Behind the Facemask: Devonta Freeman

Frank Kleha: Growing up in a tough section of Miami, how did that drive you for your future success?

Devonta Freeman: We stayed in the roughest neighborhood in Miami. I think one of the main things was seeing my mother and grandmother struggle. That inspired me at a young age. If they could go out and be successful and provide for us, then I could do it and provide for all of us. So I just wanted to give back to them and provide for my family. They showed me to never complain about anything and you control your own destiny.

FK: Who are some of your favorite athletes in other sports?

DF: LeBron James and Dwayne Wade. The reason why I say Dwayne Wade is because I saw him grow. One thing that inspired me growing up was he used to do all kinds of events in Miami and come back to the community from where I come from and give back. I like him as a person and I feel like he is a genuine guy.

FK: How about the football players you followed the most growing up?

DF: It would have to be Warrick Dunn and Sean Taylor (former University of Miami/ Washington Redskins Safety).

FK: What is it about former Falcon and current limited partner Warrick Dunn that you admired?

DF: I always liked Warrick as a running back. He's a great guy, too. We've talked about training together and I would like to steal whatever I can from him. I like to follow greatness and I feel like he was a great running back in this league and I want to do whatever it takes to get to have the success he had.

FK: How did it feel winning the National Championship at Florida State?

DF: It was awesome. But it was demanded, though. We knew we were going to win. Everything was demanded that year so there was no question (we were going to win it). It was business as usual because we expected to beat whoever we played. We were winning all year so we knew how to win.

FK: What's one thing people don't know about you?

DF: I'm a fun and adventurous guy. I'm a big kid. I like to go to Orlando and go the theme parks. Also, I love to do paint balling. I like to be with my family, too. I want my family to be involved in everything I couldn't do when I was young.

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

DF: A lot of people may not know that I'm a man of God and I always read my Bible.

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

DF: My dream job (still) would be being an actor. I want to take acting classes sometime soon. I've just always wanted to do it since I was younger. I always try to make my mom laugh and stuff.

FK: What's the coolest experience you've had since coming into the NFL?

DF:  The coolest thing I have done so far is moving my mom out of the projects and being able to provide for my family as much as I can.

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

DF: Martin Luther King, Jr, Bob Marley, Bill Gates and Michael Jordan.

FK: Do you have a dream car?

DF: My main car would be a (Rolls Royce) Ghost because if you are going to get something like that you need to get a lifetime car. I feel like that would be the best investment for me. Their models really don't change much so the value of the car stays pretty much the same.

FK: What was your Hollywood crush growing up?

DF: Lauren London from the movie "ATL." I liked her a lot.

FK: You had an amazing playoff run on the way to leading your team to the state title during your senior year at Miami Central High School, where you totaled over an incredible 1,000 yards in three games (including 308 in the state final). Can you pick out one particular game or play from those playoffs that you would say was your most memorable moment?

DF: Yes, there was 45 seconds on the clock in the semifinals and we were down by three points. We couldn't do anything on them (during that drive) run or pass; they were stopping everything. I took a handoff and got tackled in the backfield and the guy twisted my ankle and tried to break it. I looked at the ref and he just shook his head and said "keep playing." On the next carry, I took it for 70 yards (for a touchdown) to win the game. We ended up winning the state (championship) for the first time in 50 years at my school.

FK: What is your guilty pleasure?

DF: I've got to have fried chicken, no matter what. I'm a big chicken guy. I probably eat chicken more than anything. I'm a real picky eater so I don't like trying new things, which I know I should. Chicken has always been my thing.

FK: Have you found a favorite place in Atlanta yet?

DF: Yes, Gladys Knight's Chicken and Waffles.

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

DF: One thing would be (jean) overalls. The big (one piece) overalls with the two straps (like suspenders). I would rock some of them.

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