Player Spotlight: Cliff Washburn

Lake Forest - Growing up, DE Cliff Washburn never saw himself as a professional football player. Because of his height and his speed, the young athlete found himself drawn instead to the basketball court where he soon excelled.

As a four-year starter for The Citadel's, the 6'5 285 power forward amassed 632 rebounds and scored 1,024 points. Shortly before his senior year, Washburn decided to give football a try. He proved to be a fast learner earning second-team All-American honors and tying the school record with 12 sacks from the rush end position. Although he continued to star in basketball, Washburn realized that he might have a future in the NFL.

The Giants signed Cliff Washburn as an undrafted free agent in 2003. He was put on waivers following the Giant's training camp then was signed by the Bears and allocated to the reserves/futures list. Washburn had a successful season in NFL Europe with the Amsterdam Admirals and has returned to Halas Hall for the 2004 season.

Where are you from: Forest City, NC

Married or single: I'm engaged.

What was your major in college: Psychology.

How did you like NFL Europe: "It was a great learning experience. The coaches there are excellent."

Any plans for life after football? "It's too early to tell, but I think I'd probably like to be working with youth in some capacity."

What's your favorite movie: "The Shawshank Redemption. It has great acting and a wonderful script."

Favorite TV show: The Cosby Show.

What about music? "I love any kind of jazz."

Any pet peeves: "Not that I can think of. I'm pretty easy going."

Who was your role model while you were growing up? "My Mom. She raised me on her own. She worked hard and always had my best interests at heart. I'll always be grateful to her for what she was able to do."

What's your ambition as far as football is concerned: "To start and to do well."

Any advice for college players who might be thinking of moving on to the NFL: "You must learn to deal with adversity. That's true in life and in football. You never know what might come your way. If you can't handle the ups and downs that you'll encounter at this level, then you shouldn't be here."

What have been your personal setbacks in football: "Being cut is never easy. You try not to take it personally but somehow you do. The other thing that is difficult is losing friends. A team is a close group. Friendships are formed on the field and in the locker room. These are the people that you count on. Suddenly they aren't there any more and it's tough. I try to stay in touch, but that's not always easy."

What was your first job: "Picking blackberries. That's hard physical labor."

Your first car: A Honda Accord.

What about the recent Bears injuries: "It's something you never want to see but we all realize that's part of football. The backup players are going in and giving it their all. That is what we are expected to do."

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