New Orleans Saints Safety Kurt Coleman Conference Call With New Orleans Media Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Why were the Saints your choice?
"I think for a number of reasons. I think knowing them and the organization and having friends and teammates play for them and who currently play for them. I think all those are a number of reasons, but I thought one of the most important factors was when I met with the Saints and Sean (Payton). He gave me a great vision of how he saw me fitting in with this team and within the defense and playing alongside several guys I have played with or that I know through the Ohio State connection. It's fun, it's exciting and intriguing for me, but then when you couple that with the fact that this team is literally knocking on the doorstep of a Super Bowl last year and I think had one play gone their way, they could have been in that same position. I'm excited and I think this team is right there where they want to be and it was the same similar feeling when I just signed with the Panthers. This team has what it takes, they have all the intangibles, they have a great coaching staff, a great organization, a great fan base and for me it's just about me plugging in doing what I do best, which is being able to be a playmaker and be a leader on this team, in the organization, within the community and just playing football."
What was the vision that the Saints outlined for you?
"I'll let Sean and everyone else really diagnosis or set that, but really just putting me in positions to make the play. I'm very successful when I'm able to get eyes on the quarterback, moving around in multiple positons and being able to just impact the game in a lot of different ways and I think that's how he sees me and my skillset, but obviously fitting into the defense. I've been a great cover safety, but also playing in different types of coverages, quarters, halves, in the post, moving me around, I think allows me to keep the quarterback kind of on his toes and allows me to play to the best of my ability."
You mentioned the Ohio State pipeline as well as some former teammates with the Panthers in influencing your decision. Can you discuss that?
"I picked a couple guys' brains. I talked to A. J. (Klein), Roman Harper, who has been a tremendous friend and teammate of mine and family friend. I think he was one of the biggest resources that I could lean on because he's been in that atmosphere for so many years and he understands the dynamics and understood the defensive scheme with Dennis (Allen). I think that played a big role because I favored his advice a lot because he's been through it all and understands the game and I think the thing that he saw was if Sean used me with Dennis Allen correctly, I think this could be a great fit because I do a lot of different things and it's not just playing on Sundays. I think it's Monday to Saturday nurturing, growing (with your teammates). We have a young secondary and I am excited to work with those guys."
What do you expect the first game against the Panthers to be like?
"I think there are no bitter feelings. Obviously this was thoroughly unexpected, but it's how things worked out. I'm a man of faith and God's plan is always greater than my own and I think this is the path he chose for me and I'm excited about it. I think he's opened a lot of doors and like I said, I feel very good about where this team is headed and it's always been an intense rivalry I don't care who I'm playing. It doesn't matter if it's a former team or a team that I see once every four years. Anytime I line up against another team it's a full go. The game will be extra special just because it will be a former team, but to me it's about winning and laying it all out for my teammates."
How difficult was it to deal with the sprained MCL that hobbled you last season?
"It was tough. I think for me that was my first major injury throughout my career. I have been very blessed and I have not had anything that's really knocked me (out) more than a game. For me to sit out four weeks than get back acclimated and then you have to work through the pain and working through the things with the knee brace it was different, but I think through every adversity you find a little more strength about yourself and for this it was no different. Coming back my first game back was against Tampa Bay and it was actually a pretty solid game, I had a fumble recovery, several tackles, but then you have to work through the scar tissue and all that stuff. It was fun in the sense that I got to learn a lot more about myself going through a different type of injury, but I've been very blessed. I haven't had any surgery that has held me out. This is a new thing (and) my knee feels great and I was told I have these knees of an 18-year old, so as long as I can play for 25 more years and I can hang around with Drew (Brees), we will be alright."
From afar, what do you think of this secondary both from watching them and your familiarity with Vonn Bell and Marshon Lattimore being Ohio State guys?
"Well I know Vonn (Bell) personally, the great thing is I know some of the guys and then obviously when you add a guy like Marcus (Williams), who is a tremendous safety, very up and coming, young, rangy safety and I'm eager to work with him and just kind of pick his brain and see where he is at. I've heard nothing but great things about him and Marshon (Lattimore). The talent level of these guys is (impressive), they are just scratching the surface for what they are going to be able to do and I just want to help be a catalyst and help be an earpiece to them (about) what works and maybe what doesn't work to help elevate their game to the next level."
What was it like being in Indianapolis looking for a job at the combine, when typically that is a time for draft hopefuls and the free agent process is a different time frame?
"I will tell you this; if you are a man that is looking for a job, the combine is where you need to go. It was a new experience and I welcomed it with open arms and just meeting different coaches and staff members. There are so many people there that are there for various different reasons. I was able to run into several former coaches and people that I have not seen in a while. It was a fun free agency process and I felt I was the only free agent on the market at the time. It was different, but I think I had a chance to come down to New Orleans and this was the first time I went down there other than a game. I want to take in the culture, enjoy the fans and see what the city's like and realty immerse myself into the New Orleans culture."
Who did you meet with besides the Saints and the Bengals, which has been publicized out there?
"I met with the Bengals, Giants and those were the three top tier teams I was considering. I talked with Washington and there were several teams that were interested in me, none more than New Orleans and those other teams, but when it all came down to it for me, my family, my career, and everything that entails that this team is able to and is going to do in to the future, this was no doubt the best for me."
Take a look at the newest addition to the Saints roster, veteran safety Kurt Coleman