2013 NFL Draft Interview: Missouri Linebacker Zaviar Gooden

By Peter Smith
April 06, 2013 10:47 pm
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PS: What do you think of your teammate Sheldon Richardson?

ZG: Oh man, Sheldon, he’s a beast.  He’s big a guy but he can run and he’s quick.  He’s a playmaker pretty much.  He just makes big plays consistently, pretty much every game you look at he’s making a big play.  He loves football.  That’s all he cares about.  His whole life is just on football and he’s good at it, so why not?  Sheldon, he’s going to be great at the next level.  He’s one of my closest friends and he’s just a great player.

PS: What do you take away from Coach (Gary) Pinkle?

Zaviar Gooden Senior BowlZG: He instills a lot of discipline.  That and handling adversity, he’s helped me learn a few lessons with that.  He always say life is 90% of how do you choose to deal with things and 10% what happens to you.  Just staying positive all the time, having a good attitude and being disciplined in every area of your life;   he made sure we were in study hall, made sure we didn’t leave it early.  He made sure we were making the grades and in class all the time.  He made sure we worked hard all through the summer, 6am workouts all through the summer.  Just practice in general; he instilled a lot of discipline in us and I learned a lot about him from that aspect.

PS: Tell me about an assistant or high school coach that helped you through your career.

ZG: I would have to say Coach (Pat) Ivey, the strength coach at Mizzou.  He pretty much transformed me, not just physically but also mentally.  He’s great at what he does and he’s one of the best.  He helped me a lot when I was at Mizzou.

PS: Tell me about your volunteer work and how active you are in the community.  Do you want to carry that into the NFL?

ZG: Yea, definitely.  I was real heavy in the FCA, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, speaking at middle schools, high schools, and just different events like that.  I definitely want to do something for the youth when I get to the NFL, help the youth out, help them stay out of trouble.  Teach them, for people aspiring to get to college and play Division I or just play football anywhere, I’d like to help them out about the process; help them stay on the track with getting their grades right, so they can get to the next level and stay out of trouble.  There were a lot of cats where I’m from; they had more than enough talent to get there.  They were either doing something off the field they shouldn’t have been doing or just wasn’t doing what they should have been doing in the classroom.  I just want to help people out like that.  Also, I have been planning a missionary trip to Africa with a guy I that used to go to school with as well.  I want to spend some time over and basically just give back to them and just help them out in any way I can.

PS: Where in Africa?

ZG: Senegal

PS: Speaking of education, you are a business management major.  What do you want to do with that?

ZG: I want my own business someday, so I had to learn how to manage it.

Zaviar Gooden is an extremely focused person, both on and off the field, and seems to really know what he wants to do with his life and with football.


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