The Amazing Race will premiere on CBS this coming Sunday night at 8 p.m. ET. Featured as one of the groups in the popular reality show will be former NFL players Chester Pitts and Ephriam Salaam.
Pitts and Salaam became good friends after Ephriam found Chester bagging groceries at a local store, convinced him to come try out for the San Diego State football team and, eventually, the two both made it into the NFL.
Now they're trekking around the country in search of $1 million. Eye on Football chatted with the former players about The Amazing Race, the Texans (they both played for Houston) and much more below.
TAR premieres Sunday, September 29 at 8 p.m. ET so tune in/DVR.
Eye on Football: How did you guys decide to get into The Amazing Race?
Ephraim Salaam: It was literally a seven year process for me. I couldn't do the show while I was playing because I couldn't get the time off so I had been wanting to do this for quite some time.
Chester Pitts: It was all E. Literally, I couldn't tell you anything about the actual process because Ephraim called me and said will you do The Amazing Race with me. I grew to have a real love for The Amazing Race because it was real. That is what reality TV should be.
EOF: What about being a former NFL player will help you in this competition?
ES: Just being able to tune out your surroundings and focus in on the task at hand. That is the biggest advantage.
CP: The first phrase that pops in my head is battle tested. I've been through a multitude of trying and testing: weather, good situations, bad situation. As far as dealing with stress, I've done that. There are not a lot of situations you could through me in that I can't handle. A strong mental attitude and physical presence will help.
EOF: What contestants do you see as your biggest barrier to winning and why?
ES: We put everybody in the same category. The one thing you don't want to do is over estimate or underestimate your opponent. You have to put everyone on even playing field and treat everyone the same. If not someone will sneak up on you and surprise you.
CP: I thought Tim and Marie were going to be very formidable annd I thought Adam and Brandon were going to be very formidable. Going in I thought a guy/guy team had an advantage physically but then when you add in some challenge like dancing or whatever they may through your way, women may excel at that.
EOF: What is the most embarrassing song on your iPod?
ES: Under the Sea by the little mermaid.
CP: Just Give Me A Reason by P!nk and Nate Ruess
EOF: What's the biggest challenge of The Amazing Race?
ES: The biggest challenge was the travel aspect. Our size was not conducive to some of the traveling restrictions.
CP: Being away from your family for such a long time. That is the toughest part for me.
ES: The Texans are struggling on offense because they don't have a rhythm. The number one thing is they are getting silly penalties and that takes them from their progression. The system is built around managing the downs. You have to start on first down and gain a certain amount of yard to make 2nd and third down manageable. They are getting penalties and digging themselves holes. It is hard to recover from that.
CP: The Texans are struggling on offense right now because they are not executing the way they should be. The key to great team sports is everyone being on the same page at the same time. All it takes is one person to mess up the entire play. That is the curse of team sports. Right now they are not playing as well as they should be as a whole.
ES: I would pick my wife. We're the best team in the world.
CP: There is no other person on the planet I would run the Race with other than Ephraim Salaam. No question.