Q: How does your background in the NFL help you in your acting career, most recently in Fox's Brooklyn Nine-Nine?
"It helps me every day, immensely, mostly because when you play sports, you are relentlessly examining yourself. I mean, everything you do when you play is recorded and gone over again and again, and each move, each step is broken down to try to improve it. I know some actors don't watch themselves on film but I definitely do. There's a saying: 'What gets measured gets done.' I say: 'What gets examined gets better.'"
Sitting in high school biology, listening to the teacher drone on about
genetics, I snapped to attention when she used male pattern baldness as an
example of a dominant trait. My heart started pounding with fear - with bald
men on both sides of my mother's family as far as the eye could see, I was
doomed to have a chrome dome.
I remained anguished about the prospect of being bald for the next 20 years
as my hairline retreated and my hair steadily thinned. Bald men seemed
disfigured to me....
Q: Any ways your sports background has held you back?
It did not help me with regards to health, I think. What I mean is that the basis for exercise should be to be healthy. Not about just trying to catch a ball or something. So when I retired from the NFL, at first I felt like I didn't really have to work out anymore, because there was no game on the horizon. That's why a lot of star athletes gain so much weight. I eventually realized that I needed to work out for my brain and my body. My brain is my tool, and the best thing for it is exercise.
Q: So you find working out enjoyable now?
Getting in my workout every day calms me down, helps me think better, and helps me learn my lines faster. The actual specifics of the workout don't matter. It's the habit. Just getting there and doing it. You almost have to think of your workout like going to a spa -- the minute it doesn't make you feel better, it's not going to be a habit you can sustain. So the whole 'no pain, no gain' thing, it doesn't work. In fact, exercise can never feel like work.
Q: You're 45 now. What's the best health advice you've ever been given?
I've done a lot of reading about health over the years but it actually was my wife, Rebecca, who gave me a wake-up call about taking care of myself. And it wasn't a statement -- it was an action. I was 30 pounds overweight and one day she simply came up behind me and pinched my back fat. Look, a man never thinks he's out of shape. And when she did that, it helped me see myself for what I was, and that I was heading in a bad direction. I realized I needed to be healthy for my kids. (Of course, I later learned exactly how bad all that mid-section fat is, in terms of your overall health.)
Q: What is your worst habit?
I love sugar -- I am a sugar addict. I mean, I can just smell a blueberry muffin -- the 1,000-calorie kind that's more cake than muffin -- and I have to fight off the urge to just inhale it. And no, I don't want healthy muffins -- I want the big bomb of a muffin. Pies, cakes, and all baked goods -- I am a sucker for them and unfortunately I am the kind of guy who could eat a whole pie. So I have to control myself, but I don't exclude them entirely because I think that's too extreme. So I have my cheat days -- it's all about balance.