Photo: Sarah Philipp
We are very happy to present you today an interview with Chad Walrond. The 22-year-old defensive back and return specialist started his football career with the University of Hertfordshire Hurricanes and most recently played for the Allgäu Comets in the German Football League. For this season, the participant of the NFL International Combine 2021 in London was recruited by the Istanbul Rams around Head Coach Val Gunn and Defensive Coordinator PJ Gremaud. Walrond will compete with the Rams in the Southern Conference. The Bajan Brit gives very exciting answers about a wide range of topics!
How did you get into football?
I got into football during my freshers week at university. I was told to go to tryouts by one of the guys that was on the team and from then on I never looked back.
What has been your career highlight so far?
My career highlight is still making the BUCS [British Universities and Colleges Sports] final with my university team in my second year. That was because of the adversity we faced that year and due to the fact that it was my first year as a defensive back. It was my first time being a starter and captain as well.
When you are studying film, what do you focus on to improve your game?
When watching film, I try to pretend that I’m the offense. So I try to look at it from their point of view and see if there are any weaknesses in the way I played in the previous games that they could exploit based on their talent and the way they run plays. I’m also very critical of myself, so I look at my previous games several times to see what areas I can improve in and if I’ve improved over time.
How did you get in touch with Istanbul and why did you choose the Rams?
Coach Gremaud got in touch with me via Europlayers. I chose the Rams for many reasons. One was the time and effort they put into my recruitment and the number of coaches who reached out to me to answer any of my questions at any time. Another reason is the history of the Rams and the winning culture they have developed. I understand it’s a new league for the team, but the fact that they are used to winning means they have developed a culture and work ethic that I can agree with.
What kind of strengths and abilities will you bring to the Rams that will stand out both on and off the field?
One of the main attributes I will bring to the team that I feel is overlooked by others is my knowledge of the game. People only see me as an athletic player, but I make sure I put myself in the right spots to use my athleticism. I think that will help our team, especially at the safety position, because we’re going to face a lot of different and strong offenses this year.
The Rams start with three away games. Is that a disadvantage for you? How do you deal with it?
Away games are part of it. We all knew when we signed that we were the only team in Turkey and that we would be travelling a lot. At some point we have to do the travelling, so it doesn’t really matter to me. You never know if it will pay off in the long run because every player gets fatigued as the season goes on. So having the home games at the back end could work to our advantage. The organisation I belong to is a great one. It has already shown me that it takes the logistics of the ELF seriously and I know that the coaches and staff will do everything they can to make these away journeys as smooth as possible.
You are also a Kick Returner. What do you think about the new kick off rules (XFL rules) and how do you prepare for them?
As a returner, the new rules allow for a lot more big returns, so I can’t complain. As a guy who normally plays on kick-off, it is going to take me some time to get adjusted, but I’m positive my special teams coaches will make sure each of us is prepared for the new rules (that’s what preseason is for, after all). We prepare for it the same way we prepare for any other season, which is through repetition. It’s not a complicated adjustment, so it shouldn’t take us long to figure it out. It just means that as a returner, you have to know that the opportunities for big plays are going to be different than what you’re used to.
What goals did you set for this ELF season?
My main goal for this season is to stay healthy and be the best teammate I can be, that means contributing in any way I can to the success of this team. A lot of people don’t expect us to do well for their own reasons. As a team, I know our goal is to prove everyone wrong, and that starts with Week 1 on June 4th.
Thank you very much!
In addition to our interview, we asked him for five answers to our quick questions. Here are his responses:
Preferred second sport:
My second favorite sport to watch is probably boxing, but to play myself it’s cricket, since it’s the national sport of my country.
Opponent you’re most looking forward to:
The opponent I’m most looking forward to is the Cologne Centurions. That’s because it’s the first game of the season for everyone to watch. I always look forward to the game that’s next.
I don’t really have one, but if I have to leave before 11, I’d stick to my routine of six eggs and sweet bread with some plantain (if it’s available wherever I am). If it’s an afternoon leave, it could be anything to be honest, but it would involve a smoothie (shout-out my plug in Allgäu).
I listen to Gospel to start my gamedays, but whilst I’m getting ready to go out, I’ve got to play some 50 Cent and some Future.
Favorite NFL Franchise:
I support the Cincinnati Bengals! Who Dey Nation!