Former Lafayette football star Blake Costanzo ’06 took some time to answer questions about his career in the National Football League. The anthropology and sociology graduate is playing with the San Francisco 49ers after spending the past two seasons with the Cleveland Browns.
Between your former teammates and coaches, who has made the most impact on your career?
There is no single coach or teammate that I can distinguish as having the most impact on my career. On every level and every team I’ve played on, I’ve been so blessed to be in the company of the hardest-working, selfless, tough, honest, and compassionate men in this world. I am forever indebted to all my former coaches and teammates, and we were all truly brothers. The only way that I feel I can show my gratitude to them is to play the game the way they taught me and to live and die with my teammates out on the field.
What do you miss most about Lafayette?
My teammates. They are my boys and also the men that got me through four years of college. They are my friends for life, and I love them.
You were a part of two Patriot League championships and two NCAA playoff trips. Looking back, what do those seasons mean to you now?
They mean a lot because the Class of 2006 believed in the program and believed in each other. We worked so hard to get Lafayette football on the map. The friendships I gained, lessons I learned, and being part of those teams means the most to me. Wins and losses don’t compare to the experiences we had as a team.
If you were not playing football, what could you see yourself doing professionally?
Chris Partridge ’03, my best friend, former teammate, and coach at Lafayette, coaches at Paramus High School in New Jersey. I spend every summer and winter with his team coaching and helping mentor the kids. There is nothing more rewarding to me than working with kids, so I would definitely be a coach and a teacher.
What was your most memorable moment as a pro?
My most memorable moment was seeing my family in the stands the first time, wearing my jersey and holding signs for me. I’m so proud of my family and wearing that “Costanzo” on the back of my uniform, representing them, is what it’s all about.
What is the most meaningful to you about being a professional football player?
The most meaningful thing to me is being a role model. It is a blessing and an honor to be in a position where kids and adults both look up to you.
What are your first impressions of San Francisco, the team and the city?
I love the team and the city. We have a bunch of blue-collar players, and the weather isn’t too bad either.
What is your relationship like with Brad Seely, and has he made the transition from Cleveland to San Francisco easier on you? (Seely is the 49ers special teams coordinator/assistant head coach and coached Costanzo in Cleveland in 2009-10.)
Brad is one of the best coaches in the NFL and I’ve been privileged to play for him as well as Philadelphia Eagles special teams coach Bobby April. Both those guys believe in me and my abilities, and in this business it’s always good to have a guy in your corner. I know Coach Seely is and always will be in mine.
What was this offseason like, coming back from your groin injury, and then dealing with the NFL lockout?
It was the first time in my life I ever missed a game or a practice, in any sport, so it was tough…It was hard not being out on the field. I just looked at it as my motivation and counted down the days until I could get back out on the field. As for the lockout, I just trained like there would be a season. I’ve learned that you can only worry about things that you can control.
What training and preparation did you do to keep in shape after your injury healed and you were preparing the possibility of signing with a new team?
I just stuck to my regular training I do every off season. I worked out with a couple of my buddies who own a gym, ETS in Teterboro, N.J., and with some high school and college guys. The young guys always keep you on your toes.
Your current Facebook picture is Rocky and Ivan Drago. Is there a story behind that?
(Laughing) Yes, there is. Chris Partridge would always talk about that movie and about being mentally tough, doing things the old school way, working hard and being the underdog. Every year in the NFL, I am the underdog so there is some symbolism there.
What are your thoughts on Twitter? Have you given any thought to joining?
I’m not a Twitter dude; I consider myself “old school.” I’m very busy and I can’t keep track of what everyone else is doing, but that’s this new generation.
One last thing, I’d like to give a shot out to all my Lafayette teammates, especially the Class of 2006 and the whole coaching staff from that year. I love them all and would go to war with them, any day, anytime. I’m forever grateful for all that they gave to me. I have a saying I always use: “Always livin’.” This means whatever you’re doing in life, be the best at it, at that moment, and don’t let life pass you by.