YNS Live with NFL Thread PIVOT feat. Michael V. Zordich

Jun 09, 2022

Listen to a new episode of PIVOT, a show brought to you by YNS Live with NFL Thread recorded live on Fireside with hosts Juliet Hahn and Cynthia Zordich featuring special guests Michael V. Zordich.


Michael V. Zordich is the son of YNS Live with NFL Thread co-host Cynthia Zordich. A former Penn State fullback and captain and Carolina Panthers fullback, he is the owner of Fancy Meats Processing Plant and Butcher Shop in Cadiz, Ohio.


Michael, along with a team of Penn State leaders, is featured in the John U. Bacon’s Fourth and Long and Michael Nash’s documentary about the Penn State 2012 season - Saving The Roar.


Follow Michael on Instagram and check out Fancy Meats at Fancy-Meats.com.


Remarkable Quotes


“Don’t be afraid to sacrifice pay for passion. Go try things. Go do something new. That was big for me. I went from a solid paycheck to making 8 bucks an hour as a ranch hand living out of a camper. It’s a reintroduction when you get stripped down. You are forced to know another side of you.”


“You can find a new passion but you’re always going to want to play the game. I still wake up and want to be playing. I still have dreams that the phone is ringing and I’m picked up and on a team. I don’t think that’s ever going to leave. But I don’t think that’s a bad thing, you know. Because you got that call before. You know that feeling. It was a part of your life that doesn’t exist anymore but it is still a part of who you are.”


“As players, we go through self-doubt and misery. It’s easy to question yourself and get down on yourself. Truth is - you have to because it’s the only way out of it. Don’t be afraid to be down in the dumps. You’re allowed to feel that.“


“It is interesting to wake up to the fact that you have to discover something. But to discover- you have to do something. You have to give yourself purpose day in and day out to climb out of that hole you put yourself in.“


“What people don’t realize is the mindset of the game and what a player is conditioned to. You go from the locker room where you’re around like-minded guys that feel the same way about the team, about pain, about wins and losses. That mentality is not here in the real world. So, in a lot of the interviews I had, I found I had nothing in common. I felt like an alien. They just didn’t see the way I did or think the way I was conditioned to think. That was my biggest struggle.“


“Going through it was a wild ride for me. I couldn’t handle it so I escaped and went a little crazy. It took a while to realize that this wasn’t me but just me going through something. And you're really going through it.“ 


“You question: Who? Why? What’s going on up there? Where did you go? I was blindsided by this thing. You go to a dark place. I guess it’s depression but it’s a lot of anger, too. I totally disappears from myself and just went a little crazy. Football was the one thing I wanted to do. It’s all I ever thought about doing.“


“I never thought about what I was going to do after football. When guys came to the locker room to talk about it - I was not thinking about that. It was always football for me.  If I’m not thinking about that - I’m not thinking about the game. Where’s that energy going?“




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Episode Transcript


Juliet Hahn  00:01:52 

Hello, everyone.


Michael Zordich  00:01:54 



Juliet Hahn  00:02:02 

Welcome to YNS Live with NFL Thread and our new series pivot. You guys... You know, I say this all the time, but I am so excited for this for so many reasons. First,

because Cynthia and I

are so excited to have this new series pivot where we really can dive in and speak to

players that have left the league and what it is like. And what I am so excited about is that we're gonna get the perspective from Cynthia when her husband left the league versus her son. So welcome India and Michael.


Cynthia Zordich  00:02:32 



Juliet Hahn  00:02:34 

How are you?


Michael Zordich  00:02:35 

Oh good. I'm good. Thanks for having.


Cynthia Zordich  00:02:35 

Hi, Juliet.



Juliet Hahn  00:02:38 

I mean, the thing that...

And, again, anyone that has kind of followed our show and followed us cynthia and I

we have we have a a long history, and we've share it a lot in the beginning, but we probably haven't talked about it in a long time right there?


Cynthia Zordich  00:02:51 

Probably. Yep.


Juliet Hahn  00:02:53 


so I actually babysit.

I babies sat Michael, when he was held old because I know something we were trying to figure this out.


Cynthia Zordich  00:03:02 

First grade three third grade,

maybe even a little longer.


Juliet Hahn  00:03:06 

Right. Which is just...


Cynthia Zordich  00:03:07 

And I'm for sure then.


Juliet Hahn  00:03:08 

Right in, which is so wild to now be able to have

him onstage stage talking with us because I've obviously followed Michael's journey because of, you know, when... When anyone that is, you know, in the audience that knows when you babysit,

you have a connection with the family, and it's always like a long time connection. And, you know, not only with z, but cynthia sister the. So we have followed this forever. So I'm, like, so excited just to dive in and really

just talk about it. So, Michael,

just welcome. And cynthia, do you wanna add anything in the beginning here?


Cynthia Zordich  00:03:42 

Well, yes, We have to mention

Williams. You know, the because Michael's Kindergarten teacher her all the kids kindergarten teacher and your mom.


Juliet Hahn  00:03:49 



Cynthia Zordich  00:03:49 

Here with wasn't she the best Michael?


Michael Zordich  00:03:51 

She lies. He really was.


Cynthia Zordich  00:03:52 

I know. I mean love her.


Juliet Hahn  00:03:54 

And you know what's funny is that she also. I mean, because she was a Kinder kindergarten teacher in town, and she really is just a pure... Just, like, a good to the bones. Like, every single bone, her body is really good.


Cynthia Zordich  00:04:03 



Juliet Hahn  00:04:06 

I think pretty much for her whole life, I don't know that she's actually ever done anything that's like, nodding. My mom is like, really pure.


Michael Zordich  00:04:10 



Cynthia Zordich  00:04:12 



Juliet Hahn  00:04:12 

And so... And kindergarten teacher kinda just sums that up really well. But I remember we would always babysit for my sisters and I would... And my brother even would babysit set because she would be like, oh, the family, you know, is here and they they need a babysitter and she would always connect us with people. So which is which is really special.


Cynthia Zordich  00:04:27 



Juliet Hahn  00:04:30 

And, Michael, I don't know if you know this

about... When I was babysitting you guys, one of the things when I first started my podcast. Do your next stop? I remember right away. I was, like, I have to have...

I have to have cynthia. I have to have

sent on because I remember being, like, sixteen seventeen your years old and really being like,

This is so interesting to me, And that's right. When your mom started taking pictures for the eagles,

which we'll get into it, but I just remember being you know, a a young girl, a teenager being like,

I couldn't wanna be like, her when I get older, like, the relationship


Cynthia Zordich  00:05:05 



Juliet Hahn  00:05:06 

you're you guys had with your dad and just how like your mom was always just like, hey, Yeah. We're gonna go do this and we're gonna do this and always seems so relaxed and wonderful.

And I know when I had my kids,

there was a lot of times where I wanted to emulate, you know, what your mom did. And also, you're aunt Aunt Tina I always would laugh because I'd be like, you know, oh, seventeen scene and I have that bedroom with all the, you know, the clothes that are everywhere,

which I know she's probably gonna be like, yeah. Thanks for throwing me under the box.


Cynthia Zordich  00:05:29 



Michael Zordich  00:05:30 

Thank you.

No It's funny. He said that though because she is a lot of positive energy coming out of my mom, and she's just


Cynthia Zordich  00:05:32 



Michael Zordich  00:05:37 

she's cool. She's fine. I mean, even when we were in high school, we got friends over and half the girls to stay upstairs and sit around the kitchen top of my mom because, you know, it's fun and good talk.


Cynthia Zordich  00:05:46 



Juliet Hahn  00:05:47 

And that doesn't surprise me. That doesn't frankly I do before we dive into this, anyone that is in the audience,


Michael Zordich  00:05:48 



Juliet Hahn  00:05:52 

we can do a Michael. You can do this as well and something we can kinda do it together. If you click those two little dots or two little lines down to the left, we can all broadcast

this to the world so we can share it with our followers

we can send it to any of our friends and family, and they actually can listen

to this,

which is really cool. They can listen to this as we are speaking and they we don't even realize that they're there. So I'm gonna be actually even sending it to my mom, which I know she'll really enjoy and I did tell her. She I think is with my my brother's kids right now, so she might not be able to jump on, but anyone in the audience to do that because this just gets this message out even more, which is just really

Again, it's gonna be really fun because we're really gonna dive into

kinda just your guy's life.



Cynthia Zordich  00:06:38 



Juliet Hahn  00:06:39 

not to throw it out there like that and make it sound creepy.


Michael Zordich  00:06:39 



Cynthia Zordich  00:06:41 


No. It's awesome... I'm I'm I'm so excited because


Juliet Hahn  00:06:43 



Cynthia Zordich  00:06:46 

as it turned out, like this year, especially, there's so many

of the women that I got to know and the friend in the league that have kids going in and or, you know, just that just assigned. You know, like Air Lace and just fine. You know, Joyce Turner son just sign. You know? In the... Like, for me, i'm like, I told these kids as like, you know, babies


Juliet Hahn  00:07:03 



Cynthia Zordich  00:07:09 

and so I kinda know where they're heading. So for me, I'd love to tell these kind of, like, tails. like, this is what I went through and, you know, you kinda learned something from it.

if I think it's pretty nice generation

to kind of, like, share your story to just help others


Juliet Hahn  00:07:21 

A hundred percent. A hundred percent.


Cynthia Zordich  00:07:22 

because it is different.


Juliet Hahn  00:07:24 

What what and that's I mean, the thing is and I think you had said that, which I was like, you know, that's so interesting because you're right

versus, you know, being the wife or spouse

versus being a mother. So I first wanna jump in and just ask Michael really quick. What are some of your earliest


Cynthia Zordich  00:07:34 



Juliet Hahn  00:07:39 

memories And before you answered? There's I'm gonna... I'm gonna just kinda segue.

I talk a lot about

memories that we think of, and then also

memories that we feel. And and there two different things. Sometimes we can't actually picture

the, you know, the actual memory, but we have that feeling. Like, when we look back at our our childhood,

and it's that feeling that energy that gets you excited. So I would love to know kind of, like, whether it's a memory or a feeling what are some of your earliest



Michael Zordich  00:08:08 

Yeah. I mean, it's definitely a little bit of both.

Pretty much, like, you know, you think about growing up and everybody has their own type of normal right? And we basically grew up in the locker, you know, going to the vet with my dad. We play video games with the all the rookie in the Locker Room

we saw them, just surrounded by football players. So that was my normal.

So, you know, ever from when I was very little, that was exactly what I always wanted to be. It was and I thought I knew that already. Like, I knew who I was and I knew I was going to be. So, you know,

you kinda feel that in a sense that it's not a big dream because this reality. It's it's where you're from. So I know I was thought that that was kinda interesting and i, you know, I remember when I first got to the panthers and getting the locker of room, you think you'd be like, oh, the all over the scene and being in an Nfl stadium and it just how did just felt normal? You know? Just... Like, I've been here before.


Juliet Hahn  00:09:01 

Right? Which makes a lot of sense. I mean, I know I've, you know, spoken to

sons that went into the police force or the fire department or, you know, the, you know, a law firm or a doctor. And it is that that similar thing you see your parent grow up, and it is it is different because it's like, okay, This is what they're doing. What is my path gonna do? And where is that gonna lead to me? And so it's very interesting that when you were in that locker room, it was kinda like, you this feels like home.

Cynthia, I would love for you to tell the story because when you told me that's, I think my mouth, like, hung because I was, like, that is the coolest thing.

Dallas versus

Arizona cardinal, the day that Michael Vincent, and I'm sorry. I have to call you, Michael Vincent.

As I just fail?


Michael Zordich  00:09:45 

A lot of lot of people do.


Cynthia Zordich  00:09:46 

That's right. It's true Michael Vincent. I love it.


Juliet Hahn  00:09:49 



Cynthia Zordich  00:09:51 

Yeah. So

I was glad I share that with you, but it is Michael. It is A really cool story.


Michael Zordich  00:09:57 

Oh, it's awesome.


Cynthia Zordich  00:09:58 

It is awesome.


Juliet Hahn  00:09:59 

So cool.


