A Discussion with Paul Spicer on Always Staying True to Your Values

Paul Spicer grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana. He attended the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, IL, for two years and then transferred to Saginaw Valley State University in Saginaw, MI. He then left Saginaw Valley State University to begin his football career. Spicer was first signed as an undrafted free agent to the Seattle […]

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Paul Spicer
Paul Spicer

Paul Spicer grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana. He attended the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, IL, for two years and then transferred to Saginaw Valley State University in Saginaw, MI. He then left Saginaw Valley State University to begin his football career.

Spicer was first signed as an undrafted free agent to the Seattle Seahawks in 1998. When he was cut, he moved on to play a part of the 1998 season with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the CFL. He was then signed by the Detroit Lions and was on the practice squad for the 1999 season.

In 2000, Paul Spicer was signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars and played for them for nine seasons. In 2009, he signed a one year contract with the New Orleans Saints. He was released early but then brought back on near the end of the season. That year, the Saints won Superbowl 44. Spicer then decided to retire from football.

In 2010, he became a volunteer coach at Bartram Trail High School in St. Johns, Florida. Then in 2011, Spicer was hired as the Jacksonville Jaguars’ assistant defensive line coach for the next couple of years. During this time, Spicer returned to school and received his BA in business administration and management from the University of Phoenix. Next, for a short period of time, he came on as the defensive line coach at Jackson State University, and then in 2015, Spicer became the assistant defensive line coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

1. What do you love most about the industry you are in?

I love having the opportunity to change lives and to be able to help a young man grow and become a productive man. Not only as a football player but as a man as well, because we all know that football has an expiration date since you can only play it for so long. Whom are you going to be when football is gone? I think football can help you be a better person. We deal with adversity because we deal with so much winning and losing and injuries you have to overcome. I think it can help you be better organized because everything is structured to the point where you have to know what you’re doing and when you’re doing it.

I believe football can even help you to be a better husband. Marriage is being part of a team. You and your wife have to work together to make your house a home, and learn how to both give and take because it’s not all about you, it’s about her as well. Being part of a football team, you learn to give and take. So I believe it helps in so many areas of your life, as a husband and as a father.

As a retired football player, to be able to impart into these young men’s lives, to be able to help them become a better man, that is the most satisfying part.

2. How do you motivate others?

When you’re trying to motivate young men, it has to be real and genuine. You’ll never be a motivator of another person if they know that you don’t genuinely care about what you’re telling them, or you’re not living what you’re saying. They want to see what you’re saying through you and your actions. If your actions meet up with your words, then they can be motivated.

3. Where do you get your inspiration from?

Number one, God. Now, as a man, I also understand the sacrifice that God has made for his son, Jesus Christ. As a father, I know I’d make the same sacrifice. I can unequivocally say yes, I will make that sacrifice for any of my children.

Number two, my mother, because I watched how hard she worked, and my current wife, Shariffa. I don’t think any marriage is perfect, but we strive every day to be better than we were the day before. We both are in the same business of serving and trying to make others’ lives better. I see her doing that all the time. She is always trying to help improve somebody’s business by giving them ideas.

4. Who has been a role model to you, and why?

My mother. She’s number one because I learned by growing up and watching her hold down two jobs where she’d get off work and turn right around to go back to work at another job. My mom was never a proud or arrogant person. Thanks to her, I have that same mindset.

5. What suggestions do you have for someone starting in your industry?

Be open and be flexible because this industry is always changing and evolving. Never find yourself bitter because of changing opportunities. One minute you think you have a job and the next you don’t, so stay positive and be open to change. Make sure you know what you’re getting into and that you’re willing to put the time and effort in. This profession can give you a lot, not just from a monetary standpoint, but also because you’re able to help young men succeed. I coached in the NFL for six years, and I got to watch these young men grow and change and become better over the years. I think you have to want to go into this profession to help young men become better versions of themselves, and it’s all worth it.

6. What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?

Never worry about what somebody thinks about you. I don’t dwell on what someone might think about me because that’s the one thing you can never control. Why get mad when somebody is sitting there claiming or saying you’re something that you are not?

7. What is the biggest life lesson you have learned?

The biggest life lesson that I’ve learned is to always be yourself. Never try to change for somebody else because, in the end, you’re not going to like whom you’ve become as it’s not whom you wanted to be in the first place. So always be yourself.

8. Explain the proudest day of your professional life.

If I’m completely honest, I think I’m still waiting on that day. However, I am always excited to start a new job and begin my next opportunity. I guess that would be the proudest day in my profession, starting that new opportunity. I’ve been hired now five or six times and every time I start a new job, my wife and I have a celebratory dinner or we go somewhere. We always have a little celebratory something that we do as a family in honor of receiving that new opportunity.

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