1. How did the beard start?
"I saw a picture of my dad with a beard when he was like 22 fishing in Mexico. I said, 'I need to try to grow one. And if I can, I've got to beat it.'" So have you beaten it? "Of course! My beard is legendary. His was much more bushy and full. It was a good-looking beard. Mine is unique. Mine's a beast – very beautiful."
2. Your post-game ice cream celebrations have become a thing. Have you always had a big sweet tooth?
"Yes, always loved sweets, especially ice cream. I'm not really into chocolates, unless it's white chocolate or some candies. But I remember as a kid, whenever we were driving past an ice cream shop, we were always stopping."
3. You were a California kid, but moved your family out here. So East Coast vs. West Coast?
"There is no comparison. But I don't need to get into all that." Did you surf? "Yeah, I grew up surfing. My dad grew up surfing and was really good back in the day. I got my first surfboard when I was 10 or 11 for Christmas from Santa. Short board, it was about 6-foot-9. The beach was what we did. Our family trips, we would take our fifth-wheel down to Mexico and camp right there on the beach. We would surf, fish, ride horses, golf – all that stuff."
4. If you could give advice to Eric Weddle when he was a rookie, what would you say?
"I would say to enjoy it a little more. You're a young guy, trying to prove yourself and earn the respect of your teammates and earn your job. Just enjoy it. This game is fun and you play your best when you're having fun. And who cares what people say or think about you. I took that on a few years after I started. Not everyone is going to like you. People are going to say you suck and want you replaced every year. It really doesn't matter. Why waste time on what people think about you that don't know you, care about you or love you? Ever since I've taken that approach, it's worked wonders for me."
5. What's the most difficult part of football?
"At this point, there's really not much. Maybe just dealing with the pain that you get. There's not a day that this brings that I don't enjoy it. Early in my career, it was dealing with losses or not playing well. Now I'm at the point where I have too much other stuff to worry about. I prepare, I give it everything I have and leave it out there on Sundays. You want to win every time you go out there, but it doesn't affect who I am as it did when I was younger. But the daily grind, the practice, working, I still love it. There's not much that I don't like about what I do. I'm living the dream."
6. What's the best part?
"There's nothing like Sundays, right? Coming out of that tunnel, the adrenaline. All the preparation, everything that is involved during the week with the coaches, with yourself, film, rehab, working out, practices. Everything accumulates to that three-hour block when you're playing. When you break it down, it's really like five minutes of playing. It's 50 snaps of six seconds. That's not very much. When you step back and think about that being what your Sundays are about, it's even more imperative to make those times meaningful."
7. How did you become a leader?
"I think there are different types of leaders. I think the way you are as a man and how you present yourself … how you work, how you act, how you treat people gains validity on being a leader. I can say a bunch of things, but if I don't back it up and people don't trust me, then what I say or how I act is irrelevant. I think I grew up with great parents who taught me great values, respecting everyone I come in contact with and working hard for everything I want. It's who I am. I'm comfortable in my own skin. And I know at the end of the day, the best interests are what's best for the team. It's not about myself. I know nobody is going to outwork me, so that's what sets me apart."
8. Is there one play or one game that stands out from the rest?
"Hopefully it's this season in the Super Bowl, making a pick for the game-winning play. Or watching Joe take a knee; I would love that just as much. There have been memorable plays I've had, but I'll leave that for the future. When my career's done, I'll come back to that question."
9. What's Eric Weddle the dad like?
"I'm a fun-loving, easy-going dad. My wife, Chanel, just hates when I get up and do random stuff. She's the planner, I'm not. I just wing it and have a good time. I play with the kids, wrestle with them. I've learned over the years that my girls especially just need one-on-one time with dad, so I take them on dates. This is a funny story. My wife went to all four kids the other Sunday morning and said it looked like it was going to be another rainy game [versus the Broncos]. So she asked, 'OK, who wants to come to the game and who wants to stay?' Out of all four, who do you think would go to the game? Gaige was giving a bunch of excuses. Brooklyn was like, 'I don't want to go whether it's raining or not.' That's my oldest. Kamri was like, 'Whatever.' Silver was like, 'I'm going to watch Dad no matter what! I'll sit in the rain.' So guess who gets rewarded with a date with dad. We're going to go to the mall, do a little shopping, and then take her to the new movie, just she and I. Hey, there are rewards for a little loyalty to dad.
"I'm the hard one on all of them. I have to remember – and Chanel helps me with this – I don't get a lot of time with them during the season, so there are times where I get home and they're not listening to Chanel or giving her a run for the money and I have to come in and put the hammer down. You only get one chance as a dad, one chance to teach your kids the right way. I take that very seriously. Sometimes I do it too much, or I don't let some things go. Chanel helps me with that. But I'm usually the hard one."
10. Who would you consider to be your closest friend from another team?
"Obviously, Phil [Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers] comes to mind, but we don't talk as much as we obviously were when we were teammates. Honestly, as talking and texting … I talk and text to guys a lot throughout the weeks or months … but as bad as it sounds, me and Ben [Roethlisberger] literally talk every couple of days. He's just a genuine friend that I've grown closer to over the years. He'll always text me before the game, 'Good luck and be safe.' Throughout the week, we'll talk about the previous games. We just have a really cool relationship. It's never intruding or looking at things in a biased way. We just talk about things with a football eye."