What does the Chicago Bears’ kicker like to do for fun?
I love to golf. I enjoy doing some sort of charity work. I started my own charity called The Goulden Touch which started about eight months ago and has gone very very well … It started because I got tired of doing everyone else’s charity work. I was like, ‘I can do my own charity!’ and kind of have that legacy that will take me past my career and I love doing it. It’s something I’m passionate about. It’s been unbelievable. Having a great board, we’ve been able to take kids on a shopping spree, have a golf tournament, give money to local charities… You know, I think there is a lot of stuff in the city — like education or sports — that kids should be getting involved in. [We have done] health initiatives for anything as crazy as medical services to try and help kids get the right help for their medical bills. So we’ve done a lot of great things!
[Chuck's Manufacturing Chef de Cuisine, Justin Frankenberg, brings out food]
What are we working with here, chef?
Chef Justin Frankenberg:
This is what we call the PBLT. It’s sort of like a BLT but with pork belly instead. These are our Chuck’s burgers, our signature burger with housemade barbeque sauce and cheddar cheese with crispy fried onions on a really nice buttery brioche roll. And these look like mad scientist type shrimp. They are breaded in kataifi filo shredded up and what we do is fry them and underneath is a pepperjack cheese fondu with jalepeno vinaigrette.
Now that food is on the table, what is your favorite meal?
I love steak. I come from a very country — Amish are my neighbors — central Pennslyvania and I grew up about a half an hour from Penn State. I’m a meat and potatoes kind of guy!
When you’re going out for a nice steak in the city, where are you going?
Gibson’s is probably my go-to. Wildfire is great if you want a change up. I think Gibson’s is very well priced and Wildfire would probably be the same type of steak but just a little cheaper price.
It’s nice to hear even an NFL star can watch what they spend!
Yeah, I mean I grew up in a very middle to low income family and, you know, we didn’t have a lot of money growing up so my parents cooked a lot and if we went out it was always for special occasions or just a family night out so that mentality and those morals and values that they instilled in me have always stuck with me. I may spend a little bit more money to play a really nice golf course because that is kind of my vice to get away from football but for the most part I am the same guy from when I grew up and lived in Pennsylvania that I am now. I just live in a bigger city and I’m lucky to play in the National Football League and to go out and do something you always dreamed of doing.
Are you single or seeing anyone?
What!? How did we miss that in our research?
I am! I am engaged.
What was the proposal like?
I did a scavenger hunt around the city with our first dates and significant places of where we met. I got engaged over Easter weekend.
How did you two meet?
She was actually my waitress at a place that used to be Hi-Tops, [then became] Harry Caray’s in Wrigleyville. I was out with a bunch of my buddies and she was my waitress and serving us drinks and stuff and there were some girls that were being a little obnoxious and she stepped in and acted like she was my girlfriend and I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. I asked her to go on a date and she didn’t want to go on a date with me and so I called and said, ‘Hey, let me take you to dinner.’ I took her to Joe’s Stone Crab and then we went for a drink at Hub51. So I’ll be married in February.
Are you going to start poppin’ out mini Goulds anytime soon?
I don’t know what we are going to do. I’d love to have kids some point in time, obviously. My schedule is pretty crazy and hectic and when the time is right to have kids we’ll definitely have them but we’ll enjoy each other’s company as newlyweds and at some point in time in the near future I’m sure we’ll have kids. You know, I grew up in a family of three; my brother and sister are both younger than me. I’d love to have two or three kids. I’m hoping they are all girls. I’d love to have daddy’s little girls. I’ll be outnumbered, no doubt about that.
Did you have a role model when growing up?
Ironically, my role models were my family and my parents.
You seem like you have a good head on your shoulders. You don’t seem like the type of athlete that’s going to be found partying and in the tabloids.
Not anytime soon! If we go out it’s always in low key places. We aren’t going to go out and get wild and crazy and get in a bar fight because, quite honestly, I don’t know if I’d win. So you aren’t going to see that anytime soon!
If you weren’t playing football what would you be doing?
That’s a great question. I went to Penn State and graduated with a business management degree and I would love to run a huge corporation at some time. Obviously I’m going to take baby steps. I’m going to play in the NFL as long as they will let me play. I’ve done a pretty good job trying to set myself up for that transition out of football. Whether it’s starting to do a co-hosting of a radio show on ESPN100 to doing Monday morning call in or game after call in with one of the local radio stations, interning with buddies of mine who own huge companies and I’m the player rep for my team so being able to learn the business end of football, everything is built and done by the dollar so you get a good mentality of what business is like and how to treat people and understand personalities and some of those things will help me later down the road to get a job.
Do most athletes have a plan b like yourself?
Probably not [laughs]. And to be honest it’s not because they don’t think of it there is just such a short-lived career in the National Football League. They call it the NFL meaning ‘not for long’ because careers in the National Football League average about three years so it’s a very short period of time.
So what is going on in your mind when you are in a stadium in front of thousands of people and you are about to kick?!
Absolutely nothing! I don’t get very high-strung about anything, I really don’t. I’m really laid back, I like to have fun. In college I used to be high-strung and it didn’t go so well. So I tried to take a different approach because you never know how long you are going to play and I’m very lucky to play for the amount of time I’ve played, this being my eighth year and be in a great city with great sports and great fans. I play for one of the most traditional organizations in the National Football League, travel all around to play in different cities. You gotta enjoy it as most as you can.
Besides Chicago, what are some of your favorite stadiums to play in?
I love playing in Tampa Bay and Green Bay. Those are my two favorite places. And they are both completely different.
What about Ford Field in Detroit?
You know what, when we played the Lions last year for Monday Night Football it was one of the best environments. The place was rocking and obviously they hadn’t had a Monday night game there in like twenty years. They are getting better! Our division is very tough. So I think it will be rocking a lot more with guys like Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson. I don’t think they are going to be as bad as they used to be back in the day, so it will be fun to go there and play this year.
Who is the funny guy or ‘class clown’ on your team?
Well Anthony Adams used to be our funny guy. He’s got some crazy videos he did that he put on YouTube. Charles Tillman is a class clown I would say. He likes to pull practical jokes.
What about best dressed?
Oh man, that is tough! I’m going to go with Brandon Marshall for best dressed. I’m very like jeans and sweatshirt type of guy and we’ll go on away trips and he’ll have a full-blown suit on.
Who makes your locker room play list?
Lance Briggs! He’s the locker room DJ.
Besides football, what sports do you like?
I like going to the Blackhawks games. I have a couple of buddies on the team and it’s fun watching your buddies in the same sort of arena and how they interact with the crowd. It’s definitely one of the best sports to go and watch in the city.
If you could have a drink with anyone, who would it be?
That’s probably one of the toughest questions. There are so many people I’d like to pick.
How about a dinner party, who would you invite to your dinner party?
My fab five? Tiger Woods would definitely be one of them. He is by far one of the greatest athletes of all time. I’d put Michael Jordan at that round table. Jennifer Aniston.
Is she your celebrity crush?
Yeah, probably for sure! I think you’d put Vince Vaughn at the table. You need a comedian at the table and then I think the fifth person would be a high school kid that would always dream to be at that table. Just to see how they’d interact. You can only bring so many celebrities. So you need to bring someone to lighten the mentality up a little.
Photography by Neal Agustin