At UNRIVALED, we introduce sports fans to the pro athletes they haven’t heard enough about. You’ll hear from rising and overshadowed athletes who share their journey to becoming pros and their unique passions outside of their sport.
This Inside the Jersey features C.J. Ham, a fullback for the Minnesota Vikings. C.J. is an All Pro football player, but behind the scenes he’s a devout family guy who overcame a speech impediment, made the NFL as an undrafted free agent from Division 2 Augustana University and happily switched positions after the Vikings asked. Have you heard his story?
Check out the Q&A with C.J. and don’t forget to listen to the podcast:
UNRIVALED: What’s the vacation spot you can’t wait to revisit?
C.J.: I’m definitely a family guy. I have a wife and two kids, and we went to Clearwater Beach for our first vacation a handful of years ago. Looking forward to going back.
UNRIVALED: What is the movie you never get tired of watching?
C.J.: I haven’t watched it in a while and don’t watch too many movies, but my favorite movie is “Iron Man.”
UNRIVALED: What is the home cooked meal you request most often?
C.J.: As a kid, it was fried chicken and mashed potatoes, so I’m going to stick with that.
UNRIVALED: What’s the snack you can’t get enough of?
C.J.: This off season. I was kinda on my health kick. So, it was a gluten-free toast with peanut butter and sliced banana on top and with a little bit of honey
UNRIVALED: Let’s say you’re in charge of making dinner. What is your go-to meal to make?
C.J.: Oh, that’s easy. My family is a big breakfast family, so right away I’m making eggs, sausage, bacon, and pancakes. I think we just did that a couple of nights ago, actually.
UNRIVALED: What is your most recent splurge?
C.J.: It was a very hard purchase for me, but I actually just got a new vehicle; a 2021 Tahoe. So that was treating myself I guess a little bit and I’m very happy with the choice.
UNRIVALED: What team did you cheer for growing up?
C.J.: I grew up in Minnesota, so I was a big Minnesota fan, but I also followed a lot of players. My early nickname was “The Bus” so I was a huge Jerome Bettis fan; for a long time, I wanted to be just like him.
UNRIVALED: If you weren’t a professional athlete, what career field would we find you in?
C.J.: Oh, it’s a tough question. I went to school to be a teacher. I was going to be a PE teacher and health teacher and then get into coaching. So possibly doing that. As of recently, I felt this pull to get into ministry. So, I’m definitely thinking about [that] when my career comes to an end as well.
UNRIVALED: What coach or teacher still texts, emails or calls on a regular basis?
C.J.: I actually stay in touch with a lot of my coaches as a kid. My college coach, me and him are very close. We talk every so often just kind of checking in on each other to see how we’re doing. My senior year coach texts me every so often as well. It’s just nice to be able to keep in contact with those guys and know they had a big influence on me.
UNRIVALED: What is the product that you would never forget to take on a road trip or when you’re away from home?
C.J.: As soon as they came out with the Theragun; that’s something I bring to every workout. I bring it to the facility every single day. It’s something that I carry on with me and definitely gets me ready.
UNRIVALED: What ritual or routine has to take place before every game?
C.J.: I listen to a lot of gospel praise and worship music, but once we go back into the locker room I have to text my parents and my wife and tell them I love them.
UNRIVALED: Is there a product or a service at home that has changed your life?
C.J.: Amazon Echo Show. We use that all the time. Whenever the kids start crying or when we’re eating dinner, we just start playing music and have little dance parties in the kitchen.
UNRIVALED: Those must be some fun dance parties!
C.J.: Oh, they are great!