For many aspiring sports writers, your dream is to one day actually get the privilege to speak one on one with the athletes whom you most admire.
While often times that dream might appear to be a bit far away from reality, sometimes life has a way of surprising you.
A few days ago, that dream came true for me.
After spending the last few months reaching out to current and former NFL players in the hopes of conducting an interview with them, Indianapolis Colts Wide Receiver Roy Hall became the first NFL player to return the interest.
Without any hesitation, Roy was kind enough to agree to do an exclusive interview with me for Bleacher Report.
For myself as a fan, I couldn’t have been more excited because Roy is a player whom I have been following with great anticipation. So to have the honor and privilege of speaking to him directly was a dream come true for me.
I prepared myself thoroughly and made the call to Roy. He was friendly from the moment he picked up the phone and was immediately ready to do the interview right then and there.
Roy and I had a great interview which lasted a little longer than 15 minutes. After I hung up the phone, I began the process of uploading the audio recording to my computer so I could transcribe all of the dialog.
Then it happened.
My recording devise bit the dust without a moment’s notice. So I sat there just having completed a fantastic interview with one of my favorite players and within minutes, it was all gone.
I thought to myself, what am I to do?
I did everything imaginable to try to retrieve the audio data but to no avail, it wasn’t coming back. I wasn’t about to call Roy and ask him to do the interview all over again, especially considering that NFL players are busy in the heat of OTA’s right now and even despite that, he was kind enough to spare his time to do the interview with me in the first place.
I thought an email would be a bit more appropriate because I wasn’t about to disturb him during his personal time. I told him everything that happened and within an hour, he wrote back to me.
He told me to just call him at 7:00.
I couldn’t believe it, he just got done taking some of his own free time to do an interview that had since been lost to the ravages of malfunctioning electronic equipment and without any hesitation, he was willing to do it all over again to make sure the interview happened.
That ladies and gentlemen is character.
I set up two new recording devices and the second interview went off without a hitch.
Before I present the interview in its entirety, I would first like to give you all a little bit of background on the man who was so kind as to make this interview happen.
Roy Hall was selected by the Indianapolis Colts in the fifth round of the 2007 NFL Draft out of “The” Ohio State University. While he was fortunate enough to be drafted along with fellow Buckeye teammate Anthony Gonzalez, he suffered a devastating shoulder injury after a serious special teams collision put Hall on the Injured Reserve for the remainder of 2007 season.
While a season-ending injury would put most NFL players on the shelf, Hall instead chose to make an impact off the field while he took the time to recover from his injury.
People have referred to Roy Hall as “The Librarian” due to his efforts to help promote literacy by traveling to schools across America and encouraging children to enjoy and appreciate the values of reading.
Roy is also know for the “Roy Hall Football Skills Camp” which was established to help teach High School students the fundamentals of football while also placing a strong emphasis on the development of positive character.
In 2008, Hall continued to remain active on special teams and even recorded his first career reception during the Colts’ 23-0 victory over the Tennessee Titans in Week 17.
With the departure of future Hall of Fame receiver Marvin Harrison, Hall has an opportunity to make a name for himself in 2009.
After speaking with Roy, I found his enthusiasm to be quite contagious and I know that if the optimism he shared while speaking with me is any indication of things to come, Colts fans are going to have a lot to be excited about this season.
So without further adieu, let’s take a look at what Roy had to say about his football career, the people he’s worked with, and what we can expect to see from the Indianapolis Colts in 2009…
How does it feel to be in the National Football League and wake up every day knowing that you play for one of the greatest teams in professional football?
Playing in the NFL is really a dream come true.
You set fourth goals and have aspirations as a young kid. For myself, it was to either get to the NBA or the NFL. I stopped growing once I got to 6’2(1/2) in about my junior year of High School. Once I realized that I wasn’t going to be any taller and once I started getting scholarships from these big–time Universities, I knew I was going to be a football player. I knew that was my destiny and I knew that was one of the things I wanted to accomplish to make it to the next level. So, it’s really just living a dream come true.
As far as playing football for an organization like the Indianapolis Colts, it’s just a true blessing to come into the league and play for such a well regarded organization. Coach Dungy was a Christian man, a man of faith, a man of god and he used those principles and those teachings on us. He used them to guide our team and that’s why we’ve had such a great team for the last seven years, because our faith has been our backbone.
It’s truly a blessing to come into an organization that’s successful and not have to deal with a team that is struggling or anything of that nature.
I’m sure the Colts are lucky to have somebody with the character that you have so, I think it kind of goes both ways.
Now, when you were drafted by the Colts following their 2006 Championship season, were you more relieved to have been drafted by the best team in football or did you feel an added pressure being drafted by a team that was so competitive?
That’s a real good question.
To be drafted by a successful team means that they feel that you can contribute to the organization and to the team. Usually, good organizations and good teams have a lot of good character guys on their team. So for them to select me was kind of humbling in the sense that all my hard work was paying off.
They recognize good men of character and good football players. So when you get drafted by a team such as the Indianapolis Colts, you understand what you’re getting into and you understand what they expect from you but by the same token, your used to those type of expectations because that’s the way you live your life.
It’s just a perfect fit really.
Now my next question is, everyone knows that you have a lot of passion for Ohio State Football. What did it mean to you to be drafted alongside Ohio State teammate, Anthony Gonzalez and do you secretly pull for Buckeye’s to get drafted to Indianapolis every year?
Every year you want to add a couple of your former teammates. That Ohio State blood-line, you want to add those guys to the team.
