At Strayland, where I keep all of the special mementos I’ve collected throughout my life and career, I have this neon sign hanging on the wall. It says, “It was all a dream.” The sign is one of my favorite things in the whole place. It was a birthday gift from a close friend, someone who has always understood my success has been a lifelong journey and not something that happened overnight. For me, the sign represents not just Strayland the place—it represents my life in general.
When I was a kid, I dreamed of being successful. I didn’t know what “being successful” was going to look like, but once my dream became football, I was willing to do whatever it took to make it happen. And nothing was going to hold me back … at least nothing I could control. The sign has always reminded me of the Biggie song—“It was all a dream …”—but when I was a kid and dreaming, I wasn’t reading Word Up magazine; I read magazines about the NFL and cars and style. The sign is a reminder that everyone’s got to start somewhere, and no one ever starts from the top (well, at least I didn’t).
So, what do I dream about now? My professional dream is to continue to do things that are interesting, that aren’t expected of me, and are … well, fun. I want to reset the norm of what athletes can accomplish off the playing field so they’re not lumped into the whole idea of, “Well, he’s just a jock. He can only talk about sports or do reality TV.” I want to show we can be productive and add more to society outside of entertaining fans on the gridiron. I just want to show there are no limits to life. I feel like my future is limitless—and I want you to feel that way, too.