Oct. 23, 2013
Blake Costanzo ’06 is representing the Leopards in the National Football League, in his second season with the Chicago Bears and his seventh in the NFL. Costanzo played in 14 games with one start in 2012 and has been a standout special teams performer his entire career.
He has played in 63 career games, gathering 71 special teams stops with four forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. In two career postseason games, he has registered four special teams tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Costanzo played the 2011-12 season for the San Francisco 49ers and was their special teams’ standout and a game captain in the playoffs.
Prior to signing with the 49ers, Costanzo spent two seasons with the Cleveland Browns. In 2009, Costanzo played in all 16 games, notching 14 tackles with three fumble recoveries and a forced fumble on special teams. He was selected to SI.com’s All-Pro team on special teams that season. In 2010, he played in 10 games and recorded seven tackles and a fumble recovery on special teams before a groin injury that required surgery forced him to miss the final six games.
After graduating from Lafayette in 2006, Costanzo signed with the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent and later spent time with the Buffalo Bills from 2007-08, playing in 19 games and registering 33 special teams tackles, including a team-high 26 stops in 2008. He was claimed off waivers by Cleveland in June 2009.
Costanzo, a 29-year old native of Franklin Lakes, N.J. and a 2002 Ramapo High School graduate, finished his Lafayette career with 307 tackles, 18 sacks, three interceptions, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and 12 passes defended. He was part of three Patriot League championship teams.
GoLeopards.com recently caught up with Costanzo, engaging in a Q&A.
GoLeopards.com: What do you miss most about Lafayette?
“The thing I miss most about Lafayette is my teammates, what a group we had. We came to Lafayette two years after the football program was in the midst of being dropped. When we came in, we had tough guys who loved football and loved each other and we changed the program around. They were just awesome guys who I still keep in contact with today.”
GoLeopards.com: What’s the best part about playing in the NFL?
“The best part about playing in the NFL besides getting to wear sweats to work every day is the people I’ve met. I’ve visited so many children’s hospitals, met kids from different backgrounds, people from all over. I enjoy everything from helping build swing sets in the roughest of neighborhoods, to talking with inner city youth about expressing their feelings to hanging with cancer survivors who are only eight years old.”
GoLeopards.com: You have been with four teams in four cities so far in your career. Which has been your favorite and why?
“Each city has been great to me and I’ve been blessed to cover the whole country from New York to San Francisco. I have had no favorites, and each city has given me memories that will be with me forever.”
GoLeopards.com: You had the opportunity to play with Brian Urlacher last season, what was it like to play with and learn from him?
“Brian Urlacher. Wow! Probably one of the most humble and awesome people I have ever played with and one of the greatest leaders I’ve been around. But, honestly he’s a way better person than a football player and he’s a Hall of Famer so that says something. I just feel blessed to have met him and played with him.”
GoLeopards.com: As a pro you have become a great special teams player. Why do you think you have been so successful as a special teamer?
“To me, special teams is sort of the character builder of the NFL. It’s such a selfless part of the game but I feel it takes the most desire. It’s just a role that I have embraced and told myself whatever I do in life I just don’t want to do it – I want to make an impact. I want to be known and I just didn’t want to be a special teams player, I wanted to be a leader and a difference maker and that’s what I’ve strived to do.”
GoLeopards.com: We saw on twitter you playing catch with a young fan before a game last week. What do you enjoy most about interacting with your fans?
“That’s kind of my new pre-game ritual. I play catch with kids in the stands pregame. It’s great. I like to keep it loose before games so what’s better than having a catch and putting a smile on a kid’s face. I probably get more out of the interaction than the kids (laughing).”
GoLeopards.com: It looks like you enjoy working on cars. What are you driving now? What is your favorite car you have driven or worked on?
“It’s my new hobby. I love old school cars. I love the old school way my grandparents and parents have always taught me to work hard and to work with my hands. What’s better than bringing a car back to life? I have a 1970 Chevelle, a 1964 El Camino and a 1929 Ford sedan Model A.”
GoLeopards.com: What is the biggest misconception about NFL players?
“Biggest misconception… is that we aren’t regular people (laughing). We have the same feelings, the same short comings and go through the same things in life as everyone else. We just have a cool job.”
GoLeopards.com: When you’re not on the football field, what do you do in your spare time and in the offseason?
“I just bought a house so I love doing yard work and working on my house. My off seasons will be busy from here on out.”
GoLeopards.com: You’re active on Twitter (@BlakeCostanzo51), who are some of your favorite people to follow?
“Ah Twitter is ok. I like interacting with fans but I usually use it when I’m bored in meetings to help me stay awake (laughing).”