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Real Talk with QBV #11: Former NFL RB/WR and Current Personal Trainer Dexter McCluster

Updated: Feb 27, 2021

On Tuesday, August 18th, QB Velocity met with former Pro Bowler Dexter McCluster. McCluster was considered a swiss army knife type of player, meaning he could play multiple positions and be great. His versatility helped him become a successful player in the NFL.

Dexter McCluster was always told he was too small, colleges told him he couldn't play offense because he was considered too small. Against all odds he was drafted in the second round and he even became a Pro Bowler! We learned a whole lot from Dexter. He preaches being a stand up guy and being a role model and mentor. Let's take a look into the wise words of the great Dexter McCluster!

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What's your advice for athletes during covid?

“Yeah man 2020 has been a whirlwind man with this Covid thing. First and foremost, safety is most important, people have families out here, Fathers, Mothers and Grandmothers, whoever it may be safety is always first.

But for the athletes now, are the ones that may have just been drafted, taking it from an NFL aspect of it, it’s different for them because they won’t be able to get to know the offense or have that film out there to let them know what they can do, so it’s hard. But I would tell those athletes, at least right now that it’s a different situation, but, it’s adversity you’ve been through this your whole life, having to be able to adapt to situations.

It’s a scary thing because at the end of the day, it’s a real situation, there’s a lot of families that are being torn apart by this virus. As a player at the NFL level, College Level, or Pop Warner level, they want to play Football, this is what they dream about growing up each and day every we want to get to that highest level, the NFL.

I would just tell them stay focused and stay the course, try and be safe as possible and make the best decision for you and your family. If that’s playing, go ahead and do it, I can’t tell another man or family what to do in these situations. I can speak for myself, if I was still playing, I would have to take in account that I have a family, I have four daughters and a wife. I have to be here with them for the long haul, it would be a heavy option to weigh, but again it’s Football, it’s America’s greatest game...”

What made you want to start your own training program?

It’s funny because I was never thinking about doing anything like this at all. I was just in a process after I retired, thinking what’s next? I was still working out and trying to stay in good shape, and looking and feeling good about myself, so I started hashtagging McCluster fit, every time I would do a workout.

People were reaching out to me asking, ‘Hey are you a trainer now? Do you train? Can I get a one on one session?’ And at first, I was like, ‘Nah I don’t train, I’m just trying to keep myself in shape.’ Maybe two weeks went by and everyone kept asking me the same questions and finally I said, ‘Know what this may be something I want to tap into!’ Because it’s my passion, I've always been that guy on the field who was a leader, to be that spark, to make those guys believe in themselves even if they don’t believe in themselves.

So, I started doing that, studying for it, I got certified to be a personal trainer, from then, January to now, business has been booming, things are going . I really enjoy it, I am able to bring the same energy my whole career, my whole life, Football, and still be connected in a way in doing that. But taking it a step further, off the field, making someone feel better about themselves and be happy and healthy, so McCluster Fit is my brand and I am going all the way with it!

Do you feel like a lot of athletes underappreciate the training that is necessary to succeed and perform at their best?

Yeah, I think it can be, at the end of the day we want to go out there in front of the fans and in front of the cameras and turn it on and turn it off when we want to. Training and preparing is just as important as going out there and playing the game, you can’t go out there and not know what you’re doing, if you don’t know what you are doing, you’ll be sitting right here where I am, on the sideline, on the bench right.

What I try to teach my athletes who I do train, of course I train them the Football aspect, the game aspect, but I teach them a lot about life. A lot of the pain and experiences I went through, I want to give them the raw and uncut so when they are faced with any type of adversity, they have some sort of answer.

Go to school, go to work, hold yourself accountable, hold your teammate accountable, stuff like that on and off the field. Football will take care of itself, but the off the field stuff, being a stand-up guy. Your character will take you a long way, I preach to them, ‘Hey I didn’t get here by just raw talent, I had to go out there and I had to do that extra studying, being that guy who is going to show up and lead by example.

Just trying to do the best you can do and carrying yourself the right way and I think that is where I am in my life right now, I try to things and model myself, actions speak louder than words...”

What was the recruiting process like for you?

As you know the storyline with me was always, I am too small. Too small to do this and do that, When I was in High School, I was actually a Two-Star, and that pissed me off! I never said anything about it, I just wanted to go out there and show, ‘Hey, this is what you are calling a Two-Star, I’m going to make you eat your words.’

Going into my Junior year I had a breakout year, my senior year was amazing. I had these schools coming in, the Florida's, the Florida States, the West Virginias and schools like that. I wanted to stay in Florida because I’m from Florida, my whole family is in Florida, that’s what I knew.

All of the Florida schools were like, ‘Hey, you’re kind of small to be a Running Back, have you thought about playing corner back or defense?’ And I was like, ‘No, I’m better with the ball in my hands.’ And they were like, ‘Well we’re kind of skeptical of that, so if we bring you in, you’d be a kick returner or maybe a converted Running Back to Cornerback.’ So, I turned it down, I know within myself what I can do and in the process, I can show you better than I can tell you.