Average to Savage
Average to Savage

Episode · 4 months ago

Freddie Stevenson | Average To Savage EP131


This is the one hundred and thirty-first episode of the Average to Savage podcast featuring former NFL/AAF player Freddie Stevenson. Paul Guarino talked with Freddie Stevenson discussing winning a National Championship at Florida State, his life after football as a motivational speaker, and his new book Trials To Triumph.

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This podcast interview with Freddie Stevenson was originally recorded on July 29, 2021

This is the Average to Savage podcastwith paul Guerrino. Everyone in anyone athletes celebs andmuch more. Today's episode is brought to you by busr dot com. You know, everyone always asks me where they should bet and now Igot a solution for them. The U. S. R. Dot com slash paul. You deposit $100they'll match your $100 in free bets. So you basically get $200. Go check itout. Be usr dot com slash paul. What's up everybody? I'm back for anotherepisode of the Average Savage podcast today. Our special guest is FreddieStevenson Freddie. How's it going? It's good, it's good. I'm just beat thisrain over here in florida is crazy right now but I appreciate you havingme on. I appreciate you coming on. Uh let's just go back in time and startout with your football career. Like what was your first memory of playingfootball? I remember my first memory well the one that's most prominent iswhen I played flag, my parents got me into flag early on and I remember theyhad me at quarterback, I couldn't throw but every player QB sneak. And Iremember this, they started the touchdown rule on me man, I had likethree touchdowns and we're playing a team and the coaches ran over theirtime. Coaches like man, don't give him the ball no more. Don't give him theball no more. If you give him the ball again, I'm gonna whoop you. Like hereally he really pumped by coaches and I'm like, man, there's no way they aregoing to listen to these coaches. But really the rest of the game, I'mhanding the ball off, throwing the ball and that was that's when it got hot. Iwas like, man, I may have a chance to be good in this. Yeah, that's crazy. UmSo how how old are you then? And is was that like the moment that you knew youwere like good already? I was I was five, I was a flag and yeah, man, Iknew a little bit when I was younger because guys were every time we go tothe park, all the guys are picking me on the team and stuff, but then it waslike, man, this team really stop me from doing this. I played, I was fromthe inner city and I remember my pop's getting out of prison and we we movedto the middle class area and we didn't really have the money to be able toafford playing in the league, but they paid for me to come play for the teamand I'm a kid from the inner city and I'm around all these kids that are kindof like privilege and stuff. So it's like, man, get Freddie the balls andget out of the way. So I'm on the team for the guys that if a fight broke out,they want to help me somewhere, man. This is crazy. So to see the coach getpunked. It was crazy to Yeah. Yeah. It's funny like every like, athletethat I interview, I feel like there's like a moment like even like they knowlike it's like, you know, it like kind of when you're young, like that youngthat you're like better than the rest, obviously you're elite athlete. So yeah,like during like high school and things like that, like what was yourrecruiting process? Like, Man? It was people think because I came out of highschool, my senior year, one of the top 250 players in the country, but peoplethinking I was just hot in my whole entire career. I literally got allthose offers in the span of a few months, My 11th grade year, nobody wasoffering me. And I remember breaking my leg and the doctors were telling methat my career was over. Like I may never play again. I broke my, broke myfield, the little broke my ankle, lost all the cartilage in my ankle and brokea few bones in my foot. So teams, a lot of teams were scared off by my injury.But I remember being bad bound for like four months and the team took a chanceon me. You mashed and once they offered everybody else came pouring in. So youfast forward. My highlight tape gets out and it seems like every week I'mgetting two or three offers, come back to school. You got Georgia florida. Allthese guys at the school fighting on me. It was crazy. Yeah. That's awesome. Uhwhat what was like your final three, My final three I say fs shoe texas andthem and I just said a final two because really I wasn't going to go toflorida state. I wanted to go to texas and then they just moved to the sec.And I do, I have an opportunity to go...