Cynthia Zordich  00:10:00 

When I was Michael's, of course, may first, and we were in Arizona.

And My playing for coach game falling,

and I went into

what Michael called fake labor.

He calls. He called Coach St and said my wife is in

fake labor right now, and he had a game in Dallas. So he they were flying out.

And post.

He said,


my wife band she want me there, but son.

I need you here.

Yeah. I need you with this game. And I would like, Michael, like, we were young, and he was new and green. And there wasn't any question for us that he was gonna be at the game.

But he states to the labor for Michael labor, pretty long.

And then need some in the phone to call his dad, Like, what should I do? I don't know what to do, and I was like, Michael, you're going to that game. You have to go like, can't. So he caught a late flight to Dallas,

and my sister and my girlfriend, Michelle Deal, were with me with Michael Vincent, and it was a party. We were having so much on waiting from Michael.


to the point that, you know, the doctors were coming in and we were gig and laughing, and then my sister decided that ten twenty nine eighty nine sounded it better than ten twenty eight,

you know, eighty nine. So we waited till midnight and

So it turns out that, you know, here... We're in Arizona a different time, and Michael b is born.


I'm just, like, kinda of shaking and everything, and they say you have to tell Michael. And so I was like, oh, no we'll tell him in the morning because he has a game and he's sleeping and they're, no. No. You'll tell him. So they put me on the phone and they day you know. I'm talking to Larry Wilson, who is like, anybody knows the game, he's hall of fame Bb that my husband idol.

And so it was kinda weird that I was telling Larry Wilson

about Michael being born.

So I think can you tell Michael in the morning that he had a son his name is Michael Vincent,

and he's sort of laughing. He's like, oh I'll tell him right now. You know? I will tell him right now. So Michael, my husband got a knock on the dorm in the middle and I Larry Wilson tells him. He has a sign.


that was cool enough as it was. Well then, Michael goes on to play the game and

Dallas, you know, the cardinal, you know, at that time

Dallas is just huge, and

he ended up having this seriously insane game to the point that he had.


intersections, and he ran back for a touchdown, which one game.

So in the Usa today, the next day said,

kids first

gift dad's game ball. Right? Michael,


Michael Zordich  00:12:42 

Yeah. Yeah. Yep. Baby's first toy, dad's game.


Cynthia Zordich  00:12:45 

Yeah. It was really really cool. And of the cigarette burned on his face for all of the new baby pictures because they were all partying and on the bus on the way and somebody turns and squirt the right in the cheek.


Juliet Hahn  00:12:57 

I mean, that to me is like, the coolest

coolest story. And then... So do you even took it a little bit further because you told me about how the doctors kept coming in and saying, hey. There's a bunch of people that wanna talk to you. And you're like, I well I just have the baby. Okay. Because anyone that knows and the, that's one of the things now. Spending time with her. You really are very calm and collective. You're like, yeah. You just kinda let things roll, which is such a beautiful way. So can you tell us a little bit about that story?


Cynthia Zordich  00:13:24 

Yeah. The next day,

personal of all named Amanda bought me this terrible strike to new move to wear, you know, after birth. So I had that on.

I'm like, feeding michael v, Michael came in and we were having like, that time together, and someone one of the nurses came in and said, hey, there's

somebody here that once to, if thought wrap you guys.

You... You know, do you mind me coming in? So I've feeding on, like, oh, sure. You know, Just often feeding him, and then, you know, they can come in. And then I forgot, you know, we just everything and then she came back in and she said,

they they said that they have a deadline of some sort. So can you... Can they come in now? So I was like, oh, oh, yeah. Only god. I'm so sorry. I totally for that. So she opens a door in every single

newspaper in college station from Arizona Came room and surrounded.

So it was, like, all on all the news, you know, back in the day, every news station had their own story. You didn't just use each other's footage.

Until it was like plaster everywhere in the papers.


Juliet Hahn  00:14:24 



Cynthia Zordich  00:14:26 

And, like, michael my head he looks so beautiful. He's holding Michael and michael we looked so precious, and I looked like somebody blew me up.

It looks like

I lived like a balloon.


Juliet Hahn  00:14:36 

Well, you did just have a baby.


Michael Zordich  00:14:38 

Fair. Yeah. Very fair.


Cynthia Zordich  00:14:39 

I was...

I was laughing, and I had this straight thing line, and so I I sent it to my mother so excited and she's like, the and how are you wearing? I'm like, you might up for me.

She's like, not gonna the hang up in a newspaper. You know, He look here.


Juliet Hahn  00:14:54 



Cynthia Zordich  00:14:56 

So than we had those there's

done some articles in the world to us and the... Yeah. And the all yeah.


Michael Zordich  00:15:00 

Yeah. I still have that in ball.


Juliet Hahn  00:15:03 

Well in the ball I'm I mean, that's what a special moment. I mean, and we talk about this a lot your mom and I and on really, on all my podcast, but there's moments,


Michael Zordich  00:15:04 



Juliet Hahn  00:15:14 

you know, whether you believe in the... you know, god or the universe I believe in god. So I love when God kinda just comes together and really blows things up and just makes

something so special. So how special for your family

to, you know, have that story because stories connect us. Right? When your mom first told me that story, I was like, oh, my god. You need to tell this all the time. How did you not tell me this? For. This is like, an unbelievable

story it makes me


Cynthia Zordich  00:15:39 



Juliet Hahn  00:15:40 

so happy and I can picture, like, your mom does such a great job because, like really picture

being there and knowing, you know, now that I have my own kids, you know, having all these people come in right up to have a baby. I mean... You know,

and your mom as as cool as that come, You know, you still kinda feel like a little beat up.


Cynthia Zordich  00:15:56 

Oh, it's so funny. Yeah.


Michael Zordich  00:15:56 


I can only imagine, but it is wild when the like the stars align that way, you know, just


Cynthia Zordich  00:16:02 



Michael Zordich  00:16:03 

you just out of your control it just happens. It's really cool.


Cynthia Zordich  00:16:06 

Oops absolutely.


Juliet Hahn  00:16:06 


And so I love I wanna go back a little bit to your first memories again, Michael. So, you know, being in the locker room,

I know that you guys... You know, your your ace birthday was that David

buster. Do you remember that? Can you tell us a little bit about that?


Michael Zordich  00:16:20 

Yeah. Like glimpses is, you know, when you're young, You don't remember everything. But like I said, you're just surrounded by, you know, guys like Kevin Turner and Rep Hall and Andy Harm and, like, all these just, like, mountains of men, and it was just, again, my normal. But, you know, that was when Cousin Rose and Pearl Jam and all that, You know, they're they got their Band On the his huge... Just so cool long when they would play with us all the time. And you know, it seems so spoiled Right? Like, to be around that like that's your day to day. And


Juliet Hahn  00:16:22 




Cynthia Zordich  00:16:45 



Michael Zordich  00:16:52 

i is just something that I think stuck with me and it sense that, how you care yourself, what you wanna be, like, what kind of man do you wanna, like, stand like? And those were my examples. So you know? Maybe I was spoiled.


Juliet Hahn  00:17:04 

No. But you know what? And this is what... And I really think anyone that has kids are no nose kids,


Cynthia Zordich  00:17:05 



Juliet Hahn  00:17:10 

you guys were also special kids, and I'm not just saying that. But, like, you were cool kids. Like, I remember just babysitting you and being like, they're cool. I mean, not all kids are cool. So can be really annoying.


Cynthia Zordich  00:17:21 



Juliet Hahn  00:17:21 

And you guys just really were. You rolled with the punches.

You kinda of... You know, you were always really polite, but you also were, like, curious. So like, you weren't just the quiet kids that stood there. I mean, sometimes we all have our moments, but you guys got into it. And you'd like, would talk to people and ask questions and those kind kids at, you know, for adults, those are kinda of kids that you wanna round, It's like, you know, that's, like special and fun. So I would never call it spoiled because it really is

your life. You know, you are fortunate you were blessed. Those are, you know, more of the words that I kinda think about when you think about your story.


Michael Zordich  00:17:55 

Yeah. Well, a lot of what you just said are my both my parents personalities, and maybe they kinda, like sheep into you as you're in your upbringing. I they did an awesome job with us of, you know,


Cynthia Zordich  00:17:55 



Michael Zordich  00:18:06 

being raised like, in a football family, you know, Nfl football players to make a lot of money and you could get caught up in that world, but our our upbringing...

They did the awesome job but just keeping us grounded and keeping things normal and you know, keeping us around our friends and just just, you know, just let us see what like, life is actually all about. What it really is. And that sounds deep now, but you know, and retrospect

thinking that thing back on it. It makes total sense. And we with little kids, we had no idea that that was what they were doing. Maybe they didn't even do it intentionally,

but that's how it all went down.


Cynthia Zordich  00:18:38 

It it's it's interesting you say that because

we always kid that we raised the kids in a tailgate.

But, like, our our goal was never really to get to get rid of them or to, you know, do our own thing. Our goal was to hang out with them and, you know, they got to know our friends, and they were always so respectful to our friends and our friends were very respectful to them. And then when the tables turned and it was their turn to bring their friends into our lives, you know, I feel like I hope that we are always respectful to their friends, and we got to know them independently just like they got know our friends independently,

and it just kinda it worked in that full circle now that we look on, you know, look back on it.

I feel like I don't even real really look at my kids, friends as that anymore. I I talked to them on my own and and I know Michael,

when you went to the panthers,

one of the first people you saw was Rick Pro, who was one of those guys that you knew as a little boy and he's like last time i saw you, you're do burial old over your face.

And over rely.


Michael Zordich  00:19:38 

Yeah. Absolutely.

Again, that that kinda like goes back to walking in there.

Like, things are normal. You know, that was...

Ricky Pro is that I so I loved them growing up. And then here he is. He's a coach on the staff. And the team I just decided what it was really cool.


Cynthia Zordich  00:19:54 



Juliet Hahn  00:19:54 

So cool. Something, I'm gonna ask you just to move your hair a little bit behind it scratching a little bit on the mic.


Cynthia Zordich  00:19:58 

You got it. There there go. Okay.


Juliet Hahn  00:19:59 

Yep. Perfect. Thanks.


Cynthia Zordich  00:20:01 



Juliet Hahn  00:20:01 

Okay. So then I wanna talk about

in fourth grade is when you really started football.

Your dad was your coach. What what did that mean to you?


Michael Zordich  00:20:12 

Every everything. You know, It was like, finally, we get to play. I think it was actually fifth grade it was my first year because I was on my dad started and so that was, you know, was like, when... You're gonna start when I did. And


Juliet Hahn  00:20:19 



Michael Zordich  00:20:23 

it was awesome to have him on the... Like, as a coach, obviously, but he was never the type of dad that was push or gonna, like, you're gonna do this. You're gonna play was... It was always, like, you know, be who you wanna be doing what you wanna do. But if you're gonna do this, do it. Right.


just growing up in Young town, especially, you know, there's a lot of tradition there, A lot of a lot of football tradition and it instill like a certain attitude and a lot of lessons that you learned. I mean, my my grade school coach, Ken Color, He's still coaching these kids now same same field. We were practice at night from six to seven thirty, and the parents who would pull their cars up and turn their headlights on, and that was how they let the practice field. And he would wear these, like, old cotton shorts,

boots, and a white veeder, every day practice. Was who and it just still does the very same thing. Drives the same van, And I think that's like indicative of young sound, really, you know, not a lot of change, but


Juliet Hahn  00:21:09 



Michael Zordich  00:21:18 

but a lot of...

There's a mentality there.


Juliet Hahn  00:21:21 

I mean, that's so special. And I have to say and when your mom comes back, you can touch on this too, but we had

Rachel on who

her... She's a track coach to her kids.


what I loved is that she would say when she is coaching her kids, she wears the coach of hat. When she the mom, she wears, you know, the mom hat. And she said sometimes it's really

the lines can get really fine.

Did you ever feel like your dad was holding back or, you know, there was times where he receive is more of the dad on the field or receive coach on the field.


