We spoke with Trent Cole, an avid sportsman who also happens to play linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Trent Cole is a lot like many Americans across the country. He’s from Ohio, grew up in a family that introduced to him the beauty of the outdoors, and spends much of his free time in the field, bowhunting for whitetails and other game.
Trent Cole is also not like many Americans, because he plays professional football for the Philadelphia Eagles. His career as an outside linebacker has led to team records, Pro Bowl selections and NFL East titles.
He hasn’t let his love of hunting get away from him, and his show “Blitz TV” has earned him recognition in the sportsman community as a knowledgeable and experienced sportsman. Cole was recently profiled on “NRA All Access,” a show that highlights the people, places and stories affecting shooting sports across the country.
Cole spoke with us about his appearance on “NRA All Access,” what’s important to him as a hunter, and how he fits the outdoors into his busy football schedule.
“It’s a great opportunity to be in front of the NRA,” Cole said of his recent in-depth profile. “It’s a great honor to do that. The people there knew I was a member, and that I lived in the area. They had called and asked if they could do a show on me because of what I do. I’m an NFL player full time, and running a television show that’s growing in popularity.”
The bandwidth of professional footballer’s availability during the NFL season is limited, and since hunting season basically falls in the same period, Cole has to prioritize more than most.
“I pretty much hunt in the locations that I’m at,” said Cole. “If I get a chance to go to different regions, I’ll go. My favorite places at the time are Ohio and the East Coast. The deer are very big there, and the opportunities are great to harvest a trophy buck.” He’s fully aware of the number of hunters who frequent the East Coast of the U.S., and acknowledges the notion that those factors make it more difficult to hunt in the area. But, it seemed like that was part of the appeal for him. He said it’s a challenge, and that’s what he loves about it.
Two different worlds
Of course, the parallels between hunting and playing football are clear for Cole, and he’s recognized many similarities between the two.
“I approach them the same,” he said. “I’m disciplined at both games. I’m preparing 365 days a year just for that one moment when the ball comes. It doesn’t stop, you know? At the beginning of a new season, you have to prepare.” That’s directly related to his experience with hunting. “I’m big into management, and I have to do these things to be successful. My schedule doesn’t allow me to do what the average hunter does.”
Even though he spends much of his time hunting the East Coast and Ohio, his most memorable moments came during his first hunt in Texas.
One thing that struck me was when I first ever hunted Texas; I couldn’t believe how game-rich that region is down there. Texas is one of the funnest places to go and have a good time and be able to hunt, because there’s so much you can go after. There’s a lot of great deer and great trophies down there. I think a guy who goes down there and is patient, and waits for the big one, has high chances to be successful taking a big trophy.
Like many sportsmen, Cole favors whitetail and elk meat, and though he doesn’t have a particular favorite, he’s a big fan of grilling and preparing wild game. Backstraps are high on his list. “When you have a family gathering or a cookout, we’ll serve them hot off the grill,” said Cole. He has a marinade that he prefers, and loves sharing the harvest with others.
The role of sportsmen
When asked about the current state of shooting sports, Cole had some interesting points to make, especially when it comes to anti-hunters.
The people who are against the outdoors aren’t educated about it. They need to do their own research, and experience something before they share their opinion about it. Myself, I grew up into it. I understand why I’m out there and why I hunt. It’s our heritage, you can’t take something like that away and say it’s wrong.
He even made the important point that all our ancestors had to hunt and gather, and “that’s part of the reason why we’re here.”
Cole knows that hunting has more positives to it than negatives, and mentioned that it not only brings people together, but it also keeps people out of trouble and teaches respect. He does his part to introduce folks to the outdoors, and wants to advocate for the cause to help people understand what it’s like to actually go out and hunt game.
“Wild animals and humans can’t live in the same place,” he said. “Somebody’s got to go. Would they [anti-hunters] want it to be them? Because somebody’s got to go… That’s why we have wildlife fish and game organizations, to make sure that the wildlife has their place, and that we have our place in this world.”
We couldn’t let Cole go without addressing his long career with the Eagles, which has become a topic of conversation amongst Philadelphia sports fans. When asked about his intentions to retire as an Eagle, it didn’t take him but a second to answer truthfully.
“Yeah, it happens in the NFL when you get to this age. This game is more of a younger-type game. I’m on the verge right now of either playing for the Eagles or having to move on,” he said. “I want to retire as an Eagle, and right now I am doing what I have to do. No matter what, wherever I go, I’ll always be an Eagle.”
And of course, his objectives beyond his NFL career will revolve around the outdoor industry.
“That’s my plan, that’s where my heart is,” Cole said of the outdoors. “I love the outdoors, and that’s what I’m going to do when I’m done.”
At least he’ll have some more time to do it. To find out more about Trent Cole, follow him on Twitter and check out the revamped “Blitz TV” at ColeOutdoors.com. To learn more about “NRA All Access,” go here.