...out and make a splash. They neededsomething. They needed some florida talent to make a difference in the sec.And there were a lot of guys that recruited me that were on me when I wasa freshman, but they weren't really like on me hard. And I remember like myninth grade year I moved up, I was on J. B. And I moved a diversity for like twogames. I made five tackles in the game when they moved into the game, fivetitles and five plays. And the coach that was at texas A and M. Was at us atthat time. He was like, man, we're coming back for this kid in four yearsand it's crazy. He was at texas A. And M. And he was, he was really like, heremembered me from that time and they were hard on me, but I was gonna go toA. And M. And my mom, I was underage. She wasn't going to sign the paperwork.So that's ultimately what led me to florida state. I wasn't going to lookat any school in florida. Yeah. That's crazy. Um Yeah. And then like I readlike some of your story and things like that, like what what helped you likepushed through like, um things like homelessness and poverty and thingslike that. I think the biggest thing was just watching, watching how my momhandled everything. Being homeless and bouncing around from place to place,not knowing what we would eat that night. But my mom, she never let ushear sweet, she always had a smile on her face. I mean we did have asituation where we're at a Mcdonald's and we had to split a cheeseburgerbetween 55 kids and she broke down that day because we tried to share with herand she sacrificed and she only had a dollar to her name. But that was thefirst time we've seen a breakdown. But ultimately just seeing everything thatshe fought through other man, I can't let moms down and I remember making apromise to her that I was gonna make it to the league and just seeing her driveand the energy she always brought even at the darkest times in our lives. Shealways stayed positive. So that's really what drove. Yeah. Yeah, for sure.And then you just going to F. S. U. Uh what was your experience like there andthen like how is it to be on the big stage man? It was crazy like everybodywants to go to a prominent university like that and you you get delivered iscrazy. Then the first year you come in you win the national championshipflorida state, telling has you hear about the party life but to go thereexperienced that and then win a championship in my in my high schooldays we never made the playoffs. So it was huge. It was huge for me. Yeah, for sure For those that don'tknow you were the full back on the team. Um So yeah, what was it like just towin a national champion? Obviously it's super rare to, to win it, especially infootball. It's really like when you hear people say that they have to pitch themselves thatit hasn't hit him yet. Like it's literally like, man, I didn't realizethat what happened until we had the parade. We're just like, it felt goodin the moment. It felt good at the moment. I'm not gonna lie because weknew the whole world was against us, going against the sec, but like a fewdays after, it's like, man, it doesn't feel real. And I think that's howeverybody feels at the championship outside of that moment when you'rewinning or did you play with, you played with Carlos Williams, right?Yeah. I play with Carlos Williams or Yeah, I know. Yeah, I know him for froma while back, that's my guy with me and Carlos. We were both from the same area.We had a lot of lot of crazy battles and not only in high school but popWarner. So Carlos is team that they're the team that when I told you about thetouchdown room, that was his team. So you want to, you want to hear crazy.That's a crazy story. So the rest like remember we, we beat them the firstgame and then we played them again in the playoffs and they completely shutme down. We had to go with other options. But yeah, his team was knownas being one of the best teams in our league, but everybody in the area areaknows that they cheat, they cheat and Carlos has one of the teams in the area.Like they're in the area like crazy in...

