(WFRV) – Playing in the NFL or becoming a recording musician in the studio is a kid’s dream, but for a former Green Bay Packer it has become a reality.
The Packers signed QB Manny Wilkins as an undrafted free agent in May 2019. The Arizona State product has had great success in college playing in the PAC-12. Getting the chance to learn from one of the greatest quarterbacks to play in the NFL, Aaron Rodgers, was an opportunity Wilkins will always be grateful for.
âI think his CV speaks for itself. He’s a very humble guy. I felt very welcome there. There, I made some great connections, relationships, friendships with people I still talk to today, âsays Wilkins.
When Wilkins talks about his time in Titletown, it’s all about the love for cheesy heads.
âI loved Green Bay. I loved the staff, the organization. Very grateful for the opportunity they gave me and yeah man, I’m blessed. Most blessed, âexplains Wilkins.
Throughout football and Wilkins’ life, music has always had a great influence. He’s always felt inspired and that’s something he’s drawn to.
In April 2020, Wilkins received the news from the Packers that he was going to be released after drafting QB Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. It was a phone call from head coach Matt LaFleur during the Wilkins’ exit reunion that meant a lot to the then 24-year-old QB.
âI got a call from Coach LaFleur and he said ‘Hey man, wishing only the best. For real what are you going to do with the music? look up because you got good stuff, “Wilkins explains.” I told him I was really serious about it and you know, whatever happens next, I’m ready for it. “
It was time for Wilkins to take his love for music to the next level. Under the artist name “5ive”, Wilkins has recorded music on the West Coast for the past year or so and has learned all facets of the music industry. As he lives with rapper and producer “PartyNextDoor”, this experience was inspiring.
âBeing able to watch him (PartyNextDoor) daily, especially being in the studio with him and seeing how so – ugh his art is. There are no words that can describe the level of attention and focus when recording, âsays Wilkins.
Being able to express feelings and talk about things you wouldn’t talk about in conversations is what Wilkins has been able to do with music and he’s just looking to make a sound that’s never been heard before.
âIt’s a way of expressing myself. It’s a way of talking about things that I’m not really talking about and things that I’ve been through and things that I’m going to go through. I’ve always had a passion for it. I always liked it. Now, with the relationships and friendships that I have built over the years, I have the opportunity to really lock myself in and try to create a sound that has never been heard before. I am able to do it and I am surrounded by the right people who have given me the freedom to experience and be myself and to try to do it now across frequencies, âsays Wilkins.
Even though Wilkins is no longer in Green Bay, his voice hasn’t left the Packers’ locker room. Wilkins tells Local 5 that the whole team is supportive of him and his music.
âI was talking with (Davante) the other day and he was like, ‘Yo, all year we played everything in the locker room before games, before practice and everything.’ He said he had a big Jordan boombox when he signed his contract, so they had him in the locker room to play all the records, âsays Wilkins. “So yes, they are really united.”
Wilkins tells Local 5 that he plans to release a new project soon and that he has a name in mind for the project. Project deployment and commercialization is going to be key, he said and on point.
Wilkins is a firm believer in playing football and recording music, and if an NFL team calls his phone, he’ll be ready.
âMy mindset was very focused on music, to become great at it and to perfect it, but I know if my phone rings I’ll go play football. That’s what I do. I’m only a year old, âexplains Wilkins. âI’m just following my heart and where my mind takes me. Trust my instincts.