10 Questions With Willie Snead IV

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1. What’s the toughest part of being an NFL wide receiver?

“That we have to run every single play full speed. You’re always running. Running backs, you make cuts, but you’re only working so far. I think that’s the hardest part. You’re running all the time. It’s a track meet every day. If you’re not in shape, you won’t make it.”

2. It’s funny you say that because I remember Marlon Humphrey talking about the thing that makes Antonio Brown special is his endurance and that surprised me. So you guys get tired?

“If you’re not in shape, you’re going to get covered or locked up. That’s why A.B. is great. He’s always running, working out. It keeps your body in shape for 16 weeks.”

3. What’s your favorite route to run?

“My favorite route is the choice route. If it wasn’t that, it would probably be a post-corner. A choice route gives you an option. You play off what the defender gives you and you can’t be wrong. A post corner, you get them thinking you’re going inside, you look, he looks, then you take it out the other way. Those are probably the best routes in football. You can’t be wrong because you’re playing off the defender’s leverage. It depends on how good you are at running those routes. He can’t be right, basically.”

4. I feel like every wide receiver has to talk a little trash at least. How much do you talk?

“Some guys do, some guys don’t. I’m more of an antagonizing guy. I like to get on peoples’ nerves, get them talking and get them to waste their breath and energy while I’m just laughing or something. The best is to get a first down and strike a pose. Some guys hate that stuff. When I was in New Orleans, Roman Harper hated it. He would slap your arm down or something and get all in your face. People will be like, ‘You’re sorry, man! You’re sorry.’ I’m like, ‘No, you’re sorry. First down!’”

5. What wide receivers did you grow up idolizing?

“Reggie Wayne. Ochocinco. I loved Anquan Boldin. Hines Ward. I liked Reggie because he wasn’t fast at all but he would get open because he’s a great route-runner. I really try to build my game around him and Anquan because he was so physical going over the middle. And Steve Smith’s attitude. He had that same fire, that same edge, 14 or 15 years in.”

6. How much do questions about your speed fuel you?

“Only reason why people don’t think I’m fast is because I always run short and intermediate routes. Since I’ve been here, I’ve been able to run post routes, go routes. With more practice, you get better at it. I’m getting better at running down the field and opening up. It doesn’t tick me off. It motivates me to get better. Next offseason when I’m healthy, I’m going to get back on the track and start running. When I come back next year, I’ll be a lot faster. I’ll open up my stride. That’s when you’ll see I can play outside and inside. I think I can take my game to the next level. A lot of people try to put notes on me like he’s this, this or this. Nah, I can do a lot of things.”

7. What do you say to kids who want to be an NFL wide receiver?

“You have to work hard and be very disciplined. When I say disciplined, you have to work out all the time, eat the right things, be a student of the game. You always have to treat your parents or your elders right, respect those people trying to help you. I think all of things go into going where you want to go. And you have to be able to overcome adversity. Whether it’s in high school or college, and injury or you get demoted or cut, you always have to find the motivation to come back and get better from it.”

8. f you weren’t playing football, what would your profession be?

“I majored in sports administration, so I would work in sports somewhere. My dad was a coach, so I do have a passion for coaching. It’s starting to grow on me more and more as I get older. Yeah, I’d be a coach. I don’t know at what level, but I would love the opportunity to call plays and make kids better in life and football.”

9. Do you think when your career is over, you’ll look back on playing with Drew Brees as really special? And how much pride do you take in his all-time records?

“I always think about it when I’m studying or watching tape about how great he was. Having the opportunity to learn from him and catch passes and touchdowns, grow as a player, it was an amazing opportunity. I think everything I learned from him and Coach [Sean] Payton, I’ll take it with me and use it later down the road when I’m coaching. The discipline that Drew had made him so great. That’s why I remind myself that Drew is one of the best and that I can continue to get better. Not many people get to play with a Hall of Famer, so it’s an awesome feeling.”

10. What’s a weird hobby you have?

“It’s not weird, but I like to fish a lot. I’m a very isolated person. I enjoy my quiet time. I get on the boat in Florida, just be out there for hours in the morning with my uncle or dad or something. We just enjoy the environment. That’s what I look forward to doing because everything is quiet, away from the city and away from football. It’s time when you can really reconnect with yourself.”

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