Questions and Answers with Colts nose tackle Brandon McKinney.
*Question: When did you first start playing football?
*Answer: "I was playing when I was seven years old. My uncle made me do it. I had no choice."
*Q: How many different positions have you played since that time?
*A: "I've played every position on the O-line, every position on the D-line, linebacker and running back."
*Q: Which one of those positions was your favorite?
*A: "Linebacker. I played linebacker in high school. That was my favorite. I just felt like a skinny guy."
*Q: Did you play any other sports when you were growing up?
*A: "I played basketball in high school. That's what I really love, I really love basketball. But I kind of started growing horizontal instead of vertical so…"
*Q: Do you still watch basketball? Do you have a favorite team or player?
*A: "I like LeBron (James, Miami Heat), he's my favorite player, and I'm a Shaq (Shaquille O'Neal) fan. Those are my favorite players."
*Q: Did you have a moment when you realized that you were actually playing in the NFL?
*A: "I think every game is like that. I'm still like a little kid, you know. Just like man, I'm here. I'm doing what a lot of people wish they could do or are not able to do. So I don't take it for granted. I'm very blessed. I still get excited like a little kid."
*Q: Do you have any pregame rituals or superstitions?
*A: "I'm pretty simple. I listen to music. When I wake up on Sunday morning I listen to gospel first, then kind of switch into R&B and then I get into my gangster rap – my "thuggery" rap. I kind of get my mind right spiritually and mentally in the mornings, and just continue on from there. Before the actual tunnel I listen to Smokie Norful, 'I Need You Now' and 'I Still Say Thank You'. I listen to both of those songs before I go out. It helps me focus and kind of get my mind right."
*Q: Is there anyone in your life who you really attribute your success to?
*A: "Just my family. I'm fortunate enough to have what a lot of people don't have, and that's a strong family background. They've always been behind me 100 percent. That's just one thing that's always been ground into me. There's never been one person, but just my whole family. I don't want to let them down because they sacrificed a lot for me. To go to high school, there was a certain high school I had to pay tuition, and I had to pay tuition my first year in college because of Prop 48. So you know, just a lot of sacrifice. So, I always say my family."
*Q: What are your plans after football?
*A: "I'm trying to get more business-minded. I'm in the process of building a sports complex in my hometown (Dayton, Ohio). It's going to be called the Dianne McKinney Sports and Learning Center. That's my mom; she passed away four years ago. But that's what I'm planning on doing right now. I've also got some other business opportunities. I've made some pretty smart investments and things like that. So, just being a business man. I kind of look up to Magic Johnson, just how business-oriented he is and, of course, he's a Michigan State guy. I've done research on him and just the things he's done. It's kind of motivating. So I know when I'm done playing ball I'm going to make moves and try to get on his level one day."
*Q: What was your first job?
*A: "I worked at a firehouse. They made fireman gear and I worked there putting together fireman helmets and doing inventory and all types of stuff. I was always helping people move, that's why I'm so strong. I was always moving and trying to make some extra cash. That was really it, I never had any crazy jobs. I was always in football."
*Q: Is there a quote or a saying that comforts or motivates you?
*A: "We have a quote that my family goes by, 'Once a task is first begun, never leave it till it's done. Be the labor great or small, do it well or not at all.' It gets me through. Once you start something you've got to finish it, no matter how big or great the task is."
*Q: What is it about football that makes you keep playing?
*A: "The competition. The camaraderie and being around guys (is fun). The love for the game and wanting to be the best, wanting to be the best in the world, trying to be a world champion, that's the biggest thing. But the competitiveness, being on the best stage, the best level of football and being able to stay there. I was undrafted so for me, I'm seven years in so just being that guy."