Jermon Bushrod was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in 2007 in the 4th round. He went on to become starter at left tackle during the 2009 Super Bowl run and earned two Pro Bowl nods in 2011 and 2012. Since, he has played with the Chicago Bears and the Miami Dolphins (as the Dolphins’ RG). Now he’s back to not only defend Drew Brees, but to teach some of the younger players the tricks of the trade.
While the city might be familiar, the situation is much different than the first time Jermon came to the Big Easy. This time, he is the wily veteran playing the player-coach role instead of being the young rook. Had the opportunity to talk about this with him, and to talk about the great things he’s doing with his Visualize & Rize foundation.
Deuce: Thanks for taking the time to talk to me, Jermon. First things, coming back to Louisiana what’s worse/better. What hit you the most: How hot it is in May already with the humidity or did you miss the food the most? (laugh) Was it better to get back to the food or worse to get to the weather.
JB: It’s good to be back in the city, but um yea look I don’t miss the heat. That’s something you got to get used to and you got to deal with it. Definitely miss the food, but I’ve been living in south Florida for the last couple of years so it seems like I can’t beat the heat. The food is something I definitely missed.
Deuce: Well the weather should be better in a couple of weeks up in Virginia where you have two events planned. This will be the 9th annual football camp that you’ve had and 8th annual golf tournament. Tell me a little about that.
JB: Yea! After the Super Bowl year we kicked off some charity work. We have a free football camp going for kids in my community back home in King George, Virginia. That following year we decided to start a golf tournament. The cool thing about that is it helps fund a lot of the programs we have with the foundation.
Our big program is the Visualize & Rize scholarship fund. Over the last seven or eight years we’ve given out about $500,000.00 in and around the community, not just in Virginia but in Chicago and Miami as well. We’ve done some pretty special things around the holiday times as well. We’re just trying to help out under-privileged youth and families in times of need. It makes not just myself, but my family and friends feel good that we can come together for such a good cause.
Deuce: You’re coming back to where it all started. Before, you were the rookie helping build a team and now you’re the veteran. What’s it like walking into the building now in this almost Freaky Friday moment for you?
JB: I kinda went through, when I was here like you were saying, the young rookie phase. I was the young puppy phase not really knowing much. Just trying to cling onto anyone that would help. Over the years I got to start and play, and play some more and then I went off and kind did my own thing. Now I’m back. Just gives me an opportunity to talk about my experiences, both good and bad, to harp on that and talk on that. (I want) To bring those qualities that kept me around.
You have to be 100% committed. You have to go in there and put the work in, even on the days you don’t feel like doing it physically, mentally or emotionally. There’s always somebody behind you or beside you who is willing to step in and do your job for you. I’m excited about this team and I’m excited about our potential. We look good on paper, but we have to go out and get it done.
Deuce: Let me ask you this, feel free to be honest with me it’s ok (laugh), you’re in your twelfth year, but not a lot of guys are just a-ok with taking a back seat. Are you going to be fighting for a starting spot?
JB: I’ll keep it real with you. It’s not easy going into a year where you’re not projected, but at the end of the day all I can do is fight. I knew the situation coming in here, and I know we have five good guys up front that play their behinds off. Whatever I can do to help. It is going to be a new situation for me. Ever since the Super Bowl year (2009) I’ve gone into the season as a starter.
All you can do as a football player is sometimes put your pride to the side and figure out what your role is. When your number is called you have to be ready like you are one of the starters. I don’t know how things are going to shake up, but I know last year they had six or seven good players who would rotate in and out when guys got hurt. Knock on wood I don’t want any of that to happen, but I knew the situation coming into this.
Deuce: Let me ask you quickly about the mentality of this team, and I know you’ve only been back a couple of months, does this situation remind you any of when you were a young and you were part of a team building to a Super Bowl, do you get the same vibe?
JB: I can see how guys work. I watch the guys, I guess you get a little bit more observant (as a veteran), but the thing is you have to understand who this coach is (Sean Payton). He expects a lot out of his players. Obviously, they have players here to get the job done and Sean is going to fight to get success out of them every single day. The culture that’s around here, the city wants a winner and the city deserves a winner so we need to go out and do our job. We want to win. You work your behind off with all this running, sweating and grinding that you do you want it to pay off with a W.
Deuce: When you first joined with the Saints, they ran a predominately man blocking scheme. Every team changes things of course, but now they run a bit more inside zone and outside zone. As a veteran you’ve seen it all. Done it all. Are you looking forward to being that type of player-coach who can not only step in and make a play when needed but to teach these young bucks.
JB: The thing is when you go to a new team, especially with new coaches and different players, this league is a copy-cat league. Teams are going to see what’s working for other teams and are going to go out and try that. Players have to be the same way. You have to look at players like, “Ok, this guy is like me. He has the same build as me. He takes this kind of footwork, he puts his hands here, that’s successful for him so why don’t I try that.”
We have to lean on each other. We have to work with each other, offense and defense.
Full interview below:
About his upcoming events and charity:
The Visualize & Rize Foundation a 501c(3) organization has donated $500,000+ over the last 9 years to local youth programs. These programs include the King George High School (KGHS) football program, of which Bushrod is an alumnus. The King George YMCA, and in the form of book scholarships to graduating student-athletes from KGHS and six other schools in the surrounding counties. The Foundation has donated game tickets to underprivileged youth in the Chicago area, along with food and clothing to those in need during the holidays.
The Foundation is grateful to the many businesses and organizations that have continuously supported it’s efforts: Radley Chevrolet and Cadillac, Dr. Cottrell and Associates, Henslee LLC, Homewood Suites, and all of our other amazing partners!
Visit www.VisualizeandRize.org for more information and registration