Behind the Facemask: Harland Gunn

Posted Oct 10, 2014

From playing XBox to being inspired by the movie 'Little Giants' to join football, find out more about G Harland Gunn in this week's Behind the Facemask.

Frank Kleha: What was your first car?

Harland Gunn: It was an old white Ford Explorer. All the lights stayed on all the time (on the dashboard); the brake light, the engine light, all of them. I bought it used and it was a true bucket. Not soon after I got it I went and traded it in for a Blazer.

FK: What kinds of things do you like to do outside of football?

HG: If I’m not taking in a movie or dinner I play video games on XBox One. A new game I just started playing that I like is Destiny. I also play Call of Duty. I’m a first-person shooter guy and don’t really play Madden because especially during our season I like to get away from the fake football.

FK: What type of movies do you like best?

HG: I like comedies. Some of my favorites are "Kings of Comedy" and "Harlem Nights," but I love action movies, too. I grew up watching Bruce Lee movies like "Enter the Dragon." That’s my all-time favorite. Also, I do like "Blade," with Wesley Snipes, and "
Diehard" with Bruce Willis.

FK: Who is your favorite athlete in another sport?

HG: I never watched sports growing up. Seriously, no one played sports in my family. I watched TV shows instead like "Dragon Ball Z" and watched a lot of Disney shows like "Growing Pains." Even when I got to college my teammates would talk about big-name players that I was supposed to know and I didn’t know who they were. Like they asked me about (Hall of Fame Bears running back) Walter Payton and I said, ‘Who is that.’ (Pro or College) Football was foreign to me growing up. I just played it.

FK: How did you get started in football then?

HG: The movie "Little Giants" got me started playing football. I got home early from school one day and I was sitting in the house with my mom watching TV and that movie came on. I said, ‘"Mom, I want to play football. I want to try football." My uncle (Scott English) played it at Iowa State and I would always go over his house and see his Iowa State pictures on the walls. My mom told me that my uncle was now a coach and I could go see him. I was around seven-years old and I’ve been playing it ever since. The only other sport I played was one year of organized basketball when I was 9 years-old but I didn’t like.

FK: What’s your most vivid sports memory?

HG: We were playing little league football and we went into double overtime against the Bellevue Panthers. We were the North Omaha (Nebraska) Bengals. I just remember fighting so hard to win that game and we didn’t. (In overtime) one of my teammates (on the line) was like, "I’m tired; we aren’t gonna do this. I’m about to let it go." And I couldn’t believe he said that. I told him, "No man, we have to win this game." He quit on me; we lost and I cried after the game telling the coach, "he quit on me." I always think about because I’m not going to quit on the next man. That really hurt.

FK: What’s strangest thing we would find in your suitcase when we go on road trips?

HG: I take my own protein shakes (pack of four) with me to keep my energy up. I just drink them warm and they taste just fine like that. They are called Lean Shakes.

FK: If you could sit down with any four people in history for dinner who it would be?

HG: They would be Jesus, Martin Luther King, and my great grandparents. I think I would I would gain a lot of insight on my family talking to my great grandparents.

FK: What was your Hollywood crush growing up?

HG: Halle Berry. She is so pretty and is a good actress.

FK: Name one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

HG: Most people don’t know that before I was born, my mother had two near fatal car accidents. She didn’t lose me the first time but she nearly did. They found out at that time of the first accident that she was pregnant with me. When it happened again, I don’t know how far along she was, but she was scared about losing me.

FK: Other than a pro football player, what did you want to be growing up?

HG: I wanted to be an engineer because I was always good in math and it came to me naturally. My first year in college I started off in engineering school.

FK: If you were required to perform in a talent show, what talent could you do?

HG: I could do b-boy dancing and I would be poppin’ a lot; b-boxing. My father was a DJ (Big Harland) growing up. I still clown at the house all the time. It’s called poppin’ and lockin’. That’s what I could do.

FK: What is the greatest invention ever?

HG: The dishwasher is the greatest invention. I hate washing dishes. I would be angry if I didn’t have a dishwasher. I would have disposable everything if I didn’t have a dishwasher.

FK: Is there anything you wish would come back in to fashion?

HG: Kango hats. I’ve never worn one but I’ve always wanted to.

FK: Do you a hat collection?

HG: Yes, I have about 10 hats right now. I have basketball and college football teams. I have an old Raiders hat and I have a lot of bucket hats. That’s my thing right now is bucket hats. My favorite is Brooklyn Nets. I just like the color scheme.

FK: Fictional character do you wish was real?

HG: The Juggernaut. He’s a super villain in the Marvel comic book series. He’s an unstoppable force. Whatever he hits, he just runs through it.

FK: What’s the worst gift you ever received?

HG: I hate to say this but I got a pair of socks and a book for Christmas one year. My brother got like a remote control car and my sister got something good. And I got socks and a book!

FK: Have you ever been star struck?

HG: Yes, when I met Tony Gonzalez. My uncle loved watching him play and he said, "I can’t believe you are on the same sideline with Tony Gonzalez." So I thought that was cool.

FK: What are three things on your bucket list?

HG: I’d like to climb a mountain. I want to go skydiving and I want to go snowboarding down a nice slope.

Please Note

The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on represent those of the individual authors. Unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the Atlanta Falcons’ organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. The writers’ views are formulated independently from any inside knowledge and/or conversations with Falcons officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.