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, itâ€™s a great organization, and itâ€™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 sheâ€™s fine. It really hits home there. Itâ€™s also a great way to give back to the community. A lot of guys [Giants] are gonna come â€” I think weâ€™re sold out. Itâ€™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 youâ€™re doing day to day. Youâ€™re game planning for an opponent, youâ€™re flying to a city, youâ€™re surrounded by the same guys. It puts you back in reality â€” realize there are people struggling. Iâ€™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 itâ€™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 didnâ€™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 â€” it was a no brainer. Iâ€™ve been asked this question a lot â€” how can you duplicate that? Itâ€™s not really fair to say how can you get 79 catches, because if you look at the two teams, itâ€™s totally opposite. We were down a lot. Obviously, we havenâ€™t started the way we wanted to this season, but Iâ€™ve never been around a group of guys that have so much talent. Weâ€™ve got three guys on the outside that can score like that. You got the guy [Eli Manning] throwing the ball whoâ€™s a Super Bowl MVP. He knows what heâ€™s doing. Itâ€™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 whatâ€™s different about playing on the east coast as opposed to northern California?
BM: One of the biggest things Iâ€™ve noticed is everybody around here is really passionate about football. Not to say that they werenâ€™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 â€” everybody is just a die hard Giants fan. Everybody wants to see you win and succeed â€” especially with the Super Bowl being here. The Giants have won a couple Super Bowls recently, so everybodyâ€™s just real passionate, and they want to take care of the players. Itâ€™s been a great experience. The people around here are very good and itâ€™s been fun so far.
When youâ€™ve got guys like Jimmy Graham and Antonio Gates putting up big numbers, do you think that thereâ€™s more pressure on todayâ€™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 â€” those guys are special. That doesnâ€™t come around too often. Theyâ€™ve evolved the tight end position to be vertical threats down the field, and theyâ€™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. Iâ€™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 wasnâ€™t sure how Iâ€™d like it. Like I said, itâ€™s the greatest city in the world. But now that Iâ€™m here and weâ€™re going into the 8th week â€” itâ€™s been great. The organization is top notch, they take care of the players, youâ€™ve got a chef, youâ€™ve got nice facilities, a lot of things like that. Obviously, Iâ€™d like to come back, you just never know. Like you hear people say on SportsCenter, you really find out that itâ€™s a business. Which is true, you do find out that it is a business and you can only control your end. Iâ€™d love to be back, doing things like this â€” you donâ€™t do that in a lot of cities. Itâ€™s definitely cool, itâ€™s unique. Iâ€™m just trying to take advantage of it while Iâ€™m here, and if Iâ€™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 Giantsâ€™ playoff hopes, theyâ€™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 Brandonâ€™s charity bowling event, all 48 lanes were sold and over $30,000 was raised for Intensive Therapeutics. Brandon wasnâ€™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: â€œIâ€™m grateful for the support of my teammates, the Giants organization and our fans, all coming together to help children with special needs.”Â Brandon’s big heart is a reminder to us all to invest in people and help out those who need us.