LaAdrian Waddle is an American professional football player currently signed to the Buffalo Bills. An offensive tackle, Waddle grew up in Columbus, Texas. He then went on to play for Texas Tech where he helped the Red Raiders win the Car Care Bowl in his final year for them. After going undrafted, Waddle signed with the Detroit Lions. The Texas native went on to start in the second half of his rookie season for the Lions. Since the Waddle has played for the Patriots, where he was a member of the squad who produced the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history. Waddle also won Super Bowl 53 with the Patriots. Now on the Bills, Waddle hasn't seen action yet due to an injury sustained before the start of this past season.
The LaAdrian Waddle Interview
1. Growing up in Texas, what was Texas high school football like?
In Texas, high school football is what brings towns alive Friday night. There's a ton of energy around the team and usually a strong sense of pride and support to back me up. It really is a great way to bring together different folks from the same community.
2. Coming out of high school, you originally committed to the University of Houston. What made you change your decision and go to Texas Tech?
I never committed to Houston. This is a good lesson for you. You can't believe everything you read on the internet! I really liked UH and the staff they had at the time but I felt that going to Texas Tech would challenge me more and give me a shot to play big 12 football.
3. You weren’t under Texas Tech’s radar until you were ‘accidentally’ scouted. Describe your story on how you were found by Texas Tech.
Lol idk about accidentally scounted but I do remember my former OL coach saying how difficult it was to get to my hometown of Columbus TX. It's off the beaten path and somewhat difficult to get to for recruiters.
4. In your freshman season at Texas Tech, you had to guard Von Miller in your debut. What did playing against such a dominant force like Miller teach you as a player?
It was definitely an experience to learn from. The guy led the NCAA in sacks that year I believe and facing a player of that caliber really prepared for what lay ahead in seasons after that. I had some growing pains as expected but I always believed that playing the best brings out the best in you.
5. In your sophomore season at Texas Tech, you were named both All Big 12 honorable mention and Academic All Big 12 second team. What do these individual honors mean to you?
I was ok with these but nowhere near satisfied. I wanted to be national champs, 1st team all American, 1st team big 12, 1st team academic, all that stuff. That's just the way I'm wired. I want to continue to improve myself.
6. On the field, how was your collegiate career with the Red Raiders?
We did not win as many football games at Texas Tech that I wanted to but I enjoyed playing with my brothers and the relationships I made while there.
7. What’s your most memorable college football experience?
I think my last college game was the most memorable. We played Minnesota in the Meineke Car Care Bowl down in Houston. It was an extremely close game that went down to the wire but we found a way to win. It was nice to go out a winner.
8. How were you feeling after being picked up by the Detroit Lions after going undrafted in 2013?
The best part about not being drafted is choosing which team to go to. Detroit was a good fit for me and I liked my chances of making the team so off I went up to Michigan and that's where I started my NFL career
9. In your rookie season, you became a starter by week right. Describe your rookie season and what it taught you as both a player and person.
My rookie season was very interesting. My 1st goal was to make the team. I worked my butt off and had a good preseason. Made the initial 53 man roster out of training camp. The first half of the season I didn't play much, primarily special teams. I ended up getting the opportunity to play after a few guys got injured and I tried to make the most of the opportunity. It really taught me to stay patient, stay the course, and to be ready for your opportunity because you don't know when it's going to come and if you'll get another one.
10. What was the toughest part of the transition from college to NFL?
The level of competition went up. Guys were bigger, stronger, faster, and way more technically sound. And it's like that every single week so you gotta bring your A game every time you suit up.
11. The following season, you had a season ending knee injury before the season even started. What were you thinking as you went down with the injury?
FALSE. I tore my ACL in December that year. I suffered a bunch of injuries that season but none ended my season until then. It hurt like hell.
12. What’s your biggest advice for athletes who get injured and have trouble finding motivation throughout that rough time?
Stay the course and remember the goal you're working towards. It sucks but there's a great sense of accomplishment when you return from a serious injury. It's very fulfilling.
13. After two and a half years in Detroit, you were cut by the team. How were you feeling as you were informed you were cut?
No one likes to get fired or told they aren't wanted. Especially on their day off. It was a tough 12 hours. Like the world had ended.
14. A day after being cut by the Lions, the Patriots claimed you off of waivers. How was the move from Detroit to New England?
I just packed a couple big bags, hopped on a plane, and off I went. Went to work, lived in a hotel for the rest of that year. My wife would come and visit. We decorated the hotel room for Christmas. Very unique experience. I got an apartment when I resigned the following year
15. What did you learn while playing for such a winning organization in the New England Patriots?
I learned how to win. I learned how to challenge myself daily. I learned that I can overcome anything with mental toughness. I learned that a bunch of different colored people from all over the world can band together and accomplish great things. I learned that I can do anything.
photo via https://www.instagram.com/laadrianwaddle
Big thanks to LaAdrian for the interview! Best of luck next season!
THE SPORTS COURT - BY CHRIS DAILEY