At CBS, Nate Burleson Fulfills a Dream That’s Bigger Than Football

At CBS, Nate Burleson Fulfills a Dream That’s Bigger Than Football

Peter Schrager remembers the research Nate Burleson put into his move to New Jersey.

A former NFL wide receiver turned Emmy-winning broadcaster, Burleson lived in Arizona at the time. He had just accepted a job as a host on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football show, which debuted in 2016, and he was ready to take his family East. So Burleson leaned heavily on Schrager, an NFL Network teammate and Freehold native, in an effort to find the best high school for his three kids. The two talked about countless public and private schools, the state of their athletic programs, and famous alumni.

“Tell me about Delbarton. Tell me about Don Bosco. Tell me about Bergen Catholic,” Schrager remembers Burleson saying as he took notes with pen and pad. Never mind that all three of Burleson’s children—sons Nathaniel II, 18, and Nehemiah, 16, and daughter Mia, 12—were all years away from attending high school at the time. Burleson was going to make an informed decision. “I was his encyclopedia,” Schrager says. “It was almost like a recruiting informational session based on something years down the line.”

Nate Burleson spent 11 years in the NFL, including four seasons with the Seahawks. Photo courtesy of Corky Trewin/Seattle Seahawks

It’s no surprise that Burleson was thinking about the future in that moment, though, as he has gotten ahead by thinking ahead.

Now a Franklin Lakes resident and a cohost on CBS Mornings, Burleson planted the seeds for his burgeoning media career while he was still corralling passes. The third-round pick spent 11 years in the NFL, totaling 135 games, 457 catches, 5,630 receiving yards and 39 touchdowns—plus return duties—while suiting up for the Vikings, Seahawks and Lions between 2003 and 2013. But when Burleson wasn’t busy playing football, the Canadian native found himself learning how to talk about it in front of a camera or microphone.

A communications major at the University of Reno, Nevada, Burleson started doing television and local radio while he was still an active player. The 40-year-old also appeared in his teams’ multimedia content and attended the NFL’s Broadcast Bootcamp, which prepares players for potential media gigs.

But a creative job was the original goal for Burleson, who imagined life as a world-traveling poet or painter when he was a kid. Then came on-screen aspirations. When puberty hit, Burleson realized sports could be a vehicle for his dreams.

“If you were to ask me as a young kid what I wanted to be, of course I would probably quickly yell out, ‘I want to play in the NBA or NFL,’” Burleson says. “But if you sat me down and talked to me about my interests, football would be the fourth or fifth thing on the list. As much as I loved the NFL—here’s a strong statement, and I’ll stick by it—even when I was playing in it, it wasn’t the most important thing in my life. I had this sixth sense that it was going to end soon. And maybe that was just me understanding that careers don’t last long.”

Burleson, who celebrated his one-year anniversary on CBS Mornings on September 7, still works in the NFL media space, lending his expertise to CBS’s pregame show, The NFL Today, Nickelodeon’s kid-friendly football programming, and the NFL Network. In May, he won his second consecutive Emmy for outstanding sports personality/studio analyst.

But Burleson felt he “was put in a box just talking about football” when he was only appearing on shows dedicated to the sport. “Not to say that sports are surface level, but there were days where I felt like that. There were more important things to talk about,” Burleson says. “I didn’t feel fulfilled.”

On CBS Mornings, no such problem exists. No subject is off limits, including abortion rights, mass shootings, white supremacy and mental health.

“I watch him on CBS and I’m impressed. I’m also a little bit amazed because, in all of our conversations, [the war in] Ukraine wasn’t going to come up, on [Good Morning Football] or off,” Schrager says, citing an example of Burleson’s versatility. “And there he is, speaking eloquently on Ukraine. He’s incredibly well-read and he puts the work in. If he did feel boxed in, he certainly didn’t show that to us, because he gave us 100 percent just talking about running backs and tight ends.”

