AMA Kyle Sloter Transcript 10/26
We started out the AMA asking Kyle about his early days as an athlete, he did mention that the game of basketball was his first love.
This is how our conversation kicked off:
(KYLE) I felt like, you know, I could score from anywhere. I wasn't great on defense, which I think was probably one of my drawbacks to my game. But you know, I, I did what I could I feel like you know, it was a fun time playing basketball, I really miss it and really enjoy it. And I tell my fiancé all the time that, you know, I wish I could get back out there and play and do some pickup basketball and all that kind of stuff. I don't really get to do that anymore, just because the risk of getting injured is too great to go out there and chance it, but I do miss it a lot. I still shoot every day in the driveway. You know, gotta keep the skills sharp. But yeah, I miss it. And I love basketball for sure.
(USFLNETWORK) I want to go ahead and jump into the college days as Southern Miss, you find yourself lower the depth chart at quarterback, but you also wanted to compete. So, you asked your coaches to work with the wide receiving core, you ended up becoming a starter at the slot position. And starting out your career as a wide receiver. Do you feel at any point that being a wideout was something you saw yourself pursuing? If it had worked out, or was becoming a quarterback you knew you were destined to become?
(KYLE) Yeah, you know, I grew up a quarterback. It was kind of why I fell in love with the game. Once I went to Southern Mississippi and found myself low on the depth chart, I asked the coaches if I can move and ended up being lower on the depth chart there as well, but I had to work my way up and ended up starting a few games for the team. I think it was like fourish or fiveish games, my redshirt freshman year, and then like another four or five, my sophomore year, I more so did that because I wanted to be on the field somewhere. I think that anybody could, you know, can attest to this when they're not playing. At a certain point, you just want to be out there. It looks like so much fun when you're watching from the sideline. And that's what I had done for two years. At that point, I was like, you know, what, I kind of just want to find a way to, to get out there and get on the field. Having played receiver, it was, it was definitely different. You see the game from a different perspective. I think it helped me as a quarterback, because I kind of understand where I would have wanted the ball. And like if you're getting thrown a ball over the middle. As a receiver, you can kind of feel like, hey, the quarterbacks drifted me a little bit too far this way, like, the balls in flight, and it's like, okay, he's throwing me into a blow-up shot. So, like, I kind of I had a few of those in practice and in games and stuff. And, you know, I have a greater respect for what they do for sure. But always trying to, you know, take care of them and put the ball in positions where they can make a play. Um, but yeah, having played receiver it, it definitely was something that like I said, I did out of necessity, but I did feel like I was a quarterback it at no point did I think that I could play like a pro, like NFL receiver, I didn't think that that was ever in the cards. Back then I was a little bit faster than I am now. And we trained that a little bit more back then. But I was I was a straight-line fast guy. But the change of direction was something as a six, five, you know, not super limber, guy, it wasn't like I just could run the routes, like you see Justin Jefferson and a bunch of those guys running routes like they are. I was a good possession receiver; I'll say I had really good hands. That was probably my biggest redeeming quality. But I knew if I was ever going to have a chance that it would probably have to come at quarterback, I did feel like I had the talent and ability you know, to play that position. But from a receiver standpoint, it was more so just to get on the field more than it was to pursue like actually being a leader.
(USFLNETWORK) So, jumping ahead to your Northern Colorado days, your first bit of playing time maybe didn't go as planned, but the following week, you were able to put up 400 plus yards and seven touchdowns, how great of a feeling was that to put up those numbers? And you know, just kind of know that you fought your way back into being able to put up those type of numbers as a quarterback and not having to play receiver.
