Eric Warfield: Not Being Afraid of Greatness
Cornerback Eric Warfield’s interview on the Pro Mindset Podcast, will convince you that believing in yourself is the difference between success and failure. Eric, a two-time National Champion at the University of Nebraska, spent his NFL days with the Kansas City Chiefs. Eric had a successful NFL career, lasting from 1998 to 2005. He speaks candidly about the fact that he believes now that he probably could have achieved even more if he had more confidence in himself. Eric often played through adversity – his back injuries, which many people didn’t realize was a reality for him, hindered him, but he continued to play through it.
For the first time, he tells a story about playing a game after receiving an epidural shot in his back, a fact he’d even kept from fellow Chief and friend, Priest Holmes. Part of his mindset was having a short memory. Playing cornerback is an often-thankless job, but he says that when something bad happens on the field, “you can’t go back and change that,” which is a lesson any person from any walk of life would be wise to listen to. Eric speaks candidly about the way that he felt he’d been snubbed by Pro Bowl voters in the past. He also speaks about how his second NFL contract, which offered Warfield a much larger amount of money, bringing him more confidence. But he also mentions a pivot point in his career, in a game against Tennessee, in which he says, “I realized that I wasn’t just a starter, I was a leader.”
Asked to give a young player advice, Eric says that you should “prepare for your post-career… as much as you want to tell yourself that you won’t change as a person, you have no choice.” Eric’s mindset changed through different stages of the year, and he speaks candidly about his tendency to lose focus when he was asked to guard receivers who didn’t have as much talent or reputation. He stepped it up against the toughest competition, but also tended to play down to his competition as well. He acknowledges that his focus and intensity varied based on his opponent. “I was afraid of greatness,” he says. “I never gave
myself the chance to be great.” His honesty regarding the fact that he could accept his position in football’s levels of relevancy, but he was scared of being put on a pedestal because of the possibility of being knocked off, is fascinating, perplexing and all too common. “Believe that the work you put in to get to where you are is not a fluke, but it can’t stop there.” Eric uses this idea to mentor kids now, because he admits that he never put in that extra work. He was happy to achieve a certain level of success and considered that enough. He says that he always considered himself an athlete rather than a football player, and he thinks that may have limited him. So, working on your craft so, you can be THE BEST you can be, is one of the most important lessons he has taken away from his career
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