Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Chris Sanders: Former Tennessee Titan Wide Receiver Chris Sanders

Chris Sanders: At The Table With Former Tennessee Titan Wide Receiver Chris Sanders

I am so excited to share with you all the interview I had with Former Tennessee Titans and current Life Coach, Chris Sanders!! Chris spent 8 years in the NFL which is an Awesome accomplishment, in and of itself, seeing as how the average NFL career span is only 3 years! Since his retirement a couple of years ago, Chris has been doing some great things in the community such as speaking with children and youth about life goals and encouraging our military men and women all over the country. Chris has a very approachable personality which makes it easy to understand how he relates to the hundreds of individuals and groups that he speaks to and inspires every year! I'm sure you will also be surprised to find out what his favorite food is.......I definitely was!!!!

Former Tennessee Titan and current Life Coach, Chris Sanders

Dr. Carmen April:     Chris, Thank You so much for talking with me today! You have been doing some great things in the community since since you retired as a Wide Receiver for the Tennessee Titans! Let’s start by finding out where you are from......

Chris Sanders:              I am from Denver, Colorado......Born and raised.

Dr. Carmen April:   So you left Denver, Colorado and went to Ohio State, The Ohio State University. Why does everybody say it like that - The Ohio State? 

Chris Sanders:      Because there are so many teams in Ohio. You have Ohio University, the University of Ohio at Cincinnati, so when you say The- it distinguishes Ohio State University from all the others.

Dr. Carmen April:     Tell me about your time in college? Let’s talk football first and then everything else about your college experience.

Chris Sanders:           Football was great!  It was like a job.  My schedule was structured. I had to be places at a certain time. I had to be at school at a certain time.  That’s what I needed at the time.  It was an experience that I’ll never forget.  I built great relationships with the guys I knew- like Eddie George and Joey Galloway.

Dr. Carmen April:        Were you all at Ohio State University at the same time?  You,  Eddie George and Joey Galloway?

Chris Sanders:             Yes, We were there at the same time and the coolest part was building a relationship with those guys. 

Dr. Carmen April:        Did you go through withdrawal when you left college?

Chris Sanders:            Yes I did, for about a year, because I went from life being structured to having to learn to be on my own.  That was kind of scary.  Once I got drafted into the NFL, I figured “okay I’ve got to become a man.”  I’ve got to learn to do the things that I was just taught! 

Dr. Carmen April:         Outside of football, tell me about your college experience.

Chris Sanders:
              You don’t want to go there LOL!  Man, just partying from Wednesday to Sunday!

Dr. Carmen April:      *laughter* And you can say that now because that’s not your life currently, right?

Chris Sanders:            No, it’s not.  I partied from Wednesday to Sunday, but I still got my work done. The coolest part of it is what I learned through the struggles. One summer, I had two roommates, Andrew Walker and Johnny Cochran.  That summer, we had no money.  We lived in an apartment with no money, no food, and we were just trying to survive.  I think that of all my years in college, that summer after my freshman year was the coolest because we were three guys who didn’t have anything become something.  The parties were fun and we all go through that phase, but watching three boys become men, and learn to survive is probably one of the most precious times that I’ve ever had. 

Dr. Carmen April:        That's awesome! So did you participate in other sports at The Ohio State      University ?

Chris Sanders:              I ran track.  I did really well at track. 

Dr. Carmen April:
        Yeah, is there a record you still hold from college?

Chris Sanders:            Yes! I broke Jesse Owens' long jump record in 1992.  Who would have thought that a kid from Denver, Colorado would break Jesse Owens' long jump record? The cool part about it is that the night before, I was watching ESPN and they were doing a story on Jesse Owens.  I went to Iowa State University for the track meet, jumped and broke Jesse’s record! I know that this is going to sound goofy, but just yesterday, I went back to see if that record still exists at Iowa State and it still does!

Dr. Carmen April:
        In 2013, it still exists?

Chris Sanders:  
            It still exists!

Dr. Carmen April: 
       That’s amazing.  Yes, yes, yes, I like that!  What was your major at Ohio State?

Chris Sanders:

Dr. Carmen April:        Being an Education major comes full circle with what you’re                 doing now.

Chris Sanders:             Exactly. I work in Counseling and education now.

Dr. Carmen April:       So after college you were then drafted by…

Chris Sanders:             The Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans- the same team.

Dr. Carmen April:       How did you feel moving to a big, new city as a young NFL player?

Chris Sanders:              Scared to death!

Dr. Carmen April:        How did you learn to handle and manage money? 

Chris Sanders:              I’m cheap!(LOL) What a lot of people don’t understand is that you see a couple of players in the NFL that make the millions, but most NFL players are making the minimum or not much more than the league minimum. The league minimum is $390,000. That’s a lot of money, but a lot of people don’t know where all of that money goes.  Number one, 40% of that goes to taxes.  Then you’ve got to pay your agent 4%, then you have to pay a sales tax in every state that you play.  So even though you think that you’re making $390,000, you may only end up seeing $130,000 to $140,000 after everything else has been paid. Back when I first entered the NFL, the league minimum was $179,000. So, a player who was making the league minimum may have only been taking home $60,000 to $70,000 of that.  Unfortunately, there are some knuckleheads that get into financial trouble because they’ve never been taught to manage money.

Dr. Carmen April:        That is a very good breakdown.  Thank you for explaining that!            
How many years did you play wide receiver for the Titans?

Chris Sanders: 
             Eight years.

Dr. Carmen April:  
     Why did you retire after 8 seasons?

Chris Sanders:             I was here for about eight seasons and had to retire because of a back injury.   

Dr. Carmen April:       What were your career plans once you retired from the Tennessee Titans?

