On the latest episode of Listen In With KNN on Fox Sports 1340AM, host Kelsey Nicole Nelson welcomed New York Giants defensive back Rashaan “G-Money” Gaulden to the show.
Growing up in Nashville, Tennessee, he started playing football when he was four years old and remembered one moment where he was terrified when he was thrown out on the football field and began crying. But nevertheless, Gaulden went to a couple of different high schools and developed relationships with his teammates that would last beyond high school.
“We decided to take our talents to the University of Tennessee and see what we can do there. I relied on my parents for guidance and made sure my faith was strong. I was an All-American track athlete and that helped me with my football game,” he said.
The Nashville native played three years in Knoxville before forgoing his senior year and entering the 2018 NFL Draft where he was selected in the third round by the Carolina Panthers. It was a special milestone for him.
“The Draft moment was definitely special even though I’m more reserved and wasn’t really watching the Draft that much. When I got that call from Coach (Ron) Rivera, I went downstairs right away and let my parents know and it was a moment that was unforgettable,” said Gaulden
The defensive back spent his first two seasons in Carolina where he learned and grew as a player despite not being in the spotlight. But he was able to have guys like Luke Kuechly, Mike Adams, Tre Boston and Eric Reid that taught him about watching film and stopping the run game. Additionally, Gaulden looked up to two of the greatest safeties of all time in Ed Reed and Sean Taylor because of their IQ, ball skills and physicality.
“It’s how much you can learn, gravitate and latch on to some of your older players on watching their habits and how it can benefit you. I feel like I’ve had some really good players that’ve been able to pour into me different kinds of leadership, techniques and ways I can approach the game,” he said.
Gaulden was waived by the Panthers late in the 2019 season and got picked up by the New York Giants. He never envisioned himself coming to New York despite visualizing it as a tourist city.
“Just being part of the culture and adopted in is a blessing especially learning about all the former greats that came through and helped establish the great legacy that’s the New York Giants.”
Due to COVID-19 impacting sports, NFL teams had to have virtual meetings discussing team initiatives with players instead of in-person. In spite of all that, Gaulden praised new Giants head coach Joe Judge for doing things the right way.
“A coach with a winning attitude. We’ve had Zoom calls, player introductions and his first emphasis was making sure that you brought your family to the screen and knowing everybody’s kids’ names. Situational football is very important as a coach being more intertwined into the situational part of football. It’s the difference between making the playoffs and not,” he said.