Schrager added that Burleson has arguably already enjoyed a more successful broadcasting career than playing career. Prior to joining CBS Mornings in September 2021, Burleson also worked as an entertainment correspondent for Extra. There, he interviewed New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, former First Lady Michelle Obama and actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, among many others, as he pursued topics beyond football.

Burleson never thought he was out of his element when talking about matters unrelated to sports, but he recognizes that some may still question his qualifications. After years of sharing a locker room with players like Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford, Shaun Alexander and Randy Moss, CBS Mornings has Burleson working alongside veteran journalists Gayle King and Tony Dokoupil. As a former football player, Burleson knows some may view him in a certain light.

“I know how people see me,” Burleson says. “I can’t shed that. No matter how nice my suit is or how clean my haircut is or how bright my smile is, when people see me, they see a helmet and shoulder pads. I can’t do anything about that. All I can do is try to improve at my job.”

Clearly, CBS has no interest in Burleson sticking to sports. This fall, he will cohost Superfan, the network’s new competition series in which contestants try to show they know the most about their favorite musicians.

Burleson also keeps busy when he’s not in front of a camera. Other ventures include a podcast on Uninterrupted, voiceover work for Draft Kings, his own company that helps athletes invest their money, restaurants, clothing labels and a jewelry line. Burleson has also produced art and poetry—just like he wanted to when he was a kid—and he’s even been featured on a few rap songs under the stage name New Balance.

“He always has a bigger vision. He’s never satisfied. It’s not a ruthless ambition. It’s self-motivating,” says Schrager, who shared a dressing room with Burleson for five years. “I think he just wants whatever he can get in this life.”

In addition to everything else Burleson does, he must also carve out time for his wife of 19 years, Atoya, and his children.

The Burleson family now calls Franklin Lakes home after residing in a few other Jersey towns. Photo courtesy of Lauren Anzevino

They are all consulted and encouraged to speak their minds when Burleson is offered a new job; he once turned down a chance to host a show in Los Angeles because Nehemiah, the middle child, expressed concern over Burleson missing important moments and milestones. 

While Schrager has jokingly chided Burleson for not spending his summers at the Jersey Shore, the family does have a few favorite spots in the northern part of the state. Brownstone Pancake Factory in Edgewater, where Burleson initially moved after taking the Good Morning Football job, is a favorite, and he adores the town of Ridgewood, his second New Jersey stop. His current town, Franklin Lakes, reminds him of where he grew up in Seattle.

Both of Burleson’s sons play football for Ramapo High School in Franklin Lakes after stints at Don Bosco. With the help of naps, Burleson plans to assist the team when his busy schedule allows. “Maybe seven, eight years from now, you’ll be talking about the Burleson boys in the NFL,” he says—but he’s not pressuring any of his three kids to become professional athletes.

If they want to, great. If not, that’s fine too. But whatever the Burleson youngsters want to do, they will have contingency plans. As in more than one.

Dad has already laid the groundwork for that.

“I think I am a walking representation of having a backup plan,” Burleson says. “Sports won’t last forever. I don’t care how talented they are or if they want to pursue it. They could have a career that lasts 11 days. They can have a career that lasts 11 years. But what I do know is that the Burleson boys and my daughter will have a plan after their plan A, B and C.”

The post At CBS, Nate Burleson Fulfills a Dream That’s Bigger Than Football appeared first on New Jersey Monthly.

* This article was originally published here

Kate Whitman Annis on Hockey, Resiliency & the Devils Game That Changed Her Life

It’s nice to have friends—or mothers—in high places. Kate Whitman Annis celebrated the New Jersey Devils’ first Stanley Cup championship on the Brendan Byrne Arena ice in 1995 when her mother, Christine Todd Whitman, was governor of New Jersey. Whitman Annis, who played hockey at Wesleyan University, has now come full circle as executive director of the Devils Youth Foundation. The former general manager of the National Women’s Hockey League’s Metropolitan Riveters in Monmouth County details how she is planting the seeds of her favorite game in the Garden State and recounts the game that changed her life in East Rutherford a generation ago.

