This week I interviewed Chase Coffman. Chase is a former NFL tight end who spent 7 seasons in the league and was a consensus All-American for the Missouri Tigers. He is currently a motivational speaker and was kind enough to share his thoughts on football and his career.
Josh Wahler: Your dad had an amazing NFL career as a tight end. What was it like to grow up with a father who played pro ball?
Chase Coffman: Having a father that played professionally was great, but for me, it wasn’t anything different from others. I knew no different. I grew up seeing some of his old highlights which was cool. The biggest thing was his experience and being able to translate that into coaching us kids and being someone we could look to for advice as we experienced success in sports.
JW: Is there any particular game or moment from your career that really stands out as special?
CC: One of the plays that sticks out to me the most is my first college game. I was a true freshman at Mizzou and we played Arkansas State at Arrowhead. I got to catch a touchdown pass from Brad Smith in my first game in my hometown. That is just one of many that came to mind, but the guys I was able to share all the experiences with and the friendships that were created is the best thing I was able to take away from the entire experience.
JW: Tight end is a pretty intricate position, what are the keys to really excelling and being effective at the position?
CC: The more you can do, the better off you are. Outside of God-given ability, you must put in the work. You need to understand your job and work on the technique of blocking with correct steps, hand placement, and leverage. Then be able to turn into a completely different position on a pass play and know what defensive coverage you are trying to beat and how to run your route based on that coverage. And if you don’t get the ball, turn into a blocker again. Having said all that, the best way to get on the field for anyone coming into football that is not able to play the position right off the bat is to get on special teams. Effort and knowing your job plays a big role in that.
JW: Having played both college and NFL what would you say is the biggest difference or hardest adjustment?
CC: For me the biggest adjustment between college and the NFL was the offensive systems. I came from a stand-up passing system that suited me well in college to a hand in the dirt run game system that didn’t play to my strengths and I was way behind on the run blocking part because I had never done it before.
JW: You’re a motivational speaker now and help motivate others. Who stands out as someone who really motivated or helped you during your career?
CC: My biggest motivators during my career were my father and best friends. I was blessed to have a brother a grade below me who competed with me in everything we did, and some best friends that were the same way. We pushed each other and got the best out of each other. Whether it was working out, playing games, or anything else we did, we competed.
JW: As someone who has experienced the NFL draft and made the transition from student athlete to professional player, what advice would you give to young players who are going through that process now?
CC: Stay humble. Save your money. Treat everyone with respect.