Hello, I am @jrberendzen on Twitter and this is one of my free agent interviews where I ask very deserving free agents questions about the players themselves and about what a team would get in these players. All of these players should get picked up by NFL and CFL teams and get a shot at being a career football player. So I hope you all read this interview with Ellis Parr. Make sure you follow him on Twitter at @EParr54
1. If you could hang out with any football player past or present for a day who and why?
If I could hang out with any player I would chose Defensive Lineman John Randle. He and I play the same position as a 3-tech D-Tackle and he and I are both guys that played at the JC level then NCAA Division 2 level. He is a hero of mine for beating the odds of being an undersized small school guy just by working harder than everyone else. I don’t think there’s ever been a player with a higher motor. He never got tired and was always playing with relentless effort. Watching him you can tell he loves the game his “trash talk” is really just goofy rather than degrading. He also talks about how important it is to scout and research your opponents to know exactly how to win. He was an excellent leader and team player and really embodies everything that I try to model my game after.
2. What is your favorite dinner?
The perfect dinner is just any backyard BBQ. Being surrounded by great friends/family and great food is the best. I’m a pretty blue collar guy a few backyard burgers with some great company is the perfect dinner to me.
3. What is your mindset when you are on the football field?
Before every game or practice I use mediation to help me get locked in. I focus on winning the game/practice one rep/play at a time. I have to give the play I’m on 100% effort and can’t worry about what happened last play good or bad. I make sure I know my alignment and assignment and then pay attention to the down and distance along with the offensive formation to be able to predict the play that they will run. After the play, whether it was good or bad, I immediately focus on being locked into the next play. If my teammate or I make a good play I make sure to high five them and then immediately get refocused. If my defense has a bad play I make sure to calm everyone down and get everyone’s spirits back up to do better the next play. If I myself have a bad play liked missing a tackle, get stonewalled on a pass rush or get pancaked I use a process I learned about called “thought stopping”. I immediately smack myself on the wrist to break my train of negative thought and then I take a few deep breaths to reset myself for the next play.
4. If you were on a game show and won 100 thousand dollars what would you do with it?
I would use the money to pay off my student loans and buy a car because those are two financial goals I currently have set for myself. I’d put the rest of the money towards savings and help my family out if they needed it. Someday I think it would be really cool to open up a Strength & Conditioning facility so I would keep that money saved and use the rest of it build a business plan and get that business going.
5. What is your nickname or if you don’t have a nickname what would you want your nickname to be?
This is kind of funny story I used to have an issue where the front pad of my helmet would cut my forehead open and cause me to bleed everywhere. It actually started to get pretty bad and I still have a scar from that helmet from when I was at College of the Siskiyous. If you are bleeding you are required to come out for one play and get it cleaned so I fixed it by wearing a blue “Iron Maiden” bandana. When I transferred to Minot State blue didn’t match the color scheme so I got a black “Slayer” bandana to make sure my helmet fit right. I never had an official nickname but guys at Minot State would come up to me and put up the horns and say “SLAYER!!!” I always got a kick out of it I never had an official nickname I was just known as the Slayer dude.
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6. Who is your favorite musical artist?
It’s really hard to pick one because music is such a big part of my life. If I have to pick just one I’ll go with Motörhead. Their whole mantra is “Born to lose, Live to win” which is pretty much the phrase I live my life by. I’ve been listening to Motörhead since I was little kid and it is one of the few bands that I really never get tired of.
7. If you had a TV show about your life what would you call it and why
49% Metal Head 51% Meat Head
Football/Strength & Conditioning make up my main passion and interests so that’s the “Meat Head”. I listen to music pretty much all day everyday and always have headphones in. Metal is another passion of mine and so that’s the “Metal Head”.
8. What made you decide you wanted to be a football player?
I love the purity of Football because it is the ultimate team game. In order to win all members of the team must be giving their absolute best effort and work together. There is no cheating it either you either train hard in the offseason to be ready or you don’t play. You either study the game plan and watch film to be prepared for a game or you don’t play. You have to buy into a team and earn the trust and respect of your teammates/coaches or you have no value to the team. In order to win you have to be willing to put the team in front of yourself in all aspects. You have to set your ego aside to be coachable. You have to push yourself past your comfort zone in training to be the best you can be. Football is the sport that really comes down to asking yourself how much are you willing to work and how much will you sacrifice for your team to be the best you can be. I’m really not a guy who likes the spot light and I love being a part of a team and working with like minded people to come together and win.
9. If you were on an island and could only have three things which three things would you have?
I truly have a “Never say die” attitude so I would want things I would use to get myself off a desert Island and back to reality. I would want a fishing pole and bait so I’d be able to get myself food in order to survive. I would want a box of tools like a hammer, nails and hatchet so I could build shelter to survive. The last thing I’d want is a compass/map so I’d eventually be able to use the tools to build a raft and navigate myself back to real world.
10. What would a team get in a player like you?
A team that gets me is getting a team player who truly loves the game. They are getting a gritty, blue collar guy who will never say die. I put my 100% best effort into everything I do that relates to football. I feel like anything that is a distraction from allowing me to be the best player I can be is something I don’t have time for. I am always the first one to practice out of all players and coaches and the last one to leave. Anyone who has ever played with me can vouch for this as well because I refuse to be outworked. I hold all my teammates accountable to a championship standard and will call guys out when they are not working to meet that standard. Every season for me is championship or bust. Anything less than winning a championship is unacceptable because that is just complacency with mediocrity. Away from the field I watch enough film to know everything I will see in a game. I study my opponents pass sets to know exactly which pass rush moves will work to beat them that week. I will study tendencies such as down/distance formation, situation to the point where I know what the offensive play is before is happening to put myself in the best position possible. Away from football I make sure my sleep schedule is consistent and that my diet allows me to be fueled the best I can be. In summary, a team that gets me is getting someone who is committed to doing absolutely everything it takes to be the best player he can be to help his team win championships. From the schematic side of things, they would get a high motor versatile Defensive Linemen with elite football IQ who can truly play both DE and DT. My frame at 6’1” 285 combined with my mobility/speed allows me to serve as a valuable member of a rotation that can utilize versatility.
11. If you could live anywhere in the world where and why?
Location isn’t nearly as important to me as opportunity. Out of high school I decided to go to Weed California to play for College of the Siskiyous which ended up being the best decision I have ever made both for my football and academic career. I had an opportunity to work with an amazing coaching staff who promised me nothing but an opportunity to prove myself. After that I transferred to Minot State University in North Dakota and had an excellent collegiate career and graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree Summa Cum Laude. After Minot I took another chance on faith to play for the Bismarck Bucks of the I.F.L. which unfortunately was cancelled this year due to COVID-19. In 2021 I am hoping to return to them and try again and see where the road takes me from there. I’ve gone a lot of places I’d never thought I’d go to pursue opportunity and all have turned out great. As I mentioned before location isn’t nearly as important to me as opportunity. If I am in a location with excellent opportunity that pushes me out of my comfort zone and forces me to grow and learn as a person then that is where I want to be.
12. If you were an animal which animal would you be and why?
I think getting to be a Bald Eagle would be amazing. I would live free in the skies and mountains of the Pacific NW and fish for trout straight out of the rivers. I would be able to fly anywhere I’d want to and wouldn’t have to worry about predators because Eagles are the apex predator in the skies. If a bear came down as an enforcer all I’d have to do is fly away. If I got bored I’d be able to fly over any outdoor sporting event and watch for free which sounds pretty cool to me.
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