(KYLE) Yeah, you know, so the week before and it, you know, it kind of goes into I tell the story, actually just spoke to a college football team the other day, you know, kind of gave them the whole rundown of what I've been through in my career. And, you know, that first game, so having been a receiver for four years of the five years in college, that first game that I was, I was actually playing receiver, and I was the backup quarterback, and we were getting beaten. So bad at halftime that my coach came to me, he's like, Hey, you're going in. So I'm all excited go out there. And my very first pass was a bootleg. So I brought it out to the left, I had a wide open receiver on the sidelines sitting there about nine yards deep, that was my first progression should have thrown it to him. But you know, I'd waited five years and I was like, You know what, I'm gonna go for it all, I turn back inside to a deep over and decide that, hey, he's open, I'm throwing it to him, well, a defender falls in under him. And, you know, at that time, probably didn't have enough experience to understand, like, hey, there is still going to be a guy in the flat that you have to worry about when making this throw. And he picked it and went for a touchdown. And that game didn't I think I went over three. And, you know, obviously, it's not the start that you envision. And then kind of doubled down on my efforts, I knew that I may not get a chance ever again. But if I did get a chance that I wanted to be ready. And lo and behold, the very next play the first play on offense against Abilene Christian, our starting quarterback breaks his shoulder, and I get kind of thrust into action. And, you know, it was, for me, it was kind of a, it was a miracle. It was a modern-day miracle. In my eyes, I kind of blacked out at the wheel and just threw six touchdowns and ran for another one and had 450 yards passing and was National Player of the Week that year. And, you know, it was in that moment, you know, you're just very grateful. You know, I was, I was grateful for so many things. Just, you know, I think the people in my corner that kept pushing me to wake up every day, and, you know, continue to try to get better. The, you know, to not give up, I think that's probably the biggest thing because I would say probably, I mean, I would love to see the statistics on it. But for college football players that haven't played in their first four years of college, how many of them, you know, either just graduate and move on or quit or whatever it is. So I think that one of the things that I'm most proud of in my life is the fact that I've pushed through a lot of adversity I've pushed through a lot of the hardships. And I've seen the other side of that and it's it's rewarding. You know, to you never really know how close it is what I tell kids all the time is you never really know how close you are to your goals. I mean, some people could quit and give up when they're, you know, within grasp of what they've been working for for years. So it was definitely a rewarding moment. A feeling I'll never forget. And, you know, went on to have a pretty special senior season that led to you know, five years in the NFL before going to the USFL. So definitely very grateful for it all.
(USFLNETWORK) Absolutely, I do see some you know, color commentating possibly in your future. So sticking with Northern, okay, your pretty much NFL ready, I say that because you're already running that style of play. So how difficult was it for you if any and learning and demonstrating a West Coast style NFL offense at the college level?
(KYLE) Yes, so when I was at Southern Miss and I think that this is and I talked about this all the time as well as the disservice that a lot of and I would say it's probably close to 90% of colleges you know, when I was at Southern Miss it was the way, we were taught was dropped back. This is your progression 1234 and make a throw. So, I go to Northern Colorado and it's a you know, FCS school. It's down what you know, many would consider a level from Southern Mississippi. And we're running a pro style system where for the first time as a junior being in the offense now I wasn't the quarterback at the time, but I was kind of watching and learning and all that kind of stuff and, you know, they're implementing, you know, using different protections and having to change your protections from, you know, a mic to a will, if you're getting a wolf Blitz, or, you know, flipping it the other way, if you're getting a fire zone Blitz, to get a full slide that way to cover your site. And, you know, at the time, it was all very foreign, it was like, Okay, so now I'm in charge, as well as throwing the football and having to, you know, place the ball accurately and, you know, do some of these, you know, the other responsibilities that go with being a quarterback, I'm now in charge of protecting myself, and making sure that my offensive line is going the right way, which, you know, that's the way that the NFL does it. That's the way that you know, NFL football is. And that's the big hurdle, that so many young guys in today's League, it takes years to really understand. And, you know, six years into a pro career, I'm still learning from guys like Matthew Stafford, and, you know, guys that I talked to like kirk cousins, and, you know, just Derek Carr and those guys, some of the really good ones in learning how to, you know, better process some of these things at the line of scrimmage. So I was definitely blessed to be in an offense at at Northern Colorado, where I had to do a lot of those things. So when I came into the NFL, it was kind of like a seamless transition, I was able to speak the language. I knew exactly what the coaches were talking about in meetings. And, you know, I, I liked the guy, he's a friend of mine, but I don't think that he would disagree with me and saying that when we were in these meetings, I was lightyears ahead of my competition, which was Chad Kelly at the time, I was lightyears ahead of him and understanding these things, which I think really helped me with Denver in that preseason, and then ultimately led to me being picked up by the Vikings. So definitely grateful for the opportunity to really learn football for the first time at Northern Colorado.
