New Orleans Saints Safety Vinnie Sunseri
Conference Call With New Orleans Media *
**Saturday, May 10, 2014
Coming from Alabama now heading over to Louisiana do you expect any grief from LSU fans?
"It wouldn't be right if I didn't catch a little bit of grief but hopefully I can win them over whenever I hit a couple people during the season."
How much contact did you have with the Saints during the pre-draft process?
"Honestly, not that much. I had a couple conversations with a couple scouts and a couple coaches but you know it's a great surprise. I cant wait to be with Mark Ingram again. This will be the first time I've ever played with him and it's a really exciting time for me."
Whats your special teams background?
"At Alabama, I did punt, punt returns, kickoffs, kickoff returns, I've held field goals, I've done the basics, so everything."
Do you consider any of those things something that might have helped sell you as an asset to an NFL team?
"Yes sir, I believe so. I love being on the field in any way. If it's special teams, if it's nickel, if it's dime, I just want to be on the field and have my presence known."
What about being a coach's son?
"You know, being a coach's son I felt really helped me out. Being with my dad, learning defenses, learning schemes, learning quarterback progressions because my brother is a quarterback so I know all of that, I know how to look at offensive lineman's stances because of my dad, to get tips on whether it's run or pass. It's a real blessing to come from a family like I have."
Associated Press images of Saints 5th round draft pick Vinnie Sunseri.
Can you talk about this day and just kind of the emotions that have come with it?
"Oh my gosh, its been a crazy ride. Today was tough sitting at home, watching TV, and seeing everybody else's name called but yours was really really tough but you just have to keep your faith with the lord and thats what I've done. I can't imagine being anywhere else now but the who dat nation for a long, long time."
Was it sort of funny being drafted in the same ten minute period as A.J. McCarron and Aaron Murrey all the other guys that got a little bit more publicity probably in the SEC?
"Its crazy. I rehabbed with Aaron Murrey down in Pensacola and we worked out together getting ready for our pro days and Im really good friends with A.J. McCarron so I saw them come off the board and was just like "I'm so happy for them, I hope my name gets called soon" and my name got called right after so it was perfect."
I think you had another year of eligibility remaining. What went into your thought process of coming out now?
"You know, I just feel like I'm ready to make that next step. Its not about the money for me, its not about being a first round draft pick, its about the love of the game and fulfilling a dream and my dream is to play in a professional organization and you know what, the Saints are the perfect one for me right now."
Do you think that your recent injury affected your draft status at all? Do you think you would have gone earlier?
"Injuries can always affect your draft status and it can always push you back but I just try to look past that and believe that a few people are going to have faith in me like Coach (Nick) Saban did when he was recruiting me. That's all I need is chance. That's what I've done since I was in high school and since I got to college. All I need is a chance and I'll prove myself worthy."
How is your knee doing right now?
"Its great. I got cleared to do everything from rookie minicamp, to OTAs, to fall camp. I cant wait to get started, I cant wait to get down to New Orleans, and I cant wait to be a Saint".
Obviously, there will be some natural comparisons to a strong safety who played here for a long time in Roman Harper. Is that similar to how your used or how you would expect to be used? Blitzing a lot, run support a lot, or whats your style?
" I love being in the box. I was linebacker all throughout high school so I definitely know how to read runs and come down in the box and be a box player but I'm also somebody you could bring off the line and blitz and bring a little of pressure on the quarterback. I'm just really excited right now. The emotions that I have are unbelievable. I'm excited, nervous , and just really really really enthusiastic about the opportunity."
Do you have any interesting memories from New Orleans?
"Yes. The first national championship against LSU, which I'm obviously sure LSU fans aren't gonna want to hear about. I was able to start in those games on special teams and at dime. This past year when I was hurt and we played Oklahoma, it was tough to be on the sidelines but you just walk into the Superdome and I remember telling people "You know, I would love to play for a team like New Orleans because their fans are unbelievable and they remind me of Alabama fans because they are so enthusiastic and they are so loving of their team. Honestly, I'm so happy with being a Saint."
Aren't a lot of Alabama fans Saints fans too? Isn't that their pro team?
"Yes. There are a lot of Saints fans in Alabama. Im getting a lot of texts right now from Alabama fans saying that they couldn't be happier for me to become a Saint. You know, I'm actually in my moms bathroom looking at a fleur de lis on the doorknobs in her bathroom. It's crazy how things work, I can't imagine being anywhere else, and it's just really exciting."