David Diehl the outstanding NY Giants offensive linemen who started every game as a rookie in 2003 and who recently had his streak of consecutive games played end at 127 games due to a leg injury was all over the radio and press last week talking about how he deals with another nagging problem of his; heartburn. I had the pleasure to speak with the recent pitchman for Prilosec OTC for a one on one Q & A conversation.
Question: I know you suffer from heartburn and Prilosec OTC helps you off the field, but what about on the field who is the defensive player who has given you the most heartburn through the years as an opponent. Who was the hardest to block against?
Diehl: Good question, I would have to say Julius Peppers from the Chicago Bears (formerly the Panthers) and Richard Seymour of the Raiders (formerly the Patriots). Peppers is just a beast, he is so quick, so athletic and has rare strength, and he is always a tough opponent. Seymour is very strong and has many moves that you need to prepare for.
Question: There is much being made these days about how the Giants primarily start fast, but then fade at the end of the regular season. Why is that and why will this year be different?
Diehl: I’m not sure why that is, but I can tell you we felt really terrible about it last year and vowed that we wouldn’t allow that to happen to us again. I think this year will be different because of our veteran leadership, we all worked out really hard in the off season program, everyone is very motivated to not let our fans down again, we know how hard it has been on them and we are too good of a team for that to happen.
Question: What was the best advice a player or coach ever gave you?
Diehl: It may sound cliché, but I have lived my life with the advice that you must believe in yourself, work really hard and never let anyone tell you that you cannot do something. I was told I was too slow, not strong enough during my life and that I would never make the pros. As an athlete, you cannot be scared to dream and believe in yourself. I firmly believe that you have to create your opportunity.
Question: What was a bigger accomplishment, being drafted out of Illinois by the Giants, winning the Super Bowl in 2007 or making the Pro Bowl?
Diehl: Without question it was winning the Super Bowl. As a kid growing up in Chicago I dreamed of someday making that catch to win the Super Bowl or play in the bowl like most kids dream and it was so surreal being in the big game. I have always been a fan of football first and it was so exciting winning the game and being able to hold that trophy knowing that we earned it, we worked really hard to win it and it was so special.
Question: What did you do after you won the game?
Diehl: Oh man it was crazy. We did some team dinners after the game, but it was just a crazy time. The parade and pep rally were really special to see the fans and celebrate with them. There were so many dinners; a bunch of us went to a Knicks game. It was fun, but hectic my phone and my wife’s phone did not stop ringing and texting for a month. We eventually got away for a nice vacation, just my wife and I to relax in the sun a little bit.
Question: What was the first thing that went through your mind when you held the Super Bowl trophy?
Diehl: My father passed away two years before and he was such a big influence in my life. I gave the trophy a big kiss, I looked up in the sky and smiled and said Dad this was for you. We did it and we really worked hard to get there and it was such a proud moment that I shared with my Dad.
Question: What is the funniest thing that ever happened to you during a game?
Diehl: I completely blew out of my shoe in a game. Someone stepped on my foot and I came right out of the shoe. My toes came right through my shoe and I was flapping down the field. My foot came right through where the shoe lace holes should be and I had to come off and get it taped up.
Question: My 9 year old son plays OL for his football team, any advice that you can impart to him or kids around the world that play the position?
Diehl: Wow, he started early, that is great. I didn’t start playing football until I was in high school. I was always a basketball player. The most important thing as an offensive lineman is that the game is being played mostly behind you so you cannot see the action, so you never are sure where the play is. You must finish your block, finish all the way to the whistle.
Question: How do you like the new stadium? Which stadium do you like to play in more?
Diehl: I absolutely love the new stadium; it is an amazing facility with such high tech amenities. The locker room is great. I love both, I really loved the old Giants stadium, it was such an intimate place for the fans and it had special meaning to me as that is where I started my career and so many great memories. Now it is time to make new memories in the new stadium
Question: So how are you feeling? When are you coming back? What has it been like to be out after having been in 127 consecutive games?
Diehl: Oh man it has been tough on me. I don’t like it at all. I have a warrior mentality and have never gotten hurt so it has been frustrating. I really miss my teammates; I’m doing the film work and trying to get back. I’m feeling much better and hope to get back soon. I haven’t even started running and if you hear the news from some of these interviews they would tell you I am back for this game. Not sure where that is coming from, as I need to be smart about it as it is a long season and we plan on going far into the season this year. I hope to be back this week, but I’m not sure about it until I start running on it and see how it feels.
Question: Do you have to block differently for Bradshaw versus Jacobs because of their different running styles?
Diehl: No not at all, you block the exact same way, but I think they are such different runners. Bradshaw is harder to find behind us and can hit the hole sometimes before he is noticed, with Jacobs they see him coming as he is as big as us on the offensive line. So he can’t hide, he just needs to pound the hole. Blocking is blocking though, so you just need to block your assignment, open up big holes and let the runner do the work.
Question: Your flexibility has been a huge help for the line. Do you have a preference of what position you play either guard or tackle?
Diehl: Not really, I just want to play and try to help the team win. Wherever the coaches need me, I’m willing to play.
Last Question: So I know you have been talking about Prilosec all day and that it has helped you deal with heartburn since college, anything that you want me to share for you?
Diehl: No, you are good my man. I appreciate your time.
My conversation with David Diehl proved to me how lucky Giants fans are to have him on their team. What a great example for kids, as well as some of those selfish athletes that he plays against to learn from. He was an absolute great guy, very humble, does whatever it takes to win, is a great teammate, family man and overall a true pleasure to talk with. Get back soon David; the Giants need your ability and leadership down the stretch.
To learn more about David and Prilosec OTC click the following link to learn more about his campaign: http://www.prilosecotc.com/en_US/consumer/PromotionsDiscounts/Pages/Nfl.aspx
About the Author
Written by Dennis Napoliello
Graduate of Providence College with a BS degree in Business Administration. While at Providence College, I co hosted the #1 radio program titled "The Sports Page". I make my living in the fitness industry as National Vice President of Sales at David Barton Gym located in New York City. On a personal note, I have been a long standing Giants fan as my family has held season tickets since the opening of Giants Stadium in 1976. I now own the tickets and enjoy going to the game with my three children (Peyton, Trevor and Camryn), wife (Michelle), Dad (Al) and brother in law (Chris). Other than college, I have lived my entire life in NJ and currently reside in Roxbury, NJ. My objective with this blog is to have fun writing, along with my two sons, about the team we love, and to be as objective as possible always trying to give you the fans point of view,