Chris Myers Exclusive Interview for SwoleScience.com
Chris Myers is an exceptionally talented professional football player in the National Football League, and has been consistently ranked as one of the top centers in the league over the past few years. He won a national championship with what was ranked the ‘greatest college team of all time’- the 2001 University of Miami Hurricanes. He was chosen for the 2012 Pro Bowl and was the first Houston Texans’ offensive lineman to attend the Pro Bowl in franchise history. Chris’ unmatched work ethic, determination and relentless athletic prowess have not only allowed him to play multiple positions on the offensive line within his professional career, but also have help him redefine the role and abilities of the offensive lineman. Chris Myers’ superior athletic ability combined with his incredible mental strength and unwavering dedication for self improvement has allowed him to crawl his way through the ranks of the NFL and secure his position among some of the most elite players in the league. Chris Myers exemplifies a staunch and powerful athlete who has set the bar within the league not only with his athletic accomplishments, but also with his constant commitment to improving his team as well.
Chris Myers Exclusive Interview for SwoleScience.com conducted by Papa Swole.
SwoleScience- Thanks for doing the Interview, How are you doing?
Chris Myers- Doing great.
SwoleScience- You just got back from the 2012 NFL Pro Bowl, and you were the first Houston Texans lineman to ever make the Pro Bowl. what do you think has been the biggest contributor to your success as a player?
Chris Myers- To be the honest with you, and this sounds cliché to say, but the rest of the line. There’s no way, especially at center that you can have a fully successful season all on your own. I mean there’s only a certain amount of plays per game that they call where you’ll have to be alone but the rest of the time you’re having help from both the guards, so I have to contribute it to the rest of the offensive line. To have the line develop these last few years, have a running back like Arian behind you, a quarterback like Schaub, and this year two other ones (quarterbacks), it just definitely helps out. There’s no way a center could make the Pro Bowl on his own.
SwoleScience- So you were a top prospect from the University of Miami, things kind of went stagnant with the Denver Broncos, and now you’re one of the top rated starting centers and leader for one of the best offensive lines in the country. Take us through this evolution?
Chris Myers- The University of Miami, that was just a dream come true. I was a Miami Hurricane growing up and getting to go there was awesome, and then in my third year getting to be a starter and it worked itself out to the point where in my senior year I was able to get some recognition, and ended up being drafted to Denver in the 6th round. That was unbelievable, to be able to be that swing center guard guy out in Denver for a couple years from 05’-06’, and then all of a sudden the training camp of 07’, Ben Hamilton from left guard got hurt, so I had to jump in there as starting left guard and started the first four or five games of that season. Then all of a sudden Tom Nalen our starting center got hurt, and I was that swing guy so I moved over to center and started the whole rest of the year. That was my first actual playing time because in 05’-06’ I was just doing special teams. That was huge for me right there and it was also the end of my first contract so I was unrestricted that season, so being able to have been with coach Kubiak back in Denver for my rookie year in 05’, he was familiar with what I was able to do and luckily I got that starting chance in 07’ and he (coach Kubiak) was at Houston, wanted to the zone scheme and wanted someone who was familiar with it. So with Tom Nalen coming back to Denver the next year because he was hurt in 07’, it was kind of a no-brainer for me. So Kubiak and Rick Smith came searching out for me, they worked out a trade with coach Shanahan, which really changed my career. I came out here (Houston) in 2008 and have been starting since. It’s just been the ride of a life time, I mean we struggled a little bit in 08’ and 09’, and 2010 we obviously had a promising start and kind of went off the deep end those last few games of the season, but we turned this around this past season with the hiring of Wade Phillips and getting things straightened out on all sides of the ball.
SwoleScience- Now that the Houston Texans made the playoffs, do you think you have laid the foundation and ground workout to go to the Super Bowl next year?
Chris Myers- Well I think that’s the whole point. I mean obviously this team has just been fighting and fighting to make the playoffs since the franchise opened up in 02’. This year was actually the first year that we have been able to do it and capitalize upon it. The thing about it is, that our expectations for the playoffs this year, even with all the adversity we had, all the injuries we had, the potential for us to go all the way to the Super Bowl was there. Even in that last playoff game against Baltimore (Ravens) we kind of had a grinder of a game. We were running the ball, we were successful; but it’s just the turnovers that ended up being the demise of the game. We were confident and if we had been able to break Baltimore, then we would have been heading up to New England and we would have been on a roll. There’s no doubt in our minds we would have been able to make it to the Super Bowl. Like you said, it’s just a building block and it’s a foundation that you can build upon and you have to be able to handle the success and organization as a team to be able to stack these things on top of each other and make multiple playoff appearances.
SwoleScience- You’re currently an unrestricted free agent, do you see yourself playing with the Texans next year?
Chris Myers- I hope so. I would like to stay here and see this thing through and be able to see where this thing goes. It’s been a building process with coach Kubiak since day one, I joined in 08’ and I have been having a lot of fun. I have built a lot of relationships and friendships out here so if we can continue that, it would be huge. Is this the end? I don’t know, that’s what I pay my agent for, and that’s what those conversations are for when it comes to contract time. Got another month and a half until free agency starts so we’ll see.
