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Where Are They Now? - Cary Blanchard

Undrafted, you were in Dallas’ 1991 training camp, played for Sacramento in the World League, and then spent the 1992 training camp and a handful of games on New Orleans’ 52-man roster as insurance before signing with the New York Jets.

After all that, it must have been rewarding to spend the entire 1993 season with the Jets.

“Oh, heck, yeah! I guess I took the long road. [Laughs] I made it a little more difficult for me, but it was good. I had a good time and actually won the championship with the Sacramento Surge. So that was pretty neat.”

You joined Indianapolis in 1995, and had an incredible 1996 season. Leading the AFC in scoring, you were a first-team All-Pro and voted to play in the Pro Bowl. Good to be king?

“You know, bouncing around, going here, going there, never finally actually getting on… The best part was I got picked up four games into that ’95 season, and finished up that year real well. And then to come back in ’96, it was like a dream come true.

“You just know you can do it. You know if somebody would just give you a chance and stay with you, you can show what you can do.”

What was your mindset while experiencing that vagabond lifestyle?

“It’s kind of funny. I mean, it’s not real glamorous because you’re moving around from place to place. You’re living out of a suitcase. You’re living in hotels because every week you’ve got (a tryout with) another team if you don’t catch on.

“It’s a lot of competition, a lot of stress, a lot of nerves. You’ve just got to try to get through it. And finally to catch on and actually go to the Pro Bowl was unbelievable.”

After eight seasons in the NFL with five different teams [New York Jets, Indianapolis, Washington, New York Giants and Arizona], not to mention spending time in training camp with three others [Dallas, New Orleans and Minnesota], your suitcases are put away.

You’ve made your home in Oklahoma and are the operations supervisor for the Deer Creek School districts in Edmond. How would you describe your job?

“I’m in charge of grounds, maintenance and transportation. Try to make sure that each job gets done. It’s rewarding. I got to finally get someplace where I could have things the way I wanted them to be.”

Do you also help coach the high school’s football team?

“Yes, I do. [Laughs] I’m actually really good friends with the head coach. He ended up bringing me in [in 2008] when I ended up getting the operations job, and I’ve been coaching with him for the last six years.

“I like the kids. I like to coach them and teach them whatever I can. And it’s enjoyable to just still be around the game. Once you’re done with the sport, something that you’ve loved and have always wanted to do, to be able to do it further… I still get out there and kick with the guys. I still get out there and have competitions. So it’s fun.”

Just by them seeing how you persevered while playing in the league, you must be proud to be an example for the kids?

“Oh, yeah. The head coach plays it up quite a bit. So with the kids it’s pretty neat. It’s so weird because they treat me a little different. Being (through it as a player), you know what to expect. They’ll come over and want to talk and ask you, ‘What do I need to do?’ It’s neat to see them look up to you.”

Has what you experienced as a player helped in your post-football careers?

“It’s helped. It’s so competitive, trying to get there, especially for me. You keep going, keep going, keep going, and try to keep on an even keel because at any time, you never know what’s going to happen. It’s the same thing with trying to find a job, too. Trying to get a job and be where you want to be is competitive. It helped me stick with it and become the person I am.” 

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