« A chat with Big Reggie | Main | Special Series at the Light »

OT with Ryan McNeil

Ryan McNeil doesn't wear either of the two national championship rings he won at the University of Miami. Those are put away. The 37-year old former Canes defensive back, 11-year NFL veteran and successful entrepreneur wears one ring that ultimately represents both -- his 2006 UM Hall of Fame ring.

"I don't wear [the national championship rings] and I'll tell you why," McNeil Ryan_mcneil_actionexplained to me in a phone interview Friday. "Once you go to the next level, your focus and hunger is on something else -- a Super Bowl ring. The only regret I have about playing professional sports is not winning the Super Bowl. So many guys I know have Super Bowl rings. When [former Canes] Darren Smith, Kevin Williams and Russell Maryland went to Dallas and won Super Bowl rings, it was like wow -- that's what I wanted. That's something that's special. I don't know if I might eventually have one of my own one day, maybe as a coach or involved in management."

If you know anything about McNeil, nothing he said should surprise you. Since the day he stepped on UM's campus, the Fort Pierce native has always strived for more. And that's part of the reason Overtimemag McNeil is where he is today, living a successful life in Atlanta after retiring from pro football in 2003. He has his own publication, OT Magazine, and is the President and CEO of the Professional Business & Financial Network. Both businesses, among other things, try to teach athletes how to make a successful post-retirement transition from sports into the business world. I caught up with Ryan Friday to talk about his latest editorial in his magazine about the heavy dose of reality recently drafted athletes will encounter soon enough. It didn't take long, though, for us to start talking about the Canes, Randy Shannon and much more.

Q: I know its been a couple years since The Herald has caught up with you. Tell us what's new. Married? Kids? Where are you living?
A: (Laughter) I'm not married yet. Hopefully that will happen sometime soon. But I live in Atlanta now, been here for four years since I left Miami. I wanted to live on the East Coast so I could be near home in Fort Pierce and Miami. I have one daughter who is 11 now. Other than that, life is great.

Q: I've got to ask you the Dan LeBatard question -- the one you don't want to ask out of shyness, but Dan can because he's Dan. Are you making more money now than you were as a player?
A: [Laughter] That is a Dan question. I think revenue wise, I'm not making as much. But its an investment. Anytime you make an investment, you have delayed gratification. I haven't made as much money doing this as I did as player, not yet. But it's close. To be honest, sports is something I love. The media space has been intriguing to me because I've learned so much. The more I'm in it, the more avenues I'm finding having tremendous amounts of potential. i think i'll stay in the media space for awhile. We launched the magazine in 2004 as a business and lifestyle magazine with 360 degree viewpoint of athletes. We talk money and finances, health and fitness, charity and philanthropy. Its basically the complete 360 degrees of it and we circulate it among all pro athletes. Female sports and male sports.

Q: You went from being a second round draft pick of the Detroit Lions to having an 11-year pro career in which you played for six teams and actually led the league in INTs in 1997. As successful as that was for you, I have to imagine what you've done afterward is about successful as it gets for guys out of the league? Basically, you are teaching other guys now how to do it through your magazine.
A: I think a lot of other guys enjoy success as well. I think success is defined differently by everyone. A lot of guys have been very successful in life after sports. I think I'm a bit of a risk taker being a cornerback. So, being an entrepreneur was a natural for me. I see a lot of opportunity in terms of sports. I've got a lot of connections in sports. I thought I could leverage that and make a little money as well. Its one of the things I surveyed, researched. I thought it would be a really sound investment. But there have been other guys who have done well in real estate. To be honest, though, it's not an easy business at all. It's more difficult thaIn I thought it would be. The work itself, though, I have one of the easiest jobs in media. My job is to tell the positive stories of other athletes. As I take this journey I'm understanding the business more and more. I'm learning the things to do. I'm starting from the ground up. I've never been one to shy away from work.