...the city. Like a lot a lot a lot ofcrime and stuff. So it would be games like when our upper division like Imeasured JV varsity teams in the league, they're getting into brawls. The fansare coming into the stands. That's how the team Carlos played for that. Theygot down. What about you? What's that like to just like grew up with withkids like that and then you guys all are like you're on the same teams andthings like that. It was crazy man. And we came in and he remembered all thosebattles. But it was always love. Like when I when I met Carlos, everybodyknew Carlos was gonna be one of those guys to go to the legal. I remember inhigh school he was the guy everybody watched. They had their eyes on allover the field. But when I went into florida state, he took me on his wing.He um show me love and guys like that playing with guys. You played againstyour whole life. It brings you it brings you it makes you feel likeyou're at home when you go to a university like that when you don'ttruly know anybody. Yeah. Yeah definitely. I think it was it was itwas 2,015 year season uh senior year. Yeah 20 2016, it was 2016, You DalvinKick Cook broke the record for the single season. You're his fullback.Like what is that what that means to you man? That's that's my guy. It feltgood because when you being a part of something special but being a part ofsomething special with somebody that has Davis character, a lot of peopledon't notice about Dalvin. He's a person like with everything that hedoes, you see a lot of a lot of star players when they get hot, like feed mefeed me he wants, he wants to be fair when he is how he wants the ball. Butthat was one of those unique players that he loves the sea. His teammatesget opportunities as well. He's coming to the coach like coach, get this guyinvolved, get this guy some opportunities. And remember my senioryear I had like four or five touchdowns and that's all because of doubt. He'slike coach, we gotta get afraid of the Baltimore. He does he did that with somany players on the team. So that's why I felt so special just being a part ofit with somebody like that. Yeah, that's dope. Like I think like, youknow, a lot of like I'd say in the fan perspective like people forget aboutlike the old line, the fullback and like the fullback is like a lost, likeI say, art right now at this point, like what are your feelings on like thefullbacks, like an NFL right now it's tough because it's definitely phasingout. But then you got guys like Kyle, you shit um that that's doing bigthings and he's playing the position to be honest. How it hasn't been played ina while back in the day. You had those old school fullbacks just hit, you, hityou in the mouth, but you can do a lot lined up at tight end playing the Ibring the ball out of the backfield and the guy I think that's going to make asplash this year is actually a guy that played on to be a for the state. Ibelieve it's a freshman when I was coming in. Game neighbors for the san,Diego chargers and we've seen it coming in. He's a guy that can do a lot ofthings. Play wide out, play tight end play, h back, fullback can run the ball.So definitely be on the lookout for game neighbors for sure for sure. Andthen just going into your your pro career like after after your career atFS you like what what were your thoughts like going into like the draftor like going pro and things like that to be honest. I went into everythingexpecting expecting to be there like a lot of people, they're shell shockedlike I'm actually living my dream and sometimes you have to picture yourself.But man, I worked my whole entire life to get here. So I expected to beat herand that's that was my mindset going in. So it was just really going into theprocess. Just send levelheaded, stand focused and continuing to do whatever Idid to get me to that point. Yeah, definitely. So I know you wentundrafted but then you got to sign with the Bears. So what was that like tosign with the Bears? I had mixed emotions. I was mad that I didn't getdrafted, but at the same time I'm happy I'm in the league and a whole bunch ofteams telling me they're gonna take me anywhere from the fourth to the sixthround. So when my name wasn't called out during the draft, I was pissed. Butat the end and it all goes away when you hear that phone call, you livingyour dream. So I was like, man, it is what it is. Let's let's get to work.Yeah, definitely. And then you got to...

