A Conversation With Andrew DePaola of the Oakland Raiders
“I think that if you pick something positive in this world, try to be the best at it no matter what it is. A lot of times nowadays people want to be seen, they want the attention and to be flashy. It’s ok to be subtle and quiet and humble. It’s ok to not be the main piece of a larger puzzle. For instance, I’m the Long Snapper. It’s a very small part of the game of football. I may only be on the field for 6–8 plays
an entire game. But I try to be the best. I take pride in my work knowing that I do everything I can to be the best that I can be everyday. I think if you try and do that in life then it can be very fulfilling.”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Andrew DePaola, a long snapper of the Oakland Raiders.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I’m from a town called Sparks, in northern Baltimore County. I was a
3 sport athlete in high school but wasn’t heavily recruited for any of
the 3 sports. I walked-on to the Rutgers University football team as a
Quarterback in the Fall of 2005 and eventually transitioned to the
position of Long Snapper which is what I currently do in the NFL. It
took me 5 years until I finally made it on to an NFL team and currently
I am the Long Snapper for the Oakland Raiders going into my 5th season.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your NFL career?
The funniest “thing” that seems to happen to me is I usually always
get mistaken for someone who isn’t on an NFL football team and I’m just
speaking about when I’m in my team’s facility. I was chased down twice
by security when I was a member of my old team and I had been a member
of that team for 3 years. And even now with the Oakland Raiders I’ve
been mistaken for being on the video crew or even a coach. I guess I
don’t have the NFL player look down yet.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
The most interesting and exciting project that I was working on this
year was my wedding. It was the biggest event of my life that I’ve ever
planned but it was still very fun and exciting to do that with my now
wife. We tried to enjoy every minute of the planning as much as we
could and when the day finally came it was all worth it.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
I’ve had the pleasure of being able to get to know some really great
people through the NFL. Whether it be players, coaches or even staff
members of teams. In this business you meet a lot of people from
different backgrounds, demographics, socio-economic statuses and even
countries. All of those people in one building makes for a pretty
diverse working environment and it’s pretty awesome to get to work with
those people on a daily basis.
What would you advise to a young person who aspires to follow your footsteps and emulate your career? What advice would you give?
When I was a kid my dreams were so big that I was afraid to tell
people what they were. Telling someone you wanted to be a professional
athlete was scary because no one that I knew was a professional athlete
or knew anyone who was a professional athlete so they didn’t know what
to say or how to help get me there. Usually I would have someone try
and steer me in a different career path or ask me what my backup plan
was and to talk about that more. I think that if your dreams scare you
enough to say it out loud to someone then that can be a good thing. It
means they are pretty big dreams and its something worth striving for.
It’s going to take an extreme amount of work and sacrifice but it’s all
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I’ve tried to bring goodness into this world at every opportunity
that I could. I didn’t start after I became an NFL player and I don’t
intend to stop once this NFL ride is over. I think treating people the
way you would like to be treated is a good base for people to have and
then to build from there. I myself have been very active with different
charities and organizations during my time in the NFL and I try to give
as much of my time as possible. People can forget what you said or how
much money you gave but they rarely will forget how you made them feel.
Is there a particular person that made a profound difference in your life to whom you are grateful? Can you share a story?
I’ve thought about the answer to this question for a while and the
simplest answer I can give would be my parents, first and foremost, my
brothers and sister, and my wife. They have been there for me since the
very beginning and have stuck with me through it all. They have always
believed in me, supported me, gave me my morals and values, and kept me
true to myself and my word. I do believe though that my environment
also played a role in me being where I am. I had a huge supporting cast
of close friends, teammates, coaches, support staffs, and my home
community. I can always say that my parents always did their best to
keep me on a straight path to be the best that I could be but there was
also times I would be at my best friend’s house when I was younger and
his parents were also there to snap me back on track if I started to
Can you Share “5 Work Ethic Lessons That We Can Learn From Athletes”?
- I think that if you pick something positive in this world, try to be
the best at it no matter what it is. A lot of times nowadays people want
to be seen, they want the attention and to be flashy. It’s ok to be
subtle and quiet and humble. It’s ok to not be the main piece of a
larger puzzle. For instance, I’m the Long Snapper. It’s a very small
part of the game of football. I may only be on the field for 6–8 plays
an entire game. But I try to be the best. I take pride in my work
knowing that I do everything I can to be the best that I can be
everyday. I think if you try and do that in life then it can be very
- Always give everything your best effort. The result might not be
what you want but if the effort is there then you can build off of that.
Never give up. You can’t fail at something if you never give up.
- Persistence is key. You can be good at something once but in order to
be great you need to do it over and over and over again.
Work well with others. Working well with others will help you with
success later in life.
- Be multi-dimensional. Don’t be so fixated on doing things one way.
Sometimes being able to see things from a different perspective can help
you find the solution.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this. 🙂
I’ve always wanted to talk with Kevin Plank, the CEO of Under
Armour. His story sounds very interesting about how he wanted a better
shirt to wear under his pads while he was playing at the University of
Maryland so he went out and made it himself. I feel like we have
similar stories and being that we’re both from Maryland we would have a
little bit more to connect with.
Originally published at medium.com