What are your responsibilities with the Devils?
We work so hard at the Devils Youth Foundation making sure hockey is accessible to everyone. We work so that kids have the chance to play hockey throughout the state.

Hockey is such an expensive sport—isn’t it prohibitive to many families?
It’s true, but what we do with the Devils is give children in New Jersey an opportunity to play. We have free equipment and make ice accessible.

How do the Devils’ programs work for kids?
We offer free programs all over New Jersey. We have a learn-to-skate program. Our community outreach runs at rinks all over New Jersey. Our Devils alumni come out to teach skills. My kids help out. I come from a women’s hockey background and love to see the little girls on the ice.

How did you start playing?
My dad is the reason. I was a figure skater. My dad told me I had the personality of a hockey player. I joined a girls’ team when I was 12. The game has been such a part of my life and my family’s life.

Do your children play?
I have four boys, and they all play hockey. They learned to skate where I learned—at the Essex Hunt Club. It’s been great for my family. My husband is the only one who doesn’t skate.

I’m surprised you married him.
[Laughs]. He has other talents.

Your hockey life extends well beyond the Devils.
I coach a 14U girls team and I spent the last six years as the varsity head coach at the [K-12 private] Pingry School.

What are the upsides for kids playing hockey?
There are so many lessons to learn. What we do at the Devils is help kids see themselves on the ice. Hockey gives you resiliency. You learn to make quick decisions, and when you’re on a team, you’re family; you work together.

Were you a Devils fan growing up here in Jersey?
Absolutely. The Devils winning the Stanley Cup had a huge impact on me. I was lucky enough to be on the ice when they won [in 1995], and it changed my life and my brother’s life.

And now your children attend Devils games?
I love that my kids get to go to Devils games. It has had a huge impact on them watching [Devils center] Jack Hughes. They say, ‘How does he make those moves?’ It’s because he works hard every day.

Kids from Jersey can dream big. Kyle Palmieri grew up in Montvale and was a Devils star.
Exactly. You never know what will happen if you put the work in.

It must have been cool having access to the Devils during their Stanley Cup runs when your mother was governor.
That experience on the Devils ice changed the trajectory of my life. I’m lucky that I work for the Devils and I have the opportunity to expose New Jerseyans to the great game of hockey and the Prudential Center.

The post Kate Whitman Annis on Hockey, Resiliency & the Devils Game That Changed Her Life appeared first on New Jersey Monthly.

* This article was originally published here

Top Yankees Prospect Anthony Volpe Soaks in Somerset Homecoming

Top Yankees Prospect Anthony Volpe Soaks in Somerset Homecoming

Not every 20-year-old wants to live at home, but Anthony Volpe is embracing his childhood digs. He gets to sleep in a familiar bed and eat home-cooked meals. His parents haven’t set a curfew for him, either. Better yet, Volpe’s residence is a mere 8.5-mile commute to Bridgewater’s TD Bank Ballpark, the home of Minor League Baseball’s Somerset Patriots. The Patriots are the New York Yankees’ Double-A affiliate, and Volpe, who moved from New York City to Watchung in fourth grade, is the organization’s No. 1 prospect and the eighth best in all of baseball, per MLB.com. If all goes according to his wildest dreams, Volpe will be the Yankees’ starting shortstop sooner than later. For now, however, he’s a Patriot, staying in the moment, and staying at home. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity I feel like,” Volpe said Tuesday, adding that teammates Max Burt and Blake Perkins are also crashing at his parents’ place. “A lot of guys probably wouldn’t like being at home, but I’m definitely a homebody, so it’ll be fun.”

