After much anticipation, the popular “Listen In With KNN,” sports talk radio show and podcast hosted by media personality Kelsey Nicole Nelson, kicked off the year with semi-pro Hall of Famer and first round NFL draft pick Eric Swann, as a special guest. In 1991, Swann was drafted sixth overall to the Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals after playing for a semi-professional team called the Bay State Titans. He spent a total of 10 seasons in the NFL playing for both the Cardinals and Panthers. He became a 2x Pro Bowler in the league.
To begin the episode, Nelson opened up by recapping this past weekend’s AFC Championship game between the visiting Kansas City Chiefs and the host Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. “The Ravens quarterback now has a 2-4 in the postseason which is tied for the fifth worst record of all-time of any quarterback that has started at least five games,” Swann said in response to Lamar Jackson’s woes in the playoffs after the loss to the Chiefs.
Switching over to the NFC Championship game between the Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers, Kelsey breaks down how the 49ers pulled off a 17-point comeback led by young quarterback, Brock Purdy. Nelson asked Swann about Purdy being regarded as one of the top quarterbacks in the league. Swann said, “Yes , I think Brock Purdy has come up in the ranks and he is going to be a force to be reckoned with for the time to come.” Swann continues by adding Brock’s winning stats is his young career thus far and thoughts on Detroit Lions successful season.
Nelson asked Swann which team he was rooting for to get to Super Bowl LVIII. “I was a fan of the underdog. I was really wanting Lamar to pull this off and the Ravens, something was special about this team, everything they have gone through the years,” he said. Nelson and Swann continued the conversation, giving props to the winning quarterback, Chiefs Patrick Mahomes, and head coach Andy Reid. The duo also discussed the Taylor Swift impact on the game.
Heading into more of a personal discussion, Nelson asked Swann what he remembers doing in the NFL off-season to get back stronger as a player. “I just stayed in shape year round. I kept working out, I spent little time for leisure for the most part since I had a series of injuries throughout my career so I had to rehab and get stronger and be in the best possible shape I could be in and get ready to compete in training camp because in training camp, there is always some young buck trying to take your spot,” he responded. He reminisced about playing in the heat in Arizona and how he trained in that type of weather to get the edge as a player.
As the interview progressed, Swann explained how his story began in football. “Football was kind of told something I needed to do. As a kid growing up in North Carolina, in Harnett County, it’s not much to do there at all.” He was diagnosed with the well-known condition called ADHD that always kept him jittery and hyper-active. Thus, his parents convened with his grandfather, knowing they had to get him into sports. Swann played football and participated in track and field growing up in high school.
Diving deeper into his disorder, Swann explains how his diet changed for the better. He talked about whenever a team brought him in to workout, he was paired with a nutritionist and learned
that he was consuming too much sugar which was adding more to his hyper disorder. “Sugar is not good for someone in that condition. I cut all of the sugar out and became very disciplined with that, so the hyper disorder kind of faded out.” He continued also by saying how football already took a lot of energy out of him through the day-to-day training and workouts which also helped him channel his energy in the right way.
As Swann continued his memories of being a football player, he shared some of his ups and downs before getting drafted and how he developed throughout the hardships of injuries and attempting to get into college. “All I needed to do was pass the SAT my senior year, take the test and get the 700 points and off you go to four years of eligibility. But for some reason, I was 20 points shy, I didn’t pass the test and I didn’t want to be labeled as Proposition 48, which meant I would have had to sit out a year and be a redshirt,” he explained. He was very adamant about wanting to play all four years but he had only one more chance to take the test, which he then failed again, by 20 points. While this happened, he continued to stay disciplined and he began to get noticed by Tom Marino, an NFL scout at the time with the New Orleans Saints. His connection helped lead Swann to play in a minor league system with the Bay State Titans.
To wrap up the conversation, Nelson asked Swann if he had an actor to play him in his life story in a movie, who would he pick. “Dwayne Johnson, The Rock. He has a similar story,” Swann said. Swann shared insight into how he and Johnson have similar stories and that he would love to sit down and talk with him.
You can catch “Listen In With KNN” sports talk podcast and radio show with KNN every Tuesday and Thursday at 6pm ET. View the full episode below.