(USFLNETWORK) Definitely, I picked that information up and as I am reading it, they were just astonished on how you were able to break it down as fast as you did and how well you did. At that level. They pretty much called you a prodigy. And I believe it was like a Sports Illustrated article, but they gave you so much praise. And I had to throw it in the here and ask, you know how that was?
(USFLNETWORK) All right. So, you kind of talked a little bit about, you know, getting get into the NFL and whatnot. But a lot of times for a lot of guys before then is the combine, but you didn't get that invite. So, you had to really rely on your Pro Day, which got moved indoors on a basketball court because of high winds. So, what was that? Like? Because I don't think I've ever heard of that
(KYLE) Yeah, so it was, I mean, this, my whole process leading up to, you know, being picked up by the Broncos. I mean, it was, I mean, I left that season, my senior season was really just gonna go to work. And I had an agent call me and say, and the only one that called me, and he was like, hey, I think you could really do this. And, you know, I was like, you know what, I don't know, man, that a lot of guys. They play at Georgia and LSU and Alabama for three, four years are all Americans are competing for the Heisman, and they get drafted in the first round, and they go on and have, you know, 14-year careers and all that kind of stuff. And they're handpicked to be franchise, quarterbacks. And, you know, I sat there and thought about it for a little bit. And I was like, you know what, I've given this game 17 years of my life, you know, what's another four or five months, I had a small-time agent. So that agent offered to either pay for quarterback lessons or would send me to a place like Exos where all these guys go, and they do their training and stuff like that, but he wouldn't pay for the, you know, the quarterback side of things. It was one or the other. So, I decided to stay at Northern Colorado and go with the quarterback trainer, who gave me actually a great deal on it. He's Steve Fairchild was a, and still is a great mentor of mine and love him to death and really helped me get an opportunity. But I did all my training myself, I'd wake up at five and I'd go run the hill and go do stuff in the snow and all that kind of stuff. And I was kind of like a one of those rocky montages by yourself every day it felt like but go into pro day and you know, I had been running in the four fives my fastest 40s to this some point in the training period was a four or five, five. So, I felt like I was going to be one of the faster guys, if I could run a good time. And we get there that will, I guess I should back up a little bit I wasn't even planning on doing northern Colorado is Pro Day. So, there was this whole debacle where, you know, my coach, at the time was kind of upset that I wasn't going to do Northern Colorado's Pro Day. And he said, it kind of looked bad on the program and all that kind of stuff. And I was like, well, Northern Colorado is not going to have many, you know, scouts that come and see me. Whereas if I go, I was invited to the University of Colorado Pro Day, where I was going to do that, when that one was the day after my pro day. Well, you know, I don't mean to throw anybody under the bus. But calls were made, and I was kicked out of the Colorado Pro Day. So I was told, and I was told the night before my pro day at Northern Colorado that I thought I had 48 hours turns out, I only had like, you know, 12 before it started or whatever 16 or whatever it was in the morning. So had to kind of adjust there. I went to Northern Colorado Pro Day, the next day, the next morning, and I show up and got my cleats. And I'm ready to run my times and all that kind of stuff and throw and one of our offensive linemen runs like a four seven with like a 40 mile an hour wind at his back. And the guys, the two scouts that we had there, the Cardinals and the Panthers were the only two there. They're like, nah, this is not right, we're going inside. So, I didn't bring tennis shoes. So, I had to run my 40 on a basketball court in someone else's shoes. And then they added time to all of our 40s Like it was a uniform like 10th and a half onto everybody's 40 Because it was like, quote unquote, a fast service, like so they said that the fast surface of the basketball court made us faster. And we're like, no, it doesn't like you can't dig in, you can't get a good start. You can't. So that was kind of that was kind of crazy. And, you know, numbers were not what I was hoping they would be. We went outside I think through three or four or five passes. And then they're like, that's good. And so, it kind of felt like they're just checking a box. And you know, it, it was what it was, I got a call from my agent. He was looking into the whole deal. And he called Colorado and they said, We don't know what you're talking about. He's still on the list. So somebody in my camp like coaches wise, told me that I was kicked out. And then I had to come in that I couldn't go there. And then we found out through the athletic director at Colorado, that that was not the case. So, then I drive down there right after my pro day, I get a hotel, wake up in the morning to do another pro day go