Q: In your latest editorial, your taking your message to a different level. You are actually targeting guys just getting into the league, not out. What inspired you to send a message to those guys?
A: I always write my editorial page in my magazine. It was something I was thinking about and flashing back to my time when I was drafted and my team. I was thinking you could almost cheat being at the University of Miami, going pro and how maybe some guys took that for granted. It was almost a given you'd have an opportunity to play professional sports. Yeah, you still had to do what you had to do and you could make it. But I think as a whole, the one ting I realized is how ill-prepared guys are going into the league. At Miami, our expectations were always to play at a high level. When you have Michael Irvin, Bennie Blades, Alonzo Highsmith, come back to the U and work out with you, you have a huge appreciation for what to expect and strive for at the next level. But you aren't ready for disappointment or the other struggles. I see guys who are athletically gifted, but aren't prepared for what else comes along with being a pro athlete. Being a professional athlete is not eating at a restaurant a-la-cart. You got to take everything that comes with it.

Q: What else comes on that cart maybe that guys aren't ready for?
A: I think first and foremost, I think of any professional sport as a business. i think the perspective is still viewed is it's a game. But its a business. It's serious fun. I always tell the rookies all the time, have fun, but treat it as a business at the same time -- that way you won't have any surprises. You can really take advantage of the head start you have from the get-go, from the social standpoint, being a role model for the people where you are from. Because it's an unwritten rule. You are a role model whether you choose to or not. They have to keep in mind the dynamics are different and the consequences are different. The NFL has a program where they have actors and actresses come in and act out and life choices, decision, consequences. You got to be careful of each decision you make. You want to have as many positive experiences as a professional athlete. To me, it's really a time to grow up. College is a time to have fun. It's an incubating period going into adult hood. Now, you got to be an adult. That's one thing a lot of young guys, whether its basketball, football, hockey, you got to position yourself to act like an adult. I think a lot of the younger guys are trying to do that, but there are a few who share a negative light not only with themselves, but their teammates. Pro athletes are connected and I kind of try to share with them that they should think about themselves as a brand. You should be careful about your brand.

Q: Now that you are in Atlanta, do you still make the time to come to the U and spread that message?
A: I don't visit the campus enough. I haven't been able go back to Miami lately. I have these business endeavors that take up a lot of time. But I still try to make it back every now and then. I Randy_shannon_actioncatch about 3 to 4 home games and when they play Georgia Tech here. I've got to support them, especially since Randy [Shannon] is the coach. I want to support him as much as possible. i think he's the right guy for the job. I think he handles the pressure and expectations better than anybody else. And I'm excited about the 2008 recruiting class. I keep up. I think its important to go back to the talk where the mystique fits in. At UM, we always played at a high level. Then, its about carrying yourself as a gentleman in the community.

Q: Then, I'm sure this past season and the one before was tough for you to watch. Any thoughts?
A: Let's be honest: that's not Hurricanes football. I think Randy would be the first to admit it. That's not what's expected. The reality is it has to change. What's more disappointing than anything else is knowing where you been and where you want to be. The record could have been totally different with five, six, seven plays going the other way. But that's everywhere. I think randy did a great job recruiting though and I assume a lot of young guys are going to play this year. What the guys need to remember is what it means to wear The U. I remember Bennie [Blades], Melvin [Bratton], coming back and saying 'You cant take the field wearing the U and expect teams to lay down.' I got there, was recruited in Jimmy Johnson's last year. I redshirted, but we practiced just as hard as the seniors did. The work ethic, the expectations, There were outlines for you. There were no margins for error. It was simple: this is how we do things and why we do things. The results spoke for themselves. I think that's what we'll get back to this year. I think we're moving in the right direction. I think sometimes it takes a setback to get things in order. I think that setback was last year. Don't get me wrong. I thought [Larry] Coker was a great coach. But its always special when you have one of your own become a head coach. I think that's very unique. I think all the guys I spoke to want to support Randy for that reason. We expect to have a winning season and participate in a major bowl game this year.