Anthony Volpe Patriots

Volpe had over 100 family members and friends at Tuesday’s game. Photo courtesy of Somerset Patriots

Volpe’s comments came before his TD Bank Ballpark debut, which doubled as a welcome home party for New York’s 2019 first-round pick. Volpe, who enjoyed a star-studded high school career at Morristown’s Delbarton, played in front of more than 100 family members and friends as the Patriots hosted the Erie SeaWolves for their home opener. “We joked with him a little bit, homecoming boy,” said outfielder Brandon Lockridge, who hit a walk-off double to give the Patriots a 2-1 win. “I’m lucky to have a really supportive family, so they come out whenever they can,” said Volpe, who attended Patriots games as a kid. “[I’m] just excited for them to be able to see me cause [with] Covid and everything like that, they haven’t been able to watch me as much as they wanted to.” Volpe went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and a hit by pitch on Tuesday. He also made a run-saving, diving play in front of an adoring crowd that made signs for him and clamored for his autograph. The Patriots’ press box, meanwhile, was more crowded than usual. Volpe, despite his age and minor league status, is already flirting with stardom. His New Jersey roots are an easy selling point for Somerset–Lockridge noted that Volpe’s presence means more exposure for the rest of the team–and his stellar standing atop baseball’s leading prospect lists make him a known name within the sport. The Yankees, meanwhile, did not sign any of the available high-priced shortstops in free agency this past offseason, in part because they believe they have something special in Volpe and fellow shortstop prospect Oswald Peraza, a 21-year-old at Triple-A. The way Patriots manager Dan Fiorito sees it, Somerset is a smaller version of what awaits Volpe in the majors. He’s a hometown hero dealing with hefty media coverage and lofty expectations. That won’t let up should Volpe reach his potential. “I don’t really know what it’s going to be like in the Bronx, but I can just imagine it’s definitely an elevated version of this,” Volpe said postgame. “I mean, I’ve never really had interviews and stuff like this after the game before.” So far, Fiorito is impressed with how Volpe is acclimating. “It’s so easy to forget that he’s a 20-year-old,” the skipper said. “The way he handles the media, the fans, the way he goes about his business—it’s like he’s ready for it already. He’s crushing it. He’s enjoying the moment. He’s trying to be where his feet are.” Fiorito isn’t sure when Volpe’s big league–or Triple-A, for that matter–debut will come, but he is positive the phenom is on the right track. Volpe positioned himself as an elite farmhand last season when he hit .294 with a 1.027 OPS, 27 home runs, 86 RBI and 33 stolen bases. This year, his aim is to improve his overall consistency. He also expects pitchers to attack him up in the zone more, which was the case Tuesday. Fiorito, meanwhile, is challenging him to make more “incredible plays,” as he already “dominates the routine.”

Volpe went 0-for-3 in the Patriots’ home opener. Photo courtesy of Somerset Patriots

“Not to put a timetable on it, but he’s so talented,” Fiorito said of Volpe’s MLB ETA. “He’s knocking at the door if he has another great year. That’s something the org is so excited about, to see him take this next stride now in Double-A.” Patriots catcher Josh Breaux added that “the hype is real. He is absolutely incredible. And not just as a baseball player—as a person, too. He’s probably one of the best teammates I’ve had.” Regardless of when Volpe moves up the ladder, he is mindful that he is far from a complete product. He believes he is “close” to The Show, but to simply make the majors is not his ultimate objective. Rather, it’s to remain. “I feel like the debut or getting to the big leagues isn’t really my goal,” Volpe explained. “It’s to be a successful player and to help the Yankees win a World Series. I like to say I’m really far from my ceiling, which, to me, is really motivating and a good thing. I wouldn’t really want to be too close to the best player I could be. So I’ve got a lot more work to do, and to me, that’s exciting and something I’m looking forward to.” In the meantime, Volpe will try to focus on the present, all the while relishing a chance to play where he grew up. “This is such a cool, surreal opportunity to get to play at home,” he said. “I feel like if I was thinking about anything in the future, it would kind of take away from how unique this opportunity is.”

