"I don't get scared when I play football," said linebacker Akin Ayodele to a question asked by one of the children attending the "Annual Take Our Daughters & Sons to Work Day" at Merrill Lynch on Thursday, April 22nd. "Someone once told me if I don't think about being scared, and just go out there and do my best, then chances are I won't be scared. "
Ayodele stopped by for a visit and spoke to approximately 100 kids who came to work with either their mother or their father for this annual event. Ayodele served as the children's special guest for the day. When Akin walked through the door he was greeted with cameras flashing, accompanied by cheers and applause. The kids and volunteers were very excited to see a Jaguars player in person.
As Akin made his way to the front of the room, the children hopped out of their seats, quickly gathering posters and signs they made for him, and proceeded to the front of the room with him. Once the children were settled, Akin began telling the children about himself and what it's like being a football player.
"I was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, played football for Purdue University and graduated with two degrees, in sports psychology with a minor in business," Ayodele explained. "When I first started playing football in high school I played on offense. In college I switched to defense. I like playing defense now because I get to hit people, like running backs, quarterbacks and receivers." The children laughed at the comment.
After he spoke, Akin opened the floor for questions. The children had interesting questions to ask Akin. One child asked, "How much can you bench?"
Akin replied, "I haven't tried maxing out in a long time, but the last time I did it was about 400 pounds."
The children's eyes opened wide with amazement, followed by gasps and a few chuckles. Another child asked, "Do you have a best friend on the team?"
"I would have to say Mike Peterson," was Akin's answer. "Mike and I became close friends last season; we both play the same position."
Another child asked, "What is your favorite award?" Akin responded, "My favorite award would have to be my MVP award I received the last year I played for Purdue. This award means a lot to me."
The visit came to an end when Akin took time to sign autographs for the children and pose for pictures. Each child left with a smile on their face and the opportunity to tell their friends they got to meet and talk to a Jaguars player.