Simplifying the Game with Stanford Routt

Though holding the title of one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, Stanford Routt is the quintessential Southern gentleman. Soft spoken, mild mannered and personable, Routt is a walking example of a man not being defined by what he does for a living but by who he truly is. On first sight one would never guess that the kind eyed and laid back guy who strolled into our studio in Nike sweats and flip flops was half of the top cornerback tandem in the NFL. He is simple. No bling. No overt attempt at “swag”. Just a genuine smile and warm introduction as he enters into the room.  It was a great pleasure to sit down with the stand out cornerback and discuss his future plans as a free agent in the league and beyond.

Born and raised in Austin, TX, Routt hasn’t changed since his days there. Maintaining his calm and cool exterior through the tough times he’s seen with a struggling Oakland Raiders team can be in part credited to his strong upbringing and faith in a higher power. “I have a very healthy relationship with God”, he says, “my grandfather is a pastor and that’s something he instilled deep in me”. When faced with adversity after a tough knee injury during his second season, Routt returned to the field with a vengeance with new teammate, Nnamdi Asomugha. Together with Asomugha, Routt became a force in his position and hasn’t shown signs of slowing down. And he doesn’t just take that stance in his life on the field. The off season Stanford Routt is every bit as focused, taking classes at University of Houston in an effort to finish his bachelors degree in Kinesiology as well as preparing to conquer law school when he’s done with football professionally, his ambition is admirable. “Life is all about consistency, it’s just like football in a way”, Routt explains, “with consistency comes success”.

His commitment to dedication and hard work has not gone overlooked by league critics or the Oakland Raiders organization. Recently the Raiders signed Routt to a three-year $31.5 million dollar contract to continue his excellent play on the back end of the field. But with his successes and praises, Routt has not forgotten that he has a long way to go before eclipsing the greats who have come before him. “A true athlete is someone who can do more than one thing really well”, says Routt who was an All American in both track and football at the University of Houston, “those greats can improvise on the go. Guys like Deion Sanders and Michael Jordan were versatile.” And they were also winners. Though the Raiders have improved their play greatly over the last season, there is still much to be done to ensure that the team becomes a contender in the league. “We really need to work on continuity within the organization from the top to the bottom. We just need more consistency and of course getting to the playoffs is the goal—everything will fall into place after that”.

Stanford has established his place in the league over the last 5 seasons and has put himself in position to continue to excel for the rest of his career. His journey has been smooth. Free of scandal and always moving uphill, Routt could not be a better example of a man who puts his best foot forward no matter the situation. And the way he ensures it is simple, by making it a point to always operate in truth. “I learned early to be straightforward whether it’s with homeboys or a woman in your life. Always tell the truth and always keep your friends close. They’re going to be there to uplift you when you need it.” And his advice to those hopeful NFL newcomers? “Make sure you have good people around you. That’s key in today’s world. If you really want to find out about someone you don’t look at them, you look at the company they keep.”

As our time with came to an end, he quickly changed out of the fancy threads he’d donned for the shoot and slid back into his sweats. With a strong hug and kiss on the cheek to all of the ladies on set and a genuine “nice meeting you” to the guys, Stanford Routt left behind a room full of people who will forever remember the Southern gentleman who showed us that simplicity is sometimes more than enough.

Written by: Iman N. Milner

Photos by: Ashley B. Nguyen

Styling By: Seth Brundle

MUA: Sarah Bahlibi