Average to Savage
Average to Savage

Episode · 1 year ago

Freddie Stevenson | Average To Savage EP131

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

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 podcast with paul Guerrino. Everyone in anyone athletes celebs and much more. Today's episode is brought to you by b usr dot com. You know, everyone always asks me where they should bet and now I got a solution for them. The U. S. R. Dot com slash paul. You deposit $100 they'll match your $100 in free bets. So you basically get $200. Go check it out. Be usr dot com slash paul. What's up everybody? I'm back for another episode of the Average Savage podcast today. Our special guest is Freddie Stevenson Freddie. How's it going? It's good, it's good. I'm just beat this rain over here in florida is crazy right now but I appreciate you having me on. I appreciate you coming on. Uh let's just go back in time and start out with your football career. Like what was your first memory of playing football? I remember my first memory well the one that's most prominent is when I played flag, my parents got me into flag early on and I remember they had me at quarterback, I couldn't throw but every player QB sneak. And I remember this, they started the touchdown rule on me man, I had like three touchdowns and we're playing a team and the coaches ran over their time. Coaches like man, don't give him the ball no more. Don't give him the ball no more. If you give him the ball again, I'm gonna whoop you. Like he really he really pumped by coaches and I'm like, man, there's no way they are going to listen to these coaches. But really the rest of the game, I'm handing the ball off, throwing the ball and that was that's when it got hot. I was like, man, I may have a chance to be good in this. Yeah, that's crazy. Um So how how old are you then? And is was that like the moment that you knew you were like good already? I was I was five, I was a flag and yeah, man, I knew a little bit when I was younger because guys were every time we go to the park, all the guys are picking me on the team and stuff, but then it was like, man, this team really stop me from doing this. I played, I was from the inner city and I remember my pop's getting out of prison and we we moved to the middle class area and we didn't really have the money to be able to afford playing in the league, but they paid for me to come play for the team and I'm a kid from the inner city and I'm around all these kids that are kind of like privilege and stuff. So it's like, man, get Freddie the balls and get 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 get punked. It was crazy to Yeah. Yeah. It's funny like every like, athlete that I interview, I feel like there's like a moment like even like they know like it's like, you know, it like kind of when you're young, like that young that 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 your recruiting process? Like, Man? It was people think because I came out of high school, my senior year, one of the top 250 players in the country, but people thinking I was just hot in my whole entire career. I literally got all those offers in the span of a few months, My 11th grade year, nobody was offering me. And I remember breaking my leg and the doctors were telling me that my career was over. Like I may never play again. I broke my, broke my field, the little broke my ankle, lost all the cartilage in my ankle and broke a 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 chance on me. You mashed and once they offered everybody else came pouring in. So you fast forward. My highlight tape gets out and it seems like every week I'm getting two or three offers, come back to school. You got Georgia florida. All these guys at the school fighting on me. It was crazy. Yeah. That's awesome. Uh what what was like your final three, My final three I say fs shoe texas and them and I just said a final two because really I wasn't going to go to florida 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 needed something. 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 was a freshman, but they weren't really like on me hard. And I remember like my ninth grade year I moved up, I was on J. B. And I moved a diversity for like two games. I made five tackles in the game when they moved into the game, five titles and five plays. And the coach that was at texas A and M. Was at us at that time. He was like, man, we're coming back for this kid in four years and it's crazy. He was at texas A. And M. And he was, he was really like, he remembered me from that time and they were hard on me, but I was gonna go to A. 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 look at any school in florida. Yeah. That's crazy. Um Yeah. And then like I read like some of your story and things like that, like what what helped you like pushed through like, um things like homelessness and poverty and things like that. I think the biggest thing was just watching, watching how my mom handled everything. Being homeless and bouncing around from place to place, not knowing what we would eat that night. But my mom, she never let us hear sweet, she always had a smile on her face. I mean we did have a situation where we're at a Mcdonald's and we had to split a cheeseburger between 55 kids and she broke down that day because we tried to share with her and she sacrificed and she only had a dollar to her name. But that was the first time we've seen a breakdown. But ultimately just seeing everything that she fought through other man, I can't let moms down and I remember making a promise to her that I was gonna make it to the league and just seeing her drive and the energy she always brought even at the darkest times in our lives. She always 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 and then like how is it to be on the big stage man? It was crazy like everybody wants to go to a prominent university like that and you you get delivered is crazy. Then the first year you come in you win the national championship florida state, telling has you hear about the party life but to go there experienced that and then win a championship in my in my high school days we never made the playoffs. So it was huge. It was huge for me. Yeah, for sure For those that don't know you were the full back on the team. Um So yeah, what was it like just to win a national champion? Obviously it's super rare to, to win it, especially in football. It's really like when you hear people say that they have to pitch themselves that it hasn't hit him yet. Like it's literally like, man, I didn't realize that what happened until we had the parade. We're just like, it felt good in the moment. It felt good at the moment. I'm not gonna lie because we knew the whole world was against us, going against the sec, but like a few days after, it's like, man, it doesn't feel real. And I think that's how everybody feels at the championship outside of that moment when you're winning 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 from a 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 pop Warner. So Carlos is team that they're the team that when I told you about the touchdown 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 first game and then we played them again in the playoffs and they completely shut me down. We had to go with other options. But yeah, his team was known as being one of the best teams in our league, but everybody in the area area knows 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 of crime and stuff. So it would be games like when our upper division like I measured JV varsity teams in the league, they're getting into brawls. The fans are coming into the stands. That's how the team Carlos played for that. They got down. What