Q: You've mentioned a few of the former guys. Any you spend more time talking to these days than others?
A: The guy I try to keep up with the most is college roommate Coleman Bell. He and I were like brothers. I hung out with Stephen McGuire a week ago in New York. Lamar Thomas and I talk at least once every couple weeks. Gino [Torretta] and are close too. He lived with me when we were in Detroit together. Darryl Spence and i are tight. I see Melvin Bratton here in Atlanta, so we each other quite often. It's hard not to go into any place and not see anybody from UM. i just saw Willis [McGahee] at a Hawks game. if you don't see somebody for one or two years, you catch up and the feeling of the brotherhood is still there.

Q: You got to know Randy Shannon when you were a freshman? What's the best Randy story you can give me? And what have you seen from him over the years and now that's he's grown to become the head coach of the program?
A: I see the maturation of a player to a coach. I was able to see it there as a freshman. When he was a senior, he was there to tell you what to do. We went through the whole process, being the new kids on the block. Randy was always a teacher. He was one of the ones who taught me about covering. It's funny too because I remember saying to myself, 'This guy is a linebacker, what the heck is he doing trying to teach me about covering?' [Laughter]. But he went to the league and came back still being a teacher. The thing that I love about Randy is he doesn't forget where he's from and he understands everybody is different and that you can't teach everyone the same. I think that's what he'll do more of this year. You can see it in his demeanor and his mannerisms. He was the kind of guy who would get on you right away. He has more patience now than he did as a teacher and player. I think you need to have that as a player and a coach. I really don't have a great Randy story. I just remember as freshmen we had our own lockerroom, a small little dungeon hole at the Hecht Center and the upperclassmen dared us every couple times to come out.

Q: Maybe I can get you to give me the best teammate story. Come on, its been a couple years.
A: [Laughter] I can't break the code. We honestly truly care about each other. Thing is we a close knit group and breaking the code would cause trouble [laughter].

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Good read!

I love it, Great job Manny Fresh!

Good job big homie!

good job Manny!!

Bloody great work Manny.

It's great hearing from the older Canes as much as from the young ones.

Keep it coming.

Keepin' it real.
Thanx

Great work Manny! Enjoy the interviews with old skool Canes. Any more lined up?

Ryan McNeil was under rated in the league.

Ryan is a very bright I believe at one time he was a pre medical student. The young kids should all take a lesson from Ryan he is a straight up sharp guy! It would be nice for him to come in and talk to the kids.

Sup Manny,
Hope all is well with the family...
great read keep up the great work!

Sup Manny,
Hope all is well with the family...
great read keep up the great work!

Manny- That was a SUPERB article. I mean, McNeil personifies the gentleman-athlete. He is a class act, an example that all student athletes should emulate. players should be taught that one day their plaing days will be over and they need to prepeare from day one. From the football perspective, he was a baller and a major reason why he has 2 rings! UM players new and upperclassmen should heed those words: You come to the U, and expectations are higher for you and when opponents play you, they grow. So they have to play as U players evry-single-game! Folding like they did last year against Va, NC, and GT, and NCstate, and possibly BC is NOT miami football. Yes, they folded. they laid down. They gave up. There I said it. they quit. Those 4-5 games should have been won, and with an average effort their record would have been 9-3, or even 8-4, and although still bad, not the debacle that it was, and still will be in my consciousness for the rest of my life!

Great guy,
Great post...
best of luck wid the business...

and skru the ATL...you gotta get back here to MIA more often ;-)

Props!

Go CANES

Manny-

Great article, very interesting angle on a prominent Cane that might not be a household name.

Sincerely hope there are countless more stories like this one and can't wait to read the reporting. Thanks

Manny,

Why dont you close the blog from responses?

its an internet war, which is just plain stupid. what do you guys get from calling each other names of the internet? what is the point?

