David Trout, Steelers Kicker, 1981, 1987
First, can you tell readers what you have been doing with yourself after football?
After I was with the Cowboy’s I was working out with getting ready to go back to camp with the Kansas City Chiefs and prayed if God had a different direction for me with my life. The next night I kicked off and the tee rolled out in front of my follow through and I broke my ankle and decided to go into missions.
Carl Peterson offered to put me on IR but I decided to follow a different path. I then worked on missionaries homes in Florida and then went into Youth Ministry where I was a Youth Pastor at St. Johns church in Turnersville NJ. I then went to Piedmont Bible College In North Carolina where I received my Airframe and Powerplant license to build and fly aircraft in 1994 to 1995.
I then took that to UIM Missions where I was a Missionary Busch Pilot flying in and out of Mexico landing the small plane in “Red” areas and was often held at gun point by Mexican drug lords. The air strips were in mountains and extremely small to land the planes to bring supplies to the Mexican people and the gospel. After our family left the mission I went back to New Jersey and built houses in the area for work.
I am planning on possibly going back to Bolivia where I grew up at, where my parents were missionaries in the Amazon where I groomed my leg playing Pro soccer at the age of 12.
What made you decide to take on the Head Special Teams Coordinator position for the 2nd Annual National Bowl Game and what specifically will your role entail?
The reason I am coaching in the 2nd annual National Bowl Game is to coach and spend time on the field again with my son who is twice the athlete I was. Just watching him at everything he can do on the field is quite fun to see. Merf actually has been invited by the Power (Pittsburgh Power- AFL) to come in as a QB which I have been getting him ready for and is signed already with the UIFL’s Huntington Hammer as a QB/K.
I also am eager to help these young men and give them my vast knowledge of the game and special teams accumulated throughout my years of playing with all-time Hall of Fame greats at Pitt, The Steelers and the Stars of the USFL. It makes me very excited to be with my son throughout his pro career and assist him and his agency East Preps in the National Bowl.
You played with the Steelers in 1981 and later in 1987. How did the Steelers first reach out to you in 1981 and what sold then on your ability to be their starting kicker?
The Steelers called me a few days after the draft and invited me to camp. At the time I was in competition with Matt Bahr from Penn State. What sold them was the fact that I won the job from Matt Bahr and my leg strength.
You played with the Steelers in 1981 and later in 1987. What sold them on your ability to be their starting kicker and how did Coach Noll emphasize special teams?
Honestly you have to ask Chuck Noll that question. I worked on kicking in practice and my technique and caught balls for Terry Bradshaw to get him loose. I also was the reserve receiver. 6th string. There were really no specific drills. Even in today’s game the kicker is kind of on their own when it comes to practice.
What routines/superstitions did you have to stay loose and ready in games? What are some of the crazier techniques you’ve seen other kickers use?
I myself would just try and stay as relaxed as possible and not think too much about the outside distractions. Just focus on Me and the Ball. The craziest thing I have ever seen was a kicker rub his shoes down with garlic before a game and tie cloves of garlic to his shoes. He must have believed in vampires!
OK – can you reveal a trade secret? Does icing the kicker really work? Why/why not?
Your only as good as your next kick was always my thought process. Doesn’t matter if you nailed a 55 yarder or missed a 40 yarder the kick before, you must have a short memory. Depends on the kicker if the icing strategy works really. In my opinion it does not work. Once the clock runs out it’s just a game, when the clock runs out on life, it is eternity.
But if you try and ice my son for example it actually gives him more time to remember his ingrained technique and stress his key points and to relax.
What are your thoughts on the new special teams rules on kicking off from the 35 and on no three-man wedges?
I think with the league today Jack Lambert said it best ” You wanna put a dress on the QB”. These kickoff rules were designed for safety reasons.
What I think the NFL missed is kickers like me and my son who can hang the ball very high in the 4.3 – 4.5 range and land it on the goal line in a corner and with no wedge protection for the returner actually makes this more dangerous for the return man. NFL special teams coordinators should be getting them inside the 20 at the exceptions of elite return man when the kicker should just drive it out the back of the endzone, which it seems not as many can do in today’s game.
Any last thoughts for readers?
I was honored to play for such prestigious teams in my career. But as I said before it is just a game, not life.
Yes I did miss the Super Bowl years but won two championships with Jim Mora in Philadelphia and wouldn’t change anything in my career. I choose a different path that many do not understand but God showed me there is much more to life. No him, No Peace. Know Him, Know Peace.