A few days ago I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to interview Jake Sutherland of the New York Guardians. Jake started out as a natural born athlete, competing in not only football but also baseball and basketball in his home state of Michigan. After a decent few years at Michigan State University catching 53 passes for 515 yards and 5 touchdowns between the 2016 and 2017 seasons, he then found his way into the AAF playing for the Atlanta Legends. However, Jake was hit with a blow after finding out after playing only 2 games the league would be shut down.
Although frustrated, Jake found a light after the XFL expressed interested in the 6 foot 5 TE. After all the waiting and anticipation Jake got the call from Kevin Gilbridge. Jake explains that having Gilbridge as his head coach "awesome, having someone around with 40 years experience shows promise". Throughout his ups and downs, Jake has always been able to rely on his dad Bob for all support. Bob has always held Jake accountable and honest through all of his games and practices.
I then asked Jake a few bonus questions, the questions and responses are below:
What do you bring to the Guardians: I think I am a very dependable hybrid tight end. I think I carry any blocking and receiving routes that would help in any game.
How do you think leagues like the AAF, Arena League and the XFL help players who aren't at that NFL level yet: I think they should be a good help, the AAF was a good example of how players develop. You get to see players who are great in college and have the skill set but lack one or two things that a league like the XFL will help.
What do you think is the one or two things that has stopped you from playing in the NFL: For me, I never really got the opportunity. I was never needed to show I can play at that level in college. And maybe speed, speed will always help you at any position.
After football what is the end goal: I want to get to play football for the XFL, I want to play for 5-6 years in the XFL at the pro level.
If you had to pick one NFL team to play for who would it be: It would have to be the Lions, I'm from Michigan so, it makes sense.
You can catch Jake and the rest of the New York Guardians on all major social media. And you can catch their first game against the Tampa Bay Vipers on February the 9th.