It’s the most wonderful time of the year, folks―football season is upon us. And while you’re setting up your ultimate fantasy rosters, the most powerful men on the football field are also charging up with superhuman workouts and practices, all set to a soundtrack that fuels them.
We spoke with star running back Rashad Jennings of the New York Giants to find out the music that transforms him into a touchdown-winning superman on the field― but his playlist will totally surprise you. In addition, Jennings shared what he learned during the offseason, who he’s rooting for on Power, and if there’s any truth behind the football comedy series, Ballers.
Check out our exclusive with Rashad Jennings below.
Jada Gomez: When you’re in the locker room getting ready to take the field in front of thousands of screaming football fans, what are the top five songs that get you amped for go time?
Rashad Jennings: “Well, I’m a different breed and I definitely know that [laughs]. I listen to more emotional songs than anything. That’s just kind of what gets me going. I listen to some Trey Songz, I listen to some Sam Smith, I listen to some Ed Sheeran, I listen to some Chris Daughtry, and I listened to some Drake. [Before last Saturday’s game against the New York Jets] Drake, I was listening to… I think one of them was “Back To Back,” his newest one. I’ll throw out “Wildheart,” that one with Chris Daughtry. [I listened to] “Make It To Me” by Sam Smith, and “Company” by Trey Songz. And from Ed Sheeran, I listened to “Photograph.”
JG: Like you said, you’re a different breed. So what are some of your rituals to relax after the game?
RJ: “After the game is the hardest thing for me. I’m always up to 3, 4a.m. after every game. I can’t sleep after games because the adrenaline is trying to settle down, and other stuff. But for me, I come in, I relax, I grab something good to eat, or I go out to eat with family or friends, whatever’s going on. And, maybe I catch up on some of the highlights across the league, play some board games, throw on some music in the background. And I might have some kind of dessert.”
JG: What kind of dessert would you get? Because we know you eat super healthy!
RJ: “Right, I always have some kind of cookie. It’s still gluten, casine-free cookie, but I always have some kind of cookie after games. So last night I had peanut butter cookies, and I went to see a movie with my friends. I went to see Straight Outta Compton. It was interesting. First, Suge Knight was crazy. He was trippin’! And, Eazy-E lost it. I thought it was pretty entertaining. You got to see some of the history, and how they really changed a lot. And what they went through. I thought it was well-put out. I was rolling when Snoop Dogg popped up though. That tripped me out.”
JG: When you’re deep in the season with game after game, what are you binge watching during “Netflix and chill” season?
RJ: “Well, I’m a Scandal fan and a Power fan… I actually know the writer of Power, Courtney Kemp. She’s an awesome person. I’ve been talking to her back and forth because I’m working with Nickolodeon. I’m creating a cartoon with them. And I was just talking to her about how that all would look. And I like to write, too. Oh, a new thing that I picked up. I pick up something new every offseason. I picked up archery, and I’ve been doing poetry. So just a sidenote [laughs].”
JG: Archery is a major departure from football? What was it like? Did you learn anything you can use on the field?
RJ: “I actually like it and apparently I was better at it than I even knew, because it was my first time. So I went out there and they’re teaching me the routine of how to pull back, aim, let loose, and we were just target practicing. Shooting things 20 yards away, 30, 40. And they had some things that were stationary, and they had some things that they swing across and you’re trying to hit it. So first they were swinging stuff and then I start pecking it. I mean, I started figuring this thing out. And so I said, you know what, I’m going to hit that turkey in the neck. That’s like, a little distance away. They said, you’re not going to hit that. And I said, why not? They said, it took me two years to hit that. I said, alright. First try. Then I said I was going to hit the bear in the face, I hit the bear in the face. So I was just out there like… apparently I was good, but I didn’t know, cause I’m thinking that’s what you’re supposed to do. You aim at it, and you hit it. In a weird way, it was therapeutic. It’s the tension right beside, the arch beside your cheek, knowing that when you let go, whatever it is that you’re aiming at, it’s going to have that much impact. I don’t know, for me it was just therapeutic. And focus, and patience. And those are the type of things that you incorporate in yoga sometimes, I think that you have to include that in archery.”
JG: That’s such a dope skill. So you mentioned you’re hooked on Power, and we are, too! Who are you rooting for in the show? Do you think Kanan alive?
RJ: “I’m rooting for Ghost. I do think Kanan is alive. But I’m rooting for Ghost. I think he made the best out of what he knew, and I’m a romantic. So I see that he’s trying to get to a love that he [lost]… I think he’s fighting to truly live a normal life with a person that he loves. And then he’s trying to figure out how to do it, to keep everybody else that he does love in tact, and let them go their separate ways. He’s trying to do the right thing from a bad situation, I believe. So that’s why I’m rooting for him.”
JG: HBO’s football series, Ballers, was huge this season. Is it a realistic account of what NFL players actually experience?
RJ: “I only got a chance to watch one episode so far. There are some crazy stories in the league, mostly not. The whole agent thing is crazy, that’s why I represent myself. I started a sports marketing firm, and I kind of handle my own endeavors, because it can get a little out of hand. An agent’s job is to make you dependent on him. And how that’s possible is if the client is not knowledgeable. So, there’s probably some truths in it. But it can get ugly.”
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