The trash-talking, fierce competitor on the field is the Jalen Ramsey that Los Angeles Rams fans tune in to watch play every week—the one the "outside world" sees.
"I'm OK with however people perceive me, and people do get different versions of me too. That's all fine to me," Ramsey says.
The seasoned NFL veteran is notorious for trying to get into his opponents' heads—it's what other players say he's best at. Some of his most notable trash-talking moments (caught on camera) are his pregame banter with Davante Adams, the infamous fight with A.J. Green and his viral postgame interview in 2016 after facing Steve Smith Sr.
But the Jalen Ramsey off the field hopes he's someone people can think highly of. "Once people get to know me and they see different sides of me, then [any] misconception goes away pretty quickly," he says.
Ramsey spoke one-on-one recently with Bleacher Report to talk about his vodcast Straight Off the Press. In collaboration with UNINTERRUPTED, the defending Super Bowl champion has been airing his raw, unfiltered reaction postgame—win or lose.
Directly after home games, the Rams cornerback films in a suite at SoFi Stadium. A wide variety of guests—including his father, teammates and even rapper YG—have joined him there. After away games, Ramsey films immediately upon the team's return to Los Angeles in a specially outfitted van en route to the team facility.
Ramsey is drawing back the curtain and letting people in on who he is and how he really feels. In an episode with the rapper, singer and actor Tobe Nwigwe, Ramsey delves into family and being a father: "I don't really want my daughters to look at me as the football player. I want them to look at me as a great dad."
In another episode, Ramsey opened the show with a revealing monologue after one of the toughest plays of his career to swallow—a game-winning touchdown scored on him by Seattle's DK Metcalf in Week 13:
"I feel like lately I've been literally eating, sleeping, dreaming football, football, football, football, football, football. Just trying so hard to get s--t right, just right it for the whole team, as a leader on the team. ...
"I hate feeling this way, but you gotta keep going through the storm. Keep on pushing. Keep on fighting. Fight even harder. You just gotta go harder in any way that you can. So that's what I'mma do. Sucks though. I literally just can't stop looking at the spot in the end zone right now where DK caught that pass. ...
"Just the nature of my position, you can go a whole game where you hold a really good receiver … you can hold a guy like this to zero catches. ... But that moment, to me, overrules all the other moments in the game, by far. I hate that that happened that way. All I can do is keep going."
Ramsey took two hours after the Rams' loss to the Seahawks to process the game prior to filming the show.
"After a loss, I'm already emotionally a little bit drained and don't want to do it," he says, noting that he'll often go it alone in those situations. "Just even asking my teammates to do it when they're feeling the same way, it's tough."
Nevertheless, the show goes on: "I try to just be a man of my word … and give the fans that raw interaction that my family and friends get to see. … It's real therapeutic."
Straight Off the Press is a work in progress. Ramsey and his team with UNINTERRUPTED constantly come up with ideas and try things as they figure out what they want this show to be. Ramsey doesn't want it to become repetitive, so he looks for opportunities to be creative: "We're trying to evolve into what it's going to be … so we can lean into some other conversations."
Straight Off the Press has allowed Ramsey to continue to explore his interest in production and carve out a space within the media landscape—to control his own narrative.
Ramsey has worked on another project with UNINTERRUPTED: the first season of 17 Weeks, which featured various players during the "weekly grind" of the season. The podcast aired during the 2019 NFL season and followed his trade from the Jacksonville Jaguars to the Rams.
"[Reporters will] ask us a question and we'll give them the proper answer that we're supposed to give them, but I know our true emotions in the locker room," he explains about what he can bring to his own shows. "I know how we're really feeling, I know our interactions. Because I'm doing it. I'm in there with my guys. I'm feeling these emotions my damn self, so I think that's where the difference comes for me."
In step with UNINTERRUPTED's mission to show athletes beyond their on-field feats, Ramsey is looking to expand his profile.
"It is very important to have an identity outside of the job, and I kind of hate saying 'job' because I play football for a living. … But at the end of the day, I still don't want that to define me," Ramsey says. "Being more than an athlete is super important to me. Something that definitely hits home."
His goals for himself include his ultimate goal as a player: to be remembered as a good teammate. Certainly, the three-time All-Pro wants to wear a gold jacket someday, but he also wants his teammates to look back and appreciate him for always trying to put them in positions to succeed.
"Really what matters to me when my playing career is over is that my teammates would be like, 'Man, whatever happened with Jalen, how his career may have ended—good, bad, whatever—man, y'all, he was an amazing teammate. He was an amazing guy. He always tried to help us.' ...
"Whatever the case may be, I want people to look back and be like, 'Man, Jalen Ramsey was one of the best teammates ever.'"