The New Orleans Saints signed LB Nate Stupar, formerly of the Atlanta Falcons this offseason. He was kind enough to take the time for a telephone interview for Saints fans to get to know a little about him.
So, Nate, here's a softball question for you: what were your first thoughts when you heard the New Orleans Saints contacted your agent?
I was surprised. I was like, "Oh wow, the Saints!" I was excited because they came right out of the gate. They were very aggressive. I got a call from Coach Payton, got to talk to him and everyone, and they were always in contact with my agent throughout the process. It's in the same division, and I like competing in this division. I'm glad they came after me and gave me the opportunity.
In Atlanta, above all else, you were known as an excellent Special Teams player. You said you talked to Coach Payton. Did he discuss what role he envisioned for you as a member of the New Orleans Saints?
Yes, I am a core special teams player, and that's something I'll always have value in. Even when I was with the Falcons, my role changed. I became a good defensive player too. I was able to go in three different spots and start. I pride myself on being able to play multiple spots, and play them at a high level. I plan on having that same kind of role here - a core special teamer and being there whenever they need someone. I know multiple positions - they used to call me "The Swiss Army Knife" because I'm able and willing to do so much. That's one of the reasons I've been in this league for so long. I do what the team needs and asks me to do, and just want to go above and beyond what they expect.
You've definitely been in the league a while, being drafted in the 7th Round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Without trying to use the tired cliche, did getting drafted in the 7th Round give you a chip on your shoulder? And if so, do you still have that same mentality now?
I don't know if I ever really had a "chip." It's more of: "Can I continue to make teams? Can I continue to make that 53 man roster?" And to me, every camp, I always tell myself, "You're on the bubble. There are no guarantees. You've got to work every single day like it's your last." And that's my mantra. I'm going to outwork everyone. I'm not going to let someone outwork me and let someone else make plays that I can't. For me, I just take it year-by-year, week-by-week, and I don't take anything for granted.
You said earlier that you like playing in this division. And yes, you're still going to get to see Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers and Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but now it's going to be a little different. The awkward elephant in the room is the fact that you're going to be playing against the Atlanta Falcons, your former team, and moved to a division rival. Is that going to be awkward for you, playing against a team and players who you shared a locker room with as recently as last year?
Shoot, I'm excited to play them twice. They let me go. That was their opportunity, and they could've had me back. Obviously the deal didn't work out, but I'm excited to be where I am. I like the guys over there. I worked with them, I slaved with them, we won and lost together. I can't wait to have them in New Orleans and then to be able to play them over in Atlanta. To me, it will be like another home game when we go play them in Atlanta. I was there for two years, and I love playing there, and I loved the fans and the team. I had a great relationship with those players and coaches, but it's always fun to be able to play teams you had previously been a part of.
So I heard you just got settled in to your house in New Orleans, is that right?
Yeah, we still got boxes everywhere, but slowly but surely we'll get everything taken care of. My wife was supposed to already be here, so I'm just waiting on her to get here to help organize this house.
What are your thoughts on the area and the City of New Orleans so far?
I love it. It's such a rich culture. Just going downtown, seeing the people, the buildings, the type of architecture. It's just awesome to see. I've never been to a place like this. I mean, when it rains, it seems like everywhere gets flooded and that's kind of crazy. I was just driving the other day and the water was up to people's bumpers and that was new for me to see. People were just like, ‘Yeah, that happens all the time.' *laughs*
Aside from preparing for the upcoming regular season, what is keeping you busy this offseason?
I'm married and my wife and I have a baby girl, Mya, who just turned one. She keeps me busy. She's an amazing little girl. We have so much fun just playing, going out to parks, and that takes up a lot of our time. But if we do have time to have a night out, we'll go out to a restaurant, maybe go see a movie, relax, take walks, just spending time together and being together. Plus we have a pool at our house, so I can guarantee we're going to be playing by the pool and relaxing in the sun when summer comes around.
Do you have any TV shows you're watching to pass the time?
We don't have cable, but we stream shows. Me and my wife, we stay up with Scandal, and now I've been getting into Game of Thones just by myself. I've been binge-watching that since I've had so much time before my wife gets here. We also watch Mysteries of Laura, Blindspot, The Voice, and The Bachelor and The Bachelorette when that's on (even though most people probably don't admit to watching those last two).
Have you been paying attention to the NBA or NHL postseasons?
I only am really paying attention to the Pittsburgh Penguins right now. I watched the most recent game. It was good and close. I'm from State College, Pennsylvania. My dad and brother were at that game. It was actually my dad's first Pen's game live. But I'd rather watch TV shows than most sports.
Growing up, I didn't really watch sports. Whenever I went to college, everyone were all Philly fans, so I started cheering for Pittsburgh teams just to make them angry because Philly fans are... they can be very... you know..."passionate" about their team. But really my dad is just from Pittsburgh so that's the only connection I would have to any team. That's why I go Penguins, because my dad's from there.
You're obviously incredibly active on social media, but how else do you try to interact and give back to your community?
At the end of the season, or during the season as I accumulate all the football gear that I don't use or have used that's old, I usually take it all and take it back to my hometown of State College and give it out to State High Little Lions high school. I know back in high school, I got gloves from my older brother [former NFL Tight End Jonathan Stupar] when he was done with his games in college, I know how hard it is for parents to go buy gloves and cleats, so I try as much as possible to get new gloves and cleats and stuff to give it to current or former players at State High at the High School. I think the parents appreciate it, but it's also fun to go back, get a workout in with the team, and being around them - being a good influence on the kids.
And speaking of social media, did you have any backlash from angry Falcons fans when it was announced you had signed with the arch rival Saints?
*laughs* Yeah, a lot of people called me "Traitor." "I can't believe you did this." There was some that were like, "Who even are you?!" Some times it hurt. I can understand why people get really upset, like people back in middle school being cyber-bullied - that's tough. But I got thick skin, so it doesn't really bother me. People do it because they don't really understand the situation. They just have their opinions, but it's only poison if you swallow it.
Is there anything else that you'd want to share, maybe that Saints fans (or football fans in general) just wouldn't know about you?
I have a videography company. It's just me, but I have my own production company. When I do have time, I do weddings and stuff. I've done three or four over the past couple of years. It's nothing extravagant. I graduated Penn State with a degree in Film and Video. It's just a passion of mine on the side. It's nothing huge because I'm so involved with football, but after it's all said and done it's something I'll probably like to jump into.
Have a final send-off message for Saints fans and our readers at Canal Street Chronicles?
I'm a very passionate football player, and I give 110% in everything I do. I can't wait to play in front of you guys at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. You guys are a passionate fan base, and you stand behind each other and you stand behind this team. We appreciate all your love and support, and we expect great things this upcoming season. God Bless. #WhoDat
Saints fans - we've got a good one here in Nate. He's a good guy, who really cares about the team he plays for and being able to connect with the fans. Make sure you follow Nate on Twitter @thenastynate54, on Instagram @thenateynate54, and check out his website StupLyfe.com. During camp, Nate will post updates about his experiences in training camp on his website, and make sure you stay tuned for the regular season: Nate has agreed to conduct a weekly mailbag Q&A with Saints fans' questions here at CSC starting Week 1 vs the Oakland Raiders.