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Q&A: BC Lions’ defensive back Ronnie Yell – The Province

Posted in Tattoo Designs on Sep 06, 2017

Defensive back Ronnie Yell is looking forward to having his young son see him play football in person for the first time.Gerry Kahrmann / PNG

Blessed with a keen eye for art off the football field, Ronnie Yell has never been short of inspiration on it. Now, the fourth-year defensive back goes one-on-one with Cam Tucker in the B.C. Lions Blitz Q&A, where they discuss tattoo designs, the art of the interception and the moment during NFL training camp when Yells life changed forever.

Q: Ive noticed you have a lot of tattoos. How many do you have?

A: As far as a number count, I cannot give you that. I completely lost count of all my tattoos. I can tell you where Im covered. My whole front side is covered, all arms, all back and were working on legs next.

Q: When did you get your first tattoo?

A: Fifteen.

Q: I read that you do a lot of paintings, drawings and art work. When did you discover that you had an artistic talent?

A: That came from (when I was) young. Id say early ages. My mom just kept me in a lot of creative stuff, just kept me busy. Kept my in sports and outside of sports, I was a good student, so when I was done my homework, I just doodled. Ive got a creative imagination so I paint a lot. I draw. A lot of my tattoos, Ive drawn myself. Im just really artistic. Im into fashion. Im into designs. I started that at a really early age.

Q: How many of your tattoos are from your own personal designs?

A: Every tattoo I have has some sort of my design in it. I gave the artist an idea, I drew the idea for them and then I basically let them get in the rings and incorporate what they do.

Q: Does it hurt?

A: Some of them. Some spots hurt more than others but none of them feel good.

Q: Id imagine all of your tattoos are personally significant, but is there one that you would say has a really special meaning for you?

A: I would definitely my sons tattoo I have his footprints tattooed on my neck with his name and his birthdate. Thats definitely to date my most prized possession for tattoos. Thats my pride and joy right there, man. That would definitely have to be my most important.

Q: Your son was born during Arizona Cardinals training camp. That mustve been an amazing moment but given where you were in your career, trying to make the NFL. How did you balance the two?

A: Honestly, it was really hard balancing due to the fact that I was fresh out of college. It wasnt like I was in the league and established and I could miss time or take off. I really couldnt. I was trying to make a team, I was trying to make a 53-man roster, so I couldnt leave. The coach at the time, Bruce Arians, I asked him at the time if I could go see the birth and he was open about it and said I could, but as a player you can tell you can tell demeanours, you can tell just how coaches are. I couldnt miss that. Unfortunately I missed the birth of my son but it turned out well. Im here and Im able to provide for him.

Q: When you got back to see your son, what was that like?

A: It was amazing. It was the first thing I wanted to do. Right when I got released, I almost immediately came up here (to the Lions during the CFL practice roster expansion period) so I had about a month in between when I got released and when I came up here. Everyday I spent with him. It was amazing. It was a lot of time missed being in training camp and it was a lot of time made up with the month off. Our relationship is amazing today.

Q: What will that mean to you when he comes up here for a game?

A: Its going to mean everything. It will be his first time actually seeing me play live and not on television. Seeing what dad does best in real life. That will be really exciting. Hes going to be really excited. It will be a fun time.

Q: Whats his name?

A: Kaeto Akai which stands for the first born and then Yell.

Q: You played quarterback in high school. You made the transition to defensive back at San Jose State. What went into the transition and how difficult was it?

A: The transition wasnt too hard. Im not the prototype quarterback stature or size or arm. None of that. I already knew after high school that I wasnt going to play quarterback anymore. So going into college, it was either slot receiver or DB. The determining factor was I came in, they tried me at DB and I started all four years at San Jose. That was the story right there.

Q: The art of the interception what goes into getting an interception?

A: The art of the interception, it comes in all ways. Its preparation. Its film study. Knowing exactly whats coming, knowing exactly what your opponents going to do. Honestly, just when the ball is there, its making sure youre in position and going and making a play on the ball. A lot of DBs in the league, they kind of panic when that ball comes or they dont look at where the ball is at. Theyre just chasing. Youve got to look and see where that ball is at all times and when its there, youve just got to go get it. Go make a play.

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Q&A: BC Lions’ defensive back Ronnie Yell – The Province

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