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Interview with Brandon Myers: Paying It Forward

Interview with Brandon Myers: Paying it Forward

Giants tight end Brandon Myers recently popped into the Digest headquarters, and let us know about a charity bowling event he was hosting at AMF Wallington Lanes in Wallington, NJ. The event benefitted Intensive Therapeutics, a non-profit charitable organization that provides occupational therapy services to children with autism and hemiplegia from stroke, CP, and brain injury. After a game of billiards, Brandon sat down with me, and we talked more about his event and his time in the NFL.

The charity bowling event benefits Intensive Therapeutics, a non-profit organization that helps children with special needs. Why is this organization important to you?

Brandon Myers: Well first of all, it’s a great organization, and it’s just great to be able to help kids. Being new to the area, they approached me and I jumped on it right away. My niece actually had a speech problem and she went to something similar to this program. Now she’s fine. It really hits home there. It’s also a great way to give back to the community. A lot of guys [Giants] are gonna come — I think we’re sold out. It’ll be a good time for everybody.

How has giving back to the community by hosting charity events like this helped keep you grounded as a professional athlete?

BM: I think as a professional athlete, sometimes you get lost in what you’re doing day to day. You’re game planning for an opponent, you’re flying to a city, you’re surrounded by the same guys. It puts you back in reality — realize there are people struggling. I’m very fortunate, so to be able to take a step back and help people out in any little way that I can, I think it’s a great thing.

Shifting our focus to football, you had a breakout year with the Raiders in the 2012-2013 season. What can you do to mirror that success in New York?

BM: It was definitely a great year personally, but as a team we didn’t win a lot of games. Just the opportunity to come to New York and play in arguably the greatest city, in front of great fans, passionate people, and the organization itself — it was a no brainer. I’ve been asked this question a lot — how can you duplicate that? It’s not really fair to say how can you get 79 catches, because if you look at the two teams, it’s totally opposite. We were down a lot. Obviously, we haven’t started the way we wanted to this season, but I’ve never been around a group of guys that have so much talent. We’ve got three guys on the outside that can score like that. You got the guy [Eli Manning] throwing the ball who’s a Super Bowl MVP. He knows what he’s doing. It’s about doing all the little things as a tight end, which might not always show up on the stat sheet: blocking, pass protection, chipping, stuff like that.

Obviously Raider Nation is pretty intense, but what’s different about playing on the east coast as opposed to northern California?

BM: One of the biggest things I’ve noticed is everybody around here is really passionate about football. Not to say that they weren’t in Oakland, but you go out to the breakfast shop, the Post Office, even the guys working at the front desk downstairs in my building — everybody is just a die hard Giants fan. Everybody wants to see you win and succeed — especially with the Super Bowl being here. The Giants have won a couple Super Bowls recently, so everybody’s just real passionate, and they want to take care of the players. It’s been a great experience. The people around here are very good and it’s been fun so far.

When you’ve got guys like Jimmy Graham and Antonio Gates putting up big numbers, do you think that there’s more pressure on today’s tight end to produce in the passing game?

BM: Maybe not so much pressure from inside the organization, but maybe from the outside. Guys like Jimmy Graham, Antonio Gates — those guys are special. That doesn’t come around too often. They’ve evolved the tight end position to be vertical threats down the field, and they’ve definitely changed the way the tight end is perceived in the offense.

In the off-season, the Giants signed you to a one-year deal. What are your thoughts on returning to the team next season, do you want to come back?

BM: Absolutely. I’m from a small town in Iowa. I went to the University of Iowa. Coming out here, I had only been to New York once and I wasn’t sure how I’d like it. Like I said, it’s the greatest city in the world. But now that I’m here and we’re going into the 8th week — it’s been great. The organization is top notch, they take care of the players, you’ve got a chef, you’ve got nice facilities, a lot of things like that. Obviously, I’d like to come back, you just never know. Like you hear people say on SportsCenter, you really find out that it’s a business. Which is true, you do find out that it is a business and you can only control your end. I’d love to be back, doing things like this — you don’t do that in a lot of cities. It’s definitely cool, it’s unique. I’m just trying to take advantage of it while I’m here, and if I’m back next year, that would be great.

Since our conversation, the Giants have won games against Green Bay and Washington, but lost a heartbreaker to Dallas. Though the loss to Dallas puts a damper on the Giants’ playoff hopes, they’re still only 2 behind in the win column after being left for dead at 0-6. On a positive note, Brandon really seems to be meshing well with quarterback Eli Manning of late, hauling in a pair of touchdowns in the last 2 weeks.

As for Brandon’s charity bowling event, all 48 lanes were sold and over $30,000 was raised for Intensive Therapeutics. Brandon wasn’t the only Giant in attendance. Teammates Brandon Jacobs, Kevin Boothe, Jim Cordle, Bear Pascoe and Henry Hynoski also bowled with attendees and stayed for autographs and photo ops. In a Lunar Sports post press release, Brandon expressed his gratitude: “I’m grateful for the support of my teammates, the Giants organization and our fans, all coming together to help children with special needs.” Brandon’s big heart is a reminder to us all to invest in people and help out those who need us.

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