Kamerion Wimbley began his professional career with the Cleveland Browns right out of Florida State University, also playing for the Oakland Raiders before joining the Tennessee Titans in 2012. He retired in 2015.
But Wimbley isn’t just about football, as we found out when we interviewed him recently. Like Cesar, he is a huge animal lover and advocate, and also has a special place in his heart for pit bulls. Here’s what he had to tell us.
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Have you always loved dogs or animals in general? Where do you think that comes from?
I’ve had a love of animals since I was a young child. It stems from watching programs, such as Animal Planet and Discovery channel special features, on various animals.
Like Cesar, you seem to be particularly fond of bully breeds. Why is this?
I am fond of bully breeds because I was initially attracted to their looks and movement. Once I received the opportunity to learn more about the animal, I was also enamored by their personality.
You’re also working against breed specific legislation. Why do you think it’s a bad idea to ban certain breeds of dog? And how do you think bully breeds got such a bad reputation?
Not only should we go against breed specific legislation, but we should hold the owners accountable for their dog’s actions. It’s unfair to label one breed due to unfortunate incidents that stem from irresponsible ownership.
Cesar sees dogs as pack animals, with leaders and followers. Do you agree with that and, if so, are there similarities between a dog pack and a football team?
I agree. The football team has captains that are usually selected by the coach and/or players to lead the team. Within the dog pack, there is also a hierarchy. When wild dogs hunt, everyone knows who the leaders are. It’s the same way on the football field.
You moved to outside linebacker this season, how has the transition been? Does learning a new position motivate you?
It’s been an easy transition because I played [outside linebacker] my first 6 years in the league. The move from [defensive end] to OLB motivates me because not only is it a ton of fun, but I’m able to produce at a high level.
Tell us about the dogs in your pack.
Currently, I have two dogs. Yogi is a nine-year old American Bully that I often refer to as a mini-human. He’s intelligent, but silly, playful and a bit energetic at times. Bolt is a ten-month old Doberman pinscher. He is an extremely playful puppy, but intelligent and well-mannered.
You train the dogs at your kennel as well. What techniques do you use?
I use standard obedience techniques and teach basic commands.
You’re a veteran leader on the Titans. How does training dogs compare to mentoring rookies/young players? Who are some of the young guys on your team who have really impressed you?
Consistency on my behalf and repetition on theirs is paramount to generate optimal results. [Linebacker] Avery Williamson has impressed me with his ability to translate what he learns in the classroom to the football field with his performance.
You also show your dogs across the country. Do you think this is stressful for them, or does it give them a sense of purpose?
I believe it’s a combination of both. Since dogs have personalities like humans, each will respond to traveling in different ways. Some will excel in all aspects of travel and show while others won’t. Those who are able to withstand the demands of travel and perform well under extreme pressure are the ones we typically take to the bigger shows.
You’re a partner at the Bull Breed Coalition Registry. Can you tell us a little more about what it is and what you hope to accomplish?
Bull Breed Coalition Registry is an organization founded to provide a network of support, education and documentation of bull breeds.
The Titans play in SEC country — how did you feel when your school, Florida State, broke the SEC’s national title streak last season? And how are you feeling about the chances for another perfect season for your Seminoles?
I was extremely happy with the team’s success last year, and they have a great opportunity to capture both titles (ACC and National Championship) again this year.
We all know some players like to trash talk. What’s the funniest or strangest (PG-rated) thing you’ve heard a player say during a game?
Strange: I’ve seen players get hit extremely hard, hop right up and tell the opponent, “good hit,” without being affected.
Funny: The losing team talks trash and a player from the winning team says, “Look at the scoreboard,” and walks off.
Finally, Cesar gets this question a lot, so we’re going to ask you. If you could be any breed of dog, what would it be and why?
I would be a pit bull because I admire their strong work ethic, loyalty and desire to please. They are considered to be an athletic dog and I’m also an athlete, so that’s a perfect fit.