When I was a little kid, my family lived in Chicago, so we saw almost every type of weather when I was growing up. I experienced high winds, bad lightning, tornadoes, freezing temperatures, and lots of other things.
I loved the snow. Winter time was the best because I got to play football in the snow, which was usually great for soft landings. Sometimes school was even canceled.
Severe weather scared me when I was young, but that fear turned into an interest as I got older. I wanted to learn more about how weather worked, and I came to understand it better [over time]. As a senior in high school I didn't know that I was going to get an opportunity to play in the NFL, so I made decisions about my college education based on what I wanted to do if sports didn't work out. The University of Wisconsin has one of the top meteorological programs and a great football tradition, so it was the perfect fit for me. Balancing school and football was tough, but I wasn't going to turn back because I love weather and wanted it to be a part of my life.
Now it's really cool talking to people in that line of work. I do a weather forecast before every game here in Denver and I've had the chance to go on several weather shows. I even got to do the weather with meteorologist Al Roker before Super Bowl XLVIII in East Rutherford, N.J. He's such a nice guy and so respected as a meteorologist and newsperson. When I'm done playing football I would love to work with weather in some capacity.
Photos: Jamie Schwaberow for Sports Illustrated (Owens), AJ Tielemans for Sports Illustrated (action)