...play in the the A. F. Um What was yourexperience like there it was cool, but I'm not gonna lie to you. We went intothe F and we knew that lead was gonna fool it wasn't it wasn't that if it wasa win and I remember going out there and I remember playing with AspergerAsperger, I'm gonna know he's a game but spurs I'm not gonna lie. That's oneof the funniest coaches I've ever been around. He knows ball but funny likeyou're having fun while you're working that he's cool. And I remember himtalking with me like Freddy you're a hell of a player but it just sucks thatwe don't really use fullbacks anymore and they ended up let me go. And Iremember like three weeks later may have been three or four weeks later.They shut the league down man. It's crazy. I mean it's crazy because allthese leagues are trying and just nobody has been successful to make likeanother league besides NFL Obviously I think the XFL was doing well before thepan. Yeah, Yeah, I was thinking to you they were doing like and then the fansare going wild. The fans loved it. So yeah, we'll see. I mean they're I thinkthey're redoing it next year and the rock took over and stuff like that sowe'll see what happens. And then just going back into like headcoaches and things like that. You played under like Jimbo Fisher. Whatwhat was that experience like Man Jimbo? He's a guy that if you play on theJimbo, you're gonna get to the league and feel like everything is easybecause he it prepares, he he's going to make sure you're prepared, you'regoing to go into the legal like that and that's it. Like I literally I wentto the combined, the Senior Bowl and then I went to NFL. I'm like, man, Iwas shocked at the playbooks with that small compared to our college playbookand it's all the same things that we were running. It's just differentterminology. So he definitely prepares his guys for the league and that's whyyou see a lot of those guys that he has, has they make a smooth transition oncethey get to the league. Yeah, definitely. And then now I know you'redoing like motivational speaking like what, what led you to that? It happened by accident to be honest. Iwas going through that phase in life, I was depressed just trying to figurethings out and a mentor reached out to me to come speak at the All Star Gameand it was a huge event. I was kind of scared to do it. I never did publicspeaking before, but he's a guy that I had a high level of respect for. So Idid it and I went out there nervous man, I almost turned around and gave him themoney back, but I was like, man, I can't do this by that man, I gotta, Igotta go forward. And I went out there, I was nervous, kind of rambling. It wasmy first time, but I just remember people running up to me and telling mehow they love my story and I made an impact on them as I continued to do itfor like a month or so, I just got in the group and I'm like, man, this iswhat I'm supposed to be doing. I got a feeling from doing that that I nevergot playing ball. Yeah. Yeah, that's awesome. Yeah, like I definitelycommend you for that because standing in front of a crowd and talking ain'teasy and this is the thing that I tricked myself into, like, I don't know,getting comfortable every time I psyched myself up. So I went out thereand I was so nervous and then I went out there and I remember the firstthing I said was I made a joke and they started laughing. It was, and then Itold him I'm like, man, this is my first time, like doing this, so you'llbear with me, I'm nervous as hell right now. And I made, I made a joke with itand then they started laughing and I was like, man, these people paid moneyto come to this event, like I'm thinking this in my head when I'mtalking, they paid money to come see me speak, They're not here to laugh andthat's, that's a lot of people's thing. They think people gonna laugh at themjust at 30 kind of feel insecurity, nervous that they're going to getlaughed at man. These people, they're on my side, so they're not just wentout there and I started being me. Yeah, that's I mean that's like one key thing.You make fun of yourself. People like that. Yeah, they can't make, make funof yourself what you're gonna say? No, I don't know you said it. Exactly.Exactly. Yeah. Then I know you have your back to school bash next week. Uhand what is it why is it important for you to just like give back, man? Justjust my upbringing and the things that...

