Behind the Facemask: Dwight Lowery

Frank Kleha: You had a huge interception last week at Tampa late in the game to help the team secure a big win. How did it feel to come up with such a timely, impactful play in your ninth game as a Falcon?

Dwight Lowery: Turnovers are always huge but to get it in that situation it really helped us out.  It was a big play and hopefully that will give us confidence in the moments where we need to make another play (in the future), to know, however it happens, we can do it.

FK: Speaking of interceptions, you were a turnover-making machine in high school, grabbing 20 picks in 20 career games. You also had an incredible single-game performance in high school where you scored seven touchdowns and stole three passes. Tell me about that game.

DL: I think we scored eight touchdowns in the game and the score was like 56-48. It was a back and forth game and wasn't a blowout. It actually went down to the wire. I remember scoring one or two (touchdowns) as a receiver. I had an interception return for a touchdown and the others were at running back. I scored on a long touchdown run (toward the end of the game) and they were trying to hurry the ball up the field (on their next possession) and ended up throwing a pick-six to me, which was my last touchdown (and game-winner).  

FK: You also registered a school-record seven interceptions as a junior at San Jose State. You've always seem to have a penchant for coming up with picks. Why do you think that is?

DL: I think part of it is from playing basketball so much growing up. I didn't start playing football until I was in high school and didn't take it seriously until then. I played point guard and if you don't get the rebound you are looking for the ball to push it up the court. When you score or miss you always have to stop the ball; pick up the ball. I think a part of where it comes from is always being around the ball playing that point guard role.

FK: So, your first love was basketball? How do you get started on the hardwood?

DL: I went to a Boys & Girls Club when I was younger and that's where I started getting into more organized sports. I thought my ticket was, as far as an athlete, in basketball. And as I got older I thought I was going to play basketball until my senior year in high school. 

FK: You had an interesting start to your football career because of playing so much basketball, didn't you?

DL: I only played one year of Pop Warner football. It was literally in the middle of my freshman season at (Santa Cruz) high school that I started playing again. I had some friends that were playing and I watched them play one game and I was like, 'Wow, they are terrible.' So, it was more that I wanted to help my friends out and that's how it started. We were midway through the season and we got better as the year progressed and from there it took off. If you would have asked me back then I would have told you, 'I'm not playing football'. That's where my mindset was (at the time).

FK: Your sister, Aujanae, had open heart surgery as a baby to correct a heart defect, and you became like a father figure to her. Tell me about your special relationship with your sister and the responsibility you decided to take on at such an early age.

DL: I was 12 when she was born. Before she was born I expressed to my mother that I wanted a sibling. I think at a young age my mindset was, 'This was something I had asked for and that I wanted, so when he or she is here, I should contribute in any way that I could.' Unfortunately, her father chose to do things a certain way so it kind of thrust me into a role where I would have to babysit, change diapers. My mom would just tell me what to do and I did it. From being there when she was born and being there through her successful heart surgery it felt like from the beginning with all those experiences I kind of look at her like she's almost like my child.

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

DL: I can be very wild. It takes me quite a while to be really comfortable with my surroundings. I'm more of an observer and keep to myself. But once I feel like we have a solid relationship then people say, 'I never knew you were like that.'  What I mean by 'wild' is I can say some pretty random, funny stuff.  

FK: What's the best piece of advice you would share with someone?

DL: I would say keep your eyes on what it is that you ultimately are trying to achieve, but also embrace the process in getting there.

The Atlanta Falcons were back at work on Thursday as the team prepares to wrap up a long road stretch on Sunday in Charlotte against the Carolina Panthers.

FK: Who other sports do you like to follow?

DL: I like the Golden State Warriors, but I'm a big soccer fan, though. I'm starting to really appreciate soccer. In 1998 when they had the World Cup that sparked my interest and then it tapered off. And in 2010 during the World Cup in Africa, I was in.

FK: Do you have a favorite team or player?

DL: I try to watch the Premier League. I just think the stuff they do with the ball is unbelievable. If I had to pick a player it would be Neymar (of Brazil) or Danny Welbeck from Arsenal.

FK: If you weren't playing football now what would you be doing?

DL: I would like to train high school athletes; whether that would be training or coaching. I know I have to do something with all the knowledge that I've obtained in being an athlete.

FK: If you could have a dinner party with any people in history who would be at your table?

DL: Bruce Lee, Tupac (Shakur), "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Martin Luther King, Jr., Muhammad Ali, and Bob Marley.

FK: What are some of your favorite TV shows?

DL: I'm super into Game of Thrones right now (over the last month.) I like Breaking Bad, Weeds, and Walking Dead.

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

DL: I would probably have to practice but play the saxophone. I played alto saxophone in middle school and a little bit of high school and also the trombone.

FK: What's one thing most people are good at that you struggle with?

DL: I think people are a lot better, communication-wise, with their body language than I am. I can appear and look like I'm angry, but I'm not, at all. I think a lot of people that I'm around or that I've experienced nobody would really say that about themselves. And sometimes I feel like, 'Why does everybody think that I'm this, that or the other?' Sometimes I can be around people but be thinking about something else and maybe they feel that I don't want to be a part of that group or that conversation or whatever it is. But it's not necessarily that.

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