During his five-year NFL career, Jeff Heuerman has seen some of the highs and lows that sometimes accompany the game, from the ACL injury that derailed his rookie season to celebrating a Super Bowl victory less than a year later. In a recent conversation with us, he shared how those experiences have shaped his perspective in the NFL and told us why he thinks the Broncos can overcome a slow start.
How comfortable do you feel with Joe Flacco so far, and what do you think he's brought to the offense? It seems like he's been able to spread the ball around and get everyone involved.
"It's nice having him in the huddle, a guy with so much experience and composure and confidence. He's able to really dissect the defenses and get to the guy who's got the best chance to make the best play. It's nice having a guy with his experience. That's the biggest thing."
The season started with a bit of a rough patch, but what gives you confidence that this team can turn it around?
"If you really watch the games and dissect the games, we haven't played bad, terrible football. There's just a few plays here and there that we've got to clean up and eliminate some of those mistakes that are costing up. Once we do that and play better, sound football, I think we can be really good. But we've just got to eliminate some of those mistakes that are really costing us and be more consistent in some areas. I think we've got the players in this room, the coaches in this building to really get it done."
It's your fifth season in the NFL. You understand how to best handle yourself and approach a season now. How does that compare to what you were in your first couple of years in the NFL?
"I think the biggest thing is stuff's going to happen in the NFL. It's all about just getting up every day and going to work and not letting what happened yesterday or not letting what happened the play before affect the next play or the next day. I think that's the biggest thing I've learned over the years. Stuff's going to happen; it's the NFL. So you've got to just keep on going and not let it affect you in a negative way for the future."
Everyone knows the tight ends room is full of Big Ten guys. When your teams play one another, do you have to be careful with your trash talk ahead of time because if Ohio State goes down, you're going to hear about it all throughout the next year?
"Luckily, playing at Ohio State, I haven't had to worry about it. Knock on wood, I haven't had to worry about that a whole lot. It's been kind of nice with the Michigan guys. We'll see if Iowa and Ohio State end up playing this year at any point."
You and the team had a pretty unique experience at the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer. What was that like, to go through the museum and then be on the field to celebrate the festivities?
"It was really cool, especially playing at Ohio State and having a lot of roots in Ohio. It was cool seeing the Hall of Fame; it was my first time seeing it. It was fun and we had a good time."
Was there someone's bust you really wanted to see there?
"They were all really cool. Seeing Elway's was cool and [Offensive Line] Coach [Mike] Munchak's was cool."
During your first season, you were able to get to know Peyton Manning pretty well because you were both recovering from injuries at the same time for a little while. As a rookie, how did you react to that?
"It was kind of crazy. I still remember, it was early when I had first gotten here. We were sitting somewhere and he asked me a question on a play. He asked me what the 'Y' tight end has. I got it right, and he was like, 'Oh, yeah. Thanks, thanks,' because he wasn't sure. I still hang my hat on that. I was pretty nervous when he asked it, and luckily I knew the answer."
You're having your first child soon — a boy. What's the most exciting part about that for you? What are you looking forward to as a parent?
"I'm looking forward to all the chaos, honestly. I saw a quote one time that said, 'It's not home unless there's chaos.' We're planning on having more than one. So, just all the chaos that comes with it, embracing it. It's funny, because Joe [Flacco] has five kids, four boys, so he's always filling me in on his stories and his chaos in his house. It's funny listening to all his stories and stuff. I'm just excited for all of that."
Was there chaos in the Heuerman household growing up?
"There was chaos in the Heuerman household. There was three [boys]: me and my two brothers. There was definitely chaos in our house growing up. That's what makes it fun. That's what it's all about, raising kids. So we're excited."