The Redskins tight end talks about his childhood in Connecticut, his love for the outdoors and the moment he fell in love with football. *
Washington Redskins: How are your ping-pong skills in the locker room right now?
Jordan Reed: I'm probably middle of the pack right now. I feel like I'm getting better playing these cats. I play the specialists as much as I can to improve my game. Those guys don't like playing me though because I'm not good enough.
But it's definitely getting better?
Yeah, definitely getting better.
Has this locker room changed with all of these games and the re-designed look?**
Yeah, I think so. It keeps guys around even when work is over with. When guys finish up their work for the day they come down there and chill with each other and things like that, so it's good.
What have you learned about a teammate playing ping-pong with them?
I didn't know [Dustin Hopkins] could pop-lock, man. He can dance like that. I didn't know he could do that. I watch him a little bit more and I learn some things.
Your touchdown score in London was 23 yards, the longest scoring reception of your career. Is it weird to you that's your longest touchdown catch?
Yeah it is [laughing]. I thought I'd had a little more than that, but I guess not.
That was probably the most athletic play of the season for you. What it's like diving across the goal line in that moment?
It was cool. It was a great atmosphere, the whole time in there. A lot of excitement going around that game and to be able to score a touchdown in front of all those fans, it was a pretty special experience for me. I'll never forget it.
Is participating in a moment like that something you envisioned for yourself as a kid?
I always had dreams to play in the NFL, big games. I just motivated myself to work hard so I could be that guy in that situation and I would be ready for that time when it came. I'm just blessed that it happened.
Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed on Wednesday was named to the NFL's 'Top 100 Players of 2016' list, checking in at No. 77.
How would you describe yourself as a kid growing up in Connecticut?**
I was an outside kind of dude, always playing basketball, playing baseball, playing football with my boys. Just playing all the time, man, really free-minded, free-spirited, having fun playing basketball every day.
I read that your mom made you do chores first before you could play.
She always showed us work ethic, how hard work pays off. If you work hard and believe in yourself, you could accomplish anything you want. That was one of the things I took most from my mom.
Was football on the radar at a young age?
When I was a kid, I wanted to be an MLB player. Sometimes I wanted to be an NBA player. Whenever that movie "Friday Night Lights" came out, that's when I really started falling in love with football. Just always playing catch and dreaming about playing quarterback, that's when I really fell in love with it, around middle school.
Do you remember seeing the movie in the theater?
I did see it in the theater and I almost started crying. I was with my big sister, we watched it together; we always watch movies. It's been my favorite movie ever since.
Was the idea of playing quarterback already in your mind before seeing the movie?
I was already starting to work at quarterback with a high school coach, and then I saw that movie and it made me even more excited about playing quarterback.
Up to that point, who was your idol as a baseball player?
He played shortstop, he played for the Yankees, my favorite team. He was a real athletic player, made some big plays. Clutch.
When you had your daughter, Jaeda, two years ago, did that change anything for you as a player?
Definitely changed a lot. The hunger to be the best player I could be really came out. To not miss any time, fight through injuries and things like that, not missing practices so I could keep improving and eventually try to earn a contract for us and for her.
She's probably too young right now, but do you envision having a conversation with her about the concussions you've had in your career?
Maybe some time she might ask me about it when she's older, but I don't think I'll bring it to her because it will probably worry her and I don't want to do that. Maybe she'll ask me some time.
You've spoken with family members about it recently. Is that a struggle to bring up or do you enjoy engaging in dialogue about your health? **
It's not a struggle. Me and my family, we are real tight, we talk about mostly everything. My mom, I know she's dramatic, my sister's she's dramatic, so I know when it comes up to them they get very emotional about it. But my brother, I talk about it to him more than anyone, and he helps me a lot through it. He played football himself and he's easier to talk to.
When you broke out last season, and received a lot of recognition and even fantasy buzz, what was the difference from your first two years in the league?
Honestly, the first two years I was kind of injured, but still some people knew me, had me on their fantasy team. Since Florida, you get that kind of attention, playing at Florida, big University, so I always kind of had it. I don't think about that stuff now, I just think about playing ball and getting better and helping the team and my family.
Is it harder to stay focused on that with more attention?
Not at all. I block a lot of things out. I've got a ton of vision when it comes to football.
How do you block things out?
Throughout my whole life I've been through a lot of different experiences. I had to move to my coach's [house] in high school away from my mom. Then moving all the way to Florida, I didn't know anybody out there, I was always by myself out there, dealing with a lot of experiences in that age group through college, not going to the club and all that other stuff that my boys were, not doing the same thing and focusing on ball. Then when I got here, dealing with certain things in my relationships off the field, that all kind of helped me to be able to focus on no matter what's going on in my life, what I think is important at the time, and that's usually football.
What was the biggest difference going to Florida from Connecticut?
It was crazy. I had never been out of the state before as far as that much time. There's no family out there.
Did you ever get homesick?
I never got homesick, man, because I think being with my coach in high school, an hour away from my mom, that trained me for that experience. It was not really that crazy for me.
Who would you say is the biggest celebrity in your phone?
I would probably say D-Jaxx. He's a star, man.
So no big-time names reach out to you ever?
Not really, man. I'm a low key dude. I keep my circle tight.
When you got your contract last year, what was the first new thing you added to your house you couldn't previously?
First thing, I put in a pool table. I never put a pool table in my house, never had the space for it. But recently my favorite toy – I bought a side by side vehicle, off-road, all terrain. That's my favorite toy.
Is that a hobby you have?
Yeah I mean I'm an outdoorsman kind of guy. Anything I can do outside I really like it, whether it's hunting or fishing or riding.
Hunting and fishing?
Yeah, I like the simpler things.
Would you ever consider hunting with Brandon Scherff?
Yeah, definitely. I talk to those guys about that stuff all the time.
What's your favorite thing to hunt?
Honestly, I went hunting a couple times and I've never got a kill yet. I don't really know how I'm going to react to the killing part. Maybe I'll like it. But I think deer. Every time I see a deer, I kind of want to take it out. The ticks and things they bring around [and] I feel like I could donate the food.
I thought you might jokingly say "middle linebacker" instead.
Nah, I'll keep that on the field.