Anyone wonder why Canes are considered the most fair weather fans in the nation?

Spoke like a true fan of Duhhhh U:

The lower west end zone, which used to be for general admission and students, was now strictly a student section. If they wanted to stay on the west side, they would have to go into the upper deck.

"That's crazy!" Cruz said. "What's going to happen during one of those little games no one wants to go to?

GAtor Bait- Your UF gaytors finished 9-4 with the Heisman trophy winner then got spanked, schooled, by Michigan. UF is Michigan's beeoo--ch, just like UF is UM's beee--och!

Gator Bait, shouldn't you be in a park protecting your new recruits from getting shot?? Your boy Patchan just got shot in the shoulder. UF = Thug U!! You guys are disgusting 1st one of your thugs steal a dead persons card and tries to use it and now your prized recruit is out trolling at the local Gainsville park. Then gets shot. In all seriousness, I hope the kid is o.k., but your team has some serious issues.

TAMPA, Fla. -- A University of Florida football player is recovering after being shot in the shoulder while at a Tampa area-park.

Florida coach Urban Meyer says Gator defensive lineman Matt Patchan is expected to fully recover.

Patchan was shot Friday night. Details of the shooting are not yet known.

The 6-foot-7, 265-pound Patchan enrolled early at Florida in January after graduating from high school.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

anyone have details about the matt patchan shooting? read a news article he was shot in the shoulder in tampa yesterday

Great post, Manny.

excellent article. really interesting

Does anyone notice the gross double standard in the media when it comes to the UF football program. When Pata got shot there were weeks of negative coverage that put the UM program in very negative light. Just in the last week you've had a UF player get caught using a dead girl's credit card and now Patchan gets shot not too mention these guys from last year http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog/2007/12/28/university-of-florida-the-ncaa-version-of-the-bengals/. I'm not a fan of blaming the victuim but UM would never and I mean never be able to get away with this especially with Randy Shannon as coach. They would say he didn't have control of the program. Why is nobody questioning Urban Meyer's control over his program and players which he obviously is lacking?

Come on Manny get Cote or Le Batard on this before he takes sabbatical.

"finished 9-4 with the Heisman trophy winner"..... that's some mighty fine analysis.

The Gators had a 6 point loss to the #18 Wolverines because "the Heisman trophy winner" allowed Henne to toss it for 373 yards, a 12 point loss to #2 Georgia because "the Heisman trophy winner" couldn't slow Moreno's 188 yards rushing (3 TDs), a 4 point loss to #1 LSU because "the Heisman trophy winner" allowed them to convert 5-5 on 4th downs, and a 3 point loss to #15 Auburn because "the Heisman trophy winner" couldn't stop their 2 minute drill in which they drove the length of the field and kicked a FG as time expired.

I'll even do the higher math for you.

4 losses by a total of 25 points to Top 18 Teams.

What was Duhhh U's total point loss in their 7 losses? I watched Duhhhh Canes lose by nearly twice that total in one game to #26 UVA. I guess your analysis would be that Duhhh Canes only won 5 games because you were playing without "the Heisman trophy winner"?

Your boy Patchan just got shot in the shoulder.UF = Thug U???

It takes more than a semester before the lifelong values his dad instilled him as a true cane can be converted to something respecable, even by the standards of half-civilized fans of Duhhhh U.

Orange and Green Alliance: 1) gaturd media allies sweep the dirt under the rug; 2) only U fit the black hat narrative.
NO LEGS

I'll even do the higher math for you.

Posted by: GatorBait | May 13, 2008 at 10:20 AM
since 2002, the grimy gaturd lost 23 games ...
BASIC MATH

U that nigga manny. Good job

"since 2002, the grimy gaturd lost 23 games"

Yes and of the 23 the Gators lost by a grand total of 239 points as compared to Duhhh U losing by 279 points in that same time period.

So what's your point green math boy?

So what's your point green math boy?

