Bridgewater-Raynham’s Marc Colombo Discusses His Journey to the NFL
by. Ryan Kilian
Bridgewater-Raynham High School graduate Marc Colombo is heading into his tenth year of service as an NFL Offensive Tackle. The former high school All-Scholastic is blessed with great size (6-foot-8, 315 lbs.) and an unquestioned work ethic that has helped him excel at every level of competition.
The former Boston College great took some time out of his busy off-season schedule to talk about his experience growing up and playing football in Massachusetts and the work that goes into becoming a successful NFL player.
As a former three-sport athlete at Bridgewater-Raynham High School can you reflect back on your high school experience and the most memorable times playing high school ball?
MC: During my years at Bridgewater-Raynham I had some really good memories but one that sticks out in particular is a playoff football game my senior year vs. Weymouth High School. It was a battle that came down to literally a goal line stand at the end of the game to move us into the semi-finals. The entire game was a big defensive effort on both sides. The only score came on an interception by our linebacker for a touchdown, followed by a missed extra point.
With the game just about over Weymouth had the ball on the 20 yard line with 80 yards to go and under a minute to play. It was then when they hit a seam route to a speedy All-State receiver and he would go for 79 yards down to the 1 yard line. Our nickel safety Ken Barnard, who was a childhood friend of mine, had no business catching Weymouth's receiver but with determination and heart, Ken chased him from behind and took him down at the 1 yard line. Inspired by his effort, Weymouth lined up four straight times and did not gain one inch. We would go on to beat North Quincy in the semi-final game and then be defeated by Brockton in the State Championship game.
Can you talk a little bit about how the recruiting process went for you and how you ended up choosing Boston College? What were some of the main factors that kept you local?
MC: The recruiting process is an exciting time. Come junior year you were eligible for letters from the Universities that were interested in you. I can remember my coach (Dan Buron) handing me letters early on from Penn State, BC and Syracuse.
My advice early on would be to stay as humble as possible while enjoying the process. I will tell you that 95% of the letters you get mean absolutely nothing. You are just a guy with talent on a top prospect list somewhere. With that said, these places are showing interest is an accomplishment in itself, so go take care of business on the field and off.
In high school I was a middle of the road Division 1 recruit. Boston College was one of the first to offer me a Division 1 scholarship. BC was known and is still known for its offensive linemen. I remember Wake Forest and Syracuse were the only other colleges I was seriously considering. On my recruiting visit to BC I made the decision that it was the place for me. BC is also the school that my grandfather attended back in the 1940's when they won a National Championship.
When did you start to develop, both physically and talent wise as a football player? Also, what and/ or who can you attribute the progression in your game to?
MC: Sophomore to junior year is when I noticed I was starting to develop. At this point I decided to pass on baseball because it was interfering with my football schedule and ability to hit the gym hard. It was an extremely tough decision to make because I love the game of baseball. With that said I made the decision and put all my effort into lifting weights and working as hard as I possibly could to get ready for football. At this point I was tall and light and I knew I had to put on some really good muscle, which I did through a rigorous workout schedule. I worked out before and after school and it definitely paid off.
You were an honor roll student in high school. Can you talk a little about the importance of taking care of business in the classroom both in high school and at BC?
MC: As an athlete for many years now I have learned that taking care of business off the field is just as important as on it. If you are not putting in the work studying and making sure your grades are up to par than it will undoubtedly affect the way you perform. Football is all about focus. I knew if I was hitting the books hard and getting the help I need then I would be giving myself the very best opportunity to succeed.
My advice would be to not be afraid to ask for academic assistance. In high school I would find the smartest person in the class and see if they could help me. More times than not they would. You also have the assistance from guidance counselors so make sure that you use them. Colleges offer tutoring programs and some are mandatory. If you are an athlete there is a lot on your plate so the last thing you want to do is worry about low grades. Academics has to be important to you.
What was some of the most valuable advice or guidance that you received as a high school athlete and if you could give any advice to a serious high school athlete what would it be?
MC: Always work hard. It sounds simple but it is not that easy. How much does it mean to you? Can you work hard when nobody is watching? Do you have the ability to lead people to work as hard as you do? Can you put in more than extra work? This is what it takes. This is what colleges are looking for.
You need to set goals that can only be reached through blood, sweat and tears. If your goals are easily achievable then they were not set high enough. I am going into my 10th NFL season. A goal of mine is to win a Super Bowl. I work every day tirelessly to make myself as strong, fast and as smart as I can to help give my team a chance to do that.
Credit: James D. Smith/ IconSMI
Being a former first round draft pick and NFL veteran out of Massachusetts can you talk about the work you have put in to reach each next level of competition? Also, having experienced your share of injuries can you talk about what it takes to get back to playing condition?
MC: The competition increases at every level of play. With that said, I have used the same formula every year since high school. Work harder than everyone else. I do it every day and it has got me this far and has never let me down. That means work harder when things are going good, when things are going bad or when you are injured.
When you play as long as I have, going on 10 years of NFL service you have your fair share of injuries, some worse than others. If you cannot play through a little pain this is not the sport for you. The great players can play through a lot of pain. With that said you have to be smart. Show your toughness but listen to your trainers as well.
My rookie year I suffered a patella dislocation on Monday Night Football. I also had some nerve damage because of the severity of the dislocation. After two years of rehab they said nobody has ever come back from this injury, and you will never play football again. Coach Bill Parcells (pictured below) took a chance on me in Dallas and the rest is history.
You have to believe in yourself even when nobody else does and when you get a second chance don't let it pass you by. - Marc Colombo
Credit: James D. Smith/ IconSMI
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