I had to overcome. Just being able toget back to some people man. The people that are reaching out, I have peoplereaching out, pouring their hearts out, man saying how they appreciate what I'mdoing, families that can't afford school supplies, can't afford backpackson. We're giving back to teachers as well. I feel like it's one of the mostunderappreciated jobs in our country and teachers are reaching out man. Samman, we appreciate you, we don't care if we get anything, it's just the factthat you you're letting us know that we appreciate it and just sometimeshearing that just gives people a reason to keep going and we'll have a fooddrop as well to get back to the families that are struggling, have alot of different things out there, kickball tournament, you have yourbounce houses for the kids face painting and we got a guy out therethat's gonna do horse rides, he's a big guy in the community, have the horserides, so we're going to get a big event. That's awesome. Yeah. Like evenwhen you said like the teachers, I think like people kind of forget aboutit. I'm sure like you've seen on your facebook pages and you have friendsthat are teachers and things like that and they're like posting stuff like,like I forgot it's called, but it's like a go fund me for like teachers andI'm just like, this is crazy that like the school districts can't like supplythem with this stuff. And if it was up to me, if I had the means to do it,teachers will be paid. But you know, that's the other thing with thepandemic. Like now, like parents and like other people that aren't as ateacher as our, is a teacher, like figured out that how hard teaching us,especially keeping kids virtually like imagine like 30 little kids, likevirtually on a screen, like that's not, it's crazy. And then tell me about yourbook trials to trump trump trump. Yeah, tries to triumph. We got it just talksabout my life story and all the obstacles that are overcome and mytransition at the ball and the story, man, people that read it, they're gonna,they're gonna find so much inspiration because I'm constantly overcomingdifferent battles and find it and finding purpose during my journey. Andultimately I think the people that leave the book, they leave encouragedknowing that no matter, no matter what the situation is, still hope for. You.Remember a time where I was depressed and suicidal? Like I told you, just,just living a crazy life and that's after ball, I was just trying to figureout what was next and that's what I told you it happened by accident withthe speaking and that that ultimately ultimately saved me because I didn'tknow what was next. I probably wouldn't be here if it did happen. And I found Ifound my purpose and I just let everything in the past go. I washolding on to some hard feelings about not making it in the league, felt likesome people had screwed me over this, that and the third and I just tookeverything for what it was. A guy that used to come speak to us at floridastate. Um He's one of the top mindset coaches in the world. Trevor TrevorMall. He has something called neutral thinking what happened in the past iswhat what it is, but keep everything neutral, what happens next is the mostimportant and just that's how I live my life now and that it's helped me somuch. For sure. For sure. And then uh whatadvice would you give to a younger kid? Either like, you know, trying to getlike AD-1 scholarship or like trying to go to the league. Yeah, I should justsay state of course and enjoy the process Because man, listen, I was, tobe honest with you, it's crazy that we were talking about my journey. I hadall these scholarship offers but I wasn't thinking about offers until theend of my 11th grade year. I was just playing ball and having fun. You haveso many people today. They get into the witness area. Everybody has offers inthe 7th and 8th grade. But God doesn't have a man like that, enjoy the gamebecause when when it's over it's over. And I see all these kids, man, theywere chasing office and I love it but never get away from what what made youfall in love with this game in the first place. Yeah, definitely. Like, Imean obviously with the social media age I think like football it's a littleless. But like with the like basketball kids it's kind of like nuts with liketheir social media obviously like...

