By Garvis Long, Staff Writer
On Tuesday, March 5, Super Bowl champion and tight end for the Baltimore Ravens Billy Bajema spoke to SNU during chapel.
Bajema spoke about his football career and his team. He talked about his Super Bowl teammates (including Joe Flacco) and the always-inspirational Baltimore Ravens legend O.J. Brigance. He even talked about Oklahoma Sooner legend Sam Bradford.
Bajema also talked about the one thing he could not live without: his faith and how it helped him throughout his life and career.
Born and raised in Oklahoma, Bajema made his name in sports at Westmoore High School, was an all-state honorable mention, and played in the classic Oil Bowl. After a stellar high school career playing quarterback and defensive end, Bajema was recruited to Oklahoma State University where he was a four-time Academic All-Big 12 honoree and changed his football position to tight end. The transition was an easy one and turned Bajema into a dominant college football player.
After college, Bajema reached his dream of playing pro football in the NFL when in the 2005 NFL Draft the San Francisco 49ers picked him with the 249th pick in the 7th round. Bajema has also played for St. Louis and his current team, Super Bowl champions, the Baltimore Ravens.
Bajema credits his faith and praying for all of his success on and off the field and states that it has kept him from the temptations youths face in high school and in college. After chapel, Bajema spoke with The Echo about football, faith and whether Haloti Ngata really is that huge.
[Editor’s note: the following is paraphrased based on reporter’s notes and should not be construed as an exact transcript]
The Echo (TE): How has God helped you in life?
Billy Bajema (BB): God has given me the promise of eternity and in return I am given a purpose to serve God.
TE: What was it like growing up in Oklahoma?
BB: I loved it! I loved Oklahoma! It’s a great place. They have the friendliest people and it’s somewhere where I want to end back up when I’m done playing.
TE: What was it like winning the Super Bowl?
BB: Just a dream come true. I’ve imagined it as a little kid confetti falling down all over me. Dream come true.
TE: What will you remember most about the Super Bowl?
BB: The celebration after we won. Just celebrating as a team and with my family.
TE: Is Haloti Ngata really that big?
BB: Yes! Haloti is a big bowling ball of muscle.
TE: What is the best part of playing in the NFL?
BB: Just the chance you get to play a game you love for a career. You get to play a game for a job.
TE: Who is the best player you have ever played with?
BB: That’s a hard one, but I’ll probably say the hall of famers Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.
TE: Who is the best player you have ever played against?
BB: As a rookie, having to block Michael Strahan was a battle. He gave me my welcome to the NFL moment.
TE: Who is the craziest player on your team?
BB: Our kicker Justin Tucker.
BB: All kickers are crazy!
TE: Does the latest news about health and safety of football scare you at all?
BB: Not really. It’s part of the game; it’s definitely concerning but I believe the NFL is doing everything it can to help its players and the state of football.
TE: What do you think of the job Roger Goodell has done to keep the game safe?
BB: I’m not a fan of Goodell at all. He represents the owners’ way more than he represents the players.
TE: Who is your favorite youth minister?
BB: Blair Spindle.