This year we happened to be in a situation where I thought we were going to draft running-back Beanie Wells but we decided to draft the running-back out of Connecticut (Donald Brown).
So I was like, we were almost gaining up and almost had a couple more numbers. It’s always a good thing when you have people that you know around you, people that you grew up with. From the age of 18 to 22, you’re really finding yourself and you’re really growing into manhood.
Just having that familiar face around makes the transition that much easier and it always helps to have a friend in the locker-room.
Now you were talking about Coach Dungy earlier, and we know that he has always been a man of great faith like you said.
It seems to me like the teams that he has coached over the years reflect the example that he set forth. Do you think that the same tradition will be carried over in his absence and how has the adjustment been for you in the wake of so many coaching departures?
I think that it will definitely carry over because Coach Dungy hired people and had people on his staff that practice the same types of faith, values and beliefs. So whenever you have a guy like Coach Dungy step down or retire, when you keep it within the organization like with Coach Caldwell becoming the Head Coach, he had been with Coach Dungy for at least eight years.
So, he had been with him through the thick and through the thin and he knows what works and what doesn’t work. He understands that your faith and your belief in god has to be the backbone or you won’t be successful.
I think he will be able to continue to use those principles and those values as the foundation for his team.
To answer your second question, all these coaching changes really does nothing for us because offensively nothing changes. As long as Peyton Manning is the quarterback, for the most part everything will be the same. Coach Caldwell is just going to have a few little wrinkles that he’ll implement within the whole system. For the most part, the coaching changes really don’t affect me as long as I know my assignments and I catch the ball.
I can’t really complain.
From someone who’s actually worked with Peyton Manning, you often hear receivers talk about how great it would be if “so and so” were throwing them the football. How would you describe your experiences working with Peyton and how is he different from other quarterbacks you have played with during your career?
Man you know what Ryan, I answered that question perfectly last time.
You absolutely did, I’m really sorry about that because you had it down-pat.
Peyton is the best of the best and whenever you have the best in front of you, you want to take as many notes as possible. People try to mimic the behaviors and the actions of that person to be successful. Whether it’s in football or business, people want to figure out how he got to that level of success.
So if you have the opportunity to work with him, you’re going to be picking his brain and asking questions, doing everything possible to try to at least get to half his level.
Considering everything that Peyton has done and accomplished, if I could only reach half of that I would become an extremely successful receiver in the NFL. So working with Peyton has been a lot of fun but you learn how to be a professional, you learn how to study, and you learn how to become the best. You try to just implement those strategies and those techniques, everything on the field and off the field.
Earlier today you talked to me about wanting to create a sense of change for yourself this season. So, can you tell us the story about changing your jersey number and how that change might reflect your level of determination this year?
Well, nothing against the number 83 per-se but the last couple years I’ve worn 83 and I’ve had a couple of injuries and a little surgery. 81 to me is just a way for me to get a fresh start, just kind of shed that old number and to start over fresh, brand new, to come to a situation where I can make a name for the number 81.
Brandon Stokley was number 83 and you see a lot of those 83 jerseys in the crowd. So hopefully one day there will be a lot of 81 jerseys because of my accomplishments and great play.
It’s just a time for me to start over fresh. I was number eight in high school and in college. Number 80 wasn’t available so I took 81. Eight times one is eight so however you want to look at it, it’s going to work out pretty good for me.
Last question Roy. What can we expect from the Indianapolis Colts in 2009?
You’re going to have a high-flying, explosive offense as always but I think you’re going to see a different focus. Last year we got off to a slow start but I don’t think the veterans or the guys on this team who will be working out this whole summer are going to let that happen this year.
We’re going to come out, we’re going to come out fast and we’re going to finish strong. Hopefully if the chips fall right we will be playing for another Super Bowl this year. The fans should expect great things from this team.
A lot of young guys are going to step up. There are going to be a lot of faces that people may or may not know but you can have faith in the fact that everybody that’s on the field is going to be able to get the job done.
Absolutely and I want to wish you the best of luck this year Roy. I can’t begin to thank you enough for doing this a second time.
No problem Ryan.
So speaking for myself as a fan, the Bleacher Report community, and the Indianapolis Colts community, thank you very much for taking the time to speak to us.
No problem man.
Well I wish you the best of luck this year Roy
Alright, take care.
And so brought a close to my interview with Indianapolis Colts’ wide receiver Roy Hall.
After having had the opportunity to speak to Roy one on one, his character was the first things that impressed me. This is a man who was willing to take some of his personal time so myself and fellow Colts fans could have an idea of what has been going on in his life.
In a day and age when many professional athletes are caught up in the excitement of just having made it to the NFL, I found it refreshing to speak to a man like Roy who was more than willing to share his enthusiasm with the Colts community and keep us up to date in regarding what’s to come in 2009.
The Indianapolis Colts organization are often applauded for drafting men of great character and Roy Hall is a perfect example of what makes the Indianapolis Colts such a special football team.
On behalf of myself, the Colts community, and the Bleacher Report Community, I would like to again thank Roy Hall for having taken the time to do this interview.
Let's hope that fellow sports writers and athletes alike continue to have a mutual interest in being able to do these kinds of interviews because the possibilities are endless when you combine aspiring sports writing with the enthusiasm that these sports figures bring to the table.
Thank you all for having taken the time to read this article.
Note to the editor: Please do not edit any part of this article. Since this was an interview, it is absolutely essential that no words are changed or taken out of context. Please leave the article as it is but feel free to drop a note on my bulletin board if you have any comments or suggestions. Thank You.