Posted by: GatorBait | May 15, 2008 at 01:49 AM
gaturds suck

Just wanted to give you guys some props for last week. Had nearly 29,000 page views for the week. It ranked second on the Sun-Sentinel, behind the Dolphins blog. Not bad for football not being in season:) ... But once the postseason starts, I'm gonna get back into baseball.

Posted by: Shandel_Richardson | May 14, 2008 at 04:33 PM

Het guys. What's up. Been working the recruiting trail hard the past week. http://www.miamiherald.com/604/story/532921.html which is why I've been slacking on the blog ... See you when I see you.

Posted by: Manny Navarro | May 14, 2008 at 07:05 PM
get off your duff ...
WAKE-UP CALL

Sorry guys...but this is the MAN!!!!

8 questions with the `08 Class (Tommy Streeter)
> Posted by Shandel_Richardson at 10:00:45 PM

Today we catch up with Tommy Streeter, a 6-4, 190-pound receiver out of Miami Northwestern High. With his size and speed (4.49 in the 40), he could wind be the Hurricanes' most dangerous recruit of the class, regardless of position. Here's what Streeter is saying these days as he prepares for his UM arrival:

SR: Your teammate Aldarius Johnson was known as "Glue Hands" when you guys played at Traz Powell in high school. Did longtime announcer Willie Wilcox have a nickname for you?

TS: Yeah, they used to call me "Stretch `em out Streeter." It was something the announcer came up with. I guess over the course of the season, he said everything I catch, I just stretch out and get it. I liked it.

SR: How cool would it be for one day that you and Aldarius are the starting receivers at UM?

TS: Only time will tell. We're two big guys coming from winning systems and we have the drive to get better and push each other. I teach him things. He teaches me things. That's the advantage we have, we've played together for a long time. He's down there (at UM) now and he's not so much telling me things, but showing me things.

SR: Most of your Northwestern teammates committed to UM really early in the process. What took you so long?

TS: My dad (Tommy Streeter Sr. played at Colorado in the mid-80s) told me it was a long process and to be patient and take advantage of the experience. It only comes once in a lifetime. Just because other guys committed early, didn't mean I couldn't take my time.

SR: Were you having any reservations about playing with your old teammates in college? Did you feel like you had to break away from the pack?

TS: That's not true at all. You've got to do what's best for you. I told that to every reporter that I talked with and they took it out of context. They thought I felt like I was going to be in Aldarius' shadow. That had nothing to do with it. We can both dominate together.

SR: How comfortable are you running routes across the middle? Are you capable of being that possession wide receiver?

TS: It doesn't matter to me. It's my job to catch the football, no matter where they send me. I just want to go out and get the job done. But I don't want to be a possession receiver. I want teams to have to prepare for Tommy Streeter. I don't want to catch the ball and get tackled. I want to be the deep threat.

SR: What has been your focus in the offseason? Anything in particular that you are trying to improve on?

TS: In college, (defensive backs) are going to be pressing you, so I'm trying to bulk up. I want to be ready for the next level. I just started working out again. I've gained five pounds. I was running track and that caused me to lose 10 pounds. I also want to work on my blocking.

SR: It appears UM is probably at least a year away from making any real noise in the ACC. Is it going to be tough dealing with those losses after such a successful high school career?

TS: When I get to Miami, I don't even think we're going to lose, personally. I'm going there with a winning attitude. We're used to winning, coming from the No. 1 team in the country. We're used to the crowds, our games were always sold out. It's no different. Guys are just bigger, faster, stronger and smarter.

SR: You guys were the national champs in high school, but there is debate if you were even the best team in Dade County. Who would've won between Northwestern and Class 4A champion Booker T. Washington?

TS: (Laughing) Why do people always bring this up? I doubt they would beat us and that's all I'll say. We were the No. 1 team in the nation for a reason. It's easy for them (Booker T) to talk about it once it's passed. If they wanted to play, it should've been set up.

