Joe Gaiter:What Does Football mean to you?
Jareed Gaines: To me football is more than just a game. I have played football since I was very young, and have been taught a lot from it. I truly believe that football has taught me more than I have ever learned in a classroom. It teaches a young boy how to work hard, face adversity, and how to become a man. So to answer your question, football means the world to me. I would not be the man I am today and in the amazing situations I have been put in without football.
Joe Gaiter: When did you start playing football?
Jareed Gaines: I started playing football at 4 years old in Willingboro, NJ for the Willingboro Panthers. After getting bigger and older, I then played Pop Warner for the RV Patriots in Mount Holly, NJ.
Joe Gaiter: What is your motivation for playing football?
Jareed Gaines: My motivation for playing football is my mother. My mother is the one who put me in football at a young age because of her love for the game. She is my number 1 fan, who I can always hear cheering for me while I am on the field. Doing well in football and putting a smile on her face everyday motivates me to work hard and do my best with everything that I do.
Joe Gaiter: What will you miss most about playing at Stonehill College?
Jareed Gaines: The one thing I will miss most about playing at Stonehill is playing alongside my teammates. We have been through a lot as a team, so seeing my teammates do well and achieve success is a great feeling. It makes me play harder knowing that people I care about so much are lined up next to me. I will do anything for those guys.
Joe Gaiter: What are some things that you learned from your college football experience at Stonehill College?
Jareed Gaines: Some things that I learned from playing at Stonehill are how to face adversity and how to believe in yourself when nobody else does. We were the underdogs in a lot of games, and the only people who believed we could win. As we began to succeed, a lot of people were shocked and slowly started to give us credit and have faith in us, but that faith was something we had the whole time.
Joe Gaiter: How do you plan to stand out from a D2 School?
Jareed Gaines:I know that I face a lot of challenges coming from a division 2 school, but I plan on standing out with my work ethic. The people that I will be competing against have played at the highest level of college football and will probably look down on me. This will drive me to be the hardest worker on the team. I pride myself on my work ethic. One of my favorite quotes is “Hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard.” A person might have more talent me, but he will not work harder than me.
Joe Gaiter: Are you prepared enough for the NFL?
Jareed Gaines: I believe that I am prepared enough for the NFL. I still have a lot to learn and can definitely improve on some aspects of my game, but I do believe that I can go on an NFL team and make a positive impact.
Joe Gaiter: Do you have a backup plan if you don’t get drafted?
Jareed Gaines:If I am not drafted I hope to sign to a team as an undrafted free agent. If that does not work out then I will look for a job in sports or finance. I have three interviews lined up with one NBA team and two finance companies just in case football does not work out. I actually interned with the Philadelphia Eagles this past summer and learned a lot about the sports industry while working there.
Joe Gaiter:What player in the NFL has your style of play?
Jareed Gaines:I would compare my style of play to Troy Polamalu. We are both aggressive players who can blitz, play inside the box, and play man coverage. Troy Polamalu is always around the ball and all over the field making plays. That is something that stands out about my skills on tape.
Joe Gaiter: What are your biggest strengths on the field?
Jareed Gaines:I would say my biggest strength is blitzing. When I blitz I can time up the snap count and hit the line of scrimmage running at full speed. This has helped me make many plays in my career. I also feel that my aggressiveness is a great strength.
Joe Gaiter: What are the keys to play your position on the field?
Jareed Gaines:To play safety you have to be smart and know what everybody on the defense is doing. You also need to be able to do different things like play man and zone coverage, and tackle. I feel that I embody all of these necessities.
Joe Gaiter:How do you plan on giving back to the community after getting drafted?
Jareed Gaines:I plan on giving back to the community by speaking to kids in the community and starting football camps. I also would want to do activities and camps for kids so that they can stay out of trouble and have a place to go and get their minds off their life problems.
Joe Gaiter: Do you feel that you are at your best?
Jareed Gaines:I do not feel that I am at my best. I feel that if I were to be taught by NFL coaches and trained under an NFL program then I would be able to exceed my expectations and many others. There is always room for improvement.
Joe Gaiter: When is your pro day and combine and how are you preparing?
Jareed Gaines:I am attending the NFL Regional Combine in New Jersey on March 2nd. I also am attending the Harvard pro day on March 14th and the Villanova pro day on March 18th. I am currently training at Next Level Fitness in Johnston, RI. My coaches, Rene and Joe, are amazing and have a lot of knowledge on how to perform exceptionally well at these events.
Joe Gaiter: You are considered “under the radar” in this year’s draft class. Does this give you more drive?
Jareed Gaines:This does give me drive. Like I stated earlier, I know that I have to do so much more than the regular player just to get a shot or noticed. Knowing this makes me work extremely hard, and motivates me every day.
Joe Gaiter: Do you think your hard work will pay off?
Jareed Gaines:I have faith that my hard work will pay off. I believe that hard work does not go unnoticed.
Joe Gaiter: What do you want your football legacy to be?
Jareed Gaines:When my football career is all said and done, I want people to look back and say that I was an amazing player, tremendous leader, but an even better person. I want to be known for always proving people wrong and always believing in myself when others did not. I want to leave a mark that people talk about years after I am done playing.
Joe Gaiter: Final Words and Shoutouts.
Jareed Gaines: I want to thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to interview me. I really appreciate it. I want to thank everybody who has helped me get to the position that I am in now. I would not be able to be here without any of your help. I want to thank all of my coaches throughout my lifetime, and also all of my teammates. I want every small school player to know that just because you go to a small school and might not hear your name in national headlines every week, that it does not mean that you do not have a shot to chase and catch your dreams. Hopefully I will be a living testament to that. Thank you.