The post Top Yankees Prospect Anthony Volpe Soaks in Somerset Homecoming appeared first on New Jersey Monthly. * This article was originally published here

Newport Half Marathon 2022 — What You Need To Know

Newport Half Marathon 2022 — What You Need To Know

Newport Half Marathon 2022 — What You Need To Know

Newport Liberty Half MarathonThe Newport Liberty Half Marathon will be held in Jersey City on Saturday, September 24. Admission for NYCRUNS members is $88 or $110 for non-members. (You must register by September 12 to get these rates, otherwise; the price jumps to $100 and $125, respectively. You can register at NYCRUNS).

The race starts and finishes at Newport Green and cuts through downtown, Hamilton Park, Bergen-Lafayette, Liberty State Park, and the waterfront. It’s a mostly flat race and it’s USATF certified. Bag check will be provided for those who need it and there will also be Gatorade and water stations throughout the course.

Currently, there is no vaccination requirement for the race. However, NYCRUNS encourages all athletes to get vaccinated (unless they have a valid reason not to). Heads up, if you register up to 10 days before the event, your race bib will be mailed to you. If you register after that or use an international address, you must pick up your bib in the festival area on the day of the race.

Newport Liberty Half Marathon 2022 Pricing
  • Through August 29: $80 (members), $100 (non-members)
  • Through September 12: $88 (members), $110 (non-members)
  • Until online registration ends: $100 (members), $125 (non-members)

NYCRUNS has tweaked the course a bit. You can view the map via the NYCRUNS website.

Newport Half Marathon 2022 Course Map

Newport Half 2022

The post Newport Half Marathon 2022 — What You Need To Know appeared first on Jersey City Upfront.

* This article was originally published here

Eli Manning Joins NJ/NY Gotham FC Ownership Group

NJ/NY Gotham FC has added former Giants quarterback Eli Manning to its high-profile group of stakeholders.

The National Women’s Soccer League club, based in Harrison, announced Wednesday that Manning has joined Gotham FC as a minority owner, as has Giants senior vice president and chief commercial officer Pete Guelli. The Big Blue duo joins an ownership group that has added seven other investors this year.

“I have lived and worked in this community for almost two decades,” Manning, a Jersey resident, said in a statement. “It’s home to me, and Gotham FC is my family’s favorite soccer club. Combine that with the organization’s strong leadership, talented roster, and sustained growth, and it became clear that joining this great group was a fantastic opportunity.”

Eli Manning

Former Giants quarterback Eli Manning gives goaltending a try while practicing with Gotham FC. Photo courtesy of Devon Cafaro/Gotham FC

Manning added that his daughters helped inspire his decision to join Gotham FC in a video released by the team.

“As a dad, I want to make sure that my daughters have all the athletic opportunities that I was blessed with,” the two-time Super Bowl champion said before announcing his ownership stake. “We’re driving what happens next in the world’s game with some of the greatest athletes in the game, and I can’t imagine what’s more exciting than being a part of that.”

Manning is far from the first superstar athlete to purchase a minority stake in Gotham FC. WNBA icon Sue Bird joined the group in July, while soccer star and Delran native Carli Lloyd and Kevin Durant’s Thirty Five Ventures are also involved.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and his wife, Tammy, are also part of the team’s ownership group.

“Eli is known for the positive and influential impact he has on our communities,” Tammy Murphy, Gotham FC’s club chair, said in a statement. “His legendary work ethic, drive for success, and passion for giving back to the community will be tremendous assets for our club. Pete brings a depth of sports acumen that will bolster all we are working to achieve. It’s my honor to welcome them both to the Gotham FC family.”

A four-time Pro Bowler, Manning spent his entire 16-year NFL career with the Giants from 2004–2019. He helped New York win Super Bowls XLII and XLVI, taking home MVP honors each time. The Giants retired Manning’s No. 10 jersey in 2021.

The post Eli Manning Joins NJ/NY Gotham FC Ownership Group appeared first on New Jersey Monthly.

* This article was originally published here