As we head into Week 5 of the NFL season, the Raider Ramble caught up with Oakland Raiders cornerback Antonio Hamilton, to talk faith and football in an exclusive interview.
Preparation is a vital component to any NFL player, regardless of their position and Antonio Hamilton recognizes this and has a strict morning routine. Before hitting the weight room, practice field or even eating a meal, Hamilton’s preparation begins with prayer.
“Prayer is a part of everything I do. One of the first things that I do, after I wake up, is pray, before I drive to work I pray, before I eat I pray before I hit the field I pray, and after I leave the field I pray. So pretty much before I do anything during my day I Pray.”
Hamilton takes his preparation a step further and is often one of the first players to arrive at the team’s practice facility. With his gospel praise music helping to get his mind right as he arrives for another day of work, Hamilton takes care of some early morning lifting as his teammates filter in. For Hamilton, training his body is just as essential as his spiritual time with God.
“Once I finish my lift it’s still quite early so I eat and when I’m finished, I read my Bible until the first meeting starts (about a good 30-45 minutes) and that’s my everyday routine. So I lose a few hours of sleep but it’s definitely worth it.”
Hamilton sees the majority of his playing time on special teams, and while he still makes a profound impact there, he is ready and primed to showcase his skills as a cornerback. With cornerbacks David Amerson (concussion) and Gareon Conley (shin) both dealing with nagging injuries, Hamilton is simply waiting for his number to be called.
“I’m ready. Last year was an introduction year for me to learn my position (CB).”
Hamilton added that he is, “as good and comfortable as possible.” Going into his second season with the Raiders, Hamilton is not only physically ready, but his mental side of the game has seen a boost as well.
“Now I know the entire defense and know what EVERYONE in the secondary is supposed to do and the schematics of each of our opponents, so if I ever have to go into play this year I definitely will be ready.”
To the dismay of Raider Nation, quarterback Derek Carr suffered a back injury in Week 4 against the loathed Denver Broncos. Any time a team’s franchise quarterback goes down, it can knock the whole team into a funk. Hamilton expressed how this team and organization is a tightly knit group, who have each other’s back, especially when adversity hits.
“Number one here, the Oakland Raiders Organization, we are all brothers, no matter the race, height, look, or beliefs. We are all brothers. When one of us goes down we all come together to keep our brothers’ spirits up and to show them that we are here and that we have him and he has our back until he is able to come back to work. And our coaching staff does a great job of keeping everyone ready so if something happens like that, which did, the next man is just as prepared as the first, because in every position we have backups that are just as good as the starters.”
With the Raiders hosting the Baltimore Ravens in Week 5 as both squads seek to claim a win after each has dropped two straight, it may be the unsung hero, like Antonio Hamilton who is the one to propel the Raiders to victory.