Shy Tuttle had a pretty remarkable NFL rookie year during the 2019 season. He hails from Midway, North Carolina where he discovered his love of sports as a member of his high school’s basketball, football and track and field teams. He went on to play four seasons of college football with the Tennessee Volunteers before signing with the New Orleans Saints in April 2019. He made his NFL debut on September 9 and soon became a household name in NOLA, thanks to his first career interception that went viral. Just before our interview, Shy recently shared his inspiring journey (and ice cream for the whole school!) with the students of Midway Elementary School in North Carolina.
How has sports positively impacted your life?
Sports have impacted my life in a positive way by allowing me to visit other places throughout the country and encounter things that I wouldn’t have had a chance to experience if I had not been playing football. Traveling also helped me think beyond my small-town mindset and helped me realize that I didn’t have to live in Midway my whole life.
Who is one of your sports heroes that inspires you to pursue excellence on the field?
Honestly, my teammates now. Guys like Cam Jordan, Mike Thomas, Drew Brees, Demario Davis, Teddy Bridgewater. Not only are these guys superstars on the field, they also do phenomenal things in the community. I think just being around guys like that every day and seeing how they carry themselves inspired me to follow their lead and learn from them. I’m nowhere near their level as far as giving back to the community or doing other off-field activities, but it is something I’m very interested in doing. I feel like giving back is very important and thankful I am in the position to do it.
Can you describe the emotions you feel when you’ve made a great play (such as the epic interception you had in last season’s game against the Falcons)?
I was excited; it’s really a feeling you can’t describe because you’re just so in the moment. We had a lot of game left to play so I couldn’t celebrate too much. We still had to secure the W. I was extremely tired after that play though, I needed an oxygen mask!
What mental tools do you use when you’re under pressure on and off the field?
Being able to react fast and my critical thinking. If you would have asked me in college, I would’ve said being able to complete tasks in little to no time at all.
What causes are you most passionate about?
Diabetes runs in my family, so that’s something I’m very concerned about. Another thing I’m passionate about is youth. I would love to start working with low income kids in the Midway area–just to be someone they can talk to or hangout with them as kind of a mentor. Because I grew up in that same situation, I’m able to relate and hopefully inspire them to believe that they can do anything they put their mind to. I am a living example of this.
Why do you personally believe that Sport Fuels Life?
Sports just did so many things for me, such as creating a way for me to meet new people and obtain my college degree. It enabled me to change my whole family’s outlook on life. It has taught me so many skills that I will use long after the game is over–how to interact with different types of people, being schedule oriented and on time, and working together with a group to achieve something bigger than myself. That’s what fuels me. I feel like I haven’t even touched the surface of what I can do on and off the field.