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Supplemental Draft Prospect Interview: Shyheim Cullen, LB, Syracuse University

Shyheim Cullen announced that he was entering the NFL’s Supplemental Draft in July so we wanted to sit down with him and talk about the process.

• Name: Shyheim Cullen

• Height: 6000

• Weight: 230

• Position: Linebacker/Special Teams

• College: Syracuse University

• Twitter: @Shycullen24

Tell us about your hometown, and what you love most about it?

• I’m from Lowell, Massachusetts, a small city outside of Boston, full of diversity.  I’ve been living in Lowell since I was adopted at 4yrs old. Lowell is an old mill city known for its gritty, blue-collar, hard workers. Also known to be the underdog for a lot of things and usually overlooked. I feel like the cities underdog reputation is a reflection of my past from when I was born, to being adopted, through my college recruitment and now to the NFL. I’ve always had to persevere and be the underdog, and that’s what I love most about my city.

List these three in order of importance and why: Film Study, Strength and Conditioning and Practice?

• Film Study, Practice, and Strength and Conditioning are my order of importance. I chose Film Study first because coming out of high school I learned very quickly that the game of football is more than just being athletic but it becomes a mental game with X’s and O’s and knowing your assignment. I chose practice second because in order to execute what you prepared for in the film room there must be practice to follow through with that and repetition creates consistency. Strength and conditioning come third because I love to workout and that’ll always be a huge part of my life.

What do you worry about, and why?

• I worry about the future because no matter how hard I work and prepare the future is never guaranteed.

Give me an example of when you failed at something. How did you react and how did you overcome failure?

• An example of when I failed something was failing academically. I’ve always struggled in school but this time my failure caused me to lose everything from football, my scholarship, my relationships, and my teammates. At first, I was devastated and depressed but then I realized that my dreams of playing football professionally couldn’t stop there, so then like everything else in my life I’m back fighting for my future.

What do your teammates say is your best quality?

• My teammates say that my best quality is that I am resilient.

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?

• I would say the best player that I had ever played against in college was my own teammate Eric Dungey. Practicing/playing against him got me better, going against other ACC quarterbacks and other quarterbacks in college. Him being a dual-threat quarterback made it all the better for me on game day.

What would your career be if you couldn’t play football? 

• My career would be a personal trainer because I have a love with working out but most importantly helping others. Whether I play in the NFL or not someday I see myself opening up my own gym and training all different kinds of people.

Room, desk and car – which do you clean first?

• Clean the room first because that’s where you start and end your day. If you start the day organized and clean with your room the rest of the day should follow as such.

If there was a disaster and you could either save three strangers or one family member, which would you choose and why?

• I would choose one family member because family is everything to me.

If you could be any television or movie character, who would you be and why?

• If I could choose a character to be it’d be Tony Stark/Iron Man because he had it all and died saving the world.

Tell me about your biggest adversity in life and how you’ve dealt with or overcome it?

• The biggest adversity in my life that I went through probably would have been when I was trying to meet eligibility for the NCAA coming out of high school.  Colleges were showing interest in me but at the time my GPA didn’t meet NCAA requirements. Being diagnosed with a learning disability at the time and finding ways to deal with it I brought my 1.7 GPA to a 2.6 and got the opportunity to play for the only school that believed in me.

What is your most embarrassing moment?

• The most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me was my freshman year of college in our first defensive meeting one of the coaches had gone to each freshman player and stated the weaknesses they saw during recruitment in front of everybody. It was embarrassing but I got over it and learned from it and actually grew from it.

What was the most memorable play of your collegiate career?

• The most memorable play of my college career was on defense playing against Notre Dame when I broke my thumb and the bone came out of my hand. That play was memorable because it was a game that we were losing badly and I went to the sideline got it wrapped up real quick and went back in the game. That was one of the most excruciating pains I had ever felt.

What song best describes your work ethic?

• I think a song that best describes my work ethic is everyday by logic.

What is the most important trait you can have (Physical or Non-Physical) to help you succeed at the next level? 

• I personally feel that the most important trait that you can have is the ability to think and react because the game is fast. So I feel I’ll need to be able to process and react accordingly.

If you could bring one person back from the dead for one day, who would it be and why?

• Being from an adopted family I didn’t really have any close personal relationships with anyone that died. But If I could bring back anyone from the dead it would be my mom’s mother because I know how much that would mean to her.

If you were to open a dance club, what would you name it? 

• The Loud House

Who is the most underrated player in the NFL? 

• James White

Would you rather be liked or respected, and why?

• I’d rather be respected than liked because not everybody is going to like you but they can respect you. Also, respect is earned not given.

What player who had his career derailed by off-field issues do you feel for the most and why?

• I feel for Josh Gordon because something so big that he worked for his whole life was taken away by something so small that hugely impacted his future.

Do you love to win, or hate to lose?

• I love to win.

Who has been the biggest influence on your life and explain why?

• The biggest influence on my life would be two people, which are my mother and my stepdad. My mother for starters made an impact on my life from the day she adopted me. My parents got divorced a couple of years after adopting me. My mother is a hard working woman that took care of my 5 siblings and me and is apart of the reason why I’m in the position that I am today. As for my stepdad since my freshman year of high school, he has been the one man to truly believe in what I can do not only as a football player but as a man, a leader, and what it truly means to be an inspiration to others. Both my mother and stepfather have helped guide me in taking the right paths.

NFL Draft Diamonds was created to assist the underdogs playing the sport. We call them diamonds in the rough. My name is Damond Talbot, I have worked extremely hard to help hundreds of small school players over the past several years, and will continue my mission. We have several contributors on this site, and if they contribute their name and contact will be in the piece above. You can email me at nfldraftdiamonds@gmail.com

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