- Tyler LaBarbera
- Eastern Michigan University
- Hometown: Elk Grove Village, Illinois
- Twitter: @labarbera_tyler
- GP: 12
- Total Tackles: 42
- TFL: 0.5
What is your favorite song to listen to prior to competing?
I prefer to have silence during pregame to clear my mind and focus on my assignment. But my favorite song to hear when getting pumped up is Back in Black by AC/DC.
How would your teammates describe you as both a player and person?
Hard-working and intense. They probably think I’m a little too intense, especially in practice.
How do you and your teammates make practice and film study fun?
By competing. By winning the game. By being relaxed. Our defensive line group was pretty close and we enjoyed being around each other during meetings, film, and practice. I can’t say it was always fun, but we always had each other to lean on when times got tough.
When you are studying film, what is your main focus to gain a competitive advantage?
I like to look for the weaknesses and flaws of my opponents so that I can take advantage of them. I always knew I would be stronger than the guy in front of me and as the nose, I usually got double-teamed. I used film to learn where the double team would come from and how to defeat it.
While at the Collegiate level, who has been the toughest player you have competed against?
The running back from Purdue was quick, tough and elusive. He read his blocks well and was able to accelerate quickly.
For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
I’m most grateful for having a close loving family that supports me and they are my biggest fans. I could always look up in the stands and see my family at every game, no matter where we played, they made sure to be there.
What team do you choose in Madden? Why?
I really don’t play Madden, but if I did, I wish I could have the ’85 Bears.
If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one quality or ability, what would it be?
I wish I could be more relaxed. I compete in everything I do. I take most things seriously and would like to be able to enjoy things as they are and not try to always do it better.
What do you value most from your Collegiate experience?
I appreciate the fact that I got to experience two completely different colleges by spending my first two years in Junior College. I learned that you are never given anything, It’s always earned.
Who is your personal hero?
Rocky Balboa. Although fictional, he showed that always outworking your opponents and having a greater desire to win will pay off in the end.
Tell me something about yourself nobody would know.
I lift weights and work out late at night after practice and in the off-season because I like having the gym to myself. My family thinks I’m nuts when I leave in the middle of the night to go work out.
How do you work on yourself?
I identify what I need to work on. I write a plan to help me reach my goals and then I attack it.
If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
The Pope. First, I would hope we would have some awesome Italian food. Secondly, I would love to converse with him how he is able to lead so many people as a servant leader.
If you could have any superpower, what power would it be and why?
I would like to be as strong as The Hulk. Could you imagine, The Hulk playing nose guard.
What would constitute a perfect day for you?
A perfect day for me is any game day that we win. I love the focus and intensity that happens throughout the entire game day. From eating breakfast with my teammates to meetings to pregame to the game itself. I love the whole process and wish every day could be gameday.
Who inspired you as a young athlete?
My dad inspired me at a very young age to try several sports. He coaches high school football and I always went to his games when I was young. He also coached me in youth football and baseball. He encouraged me to always give my best effort and for me to enjoy every moment of playing sports.
What are the positive attributes that you bring to a professional football team?
My competitive nature and high football IQ, Hard work and intensity in every rep. Playing and practicing with passion.
Tell me about a time where you overcame a challenge.
I went to junior college because I wasn’t satisfied with the offers I had out of high school. In Junior College, I outworked everyone to prepare myself to play at the D1 level. This was a very stressful time because every practice, every game was like a job interview.
What one skill would you like to improve on? What’s your plan for doing so?
I would like to improve my speed rush. I am focused on working to increase my speed and quickness to complement my strength and power rush.
What current/former NFL player do you model your playing style after?
I don’t model myself after any individual player, but I take a little from watching all of them to help make myself better. For example, I started using the club move after seeing Reggie White use it.
What is the best part of your hometown; Elk Grove Village, IL?
Elk Grove Village is a quiet suburb outside of Chicago that offered great park district athletic programs I took advantage of as a kid.
In 15 words or less, give me your pitch to an NFL GM on why you should be a part of their organization.
I will outwork anyone in the NFL to perform at the highest level possible.