By P.K. Greenfield
Power & Potential On & Off The Lines Of Scrimmage.
Photos Provided by Quinton Coples/ Millennium Sports Management Group
Drafted by the New York Jets in the first round of the 2012 NFL Picks, Quinton Coples has shown versatility on the field demonstrating his abilities in many positions. There are big expectations for his performance this season. His contribution to the team comes with a lot of pressure — that colossal responsibility that coincides with a multi-million dollar contract.
Off the field, Coples has demonstrated an impressive leadership role with works for various organizations such as Safe Horizon — a foundation that offers support and funding for men, women and children of abuse.
On the day we met, he was running late after his flight from Atlanta. He also needed a pit stop for a haircut. Our meeting was a little delayed but we met up with him during his recent visit to New York City and spoke with him at his suite at the Sofitel New York Hotel near Times Square.
At 6’ 6” and 291 lbs., he enters the room with the expected presence of a linebacker but also walks with the grace and gait of a matador — in control of every situation. I’m 5’ 11” and 150 lbs. We introduced ourselves and took a seat. I shrunk to the size of an elf. Regardless, I opened our conversation by noting that my head was the size of his knee. He laughed. This broke the ice and made our discussion easy to proceed.
Here is what Millennium Magazine learned about the pro player:
MM: What was it like growing up in Kinston, North Carolina?
QC: I grew up with my mom and my sister — it was in an urban rural area and I attended Kinston High School. I had to keep focused and that’s where I got into sports. It helped shape me into to who I am today. In my senior year I moved to Chatham and attended the Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia.
MM: If you were talking with a young person in Kinston. Who would you describe your position as a linebacker?
QC: In between the lines you have to be a mean, tough guy. You have to be able to hit people — hard. You are always running and the focus of the job is on the ball — the ball is the issue. It’s a unique position. You are asked to do a lot and you are sort of the brains of the defense.
MM: What would you say to kids who want to play football professionally?
QC: At this stage in my life it’s difficult to answer. I’d want them to know that it is a great sport and if they can get a free education and truly want to dedicate their time and life to the sport then go for it. However, I’d also want them to be aware of all the health issues that come with the game; it really takes a toll on your body. Bottom line is I’d encourage a kid if he wants to be a professional player but understands everything about the sport and let him make up his decision from there.
MM: How did you get recruited for The New York Jets?
QC: It’s a draft process when you are in college and the scouts come to the school and they watch you play and then go to the front office and ask various questions about your character. They get all the information they need on top of how you play on the field and from there you get ranked. I was lucky to picked up and offered a position.
MM: You are one of those rare talents who has played several positions. And they are…?
QC: I played Nose Tackle, Defensive Tackle, Defensive End, Outside Linebacker, Middle Line Backer and Corner everything but Safety.
MM: What position will you play this season?
QC: Outside Linebacker.
MM: If you weren’t a professional football player, what career what would you have chosen?
QC: That’s an interesting thing. Growing up I always wanted to be a lawyer. But when I saw what it takes and I got into sports, I realized that I wasn’t really built for the challenge. So when I got into the league and started venturing out and saw other options, I really became interested in consumer products so I would say my other career would be in sales and marketing.
MM: Who is your hero?
QC: My mom. She is my hero, my champion. The way she raised two kids; she had one when she was in high school and then she had me eight years later. Growing up it was tough but she managed to put food on the table and clothes on our back for that amount of time. It was a blessing. She still managed to keep us from running out into the streets as much as possible and we prospered and both of us went to college because of her efforts.
MM: What would you say to her is she was sitting next to you right now?
QC: I’d tell her that I love her and I really appreciate all that she has done for me. She sculpted me into the man I am today.
MM: What do you like most about being in the football league?
QC: The most important thing is it allows me to better myself as a man; I can also affect other people’s lives. This opportunity has allowed me to do things for a lot of kids. I can enter a room and it puts a smile on their face and I encourage them. I try to raise their hopes and spirits and fundraising when necessary. That’s how I got involved with Safe Horizon.
MM: Describe the coming year for you.
QC: Currently, I am preparing for my fourth season with the New York Jets. I focused on improving all facets of my game during the offseason and my goal is to make an impact on the field and help the New York Jets win the division and make the playoffs. Off the field, with the help of my management company Millennium Sports Management Group (MSMG), I continue to dedicate my time on my foundation, The Quinton Coples Foundation where this fall we will be getting ready to start the second year of my Foundation’s Student of the Month Program in the Tri-State area as well as prepare for our other programs during the fall and winter. MSMG and I are working together to identify some new opportunities for me off the field and in addition to promote my men’s accessory line, The Quinton Coples Signature Collection with Urban Professor.
MM: On a different note, who is your favorite recording artist?
QC: I am a Little Wayne fan (he laughs).
What impressed me most about Quinton Coples was his demeanor, his focus on the important things in life and that fact that his mother is his hero. He is only 25-years-old and his performance both on and off the field is encouraging not only for the sport, sportsmanship but also future pro players.
After chatting with him he stood up from the sofa, shook my hand and thanked me for the interview. This soft-spoken powerhouse gracefully exited the room with the same impressive presence when he entered — this time taking along with him a lot of promise and charisma.
Read more about Mr. Coples here:
Check out the video interview between Quniton Coples and Millennium Magazine Spokesmodel Portia Backus here: