If you were to look at the Notes app on Corey Nelson’s iPhone, you might be surprised by what you see.
It’s not just pages of X's and O's from game plans. It’s not just general life memos and reminders.
Instead, it's filled with original poems written by the Eagles linebacker himself. Nelson listed poetry as his favorite hobby and considers it his “thing” outside of football.
“I just like to be able to put words on paper and to be able to play with words,” Nelson said, "especially big words I find in the dictionary, that’s kind of what I like to do so I just do it. It’s definitely one of my talents for sure.”
Nelson said he’s been writing poetry for as long as he can remember. His love for writing stemmed from his English classes, a subject in which he said he excelled. And he doesn’t limit himself to one style of poetry.
“I do a little bit of everything,” Nelson said. “I don’t try to focus on just one thing. I just try to stem from a number of things, of different emotions, of how I’m feeling in the moment.”
Nelson said that while he’s in the locker room or on the practice field, his primary focus is getting his body healthy and playing at this best. So, he said most of his writing happens when he is at home and “just whenever I’m feeling inspired.”
“Football takes up most of my time, so whenever I feel like I want to write something down or whenever I want to send my wife (Jordan) something sweet, then I’ll write something,” Nelson said. “Mostly when I’m inspired I’ll think of something. I’ll be like, ‘Huh, OK.’ And I’ll just start writing.”
Nelson used to have a pad and a pen to write his drafts. Now, he “types away” in the Notes app on his phone, so there is little delay from the strike of inspiration to the writing process.
Inspiration is often the product of being well-read. Nelson said there are plenty of poets he regularly reads - too many to choose a favorite.
“I read a lot, really quite often,” Nelson said. “Most of the time it’s poetry or it’s books. Also, magazines, comics, and even within that, I find ways to wordplay and switch words up and use it to my ability to pick and choose what I want to add into my stuff.”
And there is one subject Nelson clearly likes to write about.
“Love,” Nelson said. “I love love. I feel like this world needs better love. So I like writing about love.”
Nelson wrote his most recent poem about a month ago, he said, as a present for his wife on their three-year wedding anniversary. It made for a great gift, along with flowers, as he said she “always likes” what he writes.
“I’m going to really take it seriously sometime in the offseason next year and think about writing a book," he said. "A story and then I’ll probably do a poetry book. A little bit of both.”
But until that book is published, Nelson said his wife is the primary recipient of his poems. He doesn’t typically let his teammates, or many others for that matter, read his work.
“I don’t really share it,” Nelson said. “A lot of guys would give you a hard time if they found out, you know? A football player writing poetry? So I just kind of keep it to myself unless I’m close with someone enough to share that side of me.”
Despite that, Nelson said he’s proud of his talent and his interest in poetry. He said it’s important for players to show the other sides of their personality and their interests without fear of judgment.
“You definitely want to express other talents that you have,” Nelson said. “You want to let the world know that you’re not only a football player, but you’re also talented in X, Y, and Z, and this is just one of those things that I feel like I should express to the world that I’m talented in.”