Episode 72: Wali Rainer
Wali Rainer is a former NFL linebacker who played for the Cleveland Browns, the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Detroit Lions. In our conversation, Wali told us about growing up in the inner city of West Charlotte, and how football was like therapy for him to vent his anger and pain. We talk about his college recruitment and playing at UVA - which he attended on condition that his older brother also be granted a scholarship and play with him.
He teaches us about the dynamics and psychology of the linebacker position, and talks about things like why he couldn't go straight home after games. We hear about players that disrespected him and how he responded, coaches that he admired, those that he didn't, and how hard it is for players to both earn respect and stay in the NFL for an extended period.
Now, he focuses heavily on his family and mentorship of young men - teaching them things like how to be men, or how to build a healthy identity that is not completely dependent on sports.