DeForest Buckner moved to the Hoosier state from the Bay Area of Northern California after the Indianapolis Colts acquired the veteran defensive tackle in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers in 2020. One might imagine such a move could pose unexpected new challenges, but Buckner takes the culture shock in stride. “Indiana has definitely gotten to feel like home,” he says. “After we bought our house, the neighbors came over the first day we moved in, and some people came over with gift baskets and things like that. We were kind of in shock because we weren’t used to that.”
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The Hoosier hospitality, he says, has been a big help in allowing him and his young family to adjust. “We didn’t have any family or friends when we first got here,” DeForest Buckner says. “And [the help from neighbors] definitely has been heartwarming for us.” But for his very young son, a major perk of living in the Circle City has been the proximity to family-friendly sites like the Indianapolis Zoo.
“He loves seeing all the animals,” DeForest Buckner says. “My wife recently took him to The Children’s Museum. Now that he’s really running around and everything, he’s been doing those different activities. She sent me a bunch of pictures a couple of days ago of them there, and he’s been really enjoying it.”
And for the parents? “Obviously there are a lot of great steakhouses out here, so when the wife and I get a chance to really go out and have our own free time, we usually go to a nice steak dinner or something like that,” he says.
Having a balance of work responsibilities and being a new dad has come about mostly due to the support of his wife, Buckner says. “My wife is amazing. We’ve got another one [our son] to think about, which is fine with me, but she really gives me the time I need to focus on ball and to really provide for our family. That’s why I appreciate her so much.”
However, when the pandemic was at its zenith, DeForest Buckner, like many of us, found himself able to spend more time with family. “It seems weird, but the pandemic actually helped me get to be around more because meetings had become virtual,” he says. “OTAs being cancelled last year helped me because I was able to stay home for the first three months of my son’s life. I was there to help my wife in the middle of the night when he was crying or to change his diapers. Gaining that connection early on was very crucial for me as a father.”
Adjusting to Indiana winters has been another story. “My son loves being outside. So, it has been a challenge in the winter when it gets cold and it’s snowing,” Buckner says. “My wife would bundle him up and take him out in snow jackets and stuff. I mean, he gets out there, and his face is all red and he’s freezing. So, we really couldn’t take him outside a lot.”
Otherwise, moving to Indiana has been a nice change of scenery for the Buckners. “It’s a beautiful place to raise a family instead of being in the middle of everything in the Bay Area like we were,” Buckner says. “There is a lot more space for us to venture off to.”