there. Ask the same guys. So, the Panthers guy was the guy running the pro day again. And he recognized me and I said Hey, is there any way that you know I'm part of this Pro Day? Is there any way that I can retest my times? He said no, you're already in the system but you can throw to some of these guys because you know, they do they're Colorado University of Colorado guys first and they all test and then afterwards they have all the small school guys from the area you know, go through it again. And they didn't have somebody to throw to those guys. So they said if you wait then you know you can throw to these guys. So I think I'm there at like nine or 10am And I think I started throwing around like six because Colorado had like 30 guys going through pro day and you got to you know they get to attempts at all their stuff it's it's a long process and then there was another 50 guys that are small school guys going through it so I sat there in the bleachers for like seven or eight hours and waited to throw and then you know go out there they call me and somehow by the grace of God had the best workout I've ever had in my life was hitting guys in stride in the teeth. You know it was the best workout I've ever had. And at the end of it had probably 20 ish scouts come up to me and like circle me and ask for my number my agents number like what's your name? We never heard of you. And you know, the next day ended up taking like, I want to say probably 10 to 12 phone calls that each lasted like 30 minutes to an hour. You know all day talking to these teams and then five any more about me and had some articles come out, I was starting to see my name pop up places and, you know, some talk about, you know, I could potentially get drafted and it kind of just all took off very late in the process and, you know, ended up getting a call from the Broncos in the end and got a chance. So it was it was, I mean, there's been a lot of drama and a lot of I mean, it would take me a couple hours to really sit down and tell you guys the entirety of my story. And it's it's been very crazy, but it's been a blessing. It's made me who I am.
(USFLNETWORK) You still a goat regardless.
(KYLE) Thanks, that means a lot.
(USFLNETWORK) So you do get your chance with the Broncos, and you did well. But you know, it's still a business, but you end up getting picked up by the Vikings. And you play really well in the preseason for them, and you become a fan favorite. And not only that you become you know, kind of a meme in the NFL and in a good way. A good a good meme. So, did you ever notice that stuff? I know, it's kind of a random question.
(KYLE) No, I did. And you know, I think one of the cool things for me, I'm from Atlanta, but you go to school in Northern Colorado, which is 45 ish to 50 minutes North of Denver. You know, you play for the Denver Broncos. I was kind of like the hometown kid, like the long the long shot, hometown kid. And kind of came out of nowhere, and people started cheering for me. It they kind of made me one of their own. And definitely grateful to Denver fans, I still feel like I have a lot of them out there. They've always been good to me. But it was when during that preseason it was when I was getting in Ubers. And stuff like going into it. Because I didn't have my car out there. I actually shipped it back to Atlanta only to find out that I was going right back to where I left. So it wasn't until I was getting in, like Ubers and stuff. You know, after the first preseason game that, you know, I started to realize that there was a little bit of attention out there. And people started recognizing me on on the street and stuff like that. And I had one lady recognize me in my, you know, apartment at the time elevator. So it was, it was, um, you definitely see those things, I think you try to as much as you can keep things in perspective, because, you know, especially for somebody that like, all these things started to happen so quickly, I kind of understood, and I think that that's why I was put through the things that I was, you know, I really feel like I was, I was built for the attention that I was getting, because it didn't, it didn't change me, it didn't make me a different person. It wasn't something that I craved. It wasn't because I really knew where I had come from. And that was really like the bottom of the football world. And I know, you know, it sounds probably crazy. But at that time, I was a kid that understood that, you know, it could all be gone and taken away in no time. It could dry up and be gone. You know, I could go out there the next week, if I wasn't focused, and I was focused on the wrong things. I could go out there next week and lay an egg and everybody is now talking poorly about you. So, I knew how the business was I knew that you needed to, you need to keep performing in order to you know, be somebody that people look at positively. That's just the way it is. So, I saw those things, but I definitely tried to keep them in perspective, because I knew that, you know, being a preseason, you know, hero or whatever it is, was not the end goal for me that was just a steppingstone, you know, in the path to hopefully achieving something that I what I really desired, which was to be a franchise Super Bowl winning quarterback.