I love how Gators fans actually are so lame that they are checking out Hurricane's blog sites... Somebody a little afraid? Maybe Urban losing the ship? Maybe the Hurricanes recruiting class is worrying you? Aside from loser PatCan't boy from Armwood, the real thuggery on your team was displayed by Hornsby.. That makese me think about the true orange and blue. STEALING A DEAD WOMAN'S CREDIT CARD AND MAKING OVER 70 CHARGES.. Your team can never live that one down buddy. No matter what happens. F.Y.I. the Gators have had quadruple the arrests of the Hurricanes in the last 5 years. Do some research. Oh by the way, we lost 3 games by 3 points. Also, you are 0-6 since 1985 so until you beat us you are still just a bunch of SWAMP RATS!!! I hope some day you find something to do in Gunville or wherever you are from; this way you don't have to waste more time from your pathetic life talking sh*t on your opposing team's blog.

That is why I despise Gator's fans. No real knowledge of football and blabbering idiots. That is what happens when they have 40,000 students in a town of 60,000 with nothing to do but drink and s*ck the cocks of their sports athletes.

Manny, I have been reading your recruiting trail pieces in the high school section and it is packed with great information. Thanks and good job.

"Maybe....."

"Maybe....."

"That makese me think....." impossible.

"No matter what happens....." you spoke too soon.

"Oh by the way, we lost 3 games by 3 points" so they actually count as wins because it's all about duhhhhh U.

"I hope...."

"No real knowledge of football......" although obviously not as evidenced by your own post in comparison.

Hello GatorBait,

Still hanging around on other team's blogs in the wee hours of the morning. LOL! Get a girlfriend/boyfriend or cow! I don't want to speculate what you might or might not be f*cking up there in Gooneyville, but you should try a relationship. You might wake up one morning and not hate your life. If the Gators make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, GOOD FOR YOU!!

Bring your pansy A$$ back here once the game is over....

"No real knowledge of football......"?

Gayturd bate: Get-a-life.

You like numbers don't you?

Um is 24-14 against the SEC and 10-6 against the Gayturds since 1975.

UM has 53 players in the NFL UF has about 40. That is, if ernie Graham stays in a roster.

UF has had 2 off the field inicdents this spring. UM-zero.

Last pic I saw of Tebone on ESPN was him talking to a bunch of convicts in the state prison. half of them said theyre gayturd fans (the other half are georgia or FSU fans).

hat is UF's bowl record the last 10 years? I'll let you lok that one up.

With 50,000 students, UF is about 12 times larger than UM. Um has thebest Medical school, trauma center, business school, oceanography program in the state. UM has just raised 1.4 billion dollars. HAs UF done 12x better? I think not.

Gyturd bate- Go home to your trailer near Canesville. Stop blogging from Kinkos, because I know you can't plug in a computer in the swamps there.

With 50,000 students, UF is about 12 times larger than UM.

Posted by: jaime | May 17, 2008 at 08:22 PM
roughly 15,000 attend UM ...
3 TIMES

Thanks I stand corrected. Has UF done 3.3333333 times better?

"half of them said theyre gayturd fans (the other half are georgia or FSU fans)"......only because they were smart enough not to take the law into their own hands. What's the percentage breakdown when Tebow preaches at cemeteries?

Since 1998 Duh U has never ranked higher than 21st in Division 1-A football attendance.

In your has-been stadium that holds over 73,000 people, Duh U's average attendance ranked 38th. So why is UM so unpopular?

Because their spending 12 times more or 3.33333 times more on research funds and $0 on stadium upgrades depending on if a Cane or Gator is doing the math.

dilapiDATED stadiums discourage the casual fan ...
THING OF THE PAST

Even NFL stadiums that serve liquor and teams that offer 2 free tickets with a test drive discourage fair weather fans......
THING OF THE FUTURE

the future ain't what it used to be --
yogi berra

The comments to this entry are closed.