...football is like I would say car, I'dsay it's harder to make it. But uh people I I don't know, it's just like aweird weird time when with the social like there's always pros and conseverything. But I'm saying, you know what I'm saying? I've seen the kid theother day. I think he's um, he may be the number one quarterback in thecountry. Um, he's getting in in I. L. Deal and he might skip his senior year.Yeah. So, man, I don't want to tell the kids what to do, but I'm telling you,man, listen from my personal opinion, it's so many things you can't you can'tget back. So I know you're risking a chance of getting yourself injured andI understand it, but you're gonna look back at it and when you're older andlike, man, I wish I would have had that last last year of my high schoolexperience with my teammates, no matter no matter what happens. Because what'swhat's destined for you is gonna is gonna come to you regardless. Yeah.Like what are your thoughts like, do you think kids now are going to stay inschool long? I mean you already have to stay in school for three years. So saysay like maybe a person that's on the cusp do you think they're going to likestay like their senior year? Or like maybe if they were red shirt, I goanother fifth year like with these N. I. L. Deals. Yeah man. I sue if I wouldlike, hey, while you're talking, I might go and roll right now. But nowit's man, it's his glove is giving these guys the opportunity to make somemoney. And with this with this you got Tiktok now I got you got guys on socialmedia and it's always been like this, they got a whole bunch of followers andthey're not necessarily plan. But the thing with this NRL deal is now you getthese guys an opportunity to cash in on that even if they're not touching thefield so it, it can benefit everybody. So yeah, I definitely believe you'regonna see some guys stay a little a little later guys that may have wantedto go to the league because their families struggling they can stay 1/4year now because some of these kids are gonna be millionaires while they're incollege. Yeah, for sure. Yeah. So it's gonna be interesting to see like, youknow, once a person, well for example, I don't know that many people know likeKyler Murray technically was a millionaire while he was playing hislast year because he got drafted by the Oakland A's. Uh and they gave him likesome create like $3 million dollars signing bonus. So even though he neverplayed. Yeah, but I think he had to give itback. But originally he still he still I think he had it, it was still it wasstill there like he could have left and got it. So that's why it's like kind ofcrazy. So but like these kids are actually going to have the real moneyso I guess we'll see what happens. But like you think like so say like you'rea fullback, like and say your your star quarterback is gonna get like, let'sjust say like, I don't know, Like $100,000. Like you think the teams aregoing to like lose like chemistry and like get jealous and things like that?No, I don't think it's going to happen because you already have that, youalready have guys that, you know, um at the school is one guy getting all thegirls and the other guys can't really get the love and some guy with IGfollowers, the other guy doesn't. So you already have it now, you're justputting, you're putting money on it. So at the end of the day, if a god isn'tdoing this thing on the field and isn't making noise on the field, it is what it is. You can't be hatingon somebody else because because they are so I think it's gonna that'salready happening in the game. If teams want to win, they're going to find away like you're not going to see the issue with the team like Alabama andthe teams that have a winning culture for sure. Are you ready for some funquestions? All right. What's your what's your favorite song right now? Myfavorite song right now, It's right away. He shocked the world, man. It's alot of people that doubted us man. Like talk now listen, we got a flashback. Iremember when I got cut by the bears. Everybody. Like I promise you everybodythat's in my phone, they wouldn't have responded to me if I hit that line upasking for something, whatever the case may be. But if I if I go look throughmy phone right now, I got a whole bunch of unread messages so shocked the worldcontinue to continue to do that and continue to believe in your vision andwalk, walk, walk in there. I like that.

What do you like to do in your freetime, man? I'm a I'm a I'm a gamer. I like to read your gamer. Uh Not reallyanymore. Like college, there's more I like I like to read, I do a lot, a lotof different things working now. I'm bigger than yoga. But man, I loveplaying, I love playing two K man, I hope they hope they get this next yearright? Hope they get this next year right and madden mad. And I know thepast few years I've been dropping the same game on this. So it's pressure ony'all. Especially now because two kids making a football game again. Yeah,that's why I too, like I like I like I played the new games obviously, butlike, I like the older ones when it was like, I guess like a little lessrealistic like that madam used to be way more fun back in the day withoutdoubt. What about what what's like your what's like your favorite food man? Ilove I eat everything. I'm I'm a huge sweets guy, but my favorite food wouldhave to be shrimp. Like anything with shrimp. Like I'm kind of like you everseen for its go bubba gump, barbecue, shrimp, coconut shrimp, whatever shrimp.That's what I want. I like that. What about the last one? What is somethingpeople don't know about you? Um We'll probably seen a little bit inthis interview, like a lot of people they see me and I remember when I wasat florida state for about shoot out two week period, people were scared ofme to get intimidated because I'm a I'm a quiet guy. But then they meet me andthey're like man you goofy his head. I like to have fun. I like to have funand just enjoy life like and that's that's that's who I've always alwaysbeen like life is already hard enough man, you might as well have fun with it.Yeah, definitely. Well I appreciate you coming on and you have the listenersknow where they can follow you and get your book and all that's good stuff.Yeah. Without a doubt. Follow me on social media struggle made 105 onInstagram and Twitter and my book is available on Amazon or wherever booksare sold. This episode has been brought to you by B. Usr dot com. Go check itout to get your free $100 bet when you deposit a $100 at B. U. S. R. Dot comslash paul.

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