Randy Fuller played cornerback in the NFL for six seasons, playing for the Steelers, Broncos, Falcons and Seahawks and is best known for breaking up the Hail Mary pass from Jim Harbaugh (currently the 49ers head coach) in the AFC Championship Game to send the Steelers to their fifth Super Bowl in 1995.
PPI: When did you first know you wanted to play in the NFL?
Randy: The first time I wanted to play in the NFL I was 9 years old and watching Super Bowl XIII. The Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Dallas Cowboys 35 – 31. At that point I became a die-hard Steelers fan.
PPI: Tell us about your road to the NFL?
Randy: I chose to attend a smaller school, Tennessee State University, rather than a larger college. TSU had a rich athletic tradition of producing pro football players. In that light, I became a four year starter at defensive back earning All-Conference as well as All-American honors. After playing in two All-Star games, the Blue-Gray and Senior Bowls, I was the second pick by the Denver Broncos in the 1994 NFL draft.
PPI: What were the greatest obstacles you faced in achieving your dreams?
Randy: Losing my mother during my junior year in high school was definitely my greatest obstacle.
PPI: Who has influenced your football career the most?
Randy: Under the guidance of Coach Joe Gilliam Sr., I was shaped as a football player, and taught the application of discipline and reward of good conduct off the field.
The first time I met an NFL player I admired was in the off season in the locker room of the Pittsburgh Steelers. It was my third year in the NFL and I had just finished training, walked into the locker room and there stood Hall of Famer, defensive back, Mel Blount. With the expression of the 9 year old little boy that became enamored with the NFL so many year prior, all I could say was “you know you are my favorite player, right”.
PPI: Did any player serve as a mentor when you joined the league?
Randy: When I joined the league the veterans were very welcoming. Of the crew, Steve Atwater and Ray Crockett took me under their wings.
PPI: Did you mentor a player then or now?
Randy: I mentored younger players that joined the league after me, similar to what I had experienced. Currently, I mentor two of my former players that are in the league at present. My wife, Gussie, and I together mentor college and high school athletes individually and as couples.
PPI: How has the game of football changed since you left?
Randy: The rules of the game have become more stringent with emphasis on player safety being more prevalent than ever.
PPI: Who are some current NFL players that you enjoy watching?
Randy: On offense: Maurice Jones Drew, running back for the Jaguars. On defense: Troy Polamalu, strong safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
PPI: Do you keep in touch with any of your former college or NFL teammates, if so, who are they?
Randy: I developed lifelong friendships with both college and NFL teammates. I stay connected with former college roommate and NFL veterans, Brent Alexander, Roger Jones, Cedric Davis, Kordell Stewart, Keith Burns, Willie Williams, and Gary Downs to name a few.
PPI: What is your best advice for players just starting their careers?
Randy: Enjoy the game, invest your money wisely, stay abreast of your investments, continue to develop your professional portfolio off the field, and build a strong and diverse professional network.
PPI: How has your life and family changed post football?
Randy: Post football my family numbers have doubled. Whereby there were just us while I was playing, we now have a 9 year old son, Ellington and 5 year old daughter, Eden Haylee.
PPI: How did you prepare to transition to life after football?
Randy: I made sure I graduated with my college degree before entering the NFL. Realizing there is more life to live than football to play, I made sure I had adequate education accompanied by a solid spiritual foundation to continue building a life for the rest of my life.
PPI: Are you involved in any community or charity activities? If so, which ones and why are they important to you?
Randy: It is a distinguished honor to serve on the executive board of Real Sports Leadership Academy. This non-profit organization focuses on the academic development of high school athletes off the field. As I remember the struggle to manage athletic demands and academics, Real Sports does a great service to players and their families by equipping them with pertinent skills for success as an outstanding student and athlete.
PPI: What business projects have you been involved in?
Randy: I am currently in the business of sports consulting and launching my own sports consulting company.
PPI: What sports do your kids play?
Our son, Ellington is an avid soccer player and Eden is big on tumbling and ballet.
Contact Info: Twitter: @TheFullerFocus Facebook: The Fuller Focus