Chris Murphy- Being that you are from Muskegon, did playing close to home factor into your decision about playing at Saginaw Valley State?
CM- What drew you to Saginaw Valley State?
RM- Well actually when I went to Saginaw Valley, at the time, they had Lions Training Camp there, kind of like what they have here. That was one of the draws for me. They had great facilities, the coaches were great, the players were great, and they had some NFL guys I think two years before I got there, and actually a first round pick.
CM- Do you think playing in Division II gave you more or less of a chance at being noticed by NFL Talent?
RM- Well you obviously have a little less exposure because you don’t have the big names that come out to watch, but as long as you’re doing well at any college level, they pay a lot of people to go out and find talent. I’m a big believer that if you’re good enough they will find you somehow. They found me and they found a couple of other guys at my school, too.
CM- You played one season with the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe. What was it like playing football in Amsterdam?
RM- Football in Europe was cool. It was a chance for me to compare myself to Division I athletes. I kind of made the jump from Division II just to the pros, and that was a pretty big leap for me, and I didn’t really handle that too well my first year. Going over to NFL Europe gave me a chance to play against not only NFL talent, Division I talent, guys that were in the same boat that I was. It gave me the confidence that I needed to come back to the NFL and play football the way I knew I could.
CM- Did you get a good turnout at games?
RM- Yeah, if I am not mistaken, the games are in soccer stadiums that hold a ton of people, so if you get 20 or 30 thousand you got a really good crowd. They are noisy. They are allowed to bring in noisemakers. It’s just like if you went to a soccer game over there. Just constant noise, constant horns, whistles, they had chants, the whole nine yards. They were pretty die-hard fans. There weren’t a ton of them, but the ones we had, they were all about it.
CM- You also won the World Bowl while with the Admirals. What was that like?
RM- That was cool. It was a good experience. When you go over there, you’re in a hotel with the same guys for 10 weeks straight, not including training camp. You get really close to those guys and they are all you have. You don’t have any friends or family, just your teammates, so winning that championship really meant a lot.
CM- This is your first season at Bills Training Camp in Rochester, what are some things you like and dislike about camp?
RM- The dorms are cool, the fans are good, and the food is really good. They treat us really well over there in the cafeteria. It’s a pretty good experience especially with everything being local. My training camps in the past, I’ve always had to drive from housing to practice, there was always some kind of commute involved. This is really nice having everything local and within walking distance.
CM- Would you say football was your favorite sport growing up?
RM- Football and basketball. I really liked football early on as a kid, and then I as I got older, I started leaning towards basketball as my favorite sport. But then I was better at football, so I continued down the path of football.
CM- Who were some of your favorite athletes and teams growing up?
RM- As a kid, my favorite team was the Lions just being from Michigan, and my favorite player was Barry Sanders. It was great to be a Michigan guy and always get the Lions games on Sundays. I was just fortunate to always get a chance to watch him play. He was amazing, and was an inspiration to a lot of people. I just liked everything about him.
CM- Did you have any non-sports role models you looked up to as a kid?
RM- No, not really. I just tried to surround myself around good people. My parents obviously set a good example for me of how to live my life, and how to handle my business. The friends I associated with they were always good people. I made sure I was around the type of person who was doing the right thing, and there parents were a good influence on me, as well. There’s definitely a lot of people that have helped me out along the way.
CM- What is your favorite sports memory?
RM- Probably have to me my college years winning that playoff game when we were down 25 at the half. Everybody wrote us off, and most of the crowd left- it was empty. We came back to beat them, we shut them out and scored 26 points in the second half to win by one. It was Saginaw Valley vs. IUP (Indiana University of Pennsylvania.) It was one of those things that no one really knows about besides the people in the locker room.
CM- Do you having a favorite vacation spot?
RM- The Dominican Republic because the people are really nice, the weather is great, the beaches are nice, the food is good. Just everything about it. I’ve been there a couple of times.
CM- What do you do on a typical day off?
RM- Hang out with my family, see if I can get some golf in early in the morning, so I have plenty of time for my kids. The nightcap would be putting the kids to bed, and watching a show with my wife, probably some kind of mystery.
CM- What is your favorite city to visit on the road and why?
RM- Probably Chicago. Everything is centrally located. The mall is right near the hotel where they keep the guys. Especially during Christmas time because you can get a lot of shopping done.
CM- Who are some of your favorite musicians or artists out right now?
RM- I’m not a really big music guy. I enjoy music, and enjoy playing music. I actually play the piano and the guitar, occasionally, but I am not very good. I don’t just sit around and listen to music, if it’s on the radio I’ll listen to it, but I won’t go out of my way to find it.
CM- What are some of your non-sports involved hobbies?
RM- I enjoy golfing, I enjoy playing the piano and guitar, and recently I have taken my girls fishing. One of my neighbors is an avid fisherman, and he has taken me on a few trips and is showing me the ropes, so now I’m trying to pass it on to my kids.
CM- Describe Chan Gailey in one word.
I’m trying to thing of a word that would be for someone who commands respect. I can’t think of one, so we will just say respect.