Malcolm Mitchell doesn’t want to be remembered as only a football player.
While the sport is a big part of his life, the New England Patriots receiver, who played college at Georgia, isn’t looking to be defined by just one avenue. It’s part of the reason he used his platform at Georgia to take a dive into writing. And when he decided to become an author, it was due to a love for reading he developed after joining a local book club – made famous thanks to an appearance on “CBS This Morning.”
Mitchell, who helped the Patriots win Super Bowl LI as a rookie with six catches and 70 yards against the Atlanta Falcons, recently returned to Athens to take in last Saturday’s Georgia’s 24-10 win over South Carolina. The Friday before the game, Mitchell filmed a spot for CampusLore, which showcased his return to the college he called home for five years.
The Telegraph tagged along for the shoot and spoke with Mitchell one on one for roughly 10 minutes, with the bulk of it about his reading and writing pursuits. (Some of the interview was edited for clarity.)
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Q: How’s everything going with being an author? Are you working on another book? Are you still promoting “The Magician’s Hat”?
A: “The Magician’s Hat” is just a part of who I am. Everywhere I go it’s a part of me. Obviously I started that journey here. Now my hopes are to become an author, and with the (three-book) deal with Scholastic, that looks like it could be a dream come true.
Q: One of things you said (during filming) that stood out was the platform you get when you come to UGA. How were you able to use that, especially when it came to pursuing being an author and a writer?
A: Just having great people around me. The people I listen to that I learned from, that was set in place here as resources. And then just trying to open my mind to new experiences, things that might have been foreign that I saw when I was a child.
Q: Have you had a chance to keep writing?
A: Yes, writing is not just a hobby, it’s a way of life for me now – even if it’s not for a book. Just writing for an hour a day, that’s something I do. Just like I read for an hour, I write for an hour. No matter what it’s about. I might not be writing a book but just expressing some creative thoughts.
Q: Has it always been that way since you started that journey or when did you start budgeting time for that sort of thing?
A: Reading, since I started that journey, there is no budgeting time. Any time I can read, I read. I have to be more thoughtful about writing just because obviously I play football. A lot of time during certain periods of the year I’m consumed with that. Writing has become a part of who I am.
Q: You said you write for an hour a day. What are you writing?
A: Whatever I can come up with. It could be expressing thoughts. It could be expressing feelings. It could be expressing myself in a creative way, coming up with some made-up story that I just thought about on the spot. Just any form of writing, poetry. Anything.
Q: You obviously have the book club here. Is there anybody up in Boston or the surrounding area that you have hooked up with since playing for New England?
A: Jeff Kinney, author of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” allowed me to come to his bookstore and hang out. He’s from up there. I met all the employees at a store. I go over there and hang out. We’re talking about trying to get something started there to promote reading. That won’t stop no matter where I’m at. That’s not just a day thing.
Q: Leaving Georgia, do you quantify what you’re most proud of, whether it’s football or becoming an author and pursuing that route?
A: Listen, football has dominated and will dominate my life as long as I play. I hope it does because that means I’m doing well. But if that’s what defines me and what people remember me as when I’m gone from this earth, I’ll feel like I failed. I found this piece of life, which is reading, that can help people become better, learn and achieve goals. I can score a touchdown and make people happy momentarily. Somebody else is going to do that too. And that’s fine. That’s the way it goes. I understand that. But the love I have for reading, the love I have for writing, the love I have for promoting both, the love I have for trying to get kids to read because I believe it will help them, now that, to me, is more powerful than anything I can do on the field.