“It’s hot, it’s definitely hot here,” Arizona Cardinals first round pick Isaiah Simmons said.
The former Olathe North Eagle is getting used to the dry heat and the rigors of professional football with the Cardinals.
“The hardest part about it is, just not knowing how things go at the professional level and coming into this is obviously a struggle just learning each and every day of how things operate.”
Add in starting a new career in a new era during COVID-19
“With all these new mandates, I feel like it’s something new every day,” he said.
Through all of it, he’s just happy to fulfill a life-long dream to play at the pro level, signing his first contract on July 21.
“It was still a really really cool deal, we did it virtually and it’s something I’ve always dreamt of doing and being able to have my dreams become a reality was really just a blessing for me and that’s a day that I will always remember,” he said.
Now that he is officially a Cardinal, it’s time to get to work. The linebacker out of Clemson regarded as “position-less” says he’s focusing at inside linebacker. He is paying attention to players like Chandler Jones and Jordan Hicks, and staying in shape, working out with a personal trainer before moving.
“The game at this level, it all comes down to mental, so, if I’m just mentally sharp, I know that the physical part will always be there. It’s not going to be something that I lack on,” he said.
And being mentally focused in virtual meetings in the morning and right before going home is part of his day, he’s also got to stay sharp to stay responsible and stay safe so he’s and his teammates don’t get contracted with COVID-19. He says that’s actually not tough for him.
“I don’t really go anywhere, my brother is here, my mother is here, sometimes we go out to eat, but other than that I just hang out. I’m a home guy. Not really anything to do anyway, the whole state’s shut down,” he described.
This means his focus is making an impact early in Arizona
“It’s either I’m going to achieve my goals or not, so I don’t feel like I should lower my expectations or my standards for myself just because there’s a few obstacles, so I’m pushing to just be the best I can.”