Oct 13, 2021
When we think about professional athletes a number of things come to mind… elite abilities, wealth, and the pinnacle of success are among them. Greg Camarillo’s comments about what life in the NFL is really like are a welcome peek behind the curtain to understand the day in and day out nature of what professional athletes experience. While he admits that his time in the NFL was indeed a pinnacle, he also realizes that the things that took him there are things that are available to everyone, in every walk of life.
Join me as Greg and I discuss his road to the NFL, which started when he walked on to the football team at Stanford and how his first years in the NFL were tenuous at best. He reveals the struggles professional athletes experience and offers a way through the difficulties through open dialogue and humility. I hope you take the time to listen to this insightful conversation.
Success doesn’t just happen. Many things go into the journey there. Greg Camarillo says that one of the attitudes he’s found extremely helpful is that no matter what role he’s in, he finds people to look up to and emulate. Who is doing what he needs to do, who is doing it with excellence? That’s who he wants to be like.
What he describes is the old-fashioned idea we call “finding a role-model” and it’s as helpful today as it ever was. Listen to hear Greg explain why role models are so important, how to make the most of them, and what can be done to apply what you learn in the best way possible.
Greg Camarillo never expected to make it to the NFL, much less become a starting wide receiver. But one of the reasons he did was because he understood what the coaches were looking for. Put yourself in the coaches shoes for a moment. When a game is on the line, what keeps them from putting a young or inexperienced player in the lineup? It’s the lack of confidence they have in that player. Can the player be trusted on the field?
Greg says that the best way to answer that question is to develop consistency. And this doesn’t only apply to football. When those who have the authority to give you a bigger or greater role see that you deliver good results, consistently, they have greater confidence that you’ll do so when they give you an opportunity. So, how can you apply that mindset in the roles you fill right now?
One thing I was eager to ask Greg was how an NFL player handles the inevitable reality that his career is not going to last forever. In fact, the average player’s career is only three and a half years long. How does a player do his best every day, while knowing that the odds of a long career are not in his favor.
Compounding the issue, players who do experience careers longer than the average face a handful of important questions once they do retire. What is my value, my drive, my purpose now that the career that defined much of my life is gone? Now that I’ve reached the pinnacle of a very elite career and am starting over at 30 or 40 years old, what am I going to do with myself for the next 50+ years? Will I ever feel the same level of excitement again?
Questions like these often nudge players into a dark place and recent stories illustrate how important it is that something is done to better equip players for the day they leave the league. In this conversation, Greg highlights some of the great things the NFL Player’s Union does for players and provides guidance for those who are leaving a life-defining career and stepping into the unknown.
Greg Camarillo is currently the Coordinator of Student-Athlete Development at the University of San Diego, a role he has held for the last six years. He is also an on-air analyst for NBC 7 San Diego, regularly appearing on 'Football Night in San Diego' and 'Sports Wrap OT.'
Greg started his collegiate football career as a walk-on punter/receiver at Stanford University, where he earned an engineering degree in 2005. He was then able to turn a minicamp tryout with the Chargers into an 8-year NFL career as a wide receiver with stops in San Diego, Miami, Minnesota and New Orleans. After hanging up the cleats, Greg earned a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership at San Diego State University knowing that he wanted to work in collegiate athletics. Greg and his wife, Sharon, live in San Diego and have 3 daughters - Avery (8), Cameron (5) and Sloane (3).
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