Michael Zordich  00:21:55 

No. He was always coach and he does a good job. I mean, that think that's why he's still coaching today of, you know, pulling you to the side when he needs to and say, it's more personal. You know? Like... And once you realized that I was really into this and, you know, he would get more involved on the field, but it was never you never stepped on other coaches toes or anything like that. It was just kinda like a

you know, he knew how much it mattered to me and that that I cared. So he was, you know, he was around he's there and he, you know, he was with me for it. I remember


Juliet Hahn  00:22:23 

And you know what I love that? Yeah. And what I love that you said, is that

your dad knew it was something that you wanted to do. And I think that is something special of your family that I know. It wasn't that you were pushed into the game. It was like, okay. Let's see what this is. It's not something that you


Cynthia Zordich  00:22:36 



Juliet Hahn  00:22:38 

you have to you have to do. It is... Let's see if this is what you're meant to do. And that, again, you know, really brings us back to God or the universe. It's like, we all have a path. We have to find it, and I... You know, just knowing your family,

And and as you grew and just hearing little bits, it was like, you know, this is something Michael Vincent, really... He's really taken to. He's really good at, but he really wants it. And and I think that's a beautiful thing. Some good do... Is is did you wanna add or i chuck Yelling?


Cynthia Zordich  00:23:07 

No. Sorry. Yeah. I i had chuck situations. Now I I love that.

That that

the memories I have and the the images I I have the stories that that connection that my boys have with their dad because that time together is you can't...

It's so special. It was the greatest decade of my husband's life. I... Like,


Michael Zordich  00:23:31 

Yeah. It really was. I mean, I remember there was a time when I was in, like, sixth grade and, you know how other parents and other dads can be and people were talking about me because I wasn't performing,

like, my dad did, and that's like you're comparing a sixth grade kid to Nfl football player, Like, come on. It's like, he's a kid. And I remember, like, it would annoy me, but I like, I was quiet about it. And he... But he could tell So he pulled me aside and talks to me he's like, hey, deep. Like, don't listen know that do you wanna do this? Like, is this what you want? I was like, yes. Like, absolutely.


Juliet Hahn  00:23:46 



Cynthia Zordich  00:23:50 

Right. Right.


Michael Zordich  00:24:03 

And he was like, alright. Then we're gonna do it right never... And from that day on, he like, would work with me just kinda in my head, just, like, keeping positive energy, you know, confidence and, like, let me know that, like, that is a bunch of bullshit what they're saying. You could just go have fun. This is a game. Remember. And from then on, it just kinda built and


Cynthia Zordich  00:24:19 



Michael Zordich  00:24:21 

my mom said, you know, through high school, everything, we he was on the field with us. And those memories

are really strong emotional memories that we we all we always have.


Cynthia Zordich  00:24:28 



Michael Zordich  00:24:30 

And I think about him a lot with that because he, you know, he could've went right into coaching after he retired,

but he stepped out so he could coach us and he did it for ten years, and that's a big advice because you just got back into coaching and, you know, how things go. And so it...


Cynthia Zordich  00:24:39 



Michael Zordich  00:24:45 

It meant a lot what he did. I know me and my brother talk about that awesome.


Cynthia Zordich  00:24:49 

And he'll say that was a very selfish decision. I did it for myself. I wasn't gonna miss it. You know? But, you know, like, when you remind me I somewhere a forgot about

because, you know,

I can say this. That you're a very sensitive person. You know, you always were a very sensitive person. And sometimes people see big guys and they think that for some reason that they are not capable of being sensitive, but he always was. You never went to hurting anybody's feelings.

But sometimes he would get hurt, you know, by that kind of, like, people went and oversee, you know, that he was doing what he was doing because of his connection so as dad. That's not true. You know, you place you're good, and that's it. And I remember... Like we always had the thing where I I don't know why I look back on this and think, why was I like this? But they didn't let the


Juliet Hahn  00:25:24 



Cynthia Zordich  00:25:32 

went to plug kids, but posters on their walls in their bedrooms.

That's almost, like, not even fair. But I did do that. And

I remember saying in my goal one time.

Like, hey, listen.

I give you permission

to mark up your walls with every negative thing that anybody ever about you


maybe you could use that as something because you're not gonna get that here. Like, we're certainly not gonna say thing to you

to give you that edge or they give you that ship. You know? But if it helps you, and you can use that to make you angry

to to make you do something that you wanna do do that because, you know, they're they're going to say it. So you're gonna have to do something with it.

So rather than let it bury, you wanted to just let it kinda like, and, you know, give you that kind of, like, energy or whatever. So


he started to handle it really really well when I think he really came into his own,

and that's just

hard work and nature, you know, in talent, but he did... I think when you got to that point where Mean, my god he's fourth grade, You know, people are saying, oh oh, you know.


Juliet Hahn  00:26:40 

I know. And and that has to be... I mean, that's again, I mean, my kids and I talk about this often, especially, my boys

talking about professional athletes and their kids, and that pressure

on that kid before it is even what their path is. And, you know, we say, like, that... You have to be a special family.


Michael Zordich  00:26:56 



Juliet Hahn  00:26:59 

Special son, special father,

special parents,

mother, to navigate those waters because people can be so cruel. I don't know why people can be so cruel and so judging and... Oh and and so having... You know, you can hear in your voice, Michael, when you were talking about that, like, that definitely was something that was a a turning point because your dad was like, listen. We're gonna take that and as your mom said and go because that had to been all the time, like, people comparing you and you're a different person. Right? You have different parents. You have... Yeah. You have... You know, the your father, but you also have your mother, and then you have other things and there's jeans. And so when people do that, I think it's so harmful,

you know, even just for any any kid, any family to have

people judge that. And and especially when you're in fourth grade, and so I love that that... That's how your your family handled it. It was like, you know what? I mean, and as you said, you laugh. Like, I'm in fourth grade on my dad and all player. Just give me some time I'm just learning.


Cynthia Zordich  00:27:53 



Michael Zordich  00:27:55 

Right. And Not even just learning. Like, I just... I'm I'm a kid. I'm just trying to have fun, you know, Like, if... Yes. I wanna play football, but it is it that serious right now? You know? And, you know, people get kinda cut up. I think that


Cynthia Zordich  00:27:56 



Juliet Hahn  00:28:04 



Michael Zordich  00:28:08 

using the negative energy in the and the anger to as a motivator was, like a big switch that hit, and that was once i, like, really started playing

and then you know, once

high school came and you sorta, like, actually

took come, like, coming yourself and coming into your own,

that kind... I... You know, it was very easy to laugh off because of that early lesson on, you know, block out that noise. That they they have no idea what's going on in your head. And then

just kinda using that as a as a motivator on the field. You know, it was a it was a cool life lesson that, you know, honestly, we didn't

like, sit down and talk about all the time. We just kinda naturally handled it together and it, you know, in, like, easiest way in the in the fruition.


Cynthia Zordich  00:28:48 



Juliet Hahn  00:28:48 



Cynthia Zordich  00:28:52 



Juliet Hahn  00:28:52 

Which I love. And and since good, did you wanna add something there?


Cynthia Zordich  00:28:55 

Well, I just...

The one thing that I really love and appreciate is that

you know, car,

high school, you know, going from that fourth grade up and now into high school,

you know, just... It was a powerhouse


the the

the talent that was on the team,

it was extraordinary. It was unbelievable. Like, Michael, how many guys did you have that went v one year,


Michael Zordich  00:29:19 

I think nine nine guys. Eight or nine.


Cynthia Zordich  00:29:19 

you're senior



Juliet Hahn  00:29:21 

I mean, that's insane. Right. That's insane.


Cynthia Zordich  00:29:21 

nine guys.


Michael Zordich  00:29:22 

Yeah. What?


Cynthia Zordich  00:29:22 

Nine five.

Nine guys.

But as good as they all were.

And and I was, especially proud of Michael.

They still were just having fun. They they were actually fun even on the field. I mean course, they were just, like, creating everybody, and they all just were high skilled, but they still were genuine gentlemen.


Juliet Hahn  00:29:33 



Cynthia Zordich  00:29:42 

They were still, like, good guys. On the field, you know, even to the opposing teams. Right, Michael?


Michael Zordich  00:29:46 

Yeah. Yeah. It was just fun. Was, you know, high school football overhaul you're supposed to have fun playing it we were just friends, you know, playing football. So...


Cynthia Zordich  00:29:48 

Yeah. It was just fun. Right.

Right. Just.


Juliet Hahn  00:29:52 

Which is really... Yeah, which is really special. And then this segue me, this is perfect. The way that's just just lined up. But this takes me to that you were recruited


Michael Zordich  00:29:54 



Juliet Hahn  00:30:01 

by every major school as a line,

and you chose Penn State. Can you tell us a little bit about what Penn state means to you and why you chose penn.


Michael Zordich  00:30:10 

Yeah. It always meant a little something to me, Obviously, my parents went there, and

we would go to games, but it was never an obnoxious thing in the family. You know? I was never going there. you know, was it wasn't like written

in stone.


I we went on a visit one time, and,

you know, I went on went to other schools and, you know, here you hear skills from all the coaches and you know, everybody ends out in their own way saying the same thing.

But I remember we went to Penn State, and my grandma came, like, grandpa came, a great grandma came and my mom and dad. And

I think it... Like, I don't even know of Jo talked to me. The whole time he was in the corner. I saw I'm talking with grandma grandpa You remember all the names he's asked about aunts and uncles and cousins, and this is from

From eighty six.


Juliet Hahn  00:30:57 

So cool.


Michael Zordich  00:30:57 

So... Yeah. So I just remember... I was sitting there thinking, like, what am I doing? What am I even thinking about? Like, this is what the game is about.

Let's let's let's go here. And this is where I'm supposed to be. And was just that easy.

Know maybe it decision quick and it was cool too because then I got to just embrace my senior here and enjoy my friends and not have to you know, worry about any big decisions that was already made and it already done.


Juliet Hahn  00:31:09 


Yeah. I mean, and and I just wanna say because, you know, now, I played... I played two college sports, and I remember that pressure of, like, Okay. You need to know where you're going. You know? And and on my... When we played more sound was, you know, I mean, the girls we won states and field documents across, we were a huge powerhouse.

And so i remember someone would sign someone time We'd be like, okay. It my turn? And it is a pressure

that sometimes is undo. So, like, to know, okay. This is really cool. This is where I'm going. Now as you said, I can enjoy my senior year. I can go,

you know, to that

to that next state. So talk a little bit about

being a player at Penn State.


Michael Zordich  00:32:02 

That I that was some My like, most fun football was being there. We have a nice team like nice. A lot of great friends. But that pressure that you talk about, you know, making those decisions, I feel like a lot of it is external. It's other people and other noise and, you know, media and all that stuff. And again, you are essentially a kid you're seventeen years old.


Juliet Hahn  00:32:14 

Mhmm. Oh, yeah.


Michael Zordich  00:32:21 

You're just... You're just having fun. So you know, I think it, you know, putting that much on it. And,

you know, it was...

It was just so great to make that decision and then get there. And then, you know, once you get there, you realize how home... How home it is. And it's family and I've I fit right in with all the guys and just had so much fun playing there. It was just really cool kinda surreal once you really make the decision to together and you're like, wow my dad played here. My mom one here. It ended up, like, kinda just becoming me, and it was really great. Love every every second of it.


Cynthia Zordich  00:32:50 



Juliet Hahn  00:32:52 

Right. Which is so special since, did you wanna add something?


Cynthia Zordich  00:32:54 


Well, it it just... It it it became him, but he became so much part of it. I'm, like, of Legacy penn state, and everything that Michael, and

his seniors did at penn State in that two thousand and twelve year. When it was really about having to seize the program and save our legacy, save what we were hard for.

I feel like they they did so much, not... You know, they did it for the game and they did it for themselves. They did it for their friendships, but they... It... They they they knew it and they realized that... It was a a bigger purpose as well and what they did there

in staying when they have oral free to leave during all the sanctions at Penn in twenty twelve with Co O'brien,

to me,

like, I went to penn state and in my son and my husband, like, they have a mark on kinda That to me is like, unbelievable. Like, I'm really proud of all of those boys in all that year. And everything that they did for all for all of us.


