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Former NFL star loses on ‘Survivor’

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Brad Culpepper Brad Culpepper

Brad Culpepper fifth player to be ousted on reality show

Former Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Chicago Bears football player Brad Culpepper has seen his share of competition over the years, but his recent match up on season 27 of “Survivor: Blood vs. Water” ended sooner than he had hoped. Early in the game, Culpepper was viewed as the leader of the Tadhana tribe by both his tribe mates and his competitors. And in the game of “Survivor,” leaders are seen as threats. Things quickly went downhill for Culpeper when he convinced his team to vote out a strong player, John Cody, who held two hidden immunity idol clues, rather than a weaker player. The Tadhana team did so, but at the next tribal council Caleb Bankston announced he no longer thought Culpepper could be trusted because of that move and therefore he was voting him out of the tribe and onto Redemption Island. The other players followed suit. However, last week Culpepper lost in a puzzle challenge on Redemption Island to former teammate Cody and Galang member Laura Morett. I recently spoke with Culpepper, who said he's grateful to be part of the elite few that have been able to play “Survivor.”

TME: Any hesitation doing the show knowing that on past seasons of “Survivor,” when someone well known has gone on the show, they've been targeted?

Culpepper: Maybe a little bit, but I am who I am and it was a wonderful opportunity to be among a select few to play “Survivor.” I looked at it as a great opportunity more than anything else. I think there's only been 400 Survivors in the world. Just like I'm part of an elite NFL fraternity, I was honored to become one of the Survivors. 

The Maine Edge: Do you think voting John off did you in?

Culpepper: Possibly, but you've got to understand every move was a majority. It wasn't like I was arm twisting out there. There was really good vibes in our camp. Voting John off maybe didn't help me, but it didn't hurt Monica and that was my number one concern playing this game.

TME: From Redemption Island, Candice kept putting the focus on Monica by continuing to give her the hidden immunity idol clue, but you two made the decision to just put that clue in the fire. 

Culpepper: Monica was trying to rip it up. She had already made the decision that she didn't want the clue. I simply said to her in the spur of the moment, "Go burn it. Quit trying to rip it up. Go burn the clue."

TME: But it shocked viewers who love to see the twist of someone being able to redeem themselves with a hidden immunity idol not even take the opportunity to read the clue.

Culpepper: I think it was a good move. If you feel fairly secure within your tribe, why do you all of a sudden want to put a target on yourself as having a clue? She [Monica] started trying to rip up the clue before I suggested to her to burn it. So the fact she wanted to do that meant she was pretty secure in that tribe and it [the clue] just wasn't worth it. 

TME: Did you think going into the game you'd at least make the merge?

Culpepper: With the format they had, it was different. I'd only want to make the merge with Monica. That's hard to do when you are worried about somebody else on the other tribe. It's hard to look at what is in front of your face and also see what's at the end of the road.

“Survivor: Blood vs. Water” airs every Wednesday night on CBS at 8 p.m.

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