about you? What's that like to just like grew up with with kids like that and then you guys all are like you're on the same teams and things like that. It was crazy man. And we came in and he remembered all those battles. But it was always love. Like when I when I met Carlos, everybody knew Carlos was gonna be one of those guys to go to the legal. I remember in high school he was the guy everybody watched. They had their eyes on all over 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 against your whole life. It brings you it brings you it makes you feel like you're at home when you go to a university like that when you don't truly know anybody. Yeah. Yeah definitely. I think it was it was it was 2,015 year season uh senior year. Yeah 20 2016, it was 2016, You Dalvin Kick 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 felt good because when you being a part of something special but being a part of something special with somebody that has Davis character, a lot of people don't notice about Dalvin. He's a person like with everything that he does, you see a lot of a lot of star players when they get hot, like feed me feed me he wants, he wants to be fair when he is how he wants the ball. But that was one of those unique players that he loves the sea. His teammates get opportunities as well. He's coming to the coach like coach, get this guy involved, get this guy some opportunities. And remember my senior year I had like four or five touchdowns and that's all because of doubt. He's like coach, we gotta get afraid of the Baltimore. He does he did that with so many players on the team. So that's why I felt so special just being a part of it with somebody like that. Yeah, that's dope. Like I think like, you know, a lot of like I'd say in the fan perspective like people forget about like the old line, the fullback and like the fullback is like a lost, like I say, art right now at this point, like what are your feelings on like the fullbacks, like an NFL right now it's tough because it's definitely phasing out. But then you got guys like Kyle, you shit um that that's doing big things and he's playing the position to be honest. How it hasn't been played in a while back in the day. You had those old school fullbacks just hit, you, hit you in the mouth, but you can do a lot lined up at tight end playing the I bring the ball out of the backfield and the guy I think that's going to make a splash this year is actually a guy that played on to be a for the state. I believe 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 of things. 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. And then just going into your your pro career like after after your career at FS you like what what were your thoughts like going into like the draft or like going pro and things like that to be honest. I went into everything expecting expecting to be there like a lot of people, they're shell shocked like 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 her and that's that was my mindset going in. So it was just really going into the process. Just send levelheaded, stand focused and continuing to do whatever I did to get me to that point. Yeah, definitely. So I know you went undrafted but then you got to sign with the Bears. So what was that like to sign with the Bears? I had mixed emotions. I was mad that I didn't get drafted, but at the same time I'm happy I'm in the league and a whole bunch of teams telling me they're gonna take me anywhere from the fourth to the sixth round. So when my name wasn't called out during the draft, I was pissed. But at the end and it all goes away when you hear that phone call, you living your 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 your experience like there it was cool, but I'm not gonna lie to you. We went into the F and we knew that lead was gonna fool it wasn't it wasn't that if it was a win and I remember going out there and I remember playing with Asperger Asperger, I'm gonna know he's a game but spurs I'm not gonna lie. That's one of the funniest coaches I've ever been around. He knows ball but funny like you're having fun while you're working that he's cool. And I remember him talking with me like Freddy you're a hell of a player but it just sucks that we don't really use fullbacks anymore and they ended up let me go. And I remember 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 all these leagues are trying and just nobody has been successful to make like another league besides NFL Obviously I think the XFL was doing well before the pan. Yeah, Yeah, I was thinking to you they were doing like and then the fans are going wild. The fans loved it. So yeah, we'll see. I mean they're I think they're redoing it next year and the rock took over and stuff like that so we'll see what happens. And then just going back into like head coaches and things like that. You played under like Jimbo Fisher. What what was that experience like Man Jimbo? He's a guy that if you play on the Jimbo, you're gonna get to the league and feel like everything is easy because he it prepares, he he's going to make sure you're prepared, you're going to go into the legal like that and that's it. Like I literally I went to the combined, the Senior Bowl and then I went to NFL. I'm like, man, I was shocked at the playbooks with that small compared to our college playbook and it's all the same things that we were running. It's just different terminology. So he definitely prepares his guys for the league and that's why you see a lot of those guys that he has, has they make a smooth transition once they get to the league. Yeah, definitely. And then now I know you're doing like motivational speaking like what, what led you to that? It happened by accident to be honest. I was going through that phase in life, I was depressed just trying to figure things out and a mentor reached out to me to come speak at the All Star Game and it was a huge event. I was kind of scared to do it. I never did public speaking before, but he's a guy that I had a high level of respect for. So I did it and I went out there nervous man, I almost turned around and gave him the money back, but I was like, man, I can't do this by that man, I gotta, I gotta go forward. And I went out there, I was nervous, kind of rambling. It was my first time, but I just remember people running up to me and telling me how they love my story and I made an impact on them as I continued to do it for like a month or so, I just got in the group and I'm like, man, this is what I'm supposed to be doing. I got a feeling from doing that that I never got playing ball. Yeah. Yeah, that's awesome. Yeah, like I definitely commend you for that because standing in front of a crowd and talking ain't easy 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 there and I was so nervous and then I went out there and I remember the first thing I said was I made a joke and they started laughing. It was, and then I told him I'm like, man, this is my first time, like doing this, so you'll bear with me, I'm nervous as hell right now. And I made, I made a joke with it and then they started laughing and I was like, man, these people paid money to come to this event, like I'm thinking this in my head when I'm talking, they paid money to come see me speak, They're not here to laugh and that's, that's a lot of people's thing. They think people gonna laugh at them just at 30 kind of feel insecurity, nervous that they're going to get laughed at man. These people, they're on my side, so they're not just went out 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 fun of 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. Uh and what is it why is it important for you to just like give back, man? Just just my upbringing and the things that...

