Trying to balance the NFL life and his family life hasn't always been easy for Redskins right tackle Morgan Moses, but he and his family have made it work since he entered the professional ranks.
As hectic as things can get during the regular season at Moses' workplace, it's just as busy at the Moses' home, as he and his wife do their best daily juggling act with three children.
It's quite an adventure for Moses in dealing with three young busy bodies, and helping his wife to keep them in line, but it's a responsibility he wouldn't give up for anything in the world, as Moses explained in Part One of "Redskins Life," which is entitled, "Fatherhood."
"Feelings really can't explain about being a dad," Moses said. "It's one of those things that you venture [into] yourself."
The awesome responsibility of being a father – the ultimate job for a man – came to Moses pretty early in his life, but he didn't shy away from it, because he realized fatherhood no longer meant that life was all about him. It quickly shifted to life being about his children and their well-being.
"Being a father is an amazing thing," Moses said. "I became a father at a young age. My fiancée, soon to be wife, had a daughter when I came into her life, so the things I used to do as a college student, I couldn't do anymore, because I had someone looking up to me. Now, in being in the NFL for two years, with the Washington Redskins, I've had two sons. That's a man's dream, to have sons back-to-back. Hopefully, one day, they'll say, 'Hey, I want to be a football player like my dad.'"
"Everything I do from now on, I know that my children are looking at me," Moses said. "I try to set the right example. I'm not right all the time, but I try, and I think my kids see me trying and that's the most important thing."
There's something about being a parent – as Moses can attest to – that makes life even more special. As any parent knows, it's not all peaches and cream when it comes to being a mom or dad, but for Moses, the daily walk with his wife and kids has been a great one.
"Just to see the smile on my kids' [faces], when they wake up in the morning, and they come rushing in the room, [saying], 'Dad, Dad, Dad, Mom, Mom, Mom,' [and] the long nights when they're sick, [and] staying up with them, and making sure they get their homework done, or school projects [done], or whether it's dressing up with them on Halloween, and buying costumes, to just say, 'Hey, let's do Halloween together,'" Moses said. "Just to do those activities with them, and experience that with them, those are things that they will remember their entire lives, especially having boys. I try to set the example for them, so when they have children down the road, they [can] say, 'Hey, this is how my dad did things, and this is how I want to do it.'"
"It's a big responsibility," Moses said. "You kind of gotta watch the things that you do, because these little ones, they look at you every moment, and they look up to you. They look at your every move, [your] every step. Just to be able to realize that, and know that is happening, I try to set the best example."
Moses lines up next to a "sheriff" – right guard Brandon Scherff – every Sunday, but when it comes to who runs things in his home, it's an equal partnership between Moses and his wife.
Moses tries to do the best he can to make things run smoothly on a daily basis during the regular season, but most times, he defers to his better half to man the ship while he's away.
"I call myself the sheriff in the house," Moses said. "When I'm gone, she has a lot of the responsibility, especially with a one-year-old, who's running around the house, and then a five-month-old, that's starting to get antsy and moving around. She has to do a lot of things, and I respect her for that. She has to be strong. It's a hard job, but it's a part of being parents."
There's a switch that Moses has to turn off and on each and every day. It's the switch that temporarily turns the father/wife light off, and the football light on when Moses arrives at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park, or any of the 32 NFL stadiums.
What's great about that switch is that Moses gets to flip it back the other way seven days a week, which puts him back in a peaceful and restful place at home.
"When my first son was born, I would be so tired coming from practice, that I would be like, 'Look, I just want to take a nap with you,' and he'll be like, 'Yeah,'" Moses said. "Being able to separate that lifestyle, the football life and the family life, I've been able to do. Being able to come home, and play with the kids [and] do arts and crafts; my daughter loves arts and crafts, so she's like, 'Hey, I want to dress up. Dad, can you paint with me?' I love doing that. I love being a father. I love everything about it. I just love seeing how my children grow, and hopefully, maybe, we might have some more."