Juliet Hahn  00:33:51 


Right. I mean, and and that... Again, is... I mean, I remember, you know, because I remember being like, oh Michael goes there. Oh my gosh. I can't believe this is happening in Penn state, What a heartbreak? Like, you know, Penn State is football. You know, even more... We're I grew up. It was like, you knew that was a football powerhouse.

And the fact that since, you said, you guys went there and it was a legacy.

I mean, take us a little bit, and then michael, I would love for you to to touch on it as well. But, I mean, as you said, how proud you were? What Michael did because he could've left.


Cynthia Zordich  00:34:21 

Mhmm. Yep. They all left.

And, like, what Michael and law, in Co, O'brien, Matt wine, and John Hers,

you know, they they kinda rallied together and said, you know, we have to kind of, like,

we have to remind everybody

why we should stay, You know, like, everybody's telling us we can go, but we need to talk about why we should stay, and it became like the strategic kind of of circle of just everybody just, you know, tapping into the motions of everybody,

and sometimes you just need to be have somebody playing out to you. Like, what, you know, what does this mean if you leave? You know? But what does it mean if you stay?


Juliet Hahn  00:35:00 



Cynthia Zordich  00:35:00 


at the time, John Bacon was

following Michael

v and Michael Mod to write a called forth and along. So he just accidentally was documenting every single

part of the journey.

And it was really... It it was incredible that he was there that. So it was also really helpful to really be able to process later.

Because I I don't wanna see for you michael, but I think at the time, you guys were just in survival mode, So it really took

evaluating it later to really appreciate what what had gone down in what you guys did.


Michael Zordich  00:35:34 

No. Absolutely. Because we were focused on the now of things. You know?

I just think that that whole

that whole

series of events. It's kind of

odd how natural. We we all handle it, and I think it goes back to how we were raised and what we grew up and, you know, your type of normal

you know, what football meant to us was more than just, like, a way out. It was more than a than a, like, a success story. It was we what we were playing for the game. And, like, the love of the game and, you know, what the game means to you? And that was how

we... That was what I grew up around, You know, teammates locker a room, You know, have each other's back.


Cynthia Zordich  00:36:06 



Michael Zordich  00:36:10 

You know, more so who you are as a man than what you are as a player. And, you know, those those,

those kind of decisions are are very small in... Like,

in in the

instant, like, in the now, but then down the road, they kinda snowball on into, like, a much bigger effect.

And, you know, i've... All the positions I've played, and the way I've always played the game is... It's always been, like a shared emotion for me, you know, self this kind of thing. I I, really

delve into that. I really love that

aspect of the game, you know, sacrifice yourself for your teammate teammates.

I I just you know, that that something matters to me. So

when everything happened and the sanctions hit in the thing, it's so terrible what happened, but the sanctions were, you know, they hit. And we kind of... It was almost without question. We were like, well, we can't

we can't leave, like, we just spent four years

playing together practicing together working together and like, this is our senior year. We're all just gonna, like, split up and go elsewhere. Who are we gonna be on that team? You know, we're just some other guy now. We had relationships that were built It was a series bond


Cynthia Zordich  00:37:13 



Michael Zordich  00:37:17 


it's funny how a smaller thing can impact such a bigger thing because we were really protecting ourselves in that game and, you know, Saturdays in the stadium. And in doing that, we had an impact on the whole university and how...

You know, we kinda flip the script on the sanctions and what people thought about Prince

Because of us just wanting to play the game together. I think that that's pretty powerful how simple it can be.


Juliet Hahn  00:37:44 

And and, you know what? I love so much is that that was the ind story. That wasn't your story.


Cynthia Zordich  00:37:44 



Juliet Hahn  00:37:49 

It's so you created your... Your own story. You didn't let what he did and the terrible that he did take you guys down and turn that. That was his story. And so, you know, from what you did. And again, I remember, you know, following this And being like, I baby sent him.


Michael Zordich  00:38:04 



Cynthia Zordich  00:38:04 



Juliet Hahn  00:38:05 

Talking about it.

Because you really... And, again, as you said, the way you were brought up, the love for the game is so apparent in you, even when you speak, you know, the love for the game.

And I think that's what's so important and so many people lose sight of that. It's, again, as you said, it's it's the notoriety. It's this that, but you and even knowing your dad, like, you guys love the game. Like, you... That's that is... So in you know, ingrained in you.


I know there was a documentary,

you know, it's called saving the roar. Can you tell people where they can find that and a little bit about that? I mean, is the story?


Michael Zordich  00:38:40 

Yeah. Michael Nash,

out of Beverly hills productions, and they called us, and they wanted to tell the story, and it was something that we knew was gonna eventually happen, but we were like, you know, kinda skeptical on who's gonna tell it how is gonna be told where it's we're gonna turn into. And we got to know him, and he's

so awesome and just very true. So we were we were immediately signed on with them. We were like, let's do this. And he really told the story from our perspective, which was interesting because nobody had really heard our side of story and and, you know, the Espn and the Cnn of the world telling the Penn stage story, and it just really... A lot of it wasn't true. And it was cool to get our our stuff out there, and

it ended up being was one of those things where...

I left Penn State and got right into the, you know, Nfl trying to trying to go there and so you kinda put all the everything they just happen on the back burner and just focus on, you know, who your drain that you have your whole life. You know? So


Juliet Hahn  00:39:33 



Michael Zordich  00:39:35 

once, you know, once he got into that, you move on you move on and we hadn't really talked about it at all until this, you know, documentary came to be and it ended up being like this, almost therapeutic open like, we just opened up and we're were like, wow. I I I didn't realize how much I was holding in because of that because I just kinda locked it away, And it was really, really cool, very powerful. And if you wanna check it out, you can watch it at savings dot com.


Cynthia Zordich  00:39:52 




Juliet Hahn  00:39:55 



Michael Zordich  00:40:00 

And they'll stream it. It is it's I'm really happy with how they did it.


Cynthia Zordich  00:40:05 



Juliet Hahn  00:40:05 



Cynthia Zordich  00:40:06 

I want them to get on Netflix. I really I'm hoping and they're working on it, but


Michael Zordich  00:40:08 



Cynthia Zordich  00:40:11 

it it is a story of any kind of bonds, you know, whether your communities bonding or your team is bonding.


Juliet Hahn  00:40:14 



Cynthia Zordich  00:40:18 

But to see individuals, like, for instance, a co O'brien who

put himself in a

position to allow

seniors to get him good advice about how they should navigate us and to listen. Like, to me, it's just everybody just stripped away their rules and just said, like, this is all about us and and which should we do here. So


Michael Zordich  00:40:40 

Yeah. We look


Cynthia Zordich  00:40:40 

it's really worth seeing. Right? Then,


Michael Zordich  00:40:41 

It is really is in the


Cynthia Zordich  00:40:42 

guys love it.


Michael Zordich  00:40:44 

we look back on it now, like mean, my teammates, and, you know, it's it's silver lining. Right?


Juliet Hahn  00:40:49 



Michael Zordich  00:40:49 

As bad as everything seems


it kind of forced us into our own little bubble, but it also we got to a point where once we realized we were feeling the team and we were gonna play. It was, like, hey. We only have Saturdays. We can't go we can't go to championship. We're not going to a bowl game. We can't do. I We have twelve games.

And that's all we have together. So, like, let's make every single one countless let's have a blast doing it, and we were able to just enjoy the game without having to worry about all the

outside Bs. So ironically,

it like, brought us closer to the game and each other, which I thought was really cool. You know, I take that away with me. That's a very beautiful take a habit.


Juliet Hahn  00:41:29 

So beautiful. I mean, then you guys created your own story, and that's what's beautiful. You gave Penn State a positive story, and you spun it that way because it was a positive story. How you guys sat there and said, no. We're not gonna leave. This is this means too much us. We love the game. We love our our university. And so I think that's amazing.


Cynthia Zordich  00:41:29 






Juliet Hahn  00:41:48 

Standing guard for Joe Pat per.

I mean,

what did that mean? You know, when you got that call.


Michael Zordich  00:41:55 

Yeah. That was a powerful moment. Because mean

Joe were very close. We had our own little special relationship

I was considered, I guess, an old school player, you know, the way I played and they was right up his alley and I you know, he loved every of that plus, You know, coach my dad, you know, we were... We had a own little thing. So to be able to stand there, like, you know, it was very emotional. Just


Juliet Hahn  00:42:14 



Michael Zordich  00:42:20 

lot of memories, a lot of... Like, doctors run at through through your head. I mean, he was so special and so important in the making of, you know, me as a football player just basically, on how you approach the game, how you how you handle things and how how you, you know, work with your teammates,

he had a huge impact on me, and I think on the team and how we responded to that, you know, getting you know coach, Brian, and I love cultural O'brien so much and and that,


Cynthia Zordich  00:42:46 



Michael Zordich  00:42:47 

we were able to form this relationship that we still have today,

but he was dealing with a lot of joe guys too that, that learned those lessons and saw the game a certain way, and he he he loved it. Like, he he was all about it and he let us... You really embraced that. And then we were able to embrace him and doing so. We... You know, we're able to handle everything.


Cynthia Zordich  00:42:59 



Michael Zordich  00:43:07 

But when they asked me to stay next joy, just remember like, why What an honor? You know? Wooden on it. It's a very powerful thing.


Cynthia Zordich  00:43:15 



Juliet Hahn  00:43:15 

So powerful.


Michael Zordich  00:43:16 



Juliet Hahn  00:43:16 

Good, did you wanna add anything there?


Cynthia Zordich  00:43:18 

No. It was incredible and mean just to to see the boys. And then, of course, Michael Mod, he's, like, one of our own and, you know, she her he, you know, got to speak.

One the bat to have the team for Joe. It was just really special to see these two boys and his father have played as well. As it's say. So, it this just a really...

It's terrible was and his terrible what was for all the victims and

anybody that

was affected by everything that happened,

you're right, Michael, it's silver lining. There are, you know, whenever there's any kind of tragedy,

you know, you have to pull together as a community or as a team or as a family,

and you have you have to survive it. You know, you just have to find a way to survive it. And I think

by focusing on what

was one thing that you could control, which was you showing up on Saturdays

that did have that... Like, that effects they kinda took out and was a nice ripple effect of survival for a lot of people.


Michael Zordich  00:44:10 



Cynthia Zordich  00:44:15 

While we were all morning for so many different reasons,


Michael Zordich  00:44:17 



Cynthia Zordich  00:44:18 

You know. So,

yeah, crazy.


Juliet Hahn  00:44:20 

Yeah. I mean, so so much history, so many stories.


Cynthia Zordich  00:44:23 



Juliet Hahn  00:44:23 

Now I'm gonna take us to draft day.

So we're we're we're jumping.

I mean, which I know, again, being being your babysitter that I was like, oh, what's my You know, this is so exciting. Like, and knowing again, your family and just what good people and how hard you guys have worked and how much you have loved the game.

You know, to know that this is was happening that day is so, because it's not guaranteed. Right? There's there's no guarantees.

There's no guarantees in life period. And so this is also not a guarantee.


take us a little bit through that.


Michael Zordich  00:44:56 

Yeah. That was


Cynthia Zordich  00:44:56 

Can I start with that?


Michael Zordich  00:44:57 

go ahead. Go for it.


Cynthia Zordich  00:44:59 

I just have to tell something funny to enjoy it. So I said to Michael me, so what do you what do you wanna do for draft? You know?

What are you thinking?

And... Because I don't wanna I don't wanna have people there if he doesn't people there, I don't know what he's expecting. He says i'm... Well, you know, no No big deal on. You know, Just just a family.

I said oh, okay. Cool. Just family. And then so I was kinda like, I left the... And I came back. I'm like, Michael. So, like, what does that mean?

Like which does the family? He's like, you know,

the family, the Pittsburgh crew



Michael Zordich  00:45:34 



Cynthia Zordich  00:45:35 

I'm like, Okay. So we have it's huge party, like, you know, all weekend, we had some everybody over right? So then if can go.


