Y1 on 1: Ray Mickens | Youth1

Y1 on 1: Ray Mickens

Check out this week’s Y1on1 with former New York Jet, Ray Mickens!

Mickens was drafted in the third-round by the New York Jets in the 1996 NFL Draft out of Texas A&M where he earned All-American honors in his Junior and Senior years. He played for the Jets from 1996 to 2004. He built a reputation as one of the top defensive backs in the NFL and played in 126 games over the course of his first eight seasons while registering 365 tackles, 79 passes defended, 11 INT, four forced fumbles, and six sacks. 


What have you learned from sports that's helped you most in life?

How to compete and never give up, teamwork and leadership. 

Who helped guide you on your path to become a pro or college athlete?

My older brother always pushed me, never told me how good I was, just to keep working. 


What is the greatest moment(s) in your sports career and what do you recall most about it?

My senior college bowl win in the Alamo Bowl vs Michigan. The fact that I left Texas A&M on a winning note with my other senior teammates in what was a challenging game for me going up against one of the top WR’s in the draft, Amani Toomer.

Whether they be good or bad, share a pivotal memory from your time as a youth athlete.

Learning that I made the 8u football team as a nose guard and TE. I was happy to be on the team because a few of my friends got cut and were crying. I didn't matter that I wasn't playing the position I wanted, I just wanted to play. 

Would you advise youth athletes to play multiple sports or specialize and focus on only one? Why so?

Multiple sports help in the overall development of an athlete. All sports are complimentary to each other. I encourage kids to do all. They will have to narrow it down by senior year.


What specific advice do you have for youth athletes?

Work on the fundamentals of their position. Skill set will go a long way in determining your future success. Talent won't be enough. 

Looking back, is there anything on your journey that you would have changed or done differently?

Not one thing. We worked on fundamentals every practice. Didn't take anything or any team for granted. 


Outside of sports, what are some of your other interests?

I enjoy business. I own my own company, and love to compete against others. Football has helped me tremendously. I also play golf now. 

Do you take part in any philanthropic endeavors or work with any charities?

I have my own charity call the Champions Fund. www.raymickens.com that I've been running for 13 years. 


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