Anthony Madison, Steelers Cornerback, 2006-2012
First, can you let readers know about your post-NFL career- how you got started and what your role is there?
I am currently attending graduate school at California State University, Fullerton. I’m pursuing a master’s in Counseling (Sports). The NFL has a continuing education program that reimburses current and former athletes who aspire to further their education. Eventually with my degree, I will work with athletes at every level concerning their transitions from their specific sport. Also, my Wife and I are attending a bible ministry school in Anaheim, Ca.
What aspects of the job do you enjoy the most and why and how did life in the NFL help you in this new role?
Right now, My enjoyment is being married and attending Bible Ministry. My wife and I, we are also expecting our first child. This my friend is even more exciting. In terms of how the NFL has prepared me? Well, not just the NFL but football in General has taught me Discipline , Hard-work, Teamwork and Learning how to win and lose with grace. The NFL specifically was a blessing from a financially perspective and this blessing has bought me enough time to transition successfully into the next phase of my life. I believe that my Realizing that the NFL was a stepping stone allowed me to see beyond the game and saved me from living reckless. I thank God that he gave me a vision to see and think thinking beyond the inevitable.
You were signed as an undrafted free agent in 2006. Why did you choose to sign with Pittsburgh -especially with cornerbacks like Ike Taylor, Bryant McFadden and Deshea Townsend already on the roster?
I chose The Steelers because the Steelers chose me! What a privilege and honor to have played for such a storied franchise. I could speak for hours about the amazing experience of being associated with winners such as The Steelers organization. We had some unbelievable jaw dropping runs at the elusive Lombardi.
What about your play enabled you to make the roster – what about you do you think caught the coaches’ eyes?
It was my long Frame of 6’3 205 that allowed me to dominate the Line of Scrimmage during my press man coverage! Hahaha.. Truthfully, I made the roster because they started to rely on me as a serviceable corner and not just a Special team standout. Not to mention, much prayer to stay healthy and hoping that the roster numbers fall my way. For example, if a Line backer is injured at training camp.. The Steelers who have to consider keeping the Linebacker who was injured, coupled signing another player as a insurance policy and now this dilemma may affect if they should keep four corners instead of five. In this scenario, I would possibly be the corner who would be released because I was typically the fifth corner.
Who helped mentor you most as a rookie and how did they do so – any examples?
Deshea Townsend and I both attended Alabama so we had that bond. He was always a guy who I could count on. Overall, the entire group of Defensive-backs were like brothers and we cared for one another in this way.
After being in the league for a few years, how did you adjust to being a veteran and being responsible in part for mentoring young players coming into the league? Was it difficult mentoring younger players who were looking to take your playing time and roster spot?
I was never responsible for mentoring any players. However, It comes a time where a veteran player decides to lend a hand to a Rookie if he is struggling regarding his transition from college football. If anything, you express to the younger players the importance of taking care of their bodies and reminding them that their body is their office. Also, conveying the matters of saving money. We would have bible studies once a week and this would give players an avenue to release anxiety by praying to Christ.
Who were some of the toughest players you lined up against in practice and on game days, and what made them so?
Toughest player I lined up against in the game would be Wes Welker. Toughest in practice was-Mike Wallace and Heath Miller.
You excelled on special teams – what makes a player such as yourself play so well on special teams – what separates you from other players that don’t? I played well because I took it seriously. It was my biggest contribution to the organization. I utilized my speed, technique, quickness and Overall relentless effort to make a play. I always wanted to make the big play while covering kicks because The opportunities were far and in-between so I had to take advantage of opportunities when they arose. I guess you can say I was a scrappy lil fella’.
You were cut and re-signed by the Steelers four times and played for six different teams over the course of your seven year career. How difficult was it for you to always be “on the bubble” – how do you deal with that stress and do you think fans appreciate that element of the game? 4 words: Faith in Jesus Christ.
Without this faith in The Lord, I would not have continued to pursue football. I was always grateful after being released or resigned. (We are talking about a guy that stands 5’8 and 180lbs soak and wet) I was limited in what I could do as a corner and I understood this very well. This understanding was by no means by what naysayers or doubters standards were, but from my personal experience of the game. Anyhow, The Steelers and I always had a mutual respect for one another and whenever the special teams needed a fixin’ I was there to hopefully repair the broken parts. ***Being released also helped me save money because I never knew when I would be released!! Haha
Humor plays a big part in keeping teams loose. Who were some of the guys on the Steelers teams you played for that helped keep things light, and how did they do so? Any examples?
Players that kept things loose would be: Larry Foote, Joey Porter, Hines, Deshea, and Tomlin. I thought Coach T did an amazing job regarding keeping the team even Kiel.
Things were able to be light because we had a coach that believed we were mature enough to handle business at practice and during game time. All at the same time, there were consequences to not performing. It helps to have a group of seasoned veterans in the locker room. *** Top three coach in the Business.
Any last thoughts for readers?
I conclude by saying, playing in the NFL was an amazing experience and winning the Super Bowl exceeded my own expectations. I am humbled to have played with such amazing people and for a storied Franchise. The heartache/pains , wins and losses were all worth the moments. May God bless the readers and let’s hope for an exciting upcoming NFL season.
Anthony Madison #37