Juliet Hahn  00:45:37 



Michael Zordich  00:45:42 


Yeah. No was a the last day of the job because we kinda knew that I wasn't gonna get drafted or I was gonna, you know, being picked up late. So once a draft ended,

as soon as it ended my, you know, phone started ringing, and I had a couple options from other teams,

and I just, you know,

get the call and,

we're sitting and they're talking

who was at the bills, the browns, the panthers,

were coming up and i'm... We you Ricky Pro can't we started talking about him. And my mom... My dad and me, were in the back. And we just like, panthers, we're gonna go. So we

made that decision and walked out and the whole... Like, the whole crew I'm in

ironic because my mom said i was raised a tailgate, well everybody that was at those tailgate gates in the kitchen.

You know, it was like, like, and Jackie,


Juliet Hahn  00:46:26 

No. I love it.


Michael Zordich  00:46:29 

Uncle chuck, Die so everybody that was always partying and that I grew up with that. The tail was there. And, you know, we just announced so was going to the panthers. There's everybody like, you wrapped like, we're were laughing, and we had a lot of fun. You know, that was, again, we didn't put much pressure on ourselves over. You know, it's it's gonna happen.

You know, either way, I'm gonna get a shot. I knew that. And I was really all I wanted. So whatever news came was good news, and


Cynthia Zordich  00:46:47 



Michael Zordich  00:46:51 

it was a really special day.


Cynthia Zordich  00:46:53 

Did... Did

singing sweet, Caroline.


Michael Zordich  00:46:56 

Yes. Yes.


Cynthia Zordich  00:46:56 



Michael Zordich  00:46:57 



Cynthia Zordich  00:46:58 

seriously seen.


Michael Zordich  00:46:59 

They did.


Cynthia Zordich  00:47:00 

Thinking to caroline, and we just party a night it's really fun.


Michael Zordich  00:47:04 



Juliet Hahn  00:47:04 

I mean, it's it's it's so special.


Cynthia Zordich  00:47:04 

You know?


Michael Zordich  00:47:05 

Yeah. I It was... It was the real. I remember being in the back room with my parents and, like, my dad was, you know, we're sitting in the room and he you know, as couple of his helmets are out there and all this stuff and

he's... He's on the phone, and he's taking notes on who's call and this that like, I just remember the piece of paper of the teams and in my dad's handwriting, and I'm on the phone looking at it and I was just like, how about this? Like, this is, you know, this is finally coming full circle. This is pretty cool.

You know, I just know... I remember, like, taking in that moment.


Cynthia Zordich  00:47:31 



Juliet Hahn  00:47:35 

Which is great that you could take it in. You know? But... You know, I I and I can picture. You guys painted that so beautifully Just being with your mom at the Super Bowl.

Knowing some of those that group,

just a special... I mean, the love, you know, there's energy. There's love. There's excitement

just from that. So

we're we're gonna go into the injury. Something, did you want anything before that?


Cynthia Zordich  00:47:59 

No. But it's actually inches thing because, you know, come the good times

and how... And all the people that's surround you come in the bad times and every way to surround you. And so it was


you know, I was, like, back in the eighties in my mother in law's,

family room, where if you jump too hard, the entertainment unit know would start to come down.


Juliet Hahn  00:48:20 



Cynthia Zordich  00:48:21 

And now We're watching Michael B and


you all said there was a close up of Michael, and I just turned to or I turned uncle by being Michael. I'm like, why is our close of Michael,


I everybody in the room turned white, and I just ran off the door. I just ran. I just ran off the door. And I left but my husband was at the game and so Michael,


Juliet Hahn  00:48:38 



Michael Zordich  00:48:42 

Yeah. That was actually really cool. He was able to make it was my first... Weird had just gone through camp. It was our first pre game, and that it was the first kick, and I you know, didn't hit anything or nothing I just was running and dropped my niece slipped and for my Acl. So I was down there, and it was actually happening right on the like, the yard line and my dad was standing on on the field. So I just... I thought that was kinda weird


Cynthia Zordich  00:48:42 

you know.


Michael Zordich  00:49:04 

so we go into the locker room and it's like, totally empty. And it's just me and my dad and there. I'm taking off the pads, and I'm pissed off because, like...

Fox, you know, like that sucks. And it was, again, it's just so awesome to have him there with me. And it was disappointing. But at that time still, it was like, hey, we're good. We're gonna fix this thing. We'll get right back to it And next year, we're good. You know, there was never any doubt.


Juliet Hahn  00:49:14 



Michael Zordich  00:49:28 

But I do remember my... Meant a lot to my dad because

you know, that was my first camp, and I had come out of Penn State feeling pretty good, and I was playing, like, some of the best all in my life that in that summer, and I was, like, ready to go. I honestly didn't have, like, any doubts about it. Like, I was making the team, and then that happened and, you know, I built a lot of like, good in a short amount of time with a lot of the players.

So, you know, the game ends and I'm on the table with got always on my me and my dad standing in there and

Rhyme million insurance the trainers are with us, and all the guys come storming and and after the after the game and, like, all of these, like,

heavy hit from the panthers, you know, Greg Olson, Steve Smith, the Angelo Williams,

like, the whole, like, a lot of like, the major guys. Who usually, you know, there vets that have been playing for twelve years. Here's this un draft free agent, rookie gets her, like, usually, that kind of just goes by, you know,


Juliet Hahn  00:50:26 



Michael Zordich  00:50:26 

they care, but it's not, you know, they came in one by one, checking up on me, You know,

like, tell me keep my head up this and and I just learned my dad within in the corner and he saw that and I think that mattered more to him and than anything because he saw, like, you know, the impact and, like, you know, these guys cared. And it meant a lot to meet for them to take that time or even just be thinking about me like that. And I I'll never forget that memory. Like, that was really cool.


Cynthia Zordich  00:50:42 



Michael Zordich  00:50:49 

You know?


Juliet Hahn  00:50:50 

Yeah. And and I mean, and and some, this is one of the things that I always wanted to kind of dive into, and I've always wanted to ask. but I'm like, oh, this is perfect.

Situation to ask

as a mother and as a, you know, a spouse of wife, you know,

as a spouse wife, we

don't so much protect our spouse and and, you know, you know, or or we we have a a relationship our with our husbands.

When we kinda see them up here. Right? But when you have a kid that's in there, you've always protected that child.

And so for you to see

this happened to Michael.

You know,

what what was the difference? And I don't know did Michael senior, did he ever get injured or ever have any


Cynthia Zordich  00:51:30 

He did. He has an injury but how do too young and

in love with him as a die, you know as a person to be worried, you know, about this. I didn't know about this


Juliet Hahn  00:51:39 



Cynthia Zordich  00:51:42 

dream or this this... I just knew that this is... You know, it's a weird when I look back on it, that it was very much just about normal life. You know, because you Michael's Career was long that it was not...

Like, every year in the beginning, we didn't know if he would be there or not, you know, climbing into it. You know, wasn't until silly that we were like, low. You know? Right? So it was like, I just kinda of went along with things, but I'm with your... With your...


Juliet Hahn  00:51:59 



Cynthia Zordich  00:52:07 

With your kids too,

we didn't raise them to have this dream of, you know, making it to league. We just took it, you know, very playing in, like, little league, then you're playing high school and then you're praying college. You know, we really haven't talked about it. Like, like said he he he probably just figured it. So


Juliet Hahn  00:52:21 



Cynthia Zordich  00:52:26 

I don't think that

when it happened in michael, I didn't have this devastated,

like, oh my god. It's over because you see a lot of people get injured and you kind of feel like, you know, you're really upset about it. But I didn't feel like it was oh, this is over. Oh my god. You know? This is over, but I do know how he is. And

I did wanna know how he was feeling.

I did wanna know what was going on and his head in his heart so I would be able to kind of

say the right things, you know? And


Juliet Hahn  00:52:52 



Cynthia Zordich  00:52:53 

and, you know, Michael, and my loves.


Michael Zordich  00:52:57 

You're going too.


Juliet Hahn  00:53:00 

Am I allowed have?


Cynthia Zordich  00:53:02 

Love to say this.

So, Michael and I always, you know, shared writing and reading and

we, you know, both really love ernest hemingway way, you know, in Jack London

and, you know, he likes, you know, some mother crazy, know hana thompson and stuff like that that we always share, like, writing and

reading in books. And

so I was like, oh, Michael, can you... How can you write something for me because you writes a lot of dialogue?

Can you write something for me? So I can understand what that moment felt like for you? And so


Juliet Hahn  00:53:35 

So special.


Cynthia Zordich  00:53:36 

he wrote me, like,

it was...

You know, it was kept mentioned, you know, to, like, read what was going on. I didn't realize.

How far and how deep

say motion was until I, you know, read his words that were so beautifully. And of course, it will never let me share it. And it just frustrates me. So I think I'll put it on the back on my kids soon.


Juliet Hahn  00:53:52 



Michael Zordich  00:53:56 



Cynthia Zordich  00:54:00 

I just heard the moment did that with cookie recipe.

So I'm gonna do that.

With myself, but it's so beautiful because it was raw and honest, and it was bigger than I realized. And so I was like, from there,

backed off and just allowed him to go through his rehab, which my god the panthers.

They treated him, so beautifully through his awesome rehab. I'm Michael.


Michael Zordich  00:54:23 

Yeah. Oh they were awesome. And again, like, it didn't become the injury until, like, after


Cynthia Zordich  00:54:24 

So yeah.


Michael Zordich  00:54:28 

the game was gone, you know, then it was, like, shit that really, you know, put it dead in things. Because once it happened, you know, you're you're you you don't question. You you you're confident stuff and you're like, I'm gonna fix this. We're gonna go back next year. So that whole year was like, there was still no questions. Just I'm gonna rehab. I'm gonna get better. And then, you know, you get come in the next camp, but I...


Juliet Hahn  00:54:33 



Michael Zordich  00:54:48 

Like, I remember getting back on the field and playing, and I was just, like, in my head

feeling good, but, like, Damn

not clicking the same. Like, I don't... I'm not the same right now. I'm not the same and it it kinda showed

wasn't bad by means, that I just wasn't the same guy was the year before, and I was really getting frustrated with it, you know, then, you know, you get... I got caught, and then i

I was out for a little bit, started working out, training and try, was was waiting for phone calls. It's just like, please, somebody call me give me us.


Juliet Hahn  00:55:20 

Oh, you got phone call.


Michael Zordich  00:55:22 

Didn't really... Sorry. I a little...

I got...


Juliet Hahn  00:55:25 

You phone call noise worries?


Michael Zordich  00:55:25 


you know, the this I get with the saints, but

practice squad didn't really get to showcase much and, you know,

ended then Up getting cut from there and just from then on the phone, like, really just didn't ring. And then that was when it all started, like, kinda sink, like, shit Like, this... Like, there's no way there's no way, you know, So that was... That was when the injury became the injury and I I to accept the fact that it happened instead of, like, didn't happen, I'm gonna get through it, you know? And there was a lot of crazy times that went into that, you know, it does a lot to you mentally because

You don't...

You know, you talk about added pressure, but then you get to a certain point where, like, you know, I

I'm not trying to live up to my dad standards or I'm not playing. But because of my dad, it it becomes, like pressure that you put on yourself because it's your your dream is who you wanna be. And it's the only thing you've ever really wanted to do. So it's like that the pressure is all yours.


Juliet Hahn  00:56:14 



Michael Zordich  00:56:21 

So it's only yours to handle

so it's kinda it's... It... You know, it takes you to a certain place where,

you know, you...

Along... There's a lot of questions and there's a lot, you know, a lot of anger and it's a wild place, and it's it's it's hard to navigate times. You know?


Juliet Hahn  00:56:37 

Right. And so I do wanna ask you because I do wanna get into the your your pivot.

But do you think when you stepped on that field after your injury,

that when you said, you just didn't feel like you were playing at that level. Was it

in you more in your minds because it like you were nervous of getting hurt again or was it more of...

It it just your knee was never the same.


Michael Zordich  00:57:01 

I don't I don't know. I

you wanna say it wasn't your mind, but maybe it was a little bit

but it was definitely... I just didn't have the bounce that I had, you know, I don't know. Maybe I wasn't ready. Maybe I... You know, just... You know, I don't know.