I had to overcome. Just being able to get back to some people man. The people that are reaching out, I have people reaching out, pouring their hearts out, man saying how they appreciate what I'm doing, families that can't afford school supplies, can't afford backpacks on. We're giving back to teachers as well. I feel like it's one of the most underappreciated jobs in our country and teachers are reaching out man. Sam man, we appreciate you, we don't care if we get anything, it's just the fact that you you're letting us know that we appreciate it and just sometimes hearing that just gives people a reason to keep going and we'll have a food drop as well to get back to the families that are struggling, have a lot of different things out there, kickball tournament, you have your bounce houses for the kids face painting and we got a guy out there that's gonna do horse rides, he's a big guy in the community, have the horse rides, so we're going to get a big event. That's awesome. Yeah. Like even when you said like the teachers, I think like people kind of forget about it. I'm sure like you've seen on your facebook pages and you have friends that 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 and I'm just like, this is crazy that like the school districts can't like supply them 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 the pandemic. Like now, like parents and like other people that aren't as a teacher as our, is a teacher, like figured out that how hard teaching us, especially keeping kids virtually like imagine like 30 little kids, like virtually on a screen, like that's not, it's crazy. And then tell me about your book trials to trump trump trump. Yeah, tries to triumph. We got it just talks about my life story and all the obstacles that are overcome and my transition 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 overcoming different battles and find it and finding purpose during my journey. And ultimately I think the people that leave the book, they leave encouraged knowing 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 figure out what was next and that's what I told you it happened by accident with the speaking and that that ultimately ultimately saved me because I didn't know what was next. I probably wouldn't be here if it did happen. And I found I found my purpose and I just let everything in the past go. I was holding on to some hard feelings about not making it in the league, felt like some people had screwed me over this, that and the third and I just took everything for what it was. A guy that used to come speak to us at florida state. Um He's one of the top mindset coaches in the world. Trevor Trevor Mall. He has something called neutral thinking what happened in the past is what what it is, but keep everything neutral, what happens next is the most important and just that's how I live my life now and that it's helped me so much. For sure. For sure. And then uh what advice would you give to a younger kid? Either like, you know, trying to get like AD-1 scholarship or like trying to go to the league. Yeah, I should just say state of course and enjoy the process Because man, listen, I was, to be honest with you, it's crazy that we were talking about my journey. I had all these scholarship offers but I wasn't thinking about offers until the end of my 11th grade year. I was just playing ball and having fun. You have so many people today. They get into the witness area. Everybody has offers in the 7th and 8th grade. But God doesn't have a man like that, enjoy the game because when when it's over it's over. And I see all these kids, man, they were chasing office and I love it but never get away from what what made you fall in love with this game in the first place. Yeah, definitely. Like, I mean obviously with the social media age I think like football it's a little less. But like with the like basketball kids it's kind of like nuts with like their social media obviously like...

