GREENWAY’S RICHIE BROCKEL: FIVE YEARS WITH THE PANTHERS
Greenway graduate Richie Brockel retired from the NFL this past season after playing five years with the Carolina Panthers, and Demon Dispatch reporter Kara Zahariades talked with him about everything from his opinion of NFL MVP Cam Newton to his days as a Demon.
How do you handle the pressure of this sport?
I think the best way to handle pressure is being prepared. I think you can get a lot of comfort from preparation, and there’s different ways to prepare yourself. I used to visualize what I needed to do on the field combined with hours of studying film. Those two things combined I think helped reduce the pressure of the situation because preparation gave me confidence and alleviated stress.
Was being in the NFL always your dream growing up?
No not really. I used to want to be in the NBA. Then I realized that it probably wasn’t going to happen, but I loved playing for Coach Howard Mueller at Greenway. We had some great teams.
What is one thing that you didn’t like about the NFL?
I didn’t like the fact that there aren’t guaranteed contracts for NFL players. It’s a brutal sport, and you really have to put your body at risk.
What was your favorite thing about playing in the NFL?
I’d say when it comes down it, I miss hanging out with my teammates and the comradery we had on the Panthers.
What are you doing now?
Well currently I am retired from football. I’m working at a firm doing taxes. I’m a cpa/cta.
When you were younger did you have a player that you looked up to?
It was a basketball player, and it was Shane Battier.
What activities do you like to do with your free time?
I like to skate and rock climb.
What was it like when you played here at Greenway?
I had a great experience. We were really good in sports, and we went to the State Championships in football and basketball. We were in the playoffs every year with a lot of winning teams, so that made it really fun. I made some really good friends, and the teachers at Greenway were the best. All my classes were awesome.
Did you have a teacher that impacted you most?
I don’t know if I could list one because everybody contributed in so many different ways- the things I learned and took away. I got a little bit from every teacher I had.
What advice would you give to high school athletes?
Have fun. I’d say whatever sport you’re playing you know you can’t play it forever, so just enjoy it while you can. If you get the opportunity to play beyond high school then you’re lucky, and you should really appreciate it.
What was it like to play with a hot head like Cam Newton?
You know you use the term hot headed and I don’t think I would use the term hot headed to describe Cam. I would say Cam is more competitive. I would say that competitiveness helps him strive, and motivate all the people around him, but I think also that competitiveness can come across as being pouty because that guy works harder than anyone I’ve ever been around. He’s a very diligent person and a very hard worker. He’s definitely a very positive part of the team.
Do you have anything else that you would like to add that would contribute to the story?
I’ll throw in a piece of advice that I got when I was in college from Coach Peterson who was my coach at Boise State. He said, “You should have your goals in mind of what you want to achieve socially, professionally and academically.” He always told us to write our goals down and then he said before you do anything throughout your day ask yourself is this getting me closer to or further away from my goals, and that was just something I used a lot. I think it helped me achieve a lot of the things I wanted to do.