But I just knew that, you know, coming off the field. Like, I

I didn't feel

as good about my performance walking on field as I did the year before, you know? I just didn't feel like the same,

like, power, the same balance, the same reaction.


you know, in my head, I I'd like to think that I was confident after to that, you know, I wasn't worried about it going or it wasn't this... But maybe subconsciously,

I was tip tone a little bit, and I wasn't, you know, I was not playing, like, the reckless abandoned me that usually played the game. You know? So... Because that was

like, one of my biggest assets as a player was just like, sacrificing my body and and enjoying that, like, violence in the contact and the you know, I just really love thrive on that. So maybe, you know, not having that same, you know,


Juliet Hahn  00:57:59 



Michael Zordich  00:58:05 

walls the wall instinct mess with me. You know, and it's amazing to me too, because there's some guys that have three, four, five of these injuries come back, you know, and they're just killing it like it never happened. So you know, everybody reacts definitely.

You like you, you know, you get your own head and, you know, was I'm being soft that I handle that like, what we do that, you know, did I not do. What what how come he could and I couldn't... But I think everybody like, you know, handles

it just happens differently in everybody's said. So it was really interesting. That I think that was a lot of the grappling. A lot of the wrestling that I did was, like,


Juliet Hahn  00:58:32 



Michael Zordich  00:58:38 

not questions about, like, what I wanted to do or, you know, could I do? It was, you know,

what's going on? Why am I not mean? What... Like, what's, you know, that that was that was strange for me. Because up into until that point, I had never had a serious injury. So, You know, I played her and things up you know,

nobody gets through the game without, like, some sort of injury, but that was, like, the first surgery first thing

It was just... It was odd. It was all kinda like, out of nowhere where.

So it's it was really, you know,

different to different the handle.


Juliet Hahn  00:59:10 

And I have to say... I selfish officially, I asked that selfish my oldest has an injury

he's had two pretty big ones.


the first one when he went back, it took him a little while. It took him a little while to be that guy that and he plays Soccer

was I know different, but the going up for a header

in the box was with his thing, and that's when he got injured. And so it took him a little while, and I remember being, like, well

he's actually in his head. And for me as a parent to try to help him get out of that.

I realized I couldn't. You know, it was something that he had to do on his own. He had to get his confidence back and not be nervous if that was gonna happen again because he never felt that kind of pain. So that was a really selfish question that I asked to.

That way, because I just wanted to, you know, kind get in it because I think for some players, it is, it is like, you you

you never get back to the same because it's immense thing not a physical thing, but then also, some of them, it is a physical thing, not a mental thing.


Michael Zordich  01:00:06 

No. I think like that is the question to ask, like, you know, is it it'll... It all happens in your end, like, all of it, you know, So you can't if you can't handle that or if you're struggling with that, it's gonna come out in your play.


Cynthia Zordich  01:00:06 



Juliet Hahn  01:00:11 



Michael Zordich  01:00:17 

You know? That's like, you know, there's not every every quarter bag that's ever performed well as a confident one. You know? That's just how the game works. And so if you even question a little bit of your confidence,


Juliet Hahn  01:00:26 



Michael Zordich  01:00:28 

it's it's gonna show. And so i... You know, there's definitely some... You know, you question


Cynthia Zordich  01:00:31 



Juliet Hahn  01:00:31 

And it's... Yeah.


Michael Zordich  01:00:35 


Why what what's going on up there?


that was a new thing for me because, you know, a short term short memory you get back, Like the what i... You know, all this this kind of player I was. And so it was different for me to be like, why

where where you go? You know? Or is he at?


Juliet Hahn  01:00:52 



Michael Zordich  01:00:53 

So was it... Yeah.


Juliet Hahn  01:00:55 

And i really... Yeah. Go ahead.


Michael Zordich  01:00:55 



Cynthia Zordich  01:00:55 

it's interesting to me too because, like,

when I look at it, you know, from the very beginning, it just seems that with the league, especially all professional sports. There's that timing...

There's that talent.

There's that opportunity, and you never know

how that was gonna work for you against you. And at that particular time for whatever reason that the panthers needed that spot if that's second, you know, was taking that opportunity away, you know, where you just don't know why yeah you have to look ahead to say, why was the university making you this happen? Because, you know,

somehow, some way one person goes and it has this triple fed on effect on the whole team.

And so


with Michael, it was, like, didn't didn't have the luxury of giving him more time because something had happened within the organization or was Michael, something was happening

inside that he... You know, you just don't know. It's crazy.


Michael Zordich  01:01:49 

That's it's a mother's natural way of questioning,

but I got caught. I didn't play as well as I did the year before. It's like, you know,


Cynthia Zordich  01:01:52 


No. No. No. I know that. But I mean,


Michael Zordich  01:01:57 

I got cut it's like what happen I been... I just wasn't the same guy. So I went, you know, it's just...


Cynthia Zordich  01:02:00 

no no.


Michael Zordich  01:02:03 

The the with those big questions. Yeah but those big questions are all like, those are are the ones that are in your head. There's the football aspect I never questioned, like, the why they got or this or that because it's the game, and you know that going into it. Everybody tells you that the whole way up, you know, is not for long. Right? It's... You gotta get be lucky to you hear all these things. You know? It's


Juliet Hahn  01:02:16 



Cynthia Zordich  01:02:16 



Michael Zordich  01:02:26 

it just is what it is. You know, it's a...

It's a cut throat leak, and that's how it goes. So

there's it's happened to ten thousand guys before me. So you know I couldn't question that side of things. So the my questions were more, like,

on me, you know, what... You know,


Cynthia Zordich  01:02:42 


Got babe. Mhmm.


Juliet Hahn  01:02:44 

Which which is actually special and I love that You said because my kids always will sometimes be like, is this mom goggles? Or, like,


Michael Zordich  01:02:44 

I just...


Juliet Hahn  01:02:50 

real life. And and parents, we do. I mean, we... You know, we always wanna protect our children. That's what, you know, that that's that's what we were, you know, born to kinda do, but it is also


Cynthia Zordich  01:02:53 



Juliet Hahn  01:03:01 

to let you guys fly

and and help you through situations. So I love that little action there. That was actually really, really, really cool.

So now I wanna take because I know we are running over time, but I'm I'm I we're not cut in the short because this is the the meat of the pivots,

which I... When your mom started telling me a little bit about this, I think it's just so so cool. So after your injury, the panthers

were really great too. I mean, right? I mean, they they were there for you,


Michael Zordich  01:03:28 



Juliet Hahn  01:03:30 

You know, Leonard Wheeler can tell us a little bit about some of that

as you were pivoting the league and realizing, okay, this is not my journey anymore.


Michael Zordich  01:03:39 

Yeah. He was... He was awesome.

Because I had, you know, took me a little while to the fact that the phone wasn't ringing and, hey, you might actually have to start looking for other things. So that was when I kinda went into like, a dark

you know, scatter kinda place where I got, you know,

just down on myself and then, you know,

just bad habits and, you know, looking for an escape,

you know, just

you go... You go to a dark dark places as... I guess you call it a depression, but it was a lot of anger too, which just, you know,


Juliet Hahn  01:04:03 



Michael Zordich  01:04:11 

I totally disappeared from myself I Just went a little crazy because it was the one thing like, you that I wanted to do was my dream. And it was the only thing I haven't really thought about you know, they tell you growing up. They bring people into talk to you in in the locker room or in

squad meetings to say, life after football and listen and that and you know, your school or and I I I was a good student. I I did go in school, and I took it seriously, but, like, I... It was always, like, football for me. And even when those guys who coming and talk, you listened to them. But if feel like,

what the hell this got talking about? Like, this is what I'm doing. You know And that's also a part of, like, the training


Juliet Hahn  01:04:43 



Michael Zordich  01:04:46 

in like, to be mentally strong to, like, not question

your beliefs so like, what you're gonna do, like, it's your dream. So, yeah, this is how you feel about it. So it was very

hard for me to

get rid of that confidence

and accept the fact that, like, that's not me anymore. You know, Like, that that whole idea that I had is gone. And so now what the hell are you gonna do?


Juliet Hahn  01:05:07 



Michael Zordich  01:05:09 

And then

not to boot, like, I never thought about what hell I was gonna do before no matter how many people you brought into the room to tell me to think about what I was doing after football,

I wasn't not thinking about that. You know? It's because if I'm thinking about that, then I'm not thinking about playing football. So

where's the energy going? And that was kinda like my whole stance the whole way through. So was kinda like, you know, just blindsided by this thing where I'm not gonna play anymore. Now who's the hell am I without this?

This thing,

you know? Because football shaped me in so many ways, like, from growing up to, you know, the controversies and the universities of it, just also,


how I am when I have passion for something and what I'm like, when I don't and, you know, you kinda it like, introduce you to yourself. Who, like, what you're all about. So going through that was

very wild for me. I think that that I couldn't handle it, so I escaped with, you know,

just partying or, you know, just being out there. Like, I was... I went a little while.


it took me a while to figure out like, that I had to calm him down and it I'm just... This decision you. You're not going... You're going through it right now. You're like, you're really... You're really fucking going through it. And so I had to kinda just deal with that.


Juliet Hahn  01:06:19 



Michael Zordich  01:06:22 

But, you know, I... At in that time, I I I did a couple interviews with, you know,

for some job opportunities or, you know, where do you wanna go? What do you wanna do? And I had no idea, like, I I remember, like, writing down questions on what I was gonna ask. And then,

like, on my way to the thing, like, what what am I asking about? Like what is this for? Like, you know, I didn't even like

have an ounce of energy for what for what for what I was gonna sit down and talk about. You know, So it was very interesting to, like,

wake up to the fact that you have to kinda discover, like, something. You know? But

that also led me to the like, you have to do. Like... Even if it's just something little, like, you have to, like, do something. You know, if to give your yourself purpose day and day out to, like,

time out of that hole that I that you put yourself into.


for me, it was like, just trying a whole bunch of things. You know? Like, I go to work I would, you know, everything that I didn't like. It was, like, checking off the list. Okay. So I don't like to do that. It it's like a trial and error almost. And then once you limit once I eliminated,

like, the many things that I didn't like about the world that I was now in. It was like, oh, this is... This is what I'm about. This. Is what I am this

this is a...

This is this is what I wanna do. So it's kinda like...

What people don't talk about or realize is the


mindset and the people that you're surrounded by, like, and what you're used to. And now, like, you know, you go from a locker room where you're, like, around, like,


Juliet Hahn  01:07:53 



Michael Zordich  01:07:57 

like minded guys who feel the same way about, like, you know,

team over everything, you know, pain... You know, pain his gain, like, how to handle stress, like, just... Like, that that mentality

is not here in, like, the like, the real world. You know, It's like, there none of that. So,

you know, a lot of the

the interviews that I do or got people that I talk to, I just had nothing in common with. Was like, I was, like an alien. You know, they just didn't see things the way I did. And that was my biggest struggle. Like, where can I


Juliet Hahn  01:08:25 



Michael Zordich  01:08:30 

find that again. And, you know, can, I find that again?

So letter wheeler was awesome because he


He's obviously, used hit handled this before. You know? So he's like, a great, like,

you know,

he was always called me with

options or people to talk to, and, you know?

And I remember when one time, nothing was you know, I couldn't really figure out anything my mom came back. She heard this Npr,

what you call Npr episode,

and they were talking about ranch.

And this goat form or something and she was, like, it reminded her of me for some reason, and she brought it up


she brought it up and said to something like... Well, she just told me about it. And I was like, that is so crazy. Like, me and my friends always joke about like, how awesome would we to live on a farm and to do that? But, you know, they stopped joking and I'm like, why aren't we still talking about this? So you know, we... That was, like, the first step in, like a... Oh, there's a possible life after this. You know, like I could be into something.

So scour the web found this ranch in Ohio.


just went down there send him an email. I'm I'll never free of the email. I... You know, I wanted to meet the owner. It's a ten thousand acre ranch.

