Right tackle Morgan Moses is about to wrap up his fourth season in the NFL. He reflects on the series of ankle and foot injuries that have hampered him this year, how he prepares for the holidays and embracing his teddy bear persona.
How do your ankles feel right now?
They feel like crap. I would use other words. But if I could borrow yours, I would.
I heard you saying something about wanting to buy a pair on E-Bay.
They probably do sell some on E-Bay right? Or you can Amazon anything.
Is there a way to describe the feeling of playing through that kind of pain as an offensive lineman?**
It's hard, man. But when I look at it, if I decided not to play, the guys that I'm leaving out, we've been beaten up the whole year. You've seen probably several different lineups all throughout the season. But we're a close-knit group. We've told you stories about us going to eat every Thursday night and so you've got such a tight-knit group like that, it's hard on Sundays. You're standing on that sideline and you're not in, it's something that eats you alive about it. As a group, we push together, we hurt together, we win together and that's the most important thing.
So you're still doing dinner at Trent Williams's house?
Yeah, every Thursday.
A lot more new guests this year it would seem.
Yeah, yeah. Exactly. We're always having to give out the directions to where to go. When you've got a group like that it's just easy to put on the pads and play through that.
When you have a season like this with so many injuries, is it tough to evaluate yourself and your individual play?
I think the biggest thing is being a competitor and professional athlete. Anytime you put on the pads or you get dressed or suited for a game, the mindset becomes I'm no longer hurt, because nobody cares if you're hurt on Sunday and you've got the helmet. The defensive lineman across from you is not going to take it easy because you've got your pads on today, you've got two hurt ankles or a knee of whatever the case is. You see us out there in practice every day, how much we grind, for us, it's that mentality that I'm out there on Sunday, I expect to play 100 percent.
Do you feel like it's been tough on Bill Callahan to not push you as hard sometimes?
It's definitely been tough. We pride ourselves on doing a lot in practice and getting a lot of looks from each other, and just working. We're out there 30 minutes before practice, 30 minutes after practice, probably one of the only groups that does that. It shows up on Sunday. But when you have different guys in the lineup, you've got guys banged up, guys that can't practice throughout the week and just show up in the game like Trent's been doing, it's hard to go out there and practice against each other. There's been times where we brought in guys off the street on a Thursday or a Friday and they suited up and played on Sunday. I think the guys we have put in have been prepared and ready to play.
Besides winning against the Giants, how was your Thanksgiving?
It wasn't bad, man. It was better playing home than away like last year. It's the sacrifices everybody has to make throughout the NFL. At the end of the day this is how we feed our families and how we provide for our family. Whether it's a Thursday, Friday, New Year's, Christmas, you've got to get them done.
Did you have a nice meal on Friday?
I did, I went over to Colt [McCoy's] house and he invited me over there and had a great time. Had fellowship with some teammates and just watched college football.
Did you bring the kids along?
Normally, what is a postgame meal like for you? Do you have anything special? **
It just depends. I try to get some junk in obviously. Especially this year, our games have been so close together, I've been trying to stay on the healthier side so it helps me recover faster.
Are you more in the mood for a big meal after a win or a loss?
Anytime you get a win, man, especially if you've got a one o'clock game and you're done by five, you want something that's probably not as good for you, you get to watch that eight o'clock game at home, kicking back, a couple of beers or whatever. You've got to have those things because we're on such a strict diet, we wear our bodies down so much, it's good to have a couple of those cheats in once in a while.
Do you have a particular place you stop for?
I honestly just kind of drive and whatever appeals to me, I go and attack it.
Do you enjoy the Christmas season?
I do. It's very important anytime you have these holidays because it brings families together. It brings people together, whether they have stuff or not. The world is a better place around those holidays.
A lot of people get anxious and stressed about giving gifts. Do you have anxiety about that stuff?
Not really man, I've been a good gift guy. When people come around, especially right after Halloween, they want to start playing Christmas music. And I'm like, "Dude, it's not even December yet." You're just automatically playing Christmas music after Halloween.
When do you start listening?
I try to listen around the second week of December. I look forward to it. It's an amazing time of the year. Obviously, teams are getting ready for playoff runs, but most important is being able to spend time with the family.
Do you have gift ideas for your kids?
They've pretty much got everything. It's crazy. They just had a birthday in October so it's like, what didn't I get them for their birthday? I've got a couple of things, but you know, they just love playing. Whatever you get them, they'll just play the hell out of it.
They still believe in Santa?
Check out behind the scenes images from Offensive Tackle, Morgan Moses's 2017 Redskins Photo Shoot.
Has that been challenging to keep their belief? **
No it hasn't. I have good charisma, man. I get my uncle to call me and they see "Santa" pop up [on the phone] and they say, "You know Santa?" I'm like, "Yeah, I went to high school with him." "Well why don't you look old like him?" "Well, you know, Santa is really like 150,000 years old." "What?!" It's amazing how wide open children's minds are. You can get away with anything. My daughter thinks the tooth fairy is real.
That's how I found out from my parents.
See, but I keep the stories going.
How much do you give per tooth?
The most I've probably given is 40 dollars.
But I told them as they get older, the teeth don't really…
You realize you're making a lot of kids at their school jealous.
Yes, probably. Yeah.
You've been identified as the Teddy Bear persona off the field. Did that ever get annoying to you?
No, for me, I'm a genuine guy, I love people in general, I love giving back, taking the time to talk to people and stuff like that. I'm a different guy when the helmet comes on.
How do you compartmentalize that?
I've always been a people person, just get along with people. That's always been my thing. I guess on Sunday it's just like a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde kind of thing. When you're out there on the field, nobody really cares except for the guys that you're playing with. It's kind of like, you either get, or get got. So that mindset triggers on, it's like "Hey, I've got to get it now," because nobody's going to hand you anything on the football field, you've got to go get it.
How quickly can you turn it off or on?
It takes a little bit of time, man, I've got to get a couple of hours to myself when I get home to let the pre-workout flush out and just become a normal person.
So the kids know.
The kids know to back off for a little bit. I give hugs and kisses and then let me sit on the couch for a little bit.
What's your biggest hobby or interest outside of football right now? **
I enjoy music. I grew up playing the drums. I love listening to a lot of music, just laying back and chilling.
At this time of the year, how involved are you able to get with your foundation?
I'm very involved. I'm the CEO of the foundation, I'm very hands on.
Are there certain periods where you're so focused on football?
I'm always focused on it. I have people run it for me, but at the same time, nothing goes past me. I give it the green light.
Do you have anything planned for the holiday?
We fed the homeless for Thanksgiving and as the season starts to wrap up a little bit it's time for myself to get together planning for the spring, because that's the big time of helping out the school systems.
What have you thought about the activism from players throughout the league this year?
I think it's wonderful anytime an athlete can use his pedestal to better people around him or around the area that they're playing. It's bigger than football. Anytime you can change a life or somebody else smiles, that's a good thing.
Was there a moment you realized there's more than just playing football?
There's always been that. It starts off in college, you do college visits to Children's Hospitals and things like that, so being able to give back to the community, especially for me being home, it's a big thing.
What's the last great thing you read or watched?
Dude, so many good movies. I dabbed back into "Home Alone" yesterday, Christmas spirit obviously. I would say that, and then I'm reading a couple of great books. One is called "The Measure of a Man" and then one by Rick Warren, "A Purpose Driven Life." Just trying to expand my mindset and learn so I can keep on encouraging myself and others.