Former New Orleans Saints cornerback Jabari Greer spoke about his nomination into the Jackson Madison County Sports Hall of Fame and the future of the Saints with Sean Kelley on Thursday's Black and Blue Report. Below is the interview.
Pleased to welcome back former Saints defensive back, Super Bowl champion Jabari Greer, who at this moment is deserved of some congratulations. Jabari, congratulations as you'll be inducted into the Jackson Madison County Sports Hall of Fame up in Tennessee here soon. What an honor, huh?
"Yeah it is, to be recognized in my hometown. It's an honor and a blessing. There are so many individuals in the Jackson Madison County area that have invested so much time in me. Traveled with me when I was in college to see some of my performances and supported me since I was a little kid and invested so much in me to get me to the professional point that I got to and this is an opportunity for me to now honor those that invested in me."
The investment that they made in you, are we talking about Southside High School? Is that where you went Jabari?
"Yes, I went to Southside High School so there are coaches there and also people around the neighborhood, pastors, cousins and friends and people that just supported me and kept up with me. It takes a village, but truly nobody could make it to the point that I or other athletes have made it, without investment of others."
The event will take place on April the 7th. Describe the kind of event that your hometown will put on, not only for you, but also for the other inductees in the Hall of Fame.
"This is my first time even doing it, so I hope that I will really be able to experience the moment. There are so many times throughout my life and other athletes' where we put so much work into getting a firm result that when or if that results happens, it's hard for us to be able to just sit and enjoy the moment. As opposed to thinking about what's next and what could happen so I am focused on when I get that chance to be present and to really enjoy or to just be thankful and humble for the platform that God has given me. I want to make sure that at that moment, that I am prepared to honor those who have helped me. It's going to be special, but I think it's going to be special for those who have helped get me to that point because they will be sharing in that moment as well."
I think you used a great word – special, for this, not only nomination, but soon to be induction into the Hall of Fame. I have to ask you about Marques Colston and Jahri Evans – both who have seen their Saints careers end this offseason. All it does is make us remember again about the contributions of not only those guys but also of you and your other teammates on what many would argue as the greatest era in Saints history. How did that news hit you for the last couple of weeks?
"I know that football is a game that evolves with players that come and go. Being able to be a part of what the Saints were doing with teammates such as Jahri (Evans) and Marques (Colston) was special. You remember the guys in the locker room and I had a certain relationship with those gentlemen.
"Jahri because our names were always getting mixed up with each other. That was our inside joke. People called me Jahri and people called him Jabari. He was like man, I outweigh this guy by like 106 pounds, how can they mistake us? So we always had that connection and Jahri, we were like brothers. To see the success that he has had, being one of the best linemen that the Saints have ever had and seeing how much work was put in and the leadership that he had on the team and conducted himself, I give him honor for what he did for the organization. Just for the man he was – he was a man of integrity. He really worked his craft and put pride in it. He was that type of player, he took pride in what he was doing. The consideration that he had for being one of the best Saints was because there was a lot of time that he spent on his craft.
"And Marques, we all know he was a quiet guy, but me and Marques had a lot of good conversations at the lunch table. I pride myself on the fact that Marques were going to talk and say something in-depth conversations. He is a very smart gentleman and is as smart as a whip. He really carried himself extremely well with integrity and he was extremely studious. Whenever we were riding on the bus going to the games, or going to the hotel, he would be studying something or reading something. That really impacted me, a guy that had as much coming for him where he came from, a seventh-round draft pick becomes the all-time receiving leader in Saints history. How did that happen? It happened not because of his blazing speed or his amazing athleticism, but couple that along with his study habits, his approach to the game, his approach to rehab. This guy was always in the training room, even when he didn't need it. He took care of his body and he really invested in himself, more than 99% of the guys I've ever played with. It was really special to see these guys develop in their career respectively because they really embodied professionalism and they really took their craft seriously. So, I'm glad that the young guys that came up, like a (Andrus) Peat or a Drew Brees got to play with guys who exuded professionalism."
Jabari, how does Marques Colston never get selected as a Pro Bowler? When you look at his body of work, it still to this day makes my jaw drop.
"Yeah, I understand that. Receiver, well football, in general is a really competitive sport and every year, while he's consistently putting up good numbers, there is competition and there are dynamic receivers at that position so I think he definitely should have been selected to a Pro Bowl. He was a Pro Bowl type of receiver but, as you know, the Pro Bowl is, I don't want to take anything away from the people that get selected, but the way that the Pro Bowl is selected now a days is a lot different than it was 10 or 15 years ago."
Interesting. Jabari, when you look at the Saints offseason here and what's to come. What kind of headline or two do you think is going to come out in the next several weeks with regard to whether it be free agency that the Saints will be looking at or then obviously the Draft as we get toward the end of April. What do you think we'll be talking about in the next month or two?
"I think we're going to want to know the status of who's healthy. What do the Saints value for their pick. I think that hearing Sean Payton comment on the need for a dominant pass rushers. How is that going to affect (Hau'oli) Kikaha and the greatness that he has had, coupled with Cam Jordan. How are you going to better protect Drew Brees? What value do you see in the offensive linemen that are coming out right now. If I was in the locker room and those scouting meetings, I could tell you more, but they're still trying to trim the cap so I wouldn't be surprised if we see some more cuts or some more contracts restructuring and what they're going to do with (Jairus) Byrd's contract, what are they going to do with the contract of Keenan Lewis? We're going to have to see how they're structuring so they can bring in a couple free agents and really strengthen their team with draft picks. As far as headlines, I'm not exactly sure because I've been removed for a couple of years, but knowing that they have a cap issue, I wouldn't be surprised to see some more changes in their locker room before the draft."
Fair enough. Jabari, I've been watching you kind of from afar here, building a new career; transitioning from football player to now broadcaster. I'm hoping you can give us an update on what's the latest with your progression on that front?
"It has been fun, it really has. Progression is I did local television for WDSU, the NBC affiliate last year and I was so thankful for the opportunity to do local television. I also got an opportunity from ESPN to do network television with their SEC Network station. I've been doing that since August, so coming up on a year. It's primarily in-studio doing their SEC Now Show. That was a great opportunity because one thing that a player misses the most, once he leaves the game is that feeling that you get when you walk on the field and you heart is pounding and your attention to details turns out to level 100 and you hear the crowd and that motion from the stadium it just permeates through you. I think I get to kind of put that in a capsule and I think that when I'm under the light in the studio and you get that countdown, 3… 2… 1... and it's live and you have to be precise and you have to be prepared and convey it in a way that is understand to the viewer, yet respectful to the players that you're covering, so it is a great transition to still challenge myself and still feel the pressure of the light and perform in a way that challenges me, moving forward."
Well you've looked great and you sound great, so all the best. Congratulations, Jabari again on the Jackson Madision County Sports Hall of Fame. We'll be hoping for an update, maybe in April to find out how the weekend really went, if that's ok with you.
"No problem. Thanks for having me and I appreciate you keeping up with me. Check me out on the SEC Network hopefully I will inform you of something that will bring a smile to your face."
I think that you've already started to do that here today with us.