With technology changing so rapidly, it's easier for athletes to just plop down on their couches at home with their iPads and watch game film, or film from practice, but Moses is one that tries not to bring his work home with him. For Moses, when he's home with his family, he wants them to have his undivided attention.
"It's really important, as a family man, to let your children know [that] although I'm working, you're still important," Moses said. "These are the people that fuel me on Sunday. I play not only for my teammates, and for the organization, but my family. Knowing that they're in the crowd supporting me, it's a big deal for me."
Part Two of "Redskins Life" goes into Moses' "Virginia Roots," and how he ended up going from his hometown of Richmond, Va., to his alma mater - the University of Virginia.
"Richmond is a unique city," Moses said. "There's a lot of things to do, especially in the downtown area. I love the area. All my family's there, so that's good."
Moses continued by giving some background on how his football career started in the state Capitol.
"Chesterfield County is where I went to school, Meadowbrook High School. I played all four years on varsity there, and I had a great career there. [I] got to play a lot of positions that I wish I could play now," Moses cheerfully said. "My freshman year I was the starting tight end. I kind of tease [Redskins tight end Jordan] Reed a little bit sometimes about it. I was the backup quarterback, and started outside linebacker on the wide side of a 3-4 defense. In every sport I played, I was always the biggest person on the team, from flag football on up."
Moses' talents didn't limit him to the football field when he was growing up. He also played AAU basketball, and was quite good at it, but, all along, his passion lied with football. Once Moses made the choice to dedicate himself to one sport, that's when things really started to take off for him.
"I just loved the game, I loved how I was growing with it, and my dream was to play in the NFL," Moses said.
As Moses grew with football and got better, the college offers started rolling in, making it even harder for him to focus on staying in Virginia to attend school.
"I really had no intentions of staying home," Moses said. "I had bigger offers from SEC schools; basically every kind of school in the country. I wound up having to go to Fork Union Military Academy after I graduated from high school, and spending a year there to get eligible throughout the NCAA. UVa [University of Virginia] kind of stuck with me through that path. I had a lot of people say that I wasn't going to make it to UVa, and if I got there I was gonna get kicked out or something like that. That was one of the things that kind of fueled the fire, was people saying that I couldn't do stuff. I took that on, and went to UVa, and graduated in four years, and now I'm living my dream."
It was a tough four years in Charlottesville, Va., for Moses. From the first step on campus, to the final step off campus, Moses was challenged beyond his wildest imagination. Moses learned quickly that at the University of Virginia, it's about getting an education first, and athletics second.
"One thing about Virginia is, it's not about the sports there, or the athletics, it's more about the academics. Academics come first," Moses said. "There's no online classes or anything. There's no getting around it, you gotta be in class. One thing about UVa: once you get behind, you're behind. I dedicated myself all four years in [a] tutoring program. One semester I said, 'Hey, I got this down pat,' and I went off on my own, and I got lost a little bit and I was like, 'Hey, this is something I need.'"
"Not only did I become a better student, and a football player there, I grew as a man," Moses said. "I learned the things that I needed to do. I learned how to juggle the time management thing, and it's definitely helped me through the years."
It was a blur of time for Moses at UVa, but he made it through, graduated and was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft. That was all well and good with Moses, but, at the time, the most important thing in his life was being able to attend his graduation, since he worked so hard to achieve that honor.
"That's one thing that I wanted," Moses said. "I was like, 'Hey, I have to go to graduation. I deserve that honor, to be able to walk across the stage with my peers.' I had a unique circumstance: I had two classes left, and I finished the last spring semester, and so I was going back and forth from Atlanta training every couple days and coming back for classes until I got them done. It was that important. I knew that if I left without getting them finished, there was a likelihood that I wouldn't come back at all."
Moses may have left the University of Virginia with a hard-earned college degree, but he also met a friend along the way, who will be his bride very soon.