SwoleScience- What expectations do you have for your career within the next few years?
Chris Myers- The way I personally work is since day one, since college, is that I set personal goals for myself. When I achieve those certain goals, I create new ones so I don’t become complacent. First it was make a team, then it was try to get playing time, then it was try to be a starter, and then it was try to make the team better and make the playoffs. You also have your individual goals such as making the Pro Bowl and those are always on the back burner as well. Once you accomplish your goals you have to keep setting the bar higher and obviously the highest one is the Super Bowl. That’s what every player in the NFL plays for, to get to the highest level and that’s what every team ultimately works for as well.
SwoleScience- Did you ever envision yourself playing professionally and at such a high level or performance?
Chris Myers- Well I didn’t start playing football at all, organized football, till 10th grade. My parents wouldn’t let me play, so I didn’t play till 10th grade and when I first started playing I was really small and really skinny. I obviously always wished that I would make it to the NFL and that was always a dream, but you have to understand statistics and how many guys actually make it. Overall though it’s your work ethic, I think. What I learned over my career, in just finishing my 7th year and going on my 8th year in the league, and if I could tell any young kid about anything I’ve learned, is that it is your overall work ethic, determination, and mindset. It obviously has to do a little with physical ability but not as much as it does your tenacity and how much effort you give playing wise. That is just understated. You can’t track that, scouts can’t determine how good you are based on your work ethic but it’s just something that’s going to take you higher and higher. The more you work, the more results you’ll see and you don’t really understand that until it happens. So with success brings more work and that’s the way it works for me personally; as you achieve more, you want more and you want to work harder, and that’s what I’m going to strive for in this offseason.
SwoleScience- What personal improvements to your game you plan to make for next year?
Chris Myers- My weakness has always been my pass protection and I’ve been able to have better technique than the bigger guys. I’m not a 305-310-320 pound player, I’m 285 and I have to have better technique and quickness to be able to block bigger guys. That’s something I’m always consistently working on. You can never be good enough and no matter what your strengths and weaknesses are, you need to work at all of them. I’m going to just try to improve my whole game overall and that’s what every single player has to do every single offseason, not just focusing on one area and making every area better.
SwoleScience- Take us through a season week of practicing and training?
Chris Myers- A regular week for us consists of: play a game on Sunday.
- Monday- you come in and lift, get some kinks out but nothing crazy and no real heavy lifting, just do what you can. Do that first thing in the morning (workout). Then everyone comes in and watches film of the game. After that we get into position groups and go out onto the field, get a light jog in, get rid of the soreness from the game and that actually helps a lot to get that conditioning in after a game.
- Tuesdays: Tuesdays are always off in the NFL. But if you’re a guy who wants to make it a long time in your career then you’re going to live in the training room and that’s something I learned later on in my career. Every single morning whether off or not, I’m in there several hours every morning before anything else starts. Even on off days I’m in there getting training done.
- Wednesdays/Thursdays/Fridays are our practice work days- Get in there early in the morning and stay till 3-4 in the afternoon. Just watching film, lifting, running, and practice.
- Saturday: More of a laidback mental approach to the game. Have a walkthrough in the morning, have off during the day and then it’s to the hotel for a home game. If it’s travel then it’s travel schedule.
- Then game day again Sunday.
SwoleScience- So would you say you build most of your strength and power in the offseason and then just maintaining it?
Chris Myers- Yeah, we definitely do. You definitely build it in the offseason and the point is to maintain it, and if not get stronger during the season. The way our strength program works is they want to have you maintain what you built in the offseason because a lot of guys have problems lifting throughout the year especially towards the end of the season- body starts deteriorating, guys are not as strong anymore, certain areas are injured and can’t be worked out. But with our strength coaches Cedric Smith and Matt Schiotz, they do such a great job implementing other lifts when you’re hurting in one area and keeping your strength the same way. That’s been huge for us, to be able to keep the same strength that you had in July right before training camp and have it in December.
SwoleScience- So what is your training in the offseason then?
Chris Myers- Lifting and running four days a week. One day off during the week but every other day you’re outside good hour to an hour and a half doing conditioning, drills and position groups. Then certain days we’ll have changing direction, straight ahead, or power conditioning, sleds pushes, working in the sand pit, we’re all across the board on what we do. We have the kind of strict regimen that kind of tapers off towards the end so we don’t pull anything. In the weight room we do a lot of Olympic stuff. Power cleans, squats, bench- straight bar or dumbbell, and then also some machines. As I said before our strength coaches are pretty cool about working with you if you have certain things that are ailing you and doing different types of lifts. For the most part it is that old school type of strength training.
SwoleScience- You’re known for having explosive power and speed which is rare for a player your size, what exercises do you think have been the most beneficial for improving your game?