...football is like I would say car, I'd say it's harder to make it. But uh people I I don't know, it's just like a weird weird time when with the social like there's always pros and cons everything. But I'm saying, you know what I'm saying? I've seen the kid the other day. I think he's um, he may be the number one quarterback in the country. 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't get back. So I know you're risking a chance of getting yourself injured and I understand it, but you're gonna look back at it and when you're older and like, man, I wish I would have had that last last year of my high school experience with my teammates, no matter no matter what happens. Because what's what'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 in school long? I mean you already have to stay in school for three years. So say say like maybe a person that's on the cusp do you think they're going to like stay like their senior year? Or like maybe if they were red shirt, I go another fifth year like with these N. I. L. Deals. Yeah man. I sue if I would like, hey, while you're talking, I might go and roll right now. But now it's man, it's his glove is giving these guys the opportunity to make some money. And with this with this you got Tiktok now I got you got guys on social media and it's always been like this, they got a whole bunch of followers and they're not necessarily plan. But the thing with this NRL deal is now you get these guys an opportunity to cash in on that even if they're not touching the field so it, it can benefit everybody. So yeah, I definitely believe you're gonna see some guys stay a little a little later guys that may have wanted to go to the league because their families struggling they can stay 1/4 year now because some of these kids are gonna be millionaires while they're in college. Yeah, for sure. Yeah. So it's gonna be interesting to see like, you know, once a person, well for example, I don't know that many people know like Kyler Murray technically was a millionaire while he was playing his last year because he got drafted by the Oakland A's. Uh and they gave him like some create like $3 million dollars signing bonus. So even though he never played. Yeah, but I think he had to give it back. But originally he still he still I think he had it, it was still it was still there like he could have left and got it. So that's why it's like kind of crazy. So but like these kids are actually going to have the real money so I guess we'll see what happens. But like you think like so say like you're a fullback, like and say your your star quarterback is gonna get like, let's just say like, I don't know, Like $100,000. Like you think the teams are going 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, you already have guys that, you know, um at the school is one guy getting all the girls and the other guys can't really get the love and some guy with IG followers, the other guy doesn't. So you already have it now, you're just putting, you're putting money on it. So at the end of the day, if a god isn't doing this thing on the field and isn't making noise on the field, it is what it is. You can't be hating on somebody else because because they are so I think it's gonna that's already happening in the game. If teams want to win, they're going to find a way like you're not going to see the issue with the team like Alabama and the teams that have a winning culture for sure. Are you ready for some fun questions? All right. What's your what's your favorite song right now? My favorite song right now, It's right away. He shocked the world, man. It's a lot of people that doubted us man. Like talk now listen, we got a flashback. I remember when I got cut by the bears. Everybody. Like I promise you everybody that's in my phone, they wouldn't have responded to me if I hit that line up asking for something, whatever the case may be. But if I if I go look through my phone right now, I got a whole bunch of unread messages so shocked the world continue to continue to do that and continue to believe in your vision and walk, walk, walk in there. I like that.

What do you like to do in your free time, man? I'm a I'm a I'm a gamer. I like to read your gamer. Uh Not really anymore. Like college, there's more I like I like to read, I do a lot, a lot of different things working now. I'm bigger than yoga. But man, I love playing, I love playing two K man, I hope they hope they get this next year right? Hope they get this next year right and madden mad. And I know the past few years I've been dropping the same game on this. So it's pressure on y'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, but like, I like the older ones when it was like, I guess like a little less realistic like that madam used to be way more fun back in the day without doubt. What about what what's like your what's like your favorite food man? I love I eat everything. I'm I'm a huge sweets guy, but my favorite food would have to be shrimp. Like anything with shrimp. Like I'm kind of like you ever seen 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 something people don't know about you? Um We'll probably seen a little bit in this interview, like a lot of people they see me and I remember when I was at florida state for about shoot out two week period, people were scared of me to get intimidated because I'm a I'm a quiet guy. But then they meet me and they're like man you goofy his head. I like to have fun. I like to have fun and just enjoy life like and that's that's that's who I've always always been 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 listeners know 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 on Instagram and Twitter and my book is available on Amazon or wherever books are sold. This episode has been brought to you by B. Usr dot com. Go check it out to get your free $100 bet when you deposit a $100 at B. U. S. R. Dot com slash paul.

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