Rookie linebacker Paul Worrilow beat the odds with his strong preseason play and made the Falcons roster as a college free agent after a stellar career at the University of Delaware, a FCS school that boasts six National Championships in its rich football history with notable alumni such as QB Joe Flacco.
Paul is not the only football player in his family as his little brother, Jimmy, is currently a defensive lineman at Division III Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pa., while his other brother, Mark, also played on the D-line for those same Ursinus Bears. Today in this first installment of the season in "Behind the Facemask" we sit down with the newest Bird and find out some interesting things about him the week he will be playing in his first pro game at New Orleans this weekend.
Frank Kleha: What's one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Paul Worrilow: I'm very passionate about wildlife and animals. In high school, I was president of the Future Farmers of America club. I have a Border Collie dog named Jax (after the main character on the FX series "Sons of Anarchy"). He's kind of like my best friend. Every day in the summer when I had time off from football we would go to the valley right by my house and spend a couple of hours in the outdoors. I grew up with a lot of animals in my house; we had a dog, two cats, two rabbits and a cage full of birds.
FK: One of your teammates said at training camp that he thought you would actually rather spend more time with your dog than with humans … is that right?
PW: (Laughing) It's not too far-fetched. I spend a lot more time with Jax than people, especially when I'm training. I was so busy preparing for football this summer he was with me all the time. I would take him on runs with me and workouts. I take him just about everywhere with me when I'm home.
FK: What's one thing you're good at that most people can struggle with?
PW: I have a good memory.
FK: Does that translate to football and do you think it helped you learn the Falcons playbook quicker than the rest of the rookies?
PW: I think it does (translate to football). It definitely has helped with learning all my assignments. I thought I've always done a good job of being able to see it or write it down in my notebook and then be able to take it to the field and it clicks right away for me. My memory is always something that has helped me a great deal whether it's in class or in football.
FK: Since you were a history major at Delaware, pick three people throughout history that you would want to have dinner with?
PW: Right off the top of my head it would be the two Kennedy brothers — John F. Kennedy and his brother, Bobby. I like the JFK era and I just finished Bill O'Reilly's "Killing Kennedy" book. The last would have to be Benjamin Franklin because of where I grew up and reading a lot about him as one of our Founding Fathers.
FK: What's the one thing you've always wanted to own; your dream toy?
PW: I've always wanted to have a new truck … just a nice new truck like a Ford F-150. I've driven a (1999) Grand Cherokee for a while now; it's creeping up on 200,000 miles. I'm due for a new one at some point this year. Then, I could give my Cherokee to my little brother because he doesn't have a car right now.
FK: What's your favorite indulgence?
PW: I don't have a sweet tooth at all and I don't crave anything sweet, but I'm a huge chips and salsa guy. I have that just about every day. I can't keep enough salsa in my house.
FK: What's the one thing you have to travel with or take with you wherever you go?
PW: I have a picture of my girlfriend and my dog. I take those pictures with me wherever I go. It's the bookmark in any book I ever read, too. Those are with me always. I had those with me in the (Falcons) dorm this summer at training camp.
FK: Other than an NFL player, what did you want to be when you grew up?
PW: There were two things I always thought I would do if football didn't work out for me. One was being a teacher because my mother is a teacher at the University of Delaware. I always thought I would go in that direction. And I also wanted to be a veterinarian because of my love for animals. That's always something also that I thought I might want to do.
FK: What are some things on your "bucket" list that you've always wanted to do?
PW: I want to go up north to possibly Canada and follow polar bears. I know there are a lot of trips you can take to follow them and I think that would be pretty cool. I also want to go to Africa to a big cat park where you can get up close and personal with lions and tigers.