I've always been fascinated by offensive linemen. Football games are won and lost in the trenches, yet offensive linemen seem to get so little respect. Perhaps my favorite lineman in the NFL is Shawn Andrews, the All-Pro right guard for the Philadelphia Eagles.
If I had the opportunity to conduct an interview with Andrews, these are the 20 questions I would like to ask him.
1. Describe the emotions you felt when you broke your leg in the opening game of your rookie season. Did you know right then that you would miss the entire year? What was it like to sit on the bench while this team dominated the rest of the league?
2. Would it have been bittersweet for this team to win a Super Bowl while you were on injured reserve?
3. You have played with some pretty good players while a member of the Eagles—Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook, Terrell Owens, etc. Who is the most talented offensive teammate you have ever had?
4. In your three years as a starter in this league, you have been selected to two Pro Bowls and named an alternate once. Do you believe, when you are at the top of your game, that you are the best offensive lineman in the NFL?
5. Do people recognize you when you walk down the street or eat in restaurants? Being six-foot-four and over 330 pounds, you probably get some glances, but do people know you are Shawn Andrews of the Philadelphia Eagles?
6. You suffered a neck injury during the 2006 NFC Divisional Playoffs and had to sit out the remainder of the game. Late in the fourth quarter, your backup, Scott Young, committed a false start penalty that nullified a key fourth and ten conversion that would have put your Eagles in good position to win the game. Do you feel the outcome of the game would have been different had you still been in the game? Would this team have advanced to the NFC Championship Game to take on the Chicago Bears?
7. You are currently signed by the Philadelphia Eagles through the 2015 season. Do you see yourself still in the league ten years from now? Do you hope to retire as an Eagle?
8. Your brother Stacy was just recently acquired from the Cincinnati Bengals this past offseason. Are you excited at the prospect of playing alongside your brother? How will that affect your play?
9. Which of the five spots on the offensive line best suits your abilities? Could you play all five? Where are you most comfortable?
10. What’s the biggest difference between the NFL and college? What surprises you the most about the NFL?
11. How well do you get along with the rest of the guys on the offensive line? Who is your closest friend on the team?
12. The Eagles made some significant upgrades this past offseason, notably the acquisitions of Jason Peters, Leonard Weaver, Jeremy Maclin, LeSean McCoy, and your brother, Stacy. Do you think this team now has what it takes to win it all this season? Which member of the offense is most valuable to the team?
13. If you absolutely had to win a game, which quarterback in the NFL would you want to lead your team? Which running back would you want to block for?
14. Let’s be honest. Offensive linemen receive very little credit for the success of a team. Most of the credit goes to the quarterback or running back. Does that frustrate you? How do you try to not let it affect you?
15. What is your single greatest on-field moment as a professional athlete?
16. Eagles fans are known for their passion, intensity, and dedication to their team. Do you enjoy playing in the city of Philadelphia?
17. You are a Christmas Day baby. What was it like playing for the team that beat the rival Dallas Cowboys, 23-7, on Christmas Day in 2006 to clinch a playoff spot?
18. Who is the best defensive player you've ever squared off against?
19. If I told you 15 years ago that you would eventually be the All-Pro guard for the Philadelphia Eagles, would you have believed me?
20. Last year, you battled depression and a back injury that caused you to miss the entire season. How have you been able to rebound? Are you prepared for the 2009 season and do you think you will return in Pro Bowl form?