Editor’s Note: John Phillips is a tight end for the San Diego Chargers. After graduation from the University of Virginia, he’s played in the NFL (National Football League) for 6 years. Being born and raised in Virginia, he can’t remember a time when he hasn’t hunted for black bears, grey squirrels and all animals in-between.
I had 4 of the best hunting years of my life in Texas, when I played for the Dallas Cowboys. I really enjoyed the team, the people of Texas and especially the hunting in Texas. After 4 years with Dallas, I became a free agent and went to play for the San Diego Chargers. I quickly learned that San Diego was more of a, “Let’s go to the beach,” rather than a, “Let’s go hunting,” kind of town. I spend most of my off-weekends flying back to Texas to hunt with my buddies there. I also flew back to Virginia to hunt on our family farm and at some of the places I hunted when I was in high school and college. I’m the most comfortable and feel the most at home when I’m in the woods hunting with my gun.
This past season, I played in every game at San Diego, until the next to the last game. In this game, I tore my knee up – my ACL – and missed the playoffs. So I’ve been doing rehab during this off-season, and the rehab is going well. I plan to go to football camp this summer and be ready to play by the opening day of the season.
I really think hunting gets me in shape for playing football, especially when I have to climb mountains and hunt hard. So, I was excited about being asked to go turkey hunting with the Mossy Oak Turkey Thugs this past spring. The trainers at San Diego have had me on a schedule to rehab my knee, so I didn’t have much trouble hunting. When you’ve hunted all your life, regardless of where your work takes you, what your work involves, and if you get dinged-up, getting back to your roots, returning to the wild places and looking for turkeys, deer and other critters really has a healing effect on your body, your mind and your spirit. Being able to spend time with the Mossy Oak Turkey Thugs, who all have a fondness and love of the outdoors and hunting like I do, was really great. I’m really happy to be a part of the Mossy Oak family.