"She worked at the hospital at UVa, when I was playing for the University of Virginia," Moses said. "We met outside of the school, and we kind of hit it off. We had a tight friendship that led into a relationship. I proposed to her actually on the day I graduated, after I walked across the stage. I whipped the ring out. I had gotten it custom made. We had looked at some rings, and she was like, 'I like this style, I like this style,' so I got in touch with a jeweler, and kind of put both rings together. It was an amazing feeling, just to seal the deal with her. Next May, when we get married, it's even going to be better man."
In Part Three of "Redskins Life," aptly titled "I'm Living My Dream," Moses talked about what it was like during the 2014 NFL Draft, when he was selected by the Washington Redskins - a team that's based not too far from his hometown of Richmond.
"It was definitely exciting," Moses said. "It was a long two days, I'll tell you that. It was a long week, just thinking about the process and all the things that lead up to it. Definitely a long night."
As time went on, and the picks and rounds kept whizzing by, Moses sat there and wondered if he would ever get the call from a team. Luckily for him, he had his family there to keep his spirits up until the third round came around.
"It was a long process, but I had my mom, my dad, my girlfriend at the time [and] my brother," Moses said. "They just were at the table there with me, and just [said], 'Hey, take time, it's a process,' and that's one thing I learned through everything, it's a process. Then, when I got that phone call, I was like, '703 number,' and I'm telling my agent, 'Who has a 703 number?' Then I pickup the phone, and he's like, 'This is Washington,' and it's [Redskins head coach] Jay Gruden. You know Jay Gruden always got a joke. I'm serious, so I'm like, 'Hey man, two rounds have passed,' and he's like, 'You ready to play football,' and I'm like, '[Heck] yeah I'm ready to play football,' and he's like, 'This is the Washington Redskins, you'll be here with us and we're looking forward to getting this ball rolling.'"
"From that day, it's been a great deal for me just to be able to wear that Redskins emblem on my jersey, and just to be able to play with the players that we have and for the organization," Moses said.
Moses shared a funny moment that occurred after he talked with Gruden.
"I had so many people in the green room, it took me so long to give out hugs, they had to send London Fletcher out, because they're like, 'Well, he's not here for the draft,' and then I come walking out five minutes later, and they're like, 'Oh no, he's here!'" Moses said. "I almost didn't get the time to shake London Fletcher's hand, but I'm glad I did. He said he's proud that I was a Redskin. For a guy that's played so many years in the league, it's was a deal-sealer for that night."
The "support system" that Moses referred to – his extended family – was a big reason why he was able to make it through his first training camp back in 2014. Of course it was a bit of a shock to Moses' system in seeing how the Redskins run things compared to what he was used to with the Cavaliers, but his family was there to get him through it.
"It's always exciting, especially going through the rookie season, [and] having my parents show up to every practice and just having that support system," Moses said. "I got a couple of home-cooked meals from mom, so she held me down on that end. I ran into a couple of high school teammates that I played with that came out to support, and a couple of teachers from back in the day that came out to support, so it was a great deal, especially to see something like that happen in Richmond, being from there and knowing what Richmond is all about. To see something like that, training camp there was amazing for me."
"One thing I've learned through the two years that I've been in the league, it's about a process," Moses said. "You're going from college, being that guy, and then you go into a locker room with 53 other players that have been that guy for many years. I know one thing: going against [Redskins linebacker Ryan] Kerrigan every day in practice and [Redskins linebacker] Trent Murphy has definitely helped me progress like I wanted to throughout the years."
Unfortunately for Moses, his rookie season got cut short due to him suffering a Lisfranc injury. Moses had played in eight games, with one start, prior to the season-ending injury.
It wasn't the way Moses saw his first season going, but he didn't let the injury dissuade him.
"The injury definitely took a toll for a little bit, but I couldn't let it hold me down, that's one thing I stress myself about," Moses said. "I took the opportunity to just suck it up, it was life, [and] it was part of what you signed up for and I worked on other things that I needed to work on, like the upper body strength in the weight room. Learning throughout the OTAs [Organized Team Activities] of being in the back of things, how to look at defenses, [like] secondaries disguising [themselves], blitzes, [and] where they're coming from and just [learning] the playbook. When I got back from the injury, [there] was no doubt in my mind that I was mentally ready. If you're mentally ready, that's half the battle right there."
