52 year old Winfred Tubbs from Fairfield Texas is a former NFL Inside Linebacker who is now a full-time entrepreneur. Football was present in Tubbs life from the very start. He began playing in third grade through the YMCA. Tubbs fit right in picking up the sport at that age as most kids around that time played football. He grew up playing with his older cousin who went to the University of Oklahoma and played in the NFL for three years. “We were always kind of competitive with each other,” Tubbs said.
Playing football while attending the University of Texas at Austin with a scholarship, Tubbs got drafted into the NFL in 1994 for the New Orleans Saints where he played for 5 years. He then signed a contract to play for the San Francisco 49ers in 1998 where he played for 3 years. To this day, Tubbs getting drafted into the NFL is his most charitable memory.
“I was one of those guys that thought I would get drafted a lot higher than I did,” Tubbs said. “But I was happy when I went so I was very very happy about it. New Orleans was kind of close to home. My parents and all my friends from college would come down to visit so it was a perfect place.” In sports, it is important to stand out from other players in the eyes of recruiters, and Tubbs did just that all the way to his NFL career. Being tall and quick with a knack for getting to the ball, Tubbs made a great linebacker for the NFL. It was a challenge for him as he realized that everyone in the NFL was talented compared to college football teams where there might be a few players on certain teams who weren’t. “It wasn’t that big of a change to me. In college I faced good players,” Tubbs said.
“The only difference I would say is everybody across the board was good in every position.” Tubbs took his role as an inside linebacker seriously as having this role the team looked up to him to line up the team, make the play calls, and give directions for the whole defense. As an inside linebacker, Tubbs says communication and leadership skills are crucial for this position.
Now no longer in the NFL after retiring in 2000, Tubbs has been keeping his hands full with entrepreneurship managing Hill Country Ford car dealership, Fig and Olive realty, and TW Oil Field Servies. When Tubbs watches the NFL now, he sees how much faster and more skilled the players are today compared to when he was in the NFL. To Tubbs, the players that make up the NFL today are more in shape, physical, and athletic. Yet he describes the game back then as more physical because the game has changed now to where players are not allowed to be as physical as they used to be.
“It’s an era of players being taken care of,” Tubbs said. “Back then if I got a concussion I could get some smelling salts and get back in there. It was no such thing as sitting out if you got a concussion. You could hit the quarterback a lot more than you can now.” Tubbs cherishes his favorite memories and most proud accomplishments in the NFL such as making the Pro Bowl, the All-Pro team, and becoming MVP for the New Orleans Saints for about 2 years. However, the one memory he is sure to never forget is the day he got drafted.
“Being from a small town, I never really thought about being in the NFL,” said Tubbs. “Everything just seemed to happen. I played football I played my hardest and I look up and I’m getting recruited by every school in the nation.” Tubbs was never the person to state he would be in the NFL or dream about doing so. The NFL dream saw him and gave him the opportunity to do what he loved to do on a professional level, which he did for six years. Tubbs advises anyone striving to be in the NFL to simply play the game and love the game. Not focused on the prize, just the ability you have to play the hardest you can. “Once I got there I just gave it my all and played until I couldn’t play anymore,” Tubbs said.