Falcons Vice President of Football Communications Reggie Roberts spotlights a player each week in a series of on-the-spot, off-beat questions in a new weekly segment featured on AtlantaFalcons.com called "Behind the Facemask." This week's featured player is Falcons WR Brian Finneran, an 11-year veteran who has played in 122 career games. Finneran has 234 career receptions for 3,054 yards and 19 career touchdowns. We recently caught with "Finn" to discuss his career, his super-cool family life that's anchored by his lovely wife, Erin, and his post NFL career plans that may include a move into the broadcasting booth.
Reggie Roberts: You've had a pretty cool career that's had some good times and some times that have not been so good. You are in your 12th season. What have you learned?
Brian Finneran: "I learned that no matter what happens, you never, ever quit. I've also learned — based on a couple of the games that we've had this season — that you are always in the game, no matter what the situation is. I've also learned that you have to push yourself when you don't think you can do it, and that there is no substitute for working hard. That doesn't mean that you can't have fun while you are working hard."
RR: Coming out of college (Brian went to Villanova University), did you ever think that you would get the chance to play 12 seasons in the National Football League?
BF: "Never in my wildest dreams. I had a goal. My first goal was to get vested — to try to get those three our four years in so I could become a vested veteran player. Once I did that, let me see if I can get a contract. Once I got a three-year deal, I said let's see if I can get one more contract, which was a four-year deal, and now I am kind of hanging on for dear life. It's one of those things where I run into a lot of former vets here in town who are retired and they all tell me to play until they kick you out of the league, so that's what I am going to do. I'm not going to play until my knees fall off, but I am going to play as long as I think I can be productive and help the team."
RR: Falcons wide receiver Roddy White is playing as well as any receiver in football, but that was not always the case — especially when he first got to the Falcons in 2005. Is it true that you were on his case from the moment he got here?
BF: "Yeah, I did ride him pretty hard. I think it all goes back to fact that I came from a very small school and worked hard to secure and maintain an NFL roster spot and then I got to see a young guy (White) from UAB, of all places, come in with a bit of an attitude and a sense of entitlement. He had the attitude like he belonged here and did not have the work ethic I felt he needed to stay in this league for a long period of time. He had all kinds of athletic ability and talent and I felt he was wasting it. I was on him. He'll tell you. We were not as close as we are now. He didn't like me very much. We were teammates, but I didn't like him very much, either. As we both grew and matured, we've become great friends and I don't think anyone works as hard at preparing for games as he does."
RR: You are a huge family guy. What's the greatest satisfaction you get out of spending time with Erin, Conor, Brynn, Keenan and Cullen?
BF: "Part of it is being able to go to a football game and have my kids sit in the front row and watch their dad play football. It's funny because I was hurt for two years and my youngest child was two or three years old and I was always in a hat and street clothes and he didn't know what was going on. He knew he was at a football game, but I am not sure he knew why he was there. So after I came off of injured reserve that second year, which would have been 2008, he was sitting in the front row with my wife and our other three kids and I was suited up. He leaned over to my wife and says, 'What's Daddy doing down there with all of those football players?' It finally clicked for him that I was a football player and that I was going to be out there on the field playing, so to have all my kids grow up and see what I do on the field and off the field, has been really cool."
RR: What are your hobbies?
BF: "Spending time with my kids, whether we are shooting hoops in the driveway or taking them on long bike rides. My personal hobby is golf. I am not great at it, but I really love to play. I love to take my kids out to the driving range where they can go out and hit balls. I also like to fish, so golfing, fishing, and hanging with the kids are my hobbies."
RR: What do your splurge on?
BF: "Probably on Erin. The material things in life that I splurge on would be my house and probably my golf clubs. I'd rather spend money on things for my kids and wife — stuff like family vacations."
RR: What's your favorite vacation spot?
BF: "Southern California. When we get a chance to go out there during the summers, we go for two or three weeks. We love the weather and we love the beaches."
RR: You are an aspiring broadcaster. Is the NFL radio booth in your future once you are done playing football?
BF: "I think so. I really enjoyed my time on sports talk radio (Finneran worked for 680 The Fan while he was on injured reserve), and I love talking about the game of football. I'd love the opportunity to serve as a color commentator or an analyst on an NFL broadcast once I am done playing. I think there is a lot of stuff that goes unsaid during the course of a game, and as a former player, I feel like I could bring a level of experience and insight into some of the things that go on in the huddle and on the field during games based on the fact that I have been there and seen a lot of things as an NFL player who has played in more than 100 games. I think it will be a simple transition for me."