New Orleans Saints Linebacker Anthony Chickillo
Zoom Call with New Orleans Media
Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Why did you want to sign with New Orleans?
"Obviously, it was a great opportunity for me to come to New Orleans. (I) Couldn't ask for a better organization, with a better head coach, better team, better quarterback and I'm just really excited to get to New Orleans and to get to work."
What specifically stood out about the organization?
"It's a winning organization and I wanted to be a part of a winning organization. I was lucky to be in Pittsburgh the past five years. I feel like I'm coming from a winning culture, so I feel like I'm going to fit in well with the locker room. It'll be different playing in a four-three, in Pittsburgh I got used to the three-four, but in college I played with my hand down in a lot of different positions. I'm excited and I think I'll be a good fit for the team."
How do you feel you'll contribute on the special teams and do you know a lot about the special teams units?
"Oh, for sure. I'm really lucky to have been with Danny Smith, my special teams coach the past five years in Pittsburgh. He taught me the ins and outs of special teams and I feel like I'm going to be able to take that knowledge that I learned there and bring it to New Orleans."
Do you have any ideas specifically how they'll use you on defense?
"I'm not entirely sure, but I know I'm putting my hand back down in the dirt. In Pittsburgh, we were in a two point stance. We were in a three-four and still on some passing situations I was able to put my hand down, so it's not like I haven't done in the past five years."
Is that something that kind of intrigues you? Is that something you were kind of looking for in your next step?
"For sure, I've always liked rushing with my hand down, better than out of a two-point (stance). It's going to be a lot of fun."
How much of a learning curve do you think it will be just to sort of reacclimate yourself to play in that position in that sort of way?
"I think it will be (an adjustment). Like I said in Pittsburgh, I was rushing out of a three-point stance, really whenever we ran our nickel package. I got to do it a whole bunch and when (in 2016 in) New Orleans in the preseason, I was rushing out of a three-point stance in the Superdome and when we played in the regular season (in 2018) I was rushing off a three-point stance. I'm sure the coaches saw that I was able to do that."
How weird was it being a free agent during the Covid-19 pandemic?
"For sure, for me specifically, just because I had an off-the-field issue last year and teams wanted to see me to come in on visits and we weren't able to do that this year. That was a different, I know from myself and a whole bunch of free agents across NFL."
How much did you learn from that process and grown from it?
"Oh, for sure. Definitely, I had to take a step back and evaluate myself personally and fix issues that I had to fix and I have a lot of gratitude for the Steelers sticking by me doing that during that time in my life. I'm grateful for the Saints to trust that I'm a high character guy and I can't wait to get involved in the community in New Orleans and just be able to get out there and get to work."
When you're signing with a team and you're not able to visit them and you're not really able to see them face to face, I guess, how much do you have to go on your gut feeling as opposed to much of anything else?
"It feels right. I definitely feel like I needed to change the scenery. I am excited for the future. I can't control what's happened in the past and I'm excited for the future and I'm ready to get down there and get to work."
What's it been like for you trying to introduce yourself to a team, over the computer or an electronic device?
"I haven't really gotten a chance to talk to any of the guys yet. I remember playing against (them), when we played it played in 2018. I was talking trash to a whole bunch of the special teams (players and) with a whole bunch of guys out there. It'll be fun to get in the locker room and start to bond with those guys. I know it's going to be a different year, just because of teams not being in the building at this part of the year. When we get to training camp we're going to have to all get acclimated quickly to each other and it's going to be a lot of fun."
It's got to be something you miss right now, right?
"Yeah, for sure. The routine has changed with all this, but just got to stay active. I have been working out twice a day here back home in Tampa, so I've been just trying to stay in shape and stay ready. Just keep my body ready for the season."
Are you working out in a gym or do you have a home gym?
"Yeah, I'm working out at a gym back home, Cooper Sports Performance, back home here in Tampa."
Are you training with any coaches or trainers there?
"I've been training with my trainer for a long time now, Josh Cooper. We have a whole bunch of guys from different teams that train in the gym. We get really good work in."
What is your training session look like on a day to day basis?
"In the mornings we do speed and lifting and then in the afternoon I'll go to the field and get my grass work."