The annual Legends Party was held in Las Vegas, Nev. on Friday, and instead of asking current and former NFL stars the same questions they’ve already been asked a billion times this week (How do you feel about the Super Bowl being in Las Vegas? Are you having fun in Vegas? Are you picking the Chiefs or the Niners?), we opted to ask them something a little more interesting.
What advice would you give your rookie self knowing what you know now?
The answers were wildly varied and very interesting, and there’s definitely some solid advice in here for everyone.
LeSean McCoy: Save more money, and take the game more seriously
Former Eagles and Bills running back LeSean McCoy said that saving more money was at the top of his list.
“One is always save more money, right? You can never save enough money. The second one would be to take the take the game more serious. When you’re young you’d be really talented and it’s come easy, so I could have gotten better by perfecting my craft a little better. Learn a little better. Study a little harder, right. Less partying and more diving into my playbook. And then in the offseason, step out and dance a little bit in the clubs. Too much Vegas as a youngster.”
Matt Ryan: Enjoy the ride while it lasts, because it goes too fast
Former Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, who’s just completed his first season in the booth with CBS, said he’d tell rookie Matt Ryan to enjoy his playing career while it lasts.
“I feel like I was just a rookie,” he said. “You know, I feel like I was just there. Just enjoy the ride, because it’s a lot of fun, and take it all in.”
Lawrence Taylor: Stay out of trouble
I’m glad I asked the legendary New York Giant and Hall of Famer this question, mainly so I could hear the belly laugh he gave me as he tried to come up with an answer.
Taylor is one of the best defensive players to ever take the field. But he also landed himself in hot water quite a bit during his playing days. So for Taylor, there was only one answer here.
“Stay out of trouble,” Taylor said, still laughing.
Malcolm Jenkins: Don’t try to be anyone but yourself
Jenkins said that early in his career he stayed focused on the safeties he wanted to emulate … but he should have just been happy to be Malcolm Jenkins.
“I would tell myself to stop trying to be like other people and embrace the skills I have of my own,” the former Eagles and Saints safety said. “I think I spent a lot of time trying to live up to the guys I was looking up to — the Ed Reeds of the world, the Brian Dawkins. But halfway through my career, I realized I can’t be them and decided I was gonna be myself for better or worse. And it turned out for the better.”
Save more money, take your craft seriously but make time for fun, live in the moment and enjoy it while it lasts, stay out of trouble, and don’t try to be anyone but yourself. It’s good advice for NFL players, and for the rest of us.