To three thousand calories. So was like, if you're gonna do it, let's do it big. You know?


I send him an email

I meet with him.

This he says, yes. Come down tomorrow at... What he said me me at


like, and I was like, when the hell is sunlight like, what does that mean? Even. You know? So I was down here. I pulled in at, like, four in the morning. The stars were still out and I was waiting on his front door.

But a leonard wheeler was great in that because

when he found that out, he immediately likes,

like, you know, started his own little network and he was like, I have a friend.

Lynn. I forget her last name, but she had a ranch,

like, an old old ranch that her family are doing it forever. So he got we on the phone with her and we started talking.


you know, she seemed kinda, like, surprised that it was something I wanted to do.

And she didn't think I was up for, I guess, really... When I came down to it, so she was kinda questioning. It's like, I had, like, that lifestyle in me So she said, to me, you know what? Find one near you,

get a pair of boots and go to work, and then that was how the whole ranch things started off and, like, really kicked it off. So he... He's a huge part of my pivot because, like, from then on it kinda introduced me to slowly and surely, like, realizing

little things that, like, hey, I could do this lifestyle. I could... You know, this is who I could be. So was it was a big deal for me.


Juliet Hahn  01:11:06 

I love that. And so... I just wanna...

Because this... Even before I said to you,

when your husband pivots out of a league and you see the emotions that he takes. And this is, you know, why we wanted to start to this when when I approached you and wanted to talk you.

Because I don't think with... What do I call my myself a lay person?

And we said, we gonna find a different name for it, but someone that's not in the league,

I really got fascinated

with the emotions from the player to the family, and I don't think enough people think of that. You know, oh, you see this person out there. Their professional athlete.


Cynthia Zordich  01:11:39 



Juliet Hahn  01:11:42 

Oh, what is me? They leave the league,

but we need to think about the emotions, the mental health. What does that do as you know, Michael Played football his entire life.

Right? He, you know, your your husband played his entire life, and then when they had to leave the league and it takes a very special


Cynthia Zordich  01:11:53 



Juliet Hahn  01:11:59 

person to be able to say, okay. I wanna help in in this way. You know what I I mean, to get the mindset where I can help spouse. I can help my son,

navigate this. And as as a as a wife versus a mother, what was the difference?



Cynthia Zordich  01:12:14 


well, at this point,

when Might went through it, and I had shared this before he was angry, and he he and we already talked about that. And so I was more,


Juliet Hahn  01:12:22 



Cynthia Zordich  01:12:27 

trying to keep the kids. We like we were all trying to keep them going and stay positive. And and I already knew from doing my book that this was going be a transition that it was not going to be him forever, and that once he got to the the side, he would be fine.

So for Michael V,

it was like a group effort between my husband, and my son, Alex and myself and Aiden at the point was in La, so she wasn't around for it. So we were more

like, a team, and we were very aware that it was wild that what he was going through, and we were kinda like, we come in. It was like, it was like, a museum of


you know, it was like he was taking apart

things that were broken at the house and creating new things out of it. Like, when you think about that, it's kinda weird, But he he made all these objects like these wild objects like these

Like, where's my emergency ladder? If there's a fire? Oh, it's just our soul michael made This is really awesome that I love it. Like, I went... I want more of them. And then it's like, where's the it's car Jack?

That decent in the books over there and they kinda of jacks up and you've got these books


Juliet Hahn  01:13:39 

It's so cool.


Cynthia Zordich  01:13:39 

My son alex was like, is that my helmet in youtube the helm it was now a life fixture in the garage.

And he was in the garage like this mad scientist person,

taking stuff and making new stuff out of it. But I always looked at that. Like, that's pretty cool. Like, that's his way. Like, my husband plays the piano

he focused on land the paid piano, Michael started building things with his hands. Even that... It's that an electric chair, michael or a throne.

In the crowd

We never could figure that one out.


Michael Zordich  01:14:07 

We don't know what it is. Yeah. It's there though.


Cynthia Zordich  01:14:11 

There... So so we were like,


Michael Zordich  01:14:11 



Cynthia Zordich  01:14:14 

you know, very aware, and very respectful of

what was going on in his head. That also,

I hope, I hope we were supportive. I hope that that we were just, like, give him that time to get to the other side. And

knowing that he would get there, just like there's knowing him since he was a kid they you get there.

You know, it's tough though when you see your kids struggling and it's tough, you know, when you know that they're hurting,


Juliet Hahn  01:14:36 



Cynthia Zordich  01:14:40 

but I really do think that I just knew he with yeah. I just knew he would be fine. And I I really respected to the my my husband and my son alex some Alex already knew from playing college Ball that he wanted to do something else right away. He was already doing wine. So it was like, for him,

really emotional and big brother.


Juliet Hahn  01:14:59 



Cynthia Zordich  01:14:59 

What is what is, you know, he didn't want him to hurt at all ever. And you still like that. So seeing Michael go through that and then

going to the ranch,

and he he like, you probably won't tell you this, but, like, he lived in a camper. He he went to work on the ranch. She lived out it's practically the wilderness. He worked at a

processing plant, I think, probably freezing in the winter some of the times, he worked at a butcher shop. He,

you know, just kept growing around in the ranch like, interested doing all these amazing things. So

it was really exciting for us. Michael tell the story about the day you had to, like, spin away from that.


Juliet Hahn  01:15:37 

I... I was just actually just gonna... I was just literally looking down at my note because I was, like, wait that's something that I wanted to ask, so I love that you just said that.


Michael Zordich  01:15:37 



Cynthia Zordich  01:15:43 

That was cool. That had to be really, like, world colliding.


Michael Zordich  01:15:47 

Yeah. Was it was

there was, like, a two thousand five hundred pound in the head, and that's where you like, you know, you give it a shots and take care of a check up on it, but I was standing in front of it and the owner

wasn't paid attention. He opened the front of it, and I was, like, five yards away from this huge bowl, and it just started charging after me So I had to, like, run and dodge it. And, you know

you I have thought that I would be scared after it, but then I was kinda

felt kinda good. Like, I got it had, you know, those those george's flowing again. I just remember... It was a funny memory. I haven't was telling I'm all about as soon it happened, you know? Just because if it felt like, something I used to do


Juliet Hahn  01:16:17 

Right. You're you adrenaline?


Michael Zordich  01:16:26 

in a way, So it was cool.


Juliet Hahn  01:16:27 



Cynthia Zordich  01:16:27 



Michael Zordich  01:16:28 

But, no even to go back on what you said about, like, what you could do as a family, like, aware being aware. That's like a such a great work because that's really all you could do. Like, the there's... It's it's it's on the person, you know,


Cynthia Zordich  01:16:28 



Juliet Hahn  01:16:41 



Michael Zordich  01:16:42 

like, you can you have to be supportive and be aware and like, see that they're going through, but nobody's gonna get through that, but you

in a way, you know? And it was really cool because they they let me go in in in a sense and they, like, accepted

lunatic that I was at the time. You know? So it was very cool to, you know,


Cynthia Zordich  01:17:00 



Michael Zordich  01:17:02 

get come out of that, and you know, everybody's still around and, you know, there's no questions asked to, you know, kind of you know, shows you helping your family, how much it that support, manages that's all that you need from them is like the support. You know, you can't force anybody into anything. You can't change anybody. You just have to be aware of who who they are where they're at and just support what hell they're doing. You know? And I... You know, I had a lot of that, which was you know, very special in me.


Juliet Hahn  01:17:27 

There... I mean, so special.

So I do want to ask the question, if if you could give

you know, youtube bit of advice to

players that are are just entering the league or have an injury. You know, we have some people listening and people that gonna listen that are gonna go through this. What would you

say are your, you know, top two things

for them?


Michael Zordich  01:17:53 


you have to

stay true to who you are, but the only way to do that is to accept where you're at you know?


Juliet Hahn  01:18:02 

Oh, i love that.


Michael Zordich  01:18:03 

So it's it's kinda like

that was the hardest thing for me. I remember I went to, like, my mom set me out speaking about being aware and being quarter, but not being able to do anything. I mean, she set up so many things. Like, you could do this. You can go to this, you know, she set up this bridge to success program.

Or, you know, go to the hotel and and, you know, get lessons from all of these awesome people on what you can do and how to do it and where you can go and what if you need us call us and and I went to it and I like she barely went to it because I didn't wanna accept that I was there. Like, I it was just like, I'm not here. This is I don't need to be here. What am I doing? You know? So I didn't... Like,


Cynthia Zordich  01:18:35 



Michael Zordich  01:18:42 

it was kinda like I locked myself in the hotel room and and go have lunch with the guys. And I, you know, the the whole thing was awesome. I just didn't use it properly because I didn't wanna be honest with myself and say, that you're done. You know? So you kinda have to


Cynthia Zordich  01:18:56 



Michael Zordich  01:18:58 

you have to accept that that's who you are, but you like,

it doesn't change anything either. You know, It's kinda like a,

you know, it's a piece of you that know what happened and it major you who you are today. But, you know, Yeah. You're never gonna get to do it again, but you gotta, like, stick to those memories and and your friends and everything that happen because it's a, you know,

I'd like to

we were talking about my dad, and his struggles. I mean, he played twelve years. And here I am. I like to say that I sn the Nfl. I played... I played, you know,

I went through one camp one season on I, and then a half a season on private well. I... You know, I I almost hate saying that I was there. Like, I that I played in the Nfl, you know, But

either way,

like... Oh I always like to think this like, nobody leaves that league happy. Like, the who he ever wants to stop playing. You know? So you're gonna... Like, there's gonna be that battle once it's done on, like, how to handle it. So I just... I really think that, you know,


Juliet Hahn  01:19:49 



Michael Zordich  01:19:57 

acceptance is a big deal, but that doesn't mean that you, like have to give up on yourself. It just means that, like,

it... This is where you are. This is who you are now.

And then, I guess, the other thing would be,

like, don't be afraid to

like, sacrifice

pay for passion, You know, like, go try things. They go go do something new, like, experience, I get your blood flowing, you know, that was that was a big thing for me because I went from, you know, solid paycheck even as a

into free agent on with a with a cut. In pay because of my injury, that's still a hefty paycheck

every week too, you know, working on a ranch as a ranch that eight bucks an hour living out of a camper, and I really didn't have any money, but that also almost strips you down in, like, you know,

get, like,

really introduces you to you. And I think that that was a big deal for me, You know, just trying things checking off the list. If you don't like it, don't do it again, but then go try something else. Like I said before, like that really

kind of like, narrow things down for me. This is what I like. This is what I absolutely hate. This is then this this probably what I wanna do, you know,


Juliet Hahn  01:21:08 



Michael Zordich  01:21:08 

the thing is is, like, you could find a new passion. You could be a new person,

but you're always gonna wanna play the game. Like, I still wake up and still want to like, be playing the game. I still like, Have dreams about, you know, the phone ringing and and I get picked up and I'm on the team again. You know? I don't think that that is ever gonna leave you. But that's not a bad thing. You know? That's like it's actually like a really good thing because you know it, you know that feeling you've been there before. So you know, it doesn't make you a failure just, you know, it was a part of your life that doesn't exist anymore, but it's still part of who you are. So I just...

You know, I think a lot of people go through the self doubt and the, like, the misery and, you know, it's really easy to question yourself and get down on yourself, and and you're gonna have to do that.

It's the only way to like, get out of it or, like, heal from it is to do all of that stuff. That maybe that's to the third point. Is, like, don't be afraid to


like, don't be afraid if you're going. If you're down in the dumps,

that's totally normal. Like, you're allowed to feel that it's, you know,


Juliet Hahn  01:22:08 



Michael Zordich  01:22:09 

feelings or feelings, there's nothing wrong with them. So you can you can go... You can go to those places,

just be aware of it.


Juliet Hahn  01:22:15 

I love that. And, you know what?

I think it's one thing that you've touched on or just set my microphone. Sorry i've hit anyone's theirs.

One of the things that you said, and I think it's so important because I teach my kids this all the time.

It's okay to know what you don't mean like, what what your you don't know what you're supposed to do. Right? They... You know, my son's in high school now and he's like, well, they say, like, you know, I need to pick a track and what I'm gonna do for the rest of my life, and I'm like, no No. No.

