Are you ready for some football? Yes, of course. And East Burke’s own NFL star is suiting up for a game of strategy and power.
Tyler Shatley is beginning his sixth season with the Jacksonville Jaguars, where he plays both center and guard on the offensive line. “I love that I get to play football almost every day and call it work,” he says.” I have always wanted to play in the NFL since I was a kid. I loved all sports growing up, but football was my best chance to play in college and at the professional level.
“While at East Burke, I was inspired and mentored by many teachers and coaches – too many to name. I learned something from each one and have great memories of working with them. Of course, I must include my parents as role models as well.
“I enjoyed high school. I always say that my first job was writing the scripts for News and Views with Matt Hastings. The pay and benefits weren’t great, but we worked really hard. I like to think that the challenges of that job helped mold me into the man I am!
“I was fortunate to be able to continue playing football at Clemson University, where I earned a degree in civil engineering. It’s nice to have, but it’s not very helpful on the football field. I must add that I also took a hunter’s safety class and boating safety class in college, but these are not related to my career (yet). Stay tuned.”
The average football fan can enjoy the game from the stadium or in front of the TV without understanding the perspective of the player who is traveling and playing each week. But Tyler can give us some insight into both the rewards and the challenges of this career.
“I love that I will never be perfect at my job, but I get to work every day to get as close as I can to perfection. I really enjoy the people that I get to work with and all of the places around the country that I get to go. I love the highs and lows of games and seasons; they are what make each year memorable.”
But, as in every profession, there are challenges to overcome. “Mentally, there is a ton of information to process through each week. Every team that we play has a different scheme that we have to study and understand to do our job. We also have to make adjustments to our plays so we can match up well against another team. Physically, dealing with the aches and pains that come along with any sport can be a real challenge. We have to work hard to stay at a peak performance level for months. Personally, the time away from family during the season is tough. But there are two sides to that coin because I get to spend so much time with my family in the off season. Not many people have that luxury.
“There is a lot of job uncertainty at times with so much turnover on a roster every year. Almost half of the guys that start out with a team at the beginning off the year get cut or traded at some point during the season.
“Also, there are a lot of comments from people on how I could do my job better, and there are even more people that like to talk bad about the guys I work with – that is frustrating. I say mow your own grass.
“I’ve been blessed that I have been able to play as long as I have, and I hope to continue as long as I can and enjoy it. Actually, I would like to play long enough so that when I’m done, I can do more fishing than working. Maybe I can make use of those hunter’s and boating safety courses.”