Interview: Former NFLer Andrew Kline

The Rams have moved back to Los Angeles. And no one may be happier than former NFL Lineman, Andrew Kline. Kline’s brief stint in the NFL left a large impact on his incredible life.  He has learned and learned quickly to adapt to changes in life. A pleasure to get to know this man. TGR fans, meet Andrew Kline.

Andrew_Profile

1) Tell TGR fans about yourself? 

I am a very lucky guy as I was dealt an interesting set of cards in life, yet always had a friend, mentor, teacher, coach, family member, myself, and/or God who seemed to always steer me in the right direction.  Like anyone else I’ve had to deal with some major challenges in life, and I’m most proud of how those tests and crucibles have shaped me as a man, father, husband, friend, and part of my community.  I am fortunate as I went looking for myself as a young man, and feel I really know who I am and what makes me tick, which is maybe one of the most freeing things I’ve ever experienced.  I am far from perfect, but I am truly authentic—which I’d take any day over perfect.  I am excited about life, grateful for all that the universe has provided me, a happy daddy, a very in-love husband, and great friend to my eclectic yet amazingly tight group of buddies.

2) You were drafted late into the draft. What was that feeling like? What about the phone call? 

I will admit that I was a bit groggy during the draft from a night prior with buddies at the bars of San Diego trying not to think about the draft and excited for it at the same time.  I knew I was not a high draft pick so being drafted late didn’t bug me one bit.  But, that call was the culmination of 9 years of hard work, sacrifice, luck, and dedication. I literally prayed to God every day and many times multiple times begging for him to make me a great football player and to allow me to advance to the next level.  I also only missed two workouts in my years and years of playing football, and likely did hundreds of extra workout son my own.  Football was a true obsession and my only way out of a tough place, poverty, abandonment, and homelessness (literally).  So, when I got that call it was at the time the greatest day of my life.  Then the next day all the hoopla was done and it was time to get ready for what was to come in the NFL.  

3) Looking back, were you satisfied with your NFL career?

I was never a student of the game until I played in the NFL. I realized that all of the guys I was playing with and competing against were physical specimens so my coach encouraged me to really learn the science of the game.  I studied for 6 to 12 hours a day seven days a week for months and mastered Coach Martz’s playbook.  Marts is a football genius so when I learned his way of thinking it allowed me to do things I was never able to in college. I experienced asymmetrical growth in a way that was unbelievable at the time.  My understanding the game and Martz’s complex yet brilliant plays and play calling allowed me to anticipate things much better and sped me up on the field.  My understanding of the schemes also went a long way to impress the coaches as they said they had never seen a player learn the playbook so quickly and they knew that it took hundreds of hours of studying to obtain the knowledge I was able to assimilate.  This allowed me to play center, which is the quarterback of the o-line, and is typically reserved for the guy who understands the game best.  This experience taught me to really dive in to what you are doing, to aspire to master whatever craft you choose, and also taught me to never doubt myself form an intellectual perspective as I told myself in college that I was not a student of the game and that I was a brawler/warrior.  But I learned that a real warrior leads with his brain first and then the body becomes the weapon like a gun to a Navy SEAL. SEALs are not weapons because they are bigger, stronger, and meaner, their advantage is mental on all fronts. I’ve applied this to business and it allowed me to compete in a space where everyone is smart and educated, but few really look to fully master their craft or relentlessly compete of years and years and years.

4) Are you happy about the Rams move back to California? What does it mean to the city? 

I grew up in LA going to Rams games.  I love this organization and all that they have done.  I was injured very early and was no star like the guys I played with, but they have always treated me with respect, appreciation, and like I was an All-Pro.  I think that the Rams are the classiest team in the NFL and it is one of my great honors to have been a part of the Rams Family. To have them in my city is as cool as it gets.  

5) You transitioned nicely into a new career. What are you up to these days?  

I started an investment bank in 2005 after a number of years in real estate.  We have three divisions: 1) a traditional investment bank that advises on M&A and corporate finance, our focus is in sports teams and sports businesses; 2) we have a merchant bank that invests in and raises capital for early stage companies who focus on sports technology, media, and consumer goods; and 3) we have a team that has partnered with two of the most successful real estate developers/investors out there and we both finance and invest in their projects. 

6) Did football help you with your current profession? 

That is a good question. Some of what you learn in football hurts you in biz as sports is a true meritocracy and when you get out of that environment you learn that business is definitely not a world where the best person gets the job.  That was a shocker to me but I can see why/how that happened. There are certainly some things that I picked up in football that have translated nicely in to business. e.g.,  I’m an entrepreneur so the grit and resilience that I developed after years of crazy hard work and overcoming major fears around the game helped me push through some of the madness you face when starting your own company.  I’ve also learned that some people are amazing players and teammates and some are not.  If you are talented and understand and love being part of a team you are worth your weight in gold.  I’ve learned that a business is not a family, it is a pro team and should be run as such. i.e., you are there to perform and win and that is it.  This might sound harsh,  but it is it not.  In a family if you are a mess-up your family likely will still deal with you, but a pro team and business are there to create value for customers and team so it is not mean to let someone go if they are not on the same page as the team and/or doing their job.  I’ve seen that if you love what you do and who you are doing it with you will have no bigger joy than accomplishing major goals as a team and you will be willing to do what it takes to get there.  If you don’t like your team or what you are doing you will phone it in, you should find something else. I also leaned to meditate in college to help my football play and have used that daily for over 20 years now… which might be the greatest gift football gave me.

7) What is one thing people don’t know about you that you want to share? 

I think I’ve shared just about everything with these questions.  If not, my Instagram page should fill in any blanks

8) Can Jared Goff take this Rams team to a Super Bowl?
 
Yes.  Here is why… It hit me my junior year in college when we had Brian Russell take over as quarterback that you are only as good as your qb.  Brian was and is one of the best “winners” I’ve ever met and lead our team to an amazing season.  Brian did not have many of the tools that coaches look for, but he is a leader, gamer, brilliant, and knows how to win.  He inspired and led us to victory.  So, you are only as good as the guy throwing the ball and that is a 100% fact.  Goff is amazing and will not only take this team to the Super Bowl, but I feel like he could go down as one of the best.

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