It's better to know what you don't want to do. And sometimes when you figure out those things that you don't wanna do, it leaves you to the thing that you're meant to do. But, you know, we're we're you're young. We're young. We don't when we don't know. So I love that you touched on that and saying that to that, you know, people are gonna be in the league getting out of the league injured in the league that try everything because you're gonna find out what you don't like and what you don't wanna do. And that's gonna lead you to the thing that, you know, you're meant to do and that you want to do.


Michael Zordich  01:23:07 


Think is a... Like, it it's okay to try new stuff, and it's okay to realize that you don't like it. It's like, that's it's totally normal that

it's an experience. I I I draw a lot of my, like... I would say knowledge or, like,

lessons from experience. This is how I am. It's... And... I think that the only way I'm gonna know

wholeheartedly about something is if I do it or if I've done it or, you know, if I've experienced it and,

you know, again, like, pain is a great experience to have. It's like a good thing. You just say it's all about how you approach it, you know? And you're a, again, accept it, like, be heard about it. You know?


Juliet Hahn  01:23:40 



Michael Zordich  01:23:45 

That's I think that that is like, one thing that we as guys really suck at you know, we just always wanna, like be the tough guy or, like,

you know, just act like it didn't happen or not that doesn't hurt. That doesn't, you know, whatever.

But you it only definitely only makes it worse down the road. You know? So


Juliet Hahn  01:24:02 

Right. Because you're stuffing it. And that's my big thing. Don't stuff it because it's gonna come out somewhere.


Michael Zordich  01:24:04 

right. And that...

Absolutely. Absolutely. And then it there's like this a moment when you're just honest about it, where you're like, you know, you go through a lot of, like, little lies in your head when you try to hide something and you just act like everything's good.

You're like, you're playing apart and you're not yourself. You know, It's like you're you're you're just putting on a face for the public instead of, like, being yourself And I think that that's because you're just of all those little lies and all that acting. You know? But then

you could feel, like this point where you just say, like, where you're at who you are, like, and that honesty

is so much easier and then you're just like,

wow. That's that's it. Like, it's that easy. You know what I mean? Like, there's no...

I don't have to, like, follow up on that or come up, you know? And and I I think that that's a big thing is like, you know,

being honest about, you know, where you're at who you are and, you know...

You're figuring things out. It's not an easy thing to do

the thing for me was realizing that like, I wasn't the only one to that do it. You know, there's been a lot of guys that have gone through it too. And I think that, like,


Juliet Hahn  01:25:06 



Michael Zordich  01:25:10 

in my case, I'd like it to like, at least get out to, you know, all those other guys that were just free agents or dot cut in the first week of camp and and then never got to play again because they still had that eighteen, twenty years of dreaming just like everybody else. You know? So leaving the game after twelve years, Yes. Absolutely Hard.

Leaving the game that, you know, after a week is just as hard, Like, there's a lot of guys like me in that sense that, you know, I feel like

we especially go through like that

that let like, stormy me whether where with question or

we question whether, you know, we were good enough or, like, could we have done it? And it's not that. It's just, like, you know, should happen and you just, like, it's more so

moving on with your dream, but, you know, not killing yourself over it.


Cynthia Zordich  01:25:58 



Juliet Hahn  01:25:58 

Yeah. I think that's so beautiful, Michael.

And, again, I've just... I love this so much. I would love for you to tell people where they can mind you and what you're doing right now.


Michael Zordich  01:26:07 

Yeah. So I'm still on the ranch in Cat, Ohio, but

partnered with the owner now and opened up my own knee processing plan. It's called Fancy Meats,

fancy hyphen dot com.

And we're just kinda getting off the ground, getting going I'm really excited about it. I think it has a lot of potential, but

it's just, you know, kinda

came full circle and now, you know,

making my way to it. Even now, like, I'm doing... I want what I want to do is be a lando on a ranch and and run a ranch. But in order to do that, I need to have a ranch, and this is kind of a step. So here I am locked away and, like, a little

reprocessing plant working inside every day, which, you know, that's not my passion,

but it's something that will get me through that passion. So there's still

that still goes on, I think, like, throughout your entire life, You gotta, like, sacrifice a little bit of something to get what you want and, you know,


Juliet Hahn  01:26:59 



Michael Zordich  01:27:00 

but you're just keeping, like, that confidence and you know, just that understanding of yourself as a big deal?


Juliet Hahn  01:27:07 

I love that. Someday, you don't have your headphones in, but did you wanna add something?


Cynthia Zordich  01:27:11 

Oh, yeah. I'm home on battery.


Juliet Hahn  01:27:13 

Oh, you're no worries. There you are. I didn't know I if we can hear you Yet. Perfect.


Cynthia Zordich  01:27:16 

No. It's fine. It sounds like for us as a family.

You know, Ohio landing cattle in my goal being on the ranch

going out to visit him,

watching him navigate the land, like, it's crazy how it seems like so natural and for us to see him do something that brings him so much joy that it's like just send natural with the animals it's that you've been natural

just even in the processing,

and we witnessed every step of it and he done pretty much everything on the ranch.

And then no, it's like, yeah. It's like, all you want is for

anybody that has let, something that they love, find something.

Else that they love another passion, and there's so many things out there, and I love that idea of just, you know, working to find it and understanding that in that jury, it doesn't mean that you fail if you don't like things that you're doing, it just means that wasn't for you. And Russell Shepherd said that and an interview that we did with him where he was, like, he had to stop looking at things like he was failing, but this that those weren't that things for him and not you has his own like big waste and company. And I think that's important for these players to know on families to know that it is


Juliet Hahn  01:27:58 



Cynthia Zordich  01:28:30 

it it might take a little bit of time, but only when you get there and you can to speak ten, you know, just that family one. That's why I get so excited so I find that like come on today to share that because there are a lot of kids that are go through the transition i, whether it's this your next year.



Juliet Hahn  01:28:48 

Yeah. And I think it's so beautifully sunday. You said that and I also wanna say all the stuff that you're learning, you're learning how to you know, you humane

raise these cattle and and and

and feed them correctly and and do the right thing. To make the best meats. And that is something for me. It's important for me to say that because I know there's people that, you know, or vegans or pest that don't eat me and don't understand it. And the fact that you're learning the, you know, the craft of how you can best

support the animals and raise them and have a relationship with them and and do all that, I think is really cool. And I remember your mom saying that to me. And I was like, that's so special that, you know, where your journey has led you and all the different things and, of course, I love that your mom was a cane. Listen, you know, I'd listening to this Npr because I do this to my kids all the time. And half the time, I don't in Thing i mean they're still young. So I'm hoping that one day, that I'll have them on stage or they'll say something like, you know, mom. Yeah. It was you that gave me the idea.

Because that is one thing that's so special as a parent to know that you are there supporting your kids. And as your mom said, sometimes you just need to be support there and they so they know that you're there, but you can't change the trajectory of what their life is meant to be. And so the fact that you guys have this

special relationship. You can feel it. I mean, you can feel all the excitement. And and this is what I love to talk about in all of the things that you talked about. You can hear where you are excited and you can hear, you know, where you're going is

is just a special place. So I just wanna thank you so much. You know, for joining Why live within a nfl thread pivot

because it is gonna help so many people to listen to your story and stories connect us as I said earlier, they connect us but they also

allow us to learn and grow and and your story gonna help others. I mean, I know Erica is in the in the audience right now, and she takes took a lot out of this.

And, Eric, I'm sorry if I'm putting words into your mouth. But, you know, her son just gotten the league. So it's like, okay. I'm aware. I know what to kinda expected we can't prepare ourselves for everything, but the knowledge when you have knowledge,

it really can take you far. So, again, I appreciate it so much for you taking the time.

Yep Go ahead down.


Cynthia Zordich  01:30:54 

Before you stuff, I do wanna definitely mention that

even though I go went into the bridge to success with point in.

It is an the amazing program, and it did you go the stages with leonard wheeler. So I wanted to say that if anybody is,

you know, going through

physician or have some... Because they love that is gonna to transition right now. The programs name has changed. Just now life beyond the game.

But keep life as a wonderful job heading up that program, so you can either go into your player portal at players dot nfl dot com to find it. It's coming this October,

or you can actually email, keep directly as key


It's e i a s at nfl dot com. So if you know anybody that is in the middle transition or maybe they're ten years and you still feel like good would benefit from the program. What I love about them is that they're... You letter her if it was

you know, you kinda contract you send a contract. You're in. You made it to the highest level. You are a part of that one percent.

And we are here to remind you of that and who you are as a group. And michael goal, you shared with me that

whereas she just sit like people talking at you with that particular time in your life. The breeze sessions were really awesome for you to be with your peers to talk real.


Michael Zordich  01:32:15 

Yeah. No. The whole program is awesome. I just didn't take advantage of it because I didn't wanna accept that I was in it, but the the breakout sessions were the part that I really walked away from, Like, that was awesome. Because you got in a room with a bunch of guys that, you know, we're gonna do the same thing you were, and you just talk with each other. You know, ask one i'm question and then let the room go where it goes. And I got so much out of that. It was just kinda refreshing to hear, you know, guys talking about the same issues that I was having, like, you know,


Cynthia Zordich  01:32:21 



Michael Zordich  01:32:43 

I go to a a meeting, and I just don't... I I don't like being around the people I'm around because I don't like the way they're thinking. Right? You know,

this like, that lack of connection or understanding with your environment. It was it was cool to... To not... It was good to know they're like, I'm not insane and that these guys are going through this too. You know? So that that that kind of, like,

you know, what what would you call that? Even just that community effect there

matter a lot to me?


Juliet Hahn  01:33:15 

I love it. I love it. Well, again, thank you so much for joining Y live with Nfl thread pivot.

I am so honored that I've known you when you're were A live little bird, and I can still remember you with your Jersey and your football always running. Always at top speed and, you know, aiden and Alex as well. I mean, you guys do have such a special family and such, you know, special place in my heart, and I love what your mom and I are creating and what we're doing and I'm so happy

to be reconnected. And as I said, I always talk about you meet people in your life. Sometimes it's... You don't see why that, you know, that introduction or that relationship

is there sometimes relationships are just relationships, but sometimes those relationships

grow bigger and they allow you to do stuff that, you know, your mom and I are doing. And so

I'm just again, honored

for you to join everyone. Thank you where you're listening. If you're listening a Linkedin,

Youtube, Facebook, Twitch, if you're here in Fireside, if you're listening to the replay,

definitely reach out if you guys have more questions because this is an important thing.

Don't let someone just be alone. That's going through this. Be there to support them let them know that there is support because it is, if you really deeply think about that

pivoting out of the league,

is whether it's nfl any sort of high level, something, it is going to do something to your brain. It doesn't matter how stable you are.

You're gonna go through something. So the fact of their support is really important to talk about. So,

Cynthia, thank you as always.

And, Michael, thank you so much.


Cynthia Zordich  01:34:42 



Michael Zordich  01:34:44 

Thank you. This is awesome. And good luck with everything with this. Just you guys it's going to a good place.


Juliet Hahn  01:34:49 

Thank you.


Cynthia Zordich  01:34:49 



Michael Zordich  01:34:50 



Juliet Hahn  01:34:51 

I'm gonna put a little music on


wow. That's really slow. Doesn't expecting that.


Michael Zordich  01:34:57 



Juliet Hahn  01:35:01 

Yeah. Like go. It's like a little piano there. Well, usually, it's a little bit more. But, again, thank you for everyone that joined, and we will see you guys for another amazing


Michael Zordich  01:35:04 



Juliet Hahn  01:35:10 

show whether it's way live with Nfl pivot or whether it's y live with Thread, you will catch some The here in the next coming weeks. So definitely don't to check out our

agenda and Rs To the next show. Alright, everyone. Bye.


Michael Zordich  01:35:25 

We'll see. Thank you.


Juliet Hahn  01:35:26 

Bye, Michael.


Michael Zordich  01:35:27 

Bye bye.


Juliet Hahn  01:35:27 

So good to see your face.



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