Get to Know a Player: Laken Tomlinson

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Get to Know a Player: Laken Tomlinson

Who has inspired you the most on your path to the NFL and who has inspired you the most in life?

My mentor Bob Sperling taught me how to be a man and how to handle my business at a crucial age, when I was living in Chicago. He helped keep me out of trouble. So he definitely inspires me.

What is your proudest accomplishment on the field and off the field?

My proudest accomplishment so far has to be earning a contract extension with the San Francisco 49ers. I’m very excited to have a chance to extend my career in a great place.

What was one of the greatest adversities or barriers you had to overcome to get where you are now?

Moving to Chicago from Jamaica was one of the biggest transitions in my life. I definitely experienced some culture shock! It was very hard to adjust to the American school system and my neighborhood in Chicago. I’m glad that I found football, which set me on the path to go to a great school and start a great career.
In your opinion, who is the greatest NFL player of all time? Why? Which play stands out vividly in your memory?
I didn’t watch football as a child, unless you’re talking about soccer! However, I did watch the Bears when I was in high school, and I think Robbie Gould is one of the greats. I’ll never forget his game-winning field goal for the 49ers last season at Soldier Field — it was pretty special to be a part of that.
Off the field, you and Rachel serve the community and have formed your own non-profit Foundation. Could you tell us the name of your organization and describe your mission and vision.
Shortly after I got drafted, I started the Laken Tomlinson Foundation with a goal of increasing access to mental health care services for families in Detroit.

Why is supporting mental health important to you?

I graduated from Duke with majors in Psychology and Evolutionary Anthropology, and my wife is a clinical psychology graduate student. As you might expect, we think a lot about mental health and related issues. Unfortunately, between difficulties with insurance and availability of providers, it can be hard for people in the community to access the care they need. I hope to one day make a difference in this area.
How can LOTE members support your non-profit Foundation?
Look out for us in the future! Hopefully through LOTE we can make connections that help get us closer to our goal.
Name one thing that makes you roll on the floor with laughter.
My dogs always make me laugh. I have two golden retrievers, Douglas and Daisy, and they are both total goofs. Douglas is so sweet but never has any idea what’s going on, and Daisy will absolutely wipe out in pursuit of food. They’re pretty great!