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Behind the Facemask: Jonathan Massaquoi

Posted Nov 8, 2013

Take a look inside the mind and life of Falcons second-year defensive end Jonathan Massaquoi in this week's Behind the Facemask

Frank Kleha: You have been active in the community where you grew up since you’ve been here. This year, you went back and visited both your old elementary school (Moore) and middle school (Richards). Why is that so important to you?

Jonathan Massaquoi: Because growing up I didn’t have the type of guidance outside my household. I didn’t really have a mentor to look up to. So, coming from those same streets and walking those same hallways as those kids, I’m kind of indebted to them. Because I know how my community is and I know how kids can become lost. I just want to give back and show them there is a better way and you can fight through any situation.

FK: Do you feel any pressure playing in your hometown for the team you grew up watching?

JM: There’s no pressure because those people who have watched me throughout my career know what type of player I am and person I am. They know I’m a hard-worker and it’s just playing on a bigger stage.  It’s not so much playing for my hometown now, it’s for the whole state of Georgia. It’s awesome.

FK: What’s one thing that people would be surprised to know about you?

JM: I’m a kind-hearted guy. I enjoy the simple things like giving back to the community. I believe that kids are our future. For me, that’s close and dear to my heart. A lot of people don’t get to see that. They may hear about my accomplishments in the community but they don’t know that my heart is behind it.

FK: If you weren’t playing football, what would you be doing right now?

JM: I would be back in school (at Troy) acquiring my MBA. If not, I would come back and teach. Like I’ve said, I love children. I never really had the goal of playing football until I tuned into my ability, my craft. I was able to tune into the fact that I had abilities that could take me further. I realized that during my junior year in high school.

FK: If you could have hang out with any four people in history for one night who would it be?

JM: Rick James, Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy and Confucius.

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

JM: Bell bottoms. I think I look clean in a pair of bell bottoms and a leather jacket.

FK: What’s your favorite indulgence?

JM: Life Saver gummies and red velvet cake. Actually, homemade red velvet cake.

FK: Celebrity crush growing up?

JM: Everybody loved Angeline Jolie growing up. It was between her and Halle Berry.

FK: What do you like to do in the offseason when you have some spare time?

JM: I like to do different hiking trails in Arizona, such as Camelback Mountain. I love to go there. I’ve trailed there three times so far. I’ve been camping twice and I like it also. I enjoy things like backpacking and hiking trails when I have the time.  

FK: What’s the strangest thing we’d find in your suitcase when we travel?

JM: A Clarisonic. It’s an electronic face cleaner.

FK: What is something you are good at that most people struggle with?

JM: Reading people. When I say reading people I mean being able to understand people. I think I’m a good listener and I can give good feedback to people. A lot of people don’t have people skills and know how to interact with people. I think I interact well with people.

FK: What the most unusual thing you’ve seen in your football career?

JM: I wouldn’t say it was unusual, but it’s the first time that I’ve been part of something like this. I would say when Matt Ryan threw that 60-yard bomb to Roddy (White) against Carolina (last year) and we came back and Matt Bryant kicked the field goal. That, for me…was like…wow. I’m talking we were on the goal line…on the goal line (raising his voice), with less than a minute. I would say that was tied with Asante Samuel getting that pick against the Raiders and going back and scoring for the winning touchdown. Not unusual, but big moments (for me).  

FK: Would you rather be the good guy in the movie who gets all the girls or the bad guy who has all the good lines?

JM: The bad guy with all the good lines. The bad guy always has a plan regardless of whether he fails or succeeds. He always has a plan.

FK: What are some things on your bucket list?

JM: I want to see the Seven Wonders of the World. I want to be able to bungee jump from a mountain. The last one is getting 50 sacks in my career.

FK: Which one of your five senses is the strongest?

JM: I would say smell. I’m just weird about smell. I always have candles lit in my house.

FK: Favorite movies?

JM: I love the Bourne Supremacy series. Top Gun is one of my all-time favorites, Pulp Fiction and the new Sherlock Holmes movies also with Robert Downey, Jr.


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