When player ratings are announced for the newest installment of the beloved Madden NFL video game series, it’s a big deal. And no, we’re not just talking about chatter among teenagers on Snapchat, either. The players themselves look at the numbers as a sort of badge of honor, a confirmation of their talents — as if the roaring stands and robust contracts weren’t indicative enough.
Melvin Ingram is one of the game’s most explosive defensive stars. His impressive 88 rating on the latest game affirms as much. (For context, only four 99s were handed out in the entire league.) In the seven years he’s been in the NFL, the gifted L.A. Chargers defensive end has earned two Pro Bowl appearances and built a solid reputation for being lightning quick off the snap and having a non-stop motor.
Lost in all the quarterback sacks that Ingram’s accumulated is another interesting fact — the man loves to travel. Just this summer, he’s already gone to Monte Carlo for business and the Bahamas for a family getaway. When we sat down with the 30-year-old North Carolina native recently, we got the inside scoop on those journeys, found out who the only rap artist on his travel playlist was and learned what keeps him busy on long road trips. Spoiler: it has nothing to do with playing video games.
How were Monte Carlo and France?
It was dope. I went out there with Jordan Brand. I was just hanging with the fam, hanging with MJ [Michael Jordan]. I was just enjoying the moment.
Was that your first time there?
Yes, that was my first time in France.
Did the sights and food live up to your expectations?
Yeah, it definitely lived up to expectations. It was amazing. It’s a beautiful place. I would definitely recommend it to anyone to come and visit.
Any other summer plans?
Yeah, I’m going to the Bahamas in the morning. Yeah, I’m taking my whole family—mama, sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, my kids. It’s going to be dope.
I’m all work with it. I don’t have time to enjoy the city. I’m not on vacation.
Speaking of in-season travel, what are a few essential things you pack in your bag for every road trip?
My playbook for sure. My game film and iPad. My phone. Some watch of sorts. I’m a big watch guy. My clothes. I’m gonna always have a fresh outfit for game day. I’m always going to be clean.
Do you have to deal with jet lag during the NFL season?
Not really because we’ll go like two days early [to the city we’re playing in that week], so you’ll get acclimated to the time. It’ll never really get to me. And you can sleep on the plane. I watch films and sleep on the plane. I’ll be good.
The Chargers were in San Diego and moved to L.A., so you’ve seen a lot of Southern California. What do you love about it?
Just the environment and the weather. Plus, it grants you a lot of opportunities to do a lot of marketing stuff, really. I think that’s one of the biggest things that come with L.A.
When you have some down time, what do you like doing around L.A.?
I do music. I’m always in the studio. I’m always working on my craft.
When can we expect to hear something new from you?
My new project about to come out is called B.O.A.T.S., stands for Based on a True Story. It’ll come out some time in July. We’re working on that right now, getting it ready to go out.
Who is on the playlist that gets you going on game day?
I listen to my own music.
You’re a Carolina boy. How often do you get home?
Yeah, I get there sometimes, but I live in Miami in the offseason. I’m in Miami right now.
When you’re in L.A., is there anything you miss about North Carolina?
Of course. The people and the food. It’s just different. The Southern hospitality is what they give you where I’m from. In L.A., it’s more of a paparazzi thing.
Football-wise, you all came just a few steps short of the Super Bowl. What’s going to make this year different from last season?
The culture. We’ve been [to the playoffs]. We got to smell it, but we didn’t get to taste it. That made everybody so hungry. And the type of culture that we have, we definitely know what time it is this year. There are no games gonna get played. We know what we’re going to do!