A lot of the questions I get in my email are about the day-to-day routines of the players during the week before a game. I generally answer as best as I can, but there are plenty of things that I don’t get to see. So I asked Antwaan Randle El if he’d let me follow him through a week — not to intrude on his home life or anything like that, particularly, but to get a sense of how he prepares and what he does all week.
He’s also agreed to answer some questions from readers, so if you have questions for Antwaan Randle El, email them to me and I’ll do my best to get them answered. (I reserve the right to ask or not ask questions at my discretion.)
I started by catching up with him Monday afternoon to find out what he had done after the game and during the start of the week.
Okay. I know I said this wasn’t specifically about Sunday’s game, but I do have two quick questions about that. First of all, what was up with you hurdling Moss?
Yeah, I don’t know what that was about. I was excited, I just ran up on him and started jumping.
So it wasn’t planned?
All right. What happened on the fumbled punt return?
I tried to split defenders, split ’em sideways. I got the ball out a little bit, he got his helmet on it, and there it went.
(At this point, David Elfin of the Washington Times had approached, and he asked a follow-up question about Randle El’s recent punt returns, and how they haven’t been as impressive as they were during his first year here.)
Last year I was dinged up a bunch with the hammies, with some knees, things like that. This year, I was planning to have a much better year. It wasn’t a great start, with that fumble, but….
(Elfin asked another question — it’s tough to hear on my tape — mentioning that Zorn had talked about the possibility of Santana Moss returning some punts.)
Maybe Santana will get back there a couple of times — I don’t have a probably with that. We’ll do some of that stuff, we’ll treat it as a one-two punch or whatever. But that’s something we’re going to work at, and like I told you, the punt return is going to be much better this year than it has been in the last year or so.
Back on track, then — take me through what you did after the game ended on Sunday.
Sat down in the tent a little bit, got something to eat, took some family to the airport, and then went home and just hung out with my children. Sometimes me and the wife, if she doesn’t bring the kids, we’ll go out after a one o’clock, get something to eat, but mostly that’s it.
After that game, you know, I’m worn out, she knows I’m worn out, I’ll go home and hang around with my kids a little bit. We play a few different games or whatever, and by the time I’m finished with that after the long ride from Maryland, I’m ready to hit a bath get to bed, get ready for the next day.
Is your routine different after a win than after a loss?
In terms of home? No. I don’t take it home – you CAN’T take it home. You know, win or lose, I don’t sleep too well after games because I’m still kinda revved up — especially after the one yesterday – I get that with wins or losses.
I get home and it is what it is. My wife understands, and if I’m tired, she’ll give me my peace or my rest – or she feels like she wants some attention, she’s gonna come bother me. That’s just the way it is.
I don’t take it home – I just can’t. I think it affects family if you do that.
Do you watch the late game, though?
Yeah, cause I’m up, you know? Pittsburgh played last night, I watched some of that. Saw Willie [Parker] get out a couple of times, saw Hines [Ward] catch a touchdown, and I started flipping channels and then me and my wife enjoyed a movie together down in the theater. So we enjoyed that.
But when I go home, it’s family. If I do watch football at home, you know, if we’re going to be playing the team – we’re playing Cleveland AND Pittsburgh later – I do try to pay attention to what they’re doing.
Monday after gameday, what happens?
Well, Sunday was a HOT game. So you try to hydrate, and I’ve gotta get into the cold tub to try to get some of the soreness out before Wednesday. I try to get my lift in, also. This Monday we also had Life Skills.
And what’s that, exactly?
Life skills is about life, and the things that happen in life. If you’re married, how to deal with your marriage. For guys who like to go out to the clubs late, how do you go out to the clubs late and protect yourself? Do you take somebody with you? Do you have a bodyguard? If you take somebody with you, they have to understand that if something goes down, we’ve gotta get out. They have to understand that, if you’re going with me, people are going to test you to get to me. So that’s the kind of thing they talk about.
They talked about other life things, like, having a baby mama, for instance, and how to deal with that. You hate for it to happen, but it DOES happen, and you’ve gotta deal with situations like that.
Other things … drinking and driving, you’ve gotta just leave that stuff alone. Stuff like that.
How often does this happen? I mean, I knew there was stuff like this for the rookies, but–
For rookies, they get like eight or nine weeks. We, as veterans, only have one.
Okay, that makes more sense. I mean, I don’t pretend to know you all that well, but it seems like this doesn’t necessarily apply to you, your current life situation…
Right, and there are other guys like that. But it is what it is. You’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta sit through it, and what winds up happening is, you can encourage younger guys, rookies and stuff like that.
After that, we’ve got time to get some lunch, we meet with Z – he gives us a breakdown of what happened in the game, some insight. Then Sherm [Smith] gives an understanding of how these things happened and stuff like that, and then we break down to position coaches to go over the plays in detail.
Then we’ve got conditioning – and it’s hard to condition after a game because you’re so sore. You don’t really want to do too much running … I was trying to run, but I didn’t have much left in my legs. You get that back through icing and stretching and stuff like that today and tomorrow.
Tuesday is the off-day. What will you be doing then?
I won’t be in, because I got my lift and stuff done today… well, I’m not gonna say I won’t be in. Cause it depends on how I feel in the morning. If I’ve got some soreness and stuff, I’m still gonna want to come in tomorrow, get some treatment on the body, ice and stuff like that. Try to get going.
But if I don’t come in, I’m gonna run a couple of errands – I’ve always got a Honey Do list from my wife. I know one of my babies has to go to the doctor tomorrow for a checkup. Stuff like that.