postion Defensive lineman
NFL Draft: 1984 / Round 1 / Pick 16
Professional football player, actor and personal fitness coach, Pete Koch, is striving to better himself by helping others.
My Elite Network: Were you involved in drama/acting in high school and what were you?
Pete Koch: I was shy. I was socially awkward and anxious, so I just buried myself in sports.…football, baseball and basketball. I was the president of the senior high school band, so, I expressed my artistic side with my trombone. I didn’t have any interest in acting.
My Elite Network:How did your movie career begin?
PeteKoch: Growing up in New York on Long Island, I had a friend who was eight years older than me, kind of a big brother, his name is Perry Rosen. He was working in New York City as an actor, doing some commercials and some off-Broadway plays. He would also come see me play football at the University of Maryland. When I started playing pro ball, Perry was living in Los Angles, he encouraged me to move to LA in the off season, which I did. Once there, he encouraged me to get an agent and he showed me the ropes. He would say all the time that I could be successful. And just like that, everything worked out - he was my original champion to get into the acting business.
My Elite Network: Do you ever miss playing football?
Pete Koch: Because I’m a reasonable man, I know I can’t. I mean the game tells you when it’s time to get out. I love the game, I’m a fan of the game and I always will be. But, I see how the game has continued to change and evolve over the years, I suppose that’s a sign of the times. When I was playing the game, I had great coaches. One of my favorite coaches was a guy named Walt Corey in Kansas City. He was a long, long time coach. He played for Kansas City as a linebacker and he played in Super Bowl I, and by the time, the Chiefs won Super Bowl III or IV, I forget, they nixed the Vikings. But by that time, Corey was no longer a player, he had become a coach. So, he played all through the 60’s. He would talk about how the game and salaries had changed and how dramatically the difference was. But, at the end of the day, the field is the same size, the goal posts are in the same place and they have 11 and four downs, and it’s great.
My Elite Network: What was it like the first day walking out on that field as a professional football player?
Pete Koch: Well, my very first real action of any sort was in a pre-season game as a rookie. Our first pre-season game was against the Bears - in Chicago. I tackled Walter Payton and that was the most exciting thing going into that game - seeing Walter Payton and the fact that I tackled him, I didn’t hurt him…I just tackled him!
My Elite Network: Share with us your first day with the Raiders…what was that like?
Pete Koch: Yes. I was very fortunate, I hadn’t played in a year. I thought I still had something left in me, so, I signed with the team in the off season. At that time, I was living in LA, so as soon as I got signed, I went in to lift weights with the guys. The first person I met when I walked in the locker room was Jerry Robinson. He’s got one of the biggest and best personalities. He is a stand-up guy - he’s smart, he’s brilliant and he’s just one of my favorite people, inside and outside of football. I just saw him a few weeks ago at the Raider Alumni event in Napa. Shortly after meeting Jerry, I met John Matuszak. God bless him. It turned out to be the only time I ever saw him. It was a big deal. He hadn’t told anybody he was going to come by and just wanted to say hi to George Anderson. I introduced myself to him, and he said, “I know who you are. I’ve seen you in the movies.” I said, “Man, you’re the reason why I’m in the movies, you inspire me.” And, you know, sadly, I think it was three months later he passed.
My Elite Network: With all you have accomplished…playing professional football and being an actor…do you think people find you approachable?
Pete Koch: The older I get, the more I think I am. I have not always been able to identify with the person in the room that was the most approachable or the most popular, and, I’ve been envious of that. One person I believe is very approachable is Jerry Robinson. I think John Matuszak was that way too. It certainly felt that way when I met him. There’s just some people that are dynamic and approachable. I admire that quality and it’s what I have worked on my entire adult life. I think I’m better at that than I used to be, because it’s an important distinction. I like people and wish I had more friends. I’m not an introvert, I’m just shy. So, introverts and shy people don’t have a lot of friends. Introverts don’t want them. Shy people do.
My Elite Network: How do you overcome your shyness?
Pete Koch: That’s a good question and it’s a very fair question. Because you know, I’ll tell you, I’m met the actor Benicio del Toro, you might be familiar with his movies Salgado and Tropic. I was talking to him this morning and he would that he is an introvert. And he’s a masterful. In my opinion, certainly award winning. He’s won every award you can win. We had this discussion, I said to him, “You think there’s a difference between a movie star and actor.” He replies, “Definitely.” I say, “What’s your view?” He says, “I’m definitely the actor.” I said, “What do you think about movie stars?” He says, “I’d like to be one. Because they make more money.” Isn’t that funny? And he laughed. He says, “I’m getting closer. Movie stars can’t be actors. But actors can be movie stars. It’s just rare that they’re ever both.” But he’ll tell you that he’s not, he is amazing.
My Elite Network: Do you have a daily routine?
Pete Koch: I don’t know how to compare what I do to others, but, I think I encourage people to change their lifestyle - to find the behaviors that are going to mean something to them. It’s important that you’re not in a struggle to accomplish your goals. So, people need to find what fits their schedule. For example, creating an eating strategy…there’s not one strategy that’s the answer to everybody. It’s what fits your lifestyle that will make you succeed.
My Elite Network: What is your super power or a gift area that you believe you have?
Pete Koch: Interesting question. My super power is that I think I’m a very good listener. A long time ago I became alerted to the fact that you can’t really learn about someone if you’re doing all the talking. You need to be listening. I learned that early on that listening is an active process - it takes work
My Elite Network: Do you have a mantra?
Pete Koch: Look, move, feel. If you’re looking good and moving good, which is your mobility, stretching athleticism…all the components that help you feel and look better. And by “feel”, I mean about your health. How are you feeling? Some people are honest, some people feel sluggish, or they’re tired all day.
My Elite Network: Where do you see yourself in five years?
Pete Koch: I certainly would like to be doing bigger and better acting projects and continue with my passion for physical fitness - balancing my life-long study of physical fitness. I think training other people helps me to be more compassionate and it keeps me balanced. I also think it’s important to surround yourself in situations where it’s not all yourself. Putting others first and helping others achieve their goals and to lead from the heart.