Exclusive Interview: Corey Fuller

We sat down with former ‘Nole DB and current East Gadsen High School head coach Corey Fuller to talk about his days as a Seminole, his playing career, and more.


Nole Gameday: You played with some special players at FSU. What’s your favorite memory in your time at Florida State?

Corey Fuller: My favorite memory was on the field against Florida, 1994. Also the group of guys I played with, especially the guys I signed with in the (recruiting) class of 1990. We’re still friends to this day, and the relationships and friendships I built will always be special.

NG: What was Coach Bowden like away from the cameras and media?

CF: Just a great mentor, great father figure, great leader. Always knew what was going on, good or bad. Just a real leader. Now that I’m older and I look back on my playing time, you can’t duplicate his leadership.

NG: You played 10 seasons in the NFL. Reflecting back on the time, what’s your biggest takeaway from your NFL career?

CF: The memories, the childhood dream that you actually made come true through hard work, perseverance and never giving up. The dream you have, is nothing like the life you’re actually going through.

NG: In the viral video (below) of you speaking to your players at your old home, you said over and over again “I come from nothing.” What advice would you give a young athlete in a similar situation?

CF: Just work, put your head down, and do the best you can to block out what you see and hear. If you really believe in your dream, you got to run after it. You got to chase it.

NG: What happened leading up to the video?

CF: I was gone for almost three weeks, and when I got back I figured the kids would be ready to see me. They just weren’t responding and lacked enthusiasm. This is my second time here, and the first group of kids were different. If I told them to run through a brick wall, they would figure out how to do it. Now I got a group of kids who don’t have the same desire to be great, to do something different. You know you run out of the motivational speeches and the yelling and screaming. In my situation, I believe people see more of the glory than the story. So I had to let them see that hey man, not too long ago I was in the boat just like y’all. Didn’t know how we were going to get our next meal, didn’t know what we were going to get for Christmas, didn’t know where we were going to get school clothes. But I knew, my mother worked hard and that was instilled in me. I knew if I tried to do the right thing that I had a chance, because I had a lot of ability. I had to show them that I’m one of them, I’m just like them.

NG: There was obviously a lot of passion in the speech you gave to your players. Where would you say the source of that passion comes from?

CF: The grittiness of the community. The environment I’ve been. And the five years I spent at Florida State. There’s nothing like Mickey Andrews every day on you for five years.

NG: What drove you to become a coach after your playing career?

CF: Actually I was sitting at home, and I was depressed after my career was over with. You go from age 6 to 33 playing organized sports, and I wake up one day and I have nothing to do, no where to go. It took me two and a half years before I got up and started physically moving around again.

NG: Florida State has a very talented roster this year. What’s your prediction for the 2016 team?

CF: It’s like it was in the ’90s. They have so much depth, and in football, you can have all the talent you want, but you need depth. They got two signal callers, they just have to figure out which one to go with (starter was not announced at time of interview) that can lead them to the promised land. Florida State has the talent and the coaching, they’re back to recruiting the way they were when I was in college. There’s no reason they can’t win the national championship, they have the right guys, now it’s time to go do it.

NG: Talk about the issue of gun violence in this country, as someone who has personally been affected by it.

CF: I’m a victim of a brother being murdered at 18 years old shot by another man. Everyone’s going to lose their life, but when you lose your life by a gun, the person that pulls the trigger is playing God at that moment. In a situation where someone pulls a gun on them, 9 times out of 10 when a person gets shot they’re going to die. So they’re playing God in that moment. So for people who are saying Black Lives Matter, that’s cool, I respect all of that. But there’s a lot of black kids who die every day in America, and there’s no movement for that. And the only reason I speak so passionately about that is because I was one of those kids who lost a brother, my only brother, my only sibling. Police officers, it’s not that we disrespect them or don’t like them. It’s the same thing with racism, it’s a taught behavior. Most of the kids come from an explosive environment. It is not a color structure when it comes to a white officer confronting a black kid. They are taught from a young age to stay away from the police, and you compound that with a terrible upbringing. There’s no real male role model in his life, and his mother is barely home because she’s trying to put food on the table. It takes a lot to come out of our situations, but it takes even more to be respectful and understanding of a person you don’t know.


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