New Orleans Saints cornerback
How are things with the knee?
“Things are going well. The training staff at our facility have been incredible in making sure that we’re pushing ahead, being challenged everyday and that they are putting the comprehensive rehabilitation program together to make sure I’m ahead of schedule.”
Every time I talk to you, you see the positive in things. This has not been an easy road. Have you had any moments that became difficult with this injury?
“Yeah, of course. When I had first got injured, right after my surgery, the first week I was seeing a lot of progress because obviously before I couldn’t walk on it but the first week I was starting to do things like step ups and leg swings and then actually it might have been the second week where things started to stall. The spirit came over me and let me know that it was going to be a long road. At that moment, when I realized that it was going to be something that I’m going to have to deal with a while. There was a moment, a good couple days where I became depleted. I lost and I really couldn’t see the hop that I have now. Through wise counsel and friends and family, they’ve truly inspired me and given me a spirit of gratitude for the moment and realizing that this is the season that I’m in now but in time, my knee is going to be stronger than ever.”
When you look back at the season, have you had enough time to look back and say that this season was a success for the team?
“Well I think that you have to consider a couple of things. What do you consider a success? Dealing with adversity and making a 10-plus win season and going to the playoffs? Then yeah, it would be a success but we have very high aspirations in our locker room. Ultimately, we want to win championships. Ultimately, we want to maximize our opportunity and the challenge that we have. I think that there were some games and there were some things that we didn’t get to capitalize on. We wanted to win the NFC South. That was our main goal and we didn’t get to do that. We did win our first game but we usually like that first-round bye with home-field advantage and we didn’t get to have that. And with that said, you can say that we didn’t get to achieve all our goals but the men that we played with and the growth that we showed throughout the year. The guys that had to come in and play at a high level, seeing that growth and playing with your brothers for another year and experiencing the ups and downs of the season with them was definitely a success. There were relationships and moments built this year that will carry with us for the rest of our lives.”
It’s media day for Super Bowl week. Let’s go back to the ’09 season. What is this like for players?
“Media day or Super Bowl week?”
Let’s go with the week of the game.
“It is different because you are away from your facility. You have the same type of preparations. The same… actually greater expectations to perform at a higher level going on around the Super Bowl. You have family visiting. You’re at a new location. You try to establish a routine as quick as possible. Professional football players are creatures of habit and the quicker that we can establish our routine and get settled in, the more successful we’ll be. The best players do that early. Once you go into, you have media day in the first couple of days. You have practicing at certain facility in which you’ll be using. You’ll still be working out throughout that time but you still have time to experience the events that surround Super Bowl that allows you to enjoy the road that you have taken to get there. Not only are you preparing but you’re able to go to nice steakhouses with the guys and enjoy shows and Broadway. I’m sure these guys will enjoy New York for the many opportunities that will present them.”
Did you enjoy the media day?
“The thing was that the media day was obviously, a large part of the Super Bowl, you have so many reporters and stations from all over the world. You talk to stations from Mexico, stations from Germany and then you have interviews with kids who are aspiring reporters. You just never know who you are going to talk to. I just thought that it was a little different for me because I’m a little different. There are certain players that have their booths that reporters want to talk to. Obviously, guys are going to want to talk to the quarterback and star player but then there are so many other players on your team that have contributed to the success. You have the practice squad players. The guys that came and week four or five that have been essential role players that are just out, that don’t have a seat and don’t have a booth and are just walking around gaining no attention. It’s weird because you see people that garner so much attention but then you see guys that have been so critical to our success that can’t even beg for an interview so it’s weird in that aspect.”
You play one of those positions that probably doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves. Richard Sherman is going to get a lot of attention this week. What did you think about how everything went down after the NFC championship?
“I think that he made a heck of a play. He’s been playing at a high level all year so I guess that’s the conflict. You have a guy that made some comment that didn’t really go over well with a lot of people outside of the game. He’s playing at such a high level, what can you say? I think that humility goes a long way and not only in front of the camera but in your life. I don’t know him personally but I’m sure that the moments after the game he was filled with emotion and adrenaline and that’s just the game that we play. That’s just the game that we play and also that’s the way that he plays. I’m not going to judge him as a person or a professional but I think that he has garnered so much success because he is an outspoken person. He’s been a guy that people gravitate towards. They want to see what he is going to do next. He’s having the kind of season that garners that attentions and he’s backing it up with his play. You can’t do anything but respect it. As a player, I respect it.”
For the most part we have the cooling off period but you do have walk-off interviews. Are you OK with that or do you think there should always be a cooling off period?
“I’m okay with it because there are so many time within the course of the game in which you have to control your emotions and keep your emotions in check for the good of the team. That’s just what we do. Our profession is really keeping our emotions and our spirit either alive or at bay at certain moment throughout the game. We have to be able to rise up to the occasion and have to be able to know when to hold off. In that thought, when you have that postgame interview, we are professionals. Even though you get emotional and you might be upset, I think we’ve had enough training and we’ve have enough control to be able to understand what we’re saying and be held accountable for that. I’m all for it.
You got a winner for me on Sunday?
“You know what man, I don’t know. Since being a corner, I don’t know if this is Champs last year and he’s had an incredible career. I want to see him go out with one. I want to see him be successful and being down in New Orleans and player the University of Tennessee, I always want to see Peyton be successful. I root for certain players and those two teams are going to clash and it’s going to a heck of a game.”