83 Degreez: Being a Veteran


What's up everybody? Thanks for checking back in. Things have been good for me. I'm just trying to take every day and live it to the fullest. It's tough to keep everyone else's problems away from you and not let them get you down.

I'm 31 years old. That makes me one of the old men of the locker room. It was a long time ago when I was the young head, and I think that gives me the opportunity to talk to the younger guys now about time management, how to take care of their money, and almost most importantly, how to make it. A lot of these guys are free agents, just like I was, so I try to teach them the ropes.

What helped me get my foot in the door was my work ethic, being on time, always coming to work ready to learn and treating every practice play like it's a game play. I know that's kind of crazy when you think about how hard we go every Sunday, but that's what you have to do, especially the practice squad guys.

They are all facing a mental battle, because right now, they've got the mental hurdle of being the lowest guy on the totem pole. When they were in college - when all of us were in college - they were "the man." Now, it's like they're a freshman in high school. Think about it, you've got guys in the locker room that are 10, 11 years older than the rookies. The most anyone had on you in college was four years. That's 10 years of knowledge about this game that you're at a disadvantage.

For me, I remember being in high school watching Deion [Sanders] play and being like, "Oh man, he's unbelievable." Fast forward, and I'm playing two years with the man. It's like having Ray Lewis or Steve McNair in here to some of these guys.

So now, we've got the chance to start a streak with a win. Last week was huge, because we were in a three-game losing streak. We started out hot, and everybody jumped on the bandwagon. And then, we drop three, and everyone is saying, "What's wrong with the Ravens?" We don't listen to that stuff, which is why were could come out and beat Miami like we did. What we have to do now is win the big games. We've got some really big ones coming up, and it continues this weekend.

One thing I love about a win, aside from the record, is the feeling in the locker room, on the flight home, around the facility until you start preparing for the next game. Everyone is smiling and the energy is so great. You come home, you feel better about yourself, you see things better. Food even tastes better!

My TV show has been a lot more fun when we win, too. It's been a great experience. After going to that Broadcast Boot Camp over the summer, I feel like I have a good base about how things are supposed to be done. It's different when you're just the one being interviewed. That's easy. When you have to host things, then it gets to be a little harder. It's been a blessing to have all my teammates come out and support me. I've had guys like Haloti Ngata on about every other week. He's been thugging it with me. Joe Flacco's been there, Le'Ron McClain and Yamon Figurs.

You might have seen me on another TV show. The "Who's Wedding Is It Anyway?" episode premiered this month, and that was crazy. I thought it was a good thing to do, because we'll be able to show our kids and grandkids that someday. The only thing I wish they would have done is given us a whole episode, not to be selfish and knock anybody else down. I feel like there was so much they missed following us around all week.

I wanted all people that we couldn't invite to the wedding to be able to experience that with us. They didn't show us saying our vows, or when my wife sang to me at the reception because they couldn't get the rights to the song. There was just a lot left out, but what can you do? I'm thankful we had the opportunity to be a part of it.

OK, so next week, we've got Halloween, and my son, Tristan, is coming in town for it. Bart Scott is throwing a big Halloween party for some of the players' kids, which is amazing. I've watched him go from a single man, to a father of two and a husband. That's crazy. He told me that he's going to have a big bouncy-thing and a ball pit, so the kids can play around. It's going to be great.

Now, Tristan has the black Spiderman suit for a costume. I know that's the evil Spiderman, so I'm like, "Why would my kid want to do that?" He just got out of the terrible twos and is getting a little mouth on him, so I guess it kind of works.

That's about it from me. I want to thank everyone, once again, for reading the 83 Degreez blog. It's a lot of fun to share my experiences and life with the fans, and I hope we can give you something to cheer about on Sunday. I'm just going to do the best I can in whatever situation I'm in, special teams, defense, whatever. I want to hear you at the stadium this weekend.

And don't forget to come out to the FOX show at the ESPN Zone in the Inner Harbor every Tuesday. We do it right out there. It's Ravens players, good football talk, good food and definitely a party. Come out and get your autograph and ask us questions. It's always a good time.

God bless,

  • D. Wilcox #83
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