Craig Terrill's dreams of playing in the NFL seemed a long shot growing up in Lebanon.
But after a successful career at Purdue from 2000-04, the defensive tackle made them a reality, playing seven seasons for the Seattle Seahawks. And retirement from the game hasn't slowed him down.
Following, Gold & Black talks to Terrill, who was in town to play for the NFF honors dinner Thursday night, for this week's "Catching Up" feature.
Gold & Black: How is football retirement treating you?
Terrill: "It's awesome. I was really blessed to be able to play with just one team for seven years, which I look back on now and think it's crazy because so many of my buddies were on seven teams in seven years. We were really lucky to latch on with a really good locker room and a really good staff and we got to win a lot of football games. And I came out of it relatively healthy and got to play a sports that I've loved forever for a long time. I'm really lucky."
Gold & Black: How do you feel about how it ended, getting cut by the Seahawks and not resigned? Did you want to play more?
Terrill: "My goal going in was to try to get 10 years in, once I actually made it on a team and got playing time. Once I got over that 'Am I ever going to make on a team to begin with?' I felt like 'If I could play 10 years, it would just be cool.' And I got to play seven, which I'm not going to nitpick, I'm really happy with that.
"And I can still walk, so I'm pretty happy."
Gold & Black: Did it work out to play in Seattle, considering you play music too? They have that scene up there.
Terrill: "It was. When I got drafted there, it was a strange situation because it was so far away from home. I grew up in Lebanon and traveled 40 minutes to get to school and really had never been outside the Midwest, just for our Big Ten games. And my wife is from Florida, so as far as possible from there, so we were kind of shell-shocked to begin with, to move to Seattle and create a life there. But once we kind of bought into it a little bit and accepted the city, it's become home to us."
Gold & Black: And you knew of their music scene, so that had to be intriguing.
Terrill: "Oh absolutely. But it's kind of funny, I'm playing heartland rock out there to a bunch of grunge people, and a lot of them are like 'Oh yeah, this sounds like Mellencamp or Springsteen or something,' so they kind of get it."
Q: When did you start getting into it?
"My older brother Jason played guitar and that had the biggest influence on me musically, because you always want to be like your older brother. So I would see him play and he was really into British rock, the Beatles, Rolling Stones, so he was playing all that stuff on guitar and I was like 'That is awesome. I have to learn how to do that.' I started slow and learned country music, so it was kind of a slow progression for me, then to go on and do my own stuff."
Q: Have garage bands growing up?
Terrill: "Yeah, definitely. We played in pull-barn bands, not garage bands (laughing)."
Gold & Black: What's the name of the group now?
Terrill: "It's the Craig Terrill band. We're very creative and put a lot of thought into it (laughing), and spent nights thinking about it. But the simplest thing, CTband.com."
Gold & Black: Do you have aspirations to play beyond the Northwest?
Terrill: "It's definitely a fun hobby. I've done it mildly as a side business the last few years as I've transitioned out of football, and now that I have a full year - I could only do it in the offseason before, which was trouble - my band is playing year-round. So if we pick up a little fan base, we just have a lot of fun with some great musicians."
Gold & Black: How many gigs do you play?
Terrill: "Right now we have about two dozen booked in the Puget Sound area, really just through the summer then we'll book stuff through the fall and winter too."
Gold & Black: What other type of stuff you up to?
Terrill: "I run football camps for defensive linemen in high school, so I'm doing mostly that in Washington and trying to spread that to Indiana, probably next summer. But this summer, I travel to different high schools and run D-line camps, fundamentals. I love doing camps and small group camps especially where it's a lot of one-on-one teaching. But I didn't want to be teaching coverages and stuff like that. I could probably fake it to a high school kid, but I would hate it if he called me on it and was like 'What's that cover?' And I was like 'Oh, I don't know what you're talking about.' But I figured I know how to play the defensive line in football and I was undersized and a technique guy all my life, so that's something I think I could pass on to high school kids."
Q: Did you do a camp in Lebanon recently?
Terrill: "I just did a free youth camp in Lebanon last Saturday. Just kind of an open all-skills camp, but I just started the business of doing the D-line camps for high schools. So hopefully next summer I'll try to do some in Indiana."
Gold & Black: So that's the Craig Terrill Defensive Line Camp, I assume?
Terrill: "CTfootballcamp.com. I figure people don't know how to spell Terrill so I have to put CT."
Gold & Black: You doing some TV and radio too?
Terrill: "Yeah, I work for the Seahawks organization doing their pregame and postgame show and I'm hoping to do other TV and radio opportunities out there this year."
Gold & Black: When you look back on your Purdue career, what did it mean to you?
Terrill: "It was amazing. Probably the first thing is the guys that I played with and the friends that I made, and the amazing opportunities we got to play in, especially the Rose Bowl year. And knowing guys like Drew, who kind of really taught me a lot about being a leader and being a strong influence on your team. That's the biggest thing I took from him as a player. It was just an amazing situation."
Gold & Black: At what point in your Purdue career did you think a long NFL career was possible?
Terrill: "You know what, I was so lucky to play with the class that I did and the guys that got drafted with Stu and Shaun Phillips and Nick Hardwick, because all those pro scouts were coming through and watching their film and then I would pop in there to make a tackle and a sack. And they're like 'Who's this guy?' I've had several scouts through the years tell me that's how they found me. I'm lucky I was in the class that I was in. Opponents were blocking all those guys and I got to make the plays. It was always a dream and I don't know how much of a reality it would be."
Gold & Black: Do you keep up with some of those former teammates?
Terrill: "I try as much as I can. Facebook is obviously the easiest way to see what's going on in people's lives and Twitter. I try to catch up with them as much as possible.
Gold & Black: Your married with kids.
Terrill:"We have two kids, a three-and-a-half year old Journey, and Josie is our youngest and she's four months; we're changing diapers."
Gold & Black: You're a former GBI intern. That really helped shape your life, right?
Terrill: "Big time. I think that was the crossroads for me, and I thought 'I better make it in the NFL, otherwise I'm going to end up in the print media.' But I loved working there and working with those guys, because I do want to stay in journalism and move on with radio and TV and blogs and everything else."
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