The average NFL career lasts only four years. NFL wide receiver, Ramses Barden, isn’t average though.
The 6’6” Super Bowl champion just completed his fourth season with the New York Giants and will more than likely sign a big time free agent contract this off-season. We caught up with Ramses and talked about last year’s Super Bowl, Kendrick Lamar, Joe Budden and much more. Check it out.
Talk about this past season. Was it your best so far statistically?
I have a mentality where I prepare daily to be the #1 wide receiver on the team. I just prepare to play the best and perform the best each day. I tried my best to take advantage of the opportunities I got this year. I was excited when those opportunities came. I was able to start in week 3 versus Cleveland. When the opportunities came I just maximized them and tried to make plays.
Who would you like to win the Super Bowl this year?
I can’t quite call it just yet. I like the Packers to make it from the NFC and I think the Texans or Broncos will represent the AFC.
Tell us about your first Super Bowl experience last year.
It was a dream season for us. We struggled at certain times, but we had a strong backbone and the mantra of “finish.” We were just a team with the courage and passion to play games until the very end and it showed because we came back to win a number of games. All of the tough times early in the season helped us gain momentum for a storybook ending. Then once we got to Indianapolis, the energy was remarkable. Indy isn’t a glitzy type of city, but it had its own sense of culture and it really came alive during Super Bowl week. People were partying in the streets everywhere and just enjoying themselves. We had a group of about 50 people follow us from a restaurant back to our hotel once, so it was really wild out there. And then winning the game was just indescribable. It’s something I’ll always remember.
This was the last year of your contract with the Giants, so now you’re a free agent. Where are you playing next season?
I would love to resign with the Giants. I’ve made [NYC] a home, made friends here and media connections for my life after football. I know it’s a business, so at the end of the day, a business decision will be made. My agent and I just have to sit down with the Giants’ management and hopefully both parties can find a way to keep me around. Free agency doesn’t open until March so I’ll have a better idea of where I’ll be playing then.
Describe the adjustment coming from a small college to the NFL.
I went to Cal Poly in college, which is a lower level D1 school. It was a small school, but the style we played was very fast. It was a triple option offense with a lot of short and very fast guys on the team. Since we played at such an up-tempo pace in college, coming to the NFL wasn’t too much of an adjustment. Now, of course, the team speed of the defensive players, the players being bigger and more physical was a difference. Another adjustment was I found out this was a business. In college, you’re practicing for a few hours and watching film for about thirty minutes, and you lift weights here and there. In the NFL, people don’t understand the amount of time we put in. You’re at the facility all day long. In the off-season you sometimes have 10 to 15 hour days.
What did you do in high school or college that no one else was doing that helped you make it to the league?
Everyone has a different path. I don’t quit. I don’t know how to quit. It doesn’t matter how hard the conditioning or practice is or how bleak the opportunity looks, I’m not going to quit. I also look at each day as an opportunity to get better. It doesn’t have to be something big that you do, just do something. It can be 15 to 20 minutes, just always do something to help you get to where you want to be and that builds toward your success. A continuous focus on getting better will give you an honest chance to compete and get noticed.
What kind of music are you listening to right now?
The Joe Budden mixtape, Loose Quarter. I’m not impressed, but that’s not to say it isn’t any good. It’s just what I’ve come to expect from him, which is good music. I’m a huge fan and he’s a tremendous artist. I was a fan of his since his first album. It’s nice to see him finally getting some of the recognition that he deserves. Some of my favorite all-time artists are Nas, Jay-Z, Lupe, Blu, but Andre 3000 is the best right now. Kendrick Lamar had album of the year for me last year as well. I love music, I could go on and on about this. It was great to see Kendrick resurrect traditional values and artistry in his music and find new ways to connect with the youth.
Who’s your celebrity crush?
Phylicia Rashad. If she still looks like she did on “The Cosby Show,” that’s my celebrity crush. (laughs)
What else do you have going on in your life right now?
I’m in the midst of setting up a personal charity. I’ve always been willing to lend a hand to people. I feel like charity should be hands on. People normally give money, which is great and we need that, but we also need people to give time. Seeing people in-person and allowing them to get to know you personally goes way further than just money. Money is important, but carving out time to help someone is sometimes more effective than just giving money.
For more from Richard Boadu, visit 6magazine.com.