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Deatrick Nichols: 'It was truly a blessing to get a call from the New Orleans Saints.'

Nichols joins the Saints after spending time with the XFL's Houston Roughnecks

New Orleans Saints Cornerback Deatrick Nichols
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Tuesday, March 24, 2020

How did all this come about between you and the Saints?
"They called me immediately actually and (asked if) I'm ready to go basically and I was ready to join."

It's been a while since you were in an NFL camp I guess, but we always hear about the dream come true scenario for guys, but did you figure this will kind of happen again for you with some point?
"Yes, I did. I just believed in the process and just controlled what I could control and (hoped) everything else would take care of itself."

Does it get a little discouraging at times or do you just put your head down and keep your eyes on the prize and all those kinds of things?
"Yeah. Basically just keep your head down and then just work. Everybody's story is always going to be different. That's how I look at it. It doesn't matter if you stay in the same household or whatever. Everybody's story's going to be different. So you've just got to take the good with the bad even though I don't feel like it was a bad, but that's just how I go about any situation I go through. Everybody's story's going to be different, unique and everything like that."

Did you have workouts with teams after being released by the Cardinals?
"Yes, I had a few workouts. I had a workout almost every week and that put a toll on me mentally, but I always believed in the process and everything like that."

What time of year did you sign with the XFL? Was that an easy decision? That did not feel like you were choosing that over chasing the NFL dream?
"The XFL basically came probably I would say week 15, 16 in the NFL season so it wasn't a really a hard decision because I just wanted to play some football. So basically it was an opportunity I couldn't take up."

Were the Saints one of the teams that you had worked out with before?
"No, I did not work out with the Saints."

How disappointed was it for you when the XFL season got canceled only five games in and you were undefeated?
"I was heartbroken at that. I was enjoying that little process and everything. The Houston Roughnecks took us under their wings and took very good care of us and it was just a loving thing just to be able to play some football. Once football is taken away from you you're always a little bit down, but everything happens for a reason. You can't get too discouraged and (have to) just keep going."

How do you feel like the XFL, as far as just the competition, how does that translate into the NFL?
"Yeah, there were some pretty good guys out there so it was competition. They had guys like me basically who played in the NFL or something like that. Basically who had experience in some type of football. There was definitely still a (lot of) talent out there. So it wasn't like a little league I would say. You still had the ex (NFL)-players who were first, second rounders, third and everything like that out there. So the talent was there."

Were you playing special teams as well?
"I played special teams as well. Kickoff, gunner, kickoff return, punt return, I played all parts just not field goal."

Was it a relief to you when got the call from the Saints, especially with the XFL being canceled after just a few games?
"Yes, you could say it's like a 50-50 thing because I really wish we could have finished that season as well because we started something that we didn't finish. So I'm not a fan of that, but it was truly a blessing to get a call from the New Orleans Saints to continue my dreams and everything like that. But it's just another stone and I've got to keep going and I'm not finished yet. You could be happy, but I still have work to do."

Was that a big factor in you deciding to join the Saints? Joining a team that's been really close to winning a championship these past few seasons?
"Yes, I love their culture that they have. They look like a team that believes in executing their jobs and everything like that. I'm a huge believer in working, executing my job and practicing hard. They take practice serious and everything like that from the outside looking in and attention to detail."

When your season ended in the XFL, what were you doing the following days as soon as the season ended. Were you still working out or what are you doing?
"Of course. You always want to stay ready, not get ready. That is my motto when things like that happen like just in case they say come up there tomorrow, I will be ready. Just stay ready. Don't get ready."

Your quarterback from the Roughnecks (P.J. Walker) signed with a division rival, are you looking forward to playing against them?
"Yeah, I cannot wait. It is funny because we were in the same conference (AAC) in college, so we played each other a couple of times and we played some good ball against each other. When we found out we were on the same team, it was just like a love-hate thing just seeing another person play some good football. It's a rival so it's like I love you, but you're taking some things away from me. So it's going to be the same situation now."

Did you mention how many teams you had offers from after the XFL? Were the Saints the first or only?
"Yes, I had to make a decision and choose New Orleans. I felt like that was the best fit for me."

Do you think you would have gotten this opportunity if it wasn't for the XFL and the season you had in a short amount of time?
"No, I really don't think I would have had this opportunity. It came to me. I'm very happy that I made that decision to play in that league. It's a good league. I really enjoyed (playing in the XFL). I really don't think I would have this opportunity like it came to me if it wasn't for that."

You said you thought the Saints were your best opportunity, what led you to believe that? Do you know their history with undrafted free agents and that kind of thing? Or what made you believe that?
"Just how they work, how they operate. They want guys that execute, that believe in the system, that basically do their jobs. That's the type of guy that I feel like I am. I don't care about who gets the credit and everything like that. (All that matters) is all 11 doing their jobs. I feel like I'm a perfect fit for it."

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