to the boat at an early age.
“After years of fishing on the banks,
I had to figure out how to get out to the
middle of the pond. The only way to
get out there was by boat,” he recalls. “I
found this beat-up aluminum jon boat
on the side of the road. After fixing it up,
I was able to get out to those areas where
I could fish. At that point, I was addicted
to boats.” Back then he didn’t even have a
motor – just paddles. During his sophomore year in high school, a buddy invited
him to fish offshore, which turned into
“His boat had triple outboards – the
fastest boat I’d ever been on. So now,
I had a need for that power and speed,”
he says, adding, “And we had a hell of
a day of fishing, caught sailfish and
dolphinfish [mahi-mahi]. It just kind of
took off from there.” He hung around
tackle shops, picking up tips like learning how to rig his own bait, and followed his passion.
Pro athletes have down time between
seasons, during which Young estimates
he fishes five or six days a week. “I know,
it’s bad,” he laughs. Even if he’s not on a
boat, he still fishes the banks, and now
he’s teaching his young sons, hoping to
pass on his passion.
“My boys love boats as much as I do,
but I feel there’s a need to show them
how to fish from the bank, so they can
fish when I’m away,” he says. “I teach
them the techniques – the tricks of the
trade – to be successful.”
The NFL season is legendary for
its demanding grind, from off-season
workouts, to training camp and exhibi-
tion games, to the fast-moving 17-week
season. Does he at least put the rod away
during that summer and fall stretch?
“Not a chance. If I can get two days
of fishing a week, that’s good,” he says.
Football players are known for their personalized celebrations. Not surprisingly,
when the 6-foot-4-inch, 258-pound linebacker sacks a quarterback, he celebrates
the tackle by casting an imaginary fishing
rod toward the end zone and reeling it in.
The last couple of years, Young says
he’s been chasing swordfish. He says he
loves the long fight required to work the
massive fish through hundreds of feet
“The thing about swordfishing is
you go out there looking for a nib-
ble. Sometimes it comes in five min-
utes, sometimes 30, sometimes it never
comes,” he says. “But there’s nothing like
the feeling of a nibble.”
When pressed, he admits he some-
times takes the family for a day cruise.
“It’s something that I can’t describe.
It’s a rush and sense of relaxation all at
once,” he says of time on the water. “I
can’t explain the feeling I get from it. It’s
like a drug for me, and I have to have
it.” His cruises comes with a disclaimer,
however: “If I decide to go out just for a
cruise, I have to have a rod on board for
that ‘just-in-case’ factor.”
IT’S SOMETHING THAT
I CAN’T DESCRIBE. IT’S
A RUSH AND SENSE OF
RELAXATION ALL AT ONCE
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