How Moses came back from the Lisfranc injury and dealt with it in Year Two was critical to what he'd be able to do as the starting right tackle with the Redskins. This leads into the fourth and final part of "Redskins Life," which is entitled "Overcoming Adversity."
Moses was determined to not let this injury stop him from earning the starting position and being alongside Scherff, so he worked well beyond his human limits to get himself in peak physical condition for a 2015 regular season that saw him start all 16 games plus the Wild Card playoff game against the Green Bay Packers.
For the never-ending strength Moses showed in his comeback, he earned the Redskins 2015 Ed Block Courage Award, as voted on by his teammates.
"Anytime you're voted on by your peers in your organization for an award like that, it's an amazing feeling, because those guys know how much you put in to get back on the field and the success that you've had," Moses said. "Just to be voted on by the peers and the team, it was a great feeling."
The Redskins have two monsters bookending their offensive line in Moses on the right side and Trent Williams – a four-time Pro Bowler – on the left side. Once Moses got to know Williams during his rookie season, it didn't take him long to realize that he and Williams were on two different athletic levels, and that he had a lot of work to do to get to where Williams was.
"Having Trent is a blessing," Moses said. "Going through my rookie year, [and] being able to play behind him and kind of learn little things, then I shortly recognized that Trent and I have different talents. I can't move like Trent, I can't run like Trent. Learning different skills like hand movements, hand placements and recovery skills, he's the best in the league, the No. 1 left tackle. I'm having a great time playing beside him."
What's helped Moses move up the charts so quickly is the relationship he's built with the guy to his immediate left – Scherff. Moses says he and Scherff "hit it off from Day One," and they've rolled on from there.
"The first thing I told him [Scherff] was, 'Hey, look man, I'm basically a rookie. I don't know it all, but we'll learn together, and as long as we communicate, we'll be on the same page,'" Moses said. "So, being able to grow with Brandon throughout the season and learn different calls [is great]. We sit beside each other in the meeting room, so we're able to talk when [Redskins offensive line] coach [Bill] Callahan is going through things, and kind of get feedback from one another."
If Moses took a nanosecond for a break during his comeback, he was sure to hear Callahan yelling in his ear to keep grinding. Callahan knew Moses had the resolve in him; Callahan just had to dig it out of him at times, and Moses appreciated the kick from his coach.
"The thing about Callahan: you're always gonna get a good days work out of the day," Moses said. "It was definitely the right timing for me, especially coming off the Lisfranc injury. I needed somebody that was going to push me [on] those days that I didn't feel like being pushed. He's old school. He's a grinder. He's all about technique. That's what the NFL's about. You look at the guys that's played 15, 16-years in the NFL, the things they've been able to accomplish is technique. Obviously, the skillset diminishes a little bit, but to have savvy vets stick to their technique, that's a great deal."
"I'm excited," Moses said. "Not being in OTAs last year, [and] not being able to participate because of the injury, and having the short turnaround in training camp, to be able to have a full [set of] OTAs this year, and then training camp full go, I'm definitely excited to see the growth, just not in me, but as the team and offensive line."
Moses is as humble a person as you'll ever come across; a gentle giant if you will. The last thing he'll focus on is himself. Individual numbers and accolades don't drive him. What does drive him is the team's overall success. When the Redskins win, Moses wins, and for him, that's shaping his career quite well.
"As the team goes, your individual goals will go," Moses said. "It's never about one player. I'm excited to see the growth of the offense, having [Redskins quarterback] Kirk [Cousins] back [and] having another year with the offensive line. It's been such an exciting year this past season, so just to be able to be on the field, I'm scratching at the bit, like, 'Hey, I want to play football now!'"