With news of Buffalo Bills linebacker Kiko Alonso's knee injury making shockwaves across Western New York, I reached out to another professional athlete -- someone who's had his share of ups and downs -- to get some perspective on what lies ahead for Kiko as he makes his comeback from this terrible injury.
ME: Now, Kenny, you may have heard that Kiko Alonso severely injured his knee while working out in Oreg--
KP: I play real sports. Not trying to be the best at exercising.
ME: Well, Kiko plays professional football. Surely, that's a real sport? It takes several months of conditioning and weight training to prepare your body for the rigors of the upcoming season.
KP: This one coach tried to put me on a weight training program, and I was all like, 'You and your weights can [expletive] off somewhere. I'm not lifting that [expletive]. It's heavy. You tell me why I need strength training when I'm strong enough to throw a 100 mile per hour pitch?"
ME: We are getting severely off track here. Can you take me into the mind of a professional athlete? What goes through your head when you step onto the mound?
KP: I knew the game was mine to win. Just like in life, all of my successes depend on me. I'm the man who has the ball, I'm the man who can throw it faster than [expletive]. So that is why I am better than everyone in the world.
ME: A lot of Bills fans feel that same way about Alonso; that he was best player on the field at any given time. You've been in a lot of lockerooms. Can you pinpoint what separates the Kiko Alonso's from the Aaron Maybin's of the world?
KP: If there's one thing I've learned through all my adventures and conquests, it's that some people are just wired for success. I had no choice when it came to being great. I just am great. I'm not trying to sound cocky or full of myself, but Kenny Powers has a sneaking suspicion that no matter what comes his way he will always be great.
ME: An injury, especially to a knee, can greatly impact an athlete and limit what he does on the field both physically, and mentally. No one doubts that Kiko's body will be ready once his rehab is done, but how will he have to prepare himself emotionally to get back on the field?
KP: A true champion, face to face with his darkest hour, will do whatever it takes to rise above. A man fights, and fights, and then fights some more. Because surrender is death, and death is for [female cats].
ME: Kiko is looking at a full year before he's able to suit up again for the Bills. That's a long time for an athlete to be away from the game. Being someone who has had to step away for stretches of time, what advice can you give him over these next months?
KP: I'm about to [expletive] you up with some truth: When you're on top of the world, every mother [expletive] wants to get a piece of your ass. But then, you take a little time off from being unstoppable? Just to regroup and relax? No one will give you the time of day.
ME: I feel as if Kiko is surrounded by a great support group. He is quickly becoming the face of the franchise. I don't think everyone will turn their backs to him simply because he was injured.
KP: When my ass was 19 years old, I changed the face of professional baseball. I was handed the keys to the kingdom, multi-million dollar deals, endorsements. Everyone wanted a piece of my [expletive]. Just a man with a mind for victory and an arm like a [expletive] cannon. But sometimes when you bring the thunder, you get lost in the storm.
ME: With the advancements in medicine, there's no reason to assume Kiko won't be back to 100% when his rehab is completed. But, let's assume he's not the same player he once was. What does he have to do to prepare himself for a life after football?
KP: The humongous part about being a celebrity is cashing in on it-- making [expletive] loads of money, having expensive, luxurious things. That way, in case one day you're not famous, you can still be rich as hell and better than everyone around you.
ME: Kenny, thank you very much for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with me. I think I speak for all Bills fans when I say that it's great to hear how you've dealt with, and overcome, much of what Kiko will be going through. If an athlete of your caliber and success can get back on the proverbial horse, there's no doubt Kiko will be just fine.
KP: Wow. I mean, you just nailed it. You just hit it on the head. You're saying I need to get back on top again. Yeah, man. I got to remember that I'm a winner, man. I need to remember that I AM better than everybody else. I'm a bullet-proof tiger, dude, and if everyone in this town has forgot who I am, then maybe it's time I remind 'em. Maybe it's time I remind everyone just who the [expletive] Kenny Powers is.
ME: Not at all what I was saying. Thanks again!