Chris Myers- Over the past couple of years, to be honest with you, and it stinks for my ligaments and my knees, just the worst thing for them, and it’s squats. Being able to squat and keep that strength throughout the year I think has helped out with my blocking ability and I’m convinced of that. Like I said before it is definitely a detriment to your knees and a grinder, but it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make to have that strength throughout the year.
SwoleScience- What are you’re strongest lifts?
Chris Myers- This year it’s actually been my upper body, between dumbbell bench and the straight bar bench this past offseason. Trained this past offseason with a boxing trainer out here and he had myself, Matt Schaub, Kevin Walter and quarterback who was with us last year- Dan Orlovsky. We were all training together at this gym called ‘Hank’s Gym’ right here in Bellaire and he had my upper body and squats through the roof this year so that’s something I’m going to get back to these next couple of months before we start back with the team.
SwoleScience- What player have been the most challenging to play against?
Chris Myers- They’re all different and everyone always asks me this question. There are all types of issues with offensive linemen. You’ll have your issues with the big 340 pound nose guard but then the defensive tackle who’s usually 280 pounds that’s quick and agile. So it all depends and you have to have different repertoire to handle each player and they will try to counter every single move you have, and then you have to be able to counter that back. Obviously you treat a 340-pound guy different from a 280-pound guy. Sometimes you have to fight power with power, sometimes you beat power with speed and quickness, and sometimes you beat a quick guy by strong-arming him. It all depends all across the board and you can’t pinpoint one guy. But a few guys like Haloti Ngata, and Khris Jenkins in his prime, Kevin Williams up in Minnesota, and everyone in their prime were just so good.
SwoleScience- I feel like you’re a very intelligent player in the way that you face and play the game, and I think it has helped put you a step ahead everyone else.
Chris Myers- Thank you, I appreciate that.
SwoleScience- Take us through your most embarrassing play of your career?
Chris Myers- The most embarrassing play I ever had was when I first got to Houston and it was the “welcome to the NFL” play. I mean everyone has one of those and mine was during our first game of the season in 2009. I had just come off a high ankle sprain in training camp, didn’t really have any training camp all year, and it was my first game back. I was playing the Jets, and Kris Jenkins was up against me. I was one on one against him and I stepped the wrong way, I stepped over him too much and he clubbed me to the ground, and he rushed Schaub and made the sack. That was played all over ESPN and talked a lot about in the media here, but that’s just something every player is going to go through. You have to have your good and bad plays, and that was the most embarrassing play of my career. It’s funny to see the transition of time from that season where everyone was hating on me to now. I use that as motivation and I use that to better my career and my playing ability, and it has been pretty successful these last couple of years.
SwoleScience- What injuries have you sustained in your career?
Chris Myers- Knock on wood, I’ve actually been pretty lucky. I had an injury back in college, a lateral lesion on my left knee which is basically a dislocated kneecap which was during my freshman year and from there on I had a high ankle sprain in 2009, and then since then I haven’t had any injury that has prevented me from playing. I’ve remained pretty healthy, which I’m really thankful for. Overall I’ve been really lucky and like I said before just keep working at it every single year.
SwoleScience- What would you say is your strongest quality as a player?
Chris Myers- Going back to what I talked about before, it’s your overall effort. Coaches can coach technique and how to play football but no one can coach how to give great effort except the player themselves; it’s from inside and it’s one thing that is going to be determined on every single play. One player is going to give more effort than the other and that’s how you win your battles. One thing you have to understand as a pro, is that every single play, you have to give all of your best effort and especially when you are on the offensive line and you’re battling every single play. I pride myself on being able to give the most effort every single play and the most tenacity.
SwoleScience- What would you say is your biggest weakness as a player?
Chris Myers- I view it as a weakness but I also view it as an advantage: my size. On our team with the zone-blocking scheme you don’t have to be that big, and you need quicker and more agile guys to work our scheme. Then there are certain plays where you need to be one on one with guys and give up some weight, but you take that sacrifice to be able to operate the rest of the offense. Sometimes it pans out, and I’m lucky that the last few years I’ve been able to hold my own in there and that’s something I try to work on the most. This goes back to me talking about squats, the more squats I do the more weight I can handle, and the better it is for me to take on a nose tackle.
SwoleScience- What is the most important piece of advice you would like to give to aspiring athletes?
Chris Myers- Don’t let any coach tell you that you can’t do anything. Don’t let them tell you that you have to be 320-330 pounds to play offensive line. Don’t let them tell you that you have to run whatever time in a 40. You’re going to look back on your high school days and you’re going to remember them, but training in high school like you’re training in the NFL is just pointless to me. Colleges and teams are going to find you if you’re good enough and like I said before, this is my third time saying it: effort. If you’re a grinder and you’re putting in effort every play, then in films they’ll find you. Even if they’re not directly recruiting you and they’re recruiting someone else they’ll still see you. So be able to understand that effort and tenacity goes a long way.
SwoleScience- Thank you so much for the interview Chris and we look forward to speaking to you again in the future.
(Photos used with permission from Chris Myers)
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