Chris Sanders:           I had no idea.  When I got into football, my vision was to play football. When I retired, I thought “What am I going to do now?”  Most guys aren’t automatically going to do the ESPN job.  My life basically started when I retired.  I’m thinking, “I’ve got to get a  resume, I’ve got to go on a job interview, etc”.  So my sister helped me type up my resume. I knew that I wanted to work in education so that’s what I focused on.

Dr. Carmen April:      Aren’t there people that work for the various NFL teams that help               players with the transition from the NFL to careers after football

Chris Sanders:            They have that available for players but it focuses so much on finances. There isn’t much focus on teaching players to work in another professional career. It’s like they expect a kid to be a professional when he doesn’t know how to do it.  So if all my life, I’ve been taught how to be a wide receiver but not taught how to be a man, I’m going to struggle when I retire because my whole legacy has just been about playing football.  That’s what the struggle was for me because I wasn’t prepared. 

Dr. Carmen April:      Now you are here at Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville, TN.              How long have you been here?

Chris Sanders:              I’ve been here for four years.  I’m in the counseling department.  I              help with admissions and do life coaching and counseling. I also have a radio show on 94 FM The Fish - It airs every Monday, Wednesday and Friday ( 94fmthefish.net ).

Dr. Carmen April:         Is the life coaching that you do focused on youth or is it targeted to everyone?

Chris Sanders:               It’s for everybody.  Sometimes I tell stories about my life, sometimes I give words of wisdom.  I talk about things that make people think.  I get emails from people saying how the words of wisdom that I offer have helped them.  I think that’s why I’m glad that I’ve been through the stuff that I’ve been through.

Dr. Carmen April:
       Right, I’m with you on that.  I believe the same thing! 

Chris Sanders:            It doesn’t feel good when you are going through your own struggles but, those struggles help you help other people.

Dr. Carmen April:      That’s true. When I’m going through stuff, I think “Lord, I don’t know why you’re doing this but, help me get through it and help me understand how I can use my experience to help and bless someone else.”

Chris Sanders:

Dr. Carmen April: 
         You decided to stay here in Nashville with your wife and your kids.  What do you love the most about Nashville?

Chris Sanders: 
                It’s a great place and people are friendly.

Dr. Carmen April:       Even though you no longer play for the Tennessee Titans people still love you around here! 

Chris Sanders:              I still get excited about being asked for an autograph.  I don’t understand why some guys don’t like giving autographs because one day people wont ask them for their autograph!  I’m just an average guy trying to do his job here.  When I leave here, I want my life to amount to something and I want to leave a mark.  My dream is to have my kids’ kids say “that’s my granddaddy” and be proud!
Dr. Carmen April:    You do a lot of speaking to various organizations?  Can you tell me about some of those?

Chris Sanders:           I speak to churches, I speak to companies, I speak to coaches, etc.  I spoke to the troops a couple of times this year.  I spoke to them in San Diego, Colorado Springs, and at Fort Campbell.

Dr. Carmen April:    So what is next for Chris Sanders?

Chris Sanders:        My goal is to work in the NFL and more specifically in player development. I also want to coach receivers. I would love to coach in a couple of Super Bowls! Once I coach in those Super Bowls I want to completely walk away from football.

Dr. Carmen April:    Okay, so you still have some professional football left in you? 

Chris Sanders:       Exactly! I want to coach in maybe three Super Bowls and I’m praying that it happens because I love the Super Bowl’s platform  - that it can be used for God’s glory. So after I’ve gone to the Super Bowl, I can travel around the country motivating people.

Dr. Carmen April:    Since we usually talk about food on the Dinner with Nerds Blog, I               have a couple of  food questions for you......

Chris Sanders:             Go ahead......

Dr. Carmen April:       What is your favorite food?

Chris Sanders:             Chitlins!!!!

Dr. Carmen April:      Are you serious? Chitlins? But you are from Denver, CO...who eats Chitlins in Denver, CO?? LOL

Chris Sanders:             My mom’s family is originally from Sanford, FL.......

Dr. Carmen April:        Ok, that explains it! I still can’t believe that is your favorite food                 but, at least I understand it now LOL!

Chris Sanders:             Maaaaannnnnnn, I love Chitlins! LOL

Dr. Carmen April:       What is your favorite restaurant in Nashville?

Chris Sanders:             Waffle House.

Dr. Carmen April:      You can’t say Waffle House.....its everywhere LOL!  Okay, okay.                  I’ll go with Waffle House.  What’s your second favorite?

Chris Sanders:              Bob Evans and Pancake Pantry.

Dr. Carmen April:      Since we’re both originally from the North, I’m with you on Bob Evans.  Bob Evans is one of my daddy’s favorite restaurants and every time we went to Bob Evans when I was younger- he would buy the biscuit mix to take home - they really are that good!

Chris Sanders:           Yes, They are good! 

Dr. Carmen April:     Do you like to cook in or dine out?

Chris Sanders:
            I like to cook in. 

Dr. Carmen April:      Can you cook?

Chris Sanders:

Dr. Carmen April:      But you try?

Chris Sanders:            I try my best.

Dr. Carmen April:      Is there anything else about you that I can let the readers know about you?

Chris Sanders:
            That I’m cute.

Dr. Carmen April:
      Well, there it is LOL!................. You know I’m putting that in the               interview, right?

Chris Sanders:
            No, don’t put that in there...I’m just kidding LOL!

Dr. Carmen April:       Too late :-)

 Not only is Chris Sanders cute, but he is an absolute pleasure to talk to! In addition to the fact that he likes to joke around, he’s genuine and honest about his life’s journey and I left the interview with him feeling inspired and enlightened! I hope you did too!

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