(USFLNETWORK) Absolutely. And, and I feel like a big thing, or a big part of being one of those is leadership. And I kind of wanted to ask you, you know, you've transferred in college, and you've been around the NFL, and you've been the new guy on the block. But it's very rare to be the new guy on the block along with the entire rest of the team, right, because these USFL teams started from scratch completely. So how did you assert yourself as a leader on a brand-new roster?
(KYLE) Yes, so um, you know, I
think anyone who is trying to be a successful quarterback. I think that Um, you know, it's not something I don't think leaders are necessarily born, I think they're kind of thrust into positions that force them to be leaders. And, you know, having watched a lot of the guys that I have and how they handled their business, you know, one thing that I learned along the way is that you always have to be yourself in any position in any leadership position, you always have to be yourself, because if you're something other than yourself, people find it as disingenuous. And they don't tend to, they see right through those kinds of things. So, one of the things that I wanted to do and the type of person that I think that I am, you know, right after the draft, when we knew which players were going to be with us, the first thing that I asked for was the phone number. For every single one of my teammates, whether it was offense or defense, I wanted to talk to them all, sent every single one of them a text message, let them know that, you know, if they had any questions about, you know, what we're gonna do from a football standpoint, from a, you know, just how we're getting to New Orleans, how we're like, whatever it is, if you have, you know, family troubles that you need somebody to talk to, if you have, you know, whatever it is, I wanted to make myself available to my teammates. And then I also set up before we got to Birmingham, I got all the skill position guys, together here in Atlanta, I got us a house for a week, week and a half ish. And we did like our own little, you know, training camp type thing. So, I could start, you know, learning how these guys operate on the field. And you know, what some of the receivers like more than others, and who runs this route well, and those kinds of things, and really just tried to spend the time on the field, but off the field as well and learning who they are as people and you know, when you show an interest in somebody else beyond just what they can do for you. And you show an interest in who they are as a person and their families and want to get to know them, and you joke around with them, and you do those things, and you put your money where your mouth is, and you know, really all of those kinds of things that endear you to somebody, they start to look to you as somebody that is a leader, somebody that they care about. And I think that that is, you know, one thing that I'll say about the Breakers. And you know, I think that I told my locker room this one time was you know, one of the things that when I've been on different teams, you know, I've been on a bunch of great teams, and I've been on a bunch of bad teams, and the great teams, every single one of them. They were different in a lot of ways. Some were great at running the football, some are great at passing. Some were great at protecting the quarterback, some were great at getting to the quarterback, whatever it was, you know, they're all different. But the one thing that they all had in common, the the great teams, they all cared about each other, and they all had a friendship and they all had something that went beyond just football. So that was something that I wanted to bring to our guys was to just, you know, have that that brotherly bond that that thing that you know, you can come to me in for anything beyond football. You know, I care about you as a person type of thing. And I think that resonates in people and I think that when you're out there going to war with somebody, it's a lot easier to fight hard for somebody that you care about somebody that you don't.
(USFLNETWORK) I'm going to go ahead and jump ahead. So, it's June 25, Canton, Ohio, Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium you're playing in a Breakers uniform playing in the USFL playoffs? What was that experience? Like for you personally?
(KYLE) It was awesome. You know, I had never been to the Hall of Fame. You know, this game for somebody who has dedicated their whole life to it. To be in a place where the best have all been to see the history behind the game. It was it was emotional. More than I thought it would be especially in some of those like cool, what do you call it is like some sort of immersive, like hologram technology where like, Broadway Joe was up there talking, you know, it was one of those things and you're hearing the sounds the cheering of the crowd. It's like one of those immersive type things and it's, it's really cool. If you're a football fan, you should. You should definitely check it out.
*We want to thank Kyle Sloter for taking his time in joining us for this AMA. Kyle also mentioned that as far as his decision in returning for Season 2, that decision was something that could still be on the table. But nothing has yet to be decided.