Sheldon Brown is one the NFL’s premier defensive backs. He graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2002 and was a two-time All-SEC award winner in football. Brown also played baseball for South Carolina during his senior year. He was a 2002 second round pick by the Philadelphia Eagles and now plays for the Cleveland Browns. Sheldon is known as one of the hardest hitters in the NFL as witnessed by this now famous hit on Reggie Bush…
I share the same home lake with Sheldon and was able to catch up with him recently. He and his family like to shred and ski. Here is what he is up to.
WW: What's the most ridiculous interview question you've ever been asked? SB: A reporter once asked me, “What do you think your chances are of winning this week?” Same as they are every week. We all get dressed the same way to go out and compete.
WW: Is it weird being interviewed about your wakeboarding and not your abilities as a football player? SB: I don't think it’s weird being asked about boarding. Most people have seen me play football throughout my career, but find it more interesting that I take interest in boarding.
WW: Which of your other NFL buddies wakeboard, and do you ever ride with them? Could you take them in a wakeboard contest? SB: I've been trying to get guys to come down and board for years. I think Usama Young and Mohamed Massaquoi will come down and ride this offseason. I think I could hold my own against another NFL athlete boarding.
WW: How do you like playing for a team that has the same name as your last name? SB: Playing for a team with the same last name is cool. It was just meant to be I guess.
WW: How long have you played NFL? SB: This is my eleventh season.
WW: How long have you been wakeboarding? SB: About five years.
WW: How did you get into wakeboarding? SB: Five years ago all we had was a Sea Doo jet boat because I didn't want to chop anyone up. Dave Della, my good buddy, strapped into a wakeboard at Dick's and started hopping around, so we bought a board that was the same color as the boat. It took me two full summers to get up. When I finally got up, I had to leave for training camp the next day. Then I couldn't ride for another eight months.
WW: In 2008 you had one of your best seasons in the NFL. What was your training secret? SB: Mostly just slalom skiing or wakeboarding. That's all I do in the off-season and that keeps me in better shape than going to the gym. I go out with a group of people, ski twice a day. Wakeboarding keeps my core strong. I had lower back issues from heavy squats, so I don't do any of that anymore. Now I just wakeboard or ski.
WW: What boat do you ride behind? SB: I have a 2011 Nautique 230. Before that had a 210. When I bought the boat it came with a free wakeboard lesson. That's where I met Gage Thompson, my wakeboard coach. Now he's part of our family.
WW: What board are you on? SB: I just started riding the Jobe Austin Series.
WW: What did you think of the board? SB: Definitely enjoyed the ride on the board. I felt more control edging through the wake, better pop and I felt very stable when landing. Board feels very light and easy to control.
WW: What's your favorite part about riding? SB: The challenge of trying to do something different and being free. I love all sports. I've met a lot of cool people doing this. Plus, there's no better way for a kid to grow up.
WW: What's your favorite trick? SB: Whatever instructor Gage is trying to teach me. One time I was riding in a brand new vest and he has trying to teach me tantrums. I fell so hard that I broke the vest, ripped open the zipper and the straps!
WW: How long has your son, Dion, been riding? SB: He got a board when he was four and got up when he was five, but we had him on trainer skis when he was three.
WW: Where would you like to see your son go with wakeboarding? SB: I just want to give him options to explore anything he wants to do. I'll never push him to do anything. He could be a truck driver for all I care. I just want him to know that he has the option to do whatever he wants. As soon as he learns how to be quiet, I'll take him on the course. If he wants to be a wakeboarder, that's great. I think the people he'll meet and the experiences he'll have along the way in the wakeboarding community will be great for him.