out to prove a whole lot. I wanted to get on that stage and perform. It did nothing but solidify the things that I had been saying all along as far as being able to block those guys and do things against them.” Gillmore said.
Gillmore is finally getting his chance to immerse himself in nothing but football. “The NFL really has been a huge joy for me. It’s everything that I expected and wanted it to be. Guys talk about it’s such a grind and that’s all we do all the time but this is all that I ever wanted to do. I understood that I had to get an education in school and everything, but for me, I wanted to be completely involved in football and make it a job.” Gillmore continued; “Yes, we’re here to have fun, but it’s not like college where you had to get on a guy for not doing his job or taking care of his business. The guys are here to work everyday and if not, they’re not going to be here. That’s something that I like about it.”
He was sure to mention how the Ravens all business mentality is perfect for him. Gillmore also cited how he prefers the blue collar mentality that head coach John Harbaugh has which pushes players to work as hard as they can.
“This situation that I am in from top to bottom going into the draft is exactly what I wanted. I didn’t want a team that was all show, glitz and glamour. This is a perfect organization from the owner to the head coach and the coaches under him. They come to work every single day, they talk about work everyday and everyday one way or the other, winning is mentioned.”
Another reason why the Ravens are a great situation for Gillmore is that he has two veteran players that happen to play his position. “Owen Daniels and Dennis Pitta help with the small details. There are always small things that you think you know or understand but they’ve been through it at this level. They understand the technique of a defensive player. They know to tilt your head a certain way on a route to not give away what you’re doing. They are very good about being on me to just be myself and play my game. I am trying to mirror them as much as I can but still maintain what I do.”
Now that he’s in the NFL, there will be plenty of opportunities for Gillmore to give back to the community. He plans on working with the youth. This is something that he did when he was in high school and at Colorado State. I am from a small town, it’s fun anytime I can get around kids because I am a big kid. We are going to have fun. We can simply sit down and have a conversation about the day or even play any sport. It doesn’t have to be football. I’ll be involved as much as I can whether that be here in Baltimore, Colorado or back in Texas. Wherever I am, I will always be involved in helping kids.
Crockett Gilmore is set to be a mainstay with the Ravens, especially in Gary Kubiak’s offense. He is a big bodied play that can move in space and is an effective blocker. Get ready to see #80 on the field a lot more going forward.
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