Maurice Drayton played with Crocodiles in 2006. He participated in Euro Bowl games and visited Moscow as well as met the Swedish Champs Stockholm Mean Machine at home. Unfortunately his season was cut short when he tore his Achilles tendon in a game against Roosters.
Crocodiles decided to keep Maurice in Finland and had him coach the D. And what a job he did. It would be a understatement to say that he did a good job.
Not only did the Crocodiles finish no 1 after the regular season with a record of 11-1, but the team allowed only 74 points in 12 regular season games.
As Maurice signed for the Green Bay Packers we decided to ask him if he had time to fill in the blanks and tell as what’s cooking. Here’s what he came up with!
How did I end up coming to Seinäjoki?
I went on-line to a website Euro Players after submitting a profile. Several teams responded but after talking to Eero Martinmäki I felt like The Crocodiles and Seinäjoki was the place for me.
What is my playing background?
I played my early High School years at Canton McKinley in Canton Ohio. This is where the Pro Football Hall of Fame is located. My family moved to South Carolina my last year in High School where my parents are from. I finished my high school playing career at Berkeley HS in Moncks Corner, SC. I attended College and played Football at The Citadel in Charleston, SC. I played in the Arena Football Leagues as well as try-outs and brief stints in the NFL, XFL and CFL.
What do you remember from your times in Seinäjoki?
The People….. Everyone was so great! Really good human beings who care about one another because of this Great game of Football.
Was there any major surprises for you when you came over?
No major surprises, the organization did a fabulous job of explaining everything that I would encounter. My time in Finland was truly one of the best experiences of my life.
What was my injury in Finland?
I tore my right Achilles tendon in the 4th quarter of a game against The Roosters.
Was the injury the end of my competitive playing career?
No, I played in competitive flag football leagues in addition to coaching where my team won back-to-back-to-back State Championship Titles.
When did I begin my college coaching career?
I started coaching college football at The Citadel in 1999. I have also coached college football at South Carolina State University, Coastal Carolina, and University of Southern Mississippi.
What college did I coach before going to the Indianapolis Colts?
I was in my 2nd stint with The Citadel. I was the Asst. Head Coach, Defensive Coordinator, and Corners Coach.
In your opinion did Andrew Luck’s injuries keep you guys from reaching the success that was anticipated?
Yes Sir, His injuries directly affected the results during my time there. He is a great person and player, it hard to fill his shoes. We also had several other key injuries during my 2 seasons there that had a direct effect on outcomes. I still would not trade any of it because of the lessons learned.
What was my title at The Colts?
Assistant Special Teams – My role was to echo and carry out any task the Head coach Chuck Pagano and Special Teams coordinator Tom McMahon asked me to do. It was a great education because I got a chance to work with every athlete in the program.
At what stage did I hear about the Green Bay Packers opportunity?
Mid-January 2018, I have a really good friend Joe Whitt (DB’s coach) who called me to tell me about the opportunity.
The Packers are one of the most storied franchises in the NFL, how did it feel to join the ball club?
I did an Internship with The Packers in 2009 and 2010 in the spring/ summer so there was a familiarity with the organization. Every day I come to work I realize how special this place is. I do not take it for granted and cherish it daily. You can feel and absorb the history of this place as you walk the grounds and visit the Hall of Fame and Stadium tours.
Was there other opportunities for me this year in the NFL?
Yes, I had the opportunity to go to the Denver Broncos and stay with the Indianapolis Colts.
What does it mean to you and your family to be able to coach at the highest level of American Football?
We absolutely love it and do not take it for granted. I have made a commitment to help as many young men and women reach their goals on this level as possible. My personal mantra is “Lifting as I Climb!!!” This basically means I am not satisfied and will keep learning and growing to go as high as I can in life while helping others!
Am I a family oriented guy?
Absolutely!!! My Family and Friends are my WHY!
Tell us about your family?
I am very protective of my family. Married with two kids 18 (boy) and 9 (girl) I will tell my friends more in person.
Where do you make your home?
Laugh out Loud…. Coaches are like Nomads, we don’t have homes, we have houses. We just go to the next job trying to Win Championships!!! My parents are from South Carolina so we claim that area. A small town called Moncks Corner.
What are my hobbies? How do I relax? Where do I vacation?
My hobbies have changed over the years as I have got older. I use to ride motorcycles for stress relief now I cut grass and lawn care to relax. I don’t know how much of that I will do in Green Bay because of the weather. I like traveling and visiting historic places. I am also into real estate. My family likes visiting beaches and traveling together.
Is life in the NFL as glorious as it is portrayed?
Not for most of us. Most people sacrifice a great deal to be on this platform. My loved ones do not get to be with me often because I am involved in this league. We are working on holidays, birthdays etc… There are no such thing as sick days in the NFL. When it is go time, nothing can stop the train from rolling. No one is bigger than the team.
What is good about it and what is the downside?
The good is all the relationships you have with all the great people you meet. The downside is you very rarely have family time. You spend more time with coaches, players, and preparation than your own children.
How many people are asking for free tickets to NFL games?
LOL!!!! So many I can’t count. The truth is I do not get free tickets. I have to purchase tickets home or away when my friends want to attend games.
Who has been the most influential person in your career thus far?
I have truly been blessed, there are so many people who have helped me along the way I will not list anyone other than my father (Sandy Drayton) for fear I would forget to list someone.
Tell us about the players, what are they like behind the curtains?
The players come from all backgrounds and walks of life. They are no different than the guys who you may have shared locker rooms and have been on teams with. The one thing that stands out the most is each one of these guys was the best at what they do at one time or another. They are regular people who the good Lord granted with a skill set that most people don’t have.
Have you taken your stuff to Wisconsin yet?
YES, typically when you accept a job in the NFL you start right away. Most people leave their family behind until the end of the school year and then move them.
Do I get freebie tickets and a sideline pass to photograph Packers vs. Bears?
Yes if it is up to me. Let’s check the proper protocol and see if we can’t make it happen!