Leading up to kickoff of the 2013 NFL season, ESPN will present SportsCenter Special: NFL Face to Face with Hannah Storm (Monday at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2) – a one-hour special of long-form interviews that offer revealing looks at the lives of some of the sport’s biggest stars. The series, hosted by ESPN’s award-winning host and SportsCenter anchor Hannah Storm, blends access with in-depth, one-on-one conversations with the subjects.
“The NFL Face to Face series is all about athletes telling their ‘own’ stories and offering a unique insight as to who they are and what they have overcome,” said Storm. “It offers a real appreciation of what it takes to succeed at this level, on the field and off.”
Monday’s special with Vernon Davis, Clay Matthews, J.J. Watt and Russell Wilson will be the sixth of Storm’s Face to Face series on ESPN – the second with NFL newsmakers. Previous editions have featured NBA (2), NASCAR, and a 30-minute special with Tim Tebow following his improbable 2011 season leading the Denver Broncos from a 1-4 start into the playoffs.
Vernon Davis – The San Francisco 49er ranks fourth in receiving yards and third in touchdown receptions among tight ends in the NFL over the last four seasons. A Washington, DC native and an art gallery owner, Davis discusses his passions for football and art with Storm in a wide-ranging interview at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in his hometown. He also talked about the 49ers Super Bowl XLVII loss to the Ravens.
· “We had a lot of penalties, made a lot of mistakes … The mistakes cost us so when we came out at halftime, we were able to regain our focus. It was like …, like our sins were washed away and we were able to just come back.” – On the Super Bowl XLVII loss.
Clay Matthews – The Green Bay Packers linebacker, who has transitioned into a new role as leader of the team’s defensive unit, ranks fifth in the NFL with 42.5 sacks since his rookie season in 2009. Matthews has a unique off-season workout routine that includes yoga sessions. In a participatory interview, Matthews takes Storm through his workouts and offers some insight on how he is taking on the role of team leader.
· “We had come to a crossroad in this team as far as the leadership and where we want to go … Ultimately, we will see where it goes but you’re gonna get a definite change of this defense with me in charge.” – On his leadership role with the Packers’ defensive unit.
J.J. Watt – The 2012 NFL Defensive Player of the Year led the NFL in sacks (20.5) and batted passes (16). On Face to Face, he acknowledges conflicting feelings about being booed after the Texans drafted him in 2011. Now known for his acts of kindness, Watt shared with Storm the reasons why he likes doing so much good in Houston – the city he now calls home.
· “They all wanted somebody else. They didn’t want me. They saw me as – from what I read and what I saw – a safe pick, that wasn’t really going to be a playmaker, that never had the potential to be great, that would always be decent, but never a star.” – On his feelings of being booed by fans after the Texans drafted him.
Russell Wilson – Last season, the Seattle Seahawks quarterback set two notable records for a rookie quarterback by tying Peyton Manning’s rookie record of 26 passing touchdowns and setting the post-season record of 385 passing yards in a Divisional Playoff game. Wilson reveals on Face to Face when he stopped feeling like a rookie quarterback last year, and shows Storm one of his off-day routines when he and his wife visit the Seattle Children’s Hospital.
· “It was after the Patriots game, when we came back and won that game at home, against one of the best – if not the best – quarterbacks of all time, in Tom Brady. To win that game in the fashion that we did, the energy in that stadium, and some of the throws that I had to make, just to bring us back; that’s when I realized, ‘I can play – I’ll be fine.’” – On when he stopped feeling like a rookie quarterback last season.
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