Linebacker Stephen Weatherly is a promising defender, but to stereotype him as just an NFL player sells him short. He’s among the most fascinating characters in the NFL. In his first four years with the Vikings and his last year with the Carolina Panthers, he’s a fascinating example of how athletes pursue other interests. Art, music, TV… Weatherly does it all. Perhaps, this is best shown by his recent appearance on Netflix’s Blown Away.
Stephen Weatherly on the field
Coming out of Vanderbilt, details Pro Football Reference, Weatherly always saw the NFL as an opportunity not only to play the game he loves for a living but to do so while pursuing other interests away from the sport. He was a sociology major at Vanderbilt and used his education to learn the intricacies of human behavior. Perhaps, this can explain his success as an NFL player. After all, defenders have to read the offense on a whim and predict where the ball is headed.
He made it to the Vikings roster as a rookie, although he played in only two games. The following year, he came off the bench for all but one game en-route to seven tackles. However, it was the 2018 season that changed everything. That year, splitting his time between the bench and the starting lineup, Weatherly tackled 35 opponents and got the first three sacks of his career.
It was a welcome party for the longshot football player. He continued that promising penchant for defense the following year, although he spent more time coming off the bench. Weatherly started all nine games he played this year with his new team, the Panthers, but he still embraces other interests during his off time.
Weatherly’s other interests
Weatherly recently spoke to the Panthers about all of his interests away from football. To him, it started from a young age. He explained:
“From a young age, y mom would tell you that she always knew that I was destined for greatness — like any parent says about their kids, right? But she wanted me to be multifaceted because it’s really easy as a young kid to be gifted in the sports realm, to be known as just an athlete.”
Once he got to college, however, Weatherly made the most of his education and helped show off his unique brand of entertaining others. One of his more ambitious projects was a self-made game show he’d host out in public as a way to study human behavior.
“I studied sociology at Vanderbilt, so experimenting with humans is highly frowned upon. So I offered money just to see [what people would do],” Weatherly said. “I just talked to random people at the mall and gave them my own money. We were there for like an hour and it was crazy. We got some hilarious reactions, but just to see people being nice to each other felt good.”
From the nine instruments he’s played to his interest in the arts, Weatherly is unlike anything the NFL has seen. This is how he wants it. “Football is a major part of my identity, but it’s not all of it,” Weatherly told the website. It’s true. Now, he’s spreading his name beyond football to a far more niche market — the glass-blowing one.
Stephen Weatherly on Netflix’s ‘Blown Away’
Weatherly took up an interest in glass-blowing as a young man, according to SB Nation. When Netflix looked for judges on their glass-blowing competition, Blown Away, this made him the perfect celebrity judge. Sitting alongside experts of the field, Weatherly did not feel like an ignorant athlete giving halfhearted feedback. He was a man with an evident passion for the craft.
Weatherly’s episode featured people paying homage to their college past. For the Vanderbilt alumni, this was the perfect storm of interest. He didn’t just judge people on their basic craft. Instead, the NFL star gave thoughtful feedback and fit right in. This is what makes him so fascinating. While Weatherly is a serviceable defender in the NFL, his side hobbies paint a man who cannot be defined by one skill or craft.