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December 15, 2011 interviews

Interview: Ex-NFL Player Warrick Dunn Talks Adversity, Friendship With Derrick Brooks, Atlanta Falcons, And Giving Back

Warrick Dunn

Tam-Star: As someone who has been considered small by NFL standards can you offer our readers a few tips about standing tall and really overcoming challenges that they may face.

Warrick: It’s about sacrifice. It’s about believing in yourself and having realistic goals. You have to have goals that are realistic, but you have to believe in yourself and make sacrifices. Because I wasn’t the biggest guy I sacrificed hanging out. I mean I trained, I was doing it not just two days, but three days in the summertime in Louisiana trying to make sure my body was in the best physical shape to play the game of football. I was gonna show whoever it was that I was the best player on that field. I challenged myself to always be the best. It took hard work and a lot of sacrifice.

Sometimes people think things come easy and they don’t. You have to work for them and you have to earn people’s respect. I think over the years because I’ve worked so hard I’ve actually earned individuals’ respect with not just the way I played the game, but also how I carried myself.

Tam-Star: You spent an equal amount of time playing for Tampa as well as the Falcons. I know that you are a minority owner for the Atlanta Falcons, but truthfully I want to know if you were elected into the Hall of Fame would you go in as a Buc or as a Falcon?

Warrick: Truthfully I would go in as an Atlanta Falcon. Even though I started my career in Tampa the best years of my football life were in Atlanta. I grew, I matured, the city embraced me, and yeah, I was embraced in Tampa, but you know, my life changed a lot and I was a better football player when I was in Atlanta.

Tam-Star: Speaking of the Falcons, what are some of your challenges being a minority owner?

Warrick: One of the reasons that I went back to school to get my MBA was because I wanted people to respect me as a businessman not as an ex NFL player. When I first started going to the owner’s meetings and sitting in the rooms with all these guys who earn so much money, I think they respected me as a football player, not as a businessman. So, I wanted to go back to school and learn business terms, pick up my knowledge of business and learn business acumen so that I can be a better overall person. I don’t play football anymore so I’m onto the next phase of my life. For me the challenge is respect. I want to be respected.

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