New Orleans Saints Defensive Lineman Al-Quadin Muhammad
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Saturday, April 29, 2017
What were your expectations going into the draft?
"I had really high expectations because that's just the type of person I am. I stayed up, prayed and I kept God first. I stayed really close to my family. I worked extremely hard. I worked extremely, extremely hard at the combine and the pro day. I didn't know where my eggs may lie. After that, I felt that I did everything that I needed to do. I felt that I was honest and I felt as though good things were going to happen. I had really high expectations."
What did you learn from some of the off field issues you had at Miami?
"I learned a lot and I put them behind me. I put them in the past. Quite honestly, I haven't been focused on that because I have moved forward. I learned a lot from it. I just learned not to make those same mistakes twice and to not make those same mistakes again. I understand that when rules and regulations are put in place, they are there for a reason. They are there for us to follow. If you follow those guidelines, you can succeed and be great."
Is there anybody that you turned to that had a similar situation that kind of helped you get through that?
"It wasn't really former Miami players. The new coaching staff, Coach (Mark) Richt, (Miami assistant head coach/defensive line) (Craig) Kuligowski and also my old coaches, Al Golden, (former Miami assistant head coach/defensive coordinator) Mark D'Onofrio and my old defensive line coach Jethro Franklin – they all stayed close to me, spoke to me and also told me to stay focused, keep working hard, do not make the same mistake twice and good things are going to happen. I really just relied on the good support I had from the coaches that were around me, that believed and cared about me and loved me as the good person I am. That is pretty much what I relied on. They surrounded themselves around me and helped me. It's definitely going to help me in the future. I also thought about my son a lot. He depends on me and looks up to me. That is another big factor that played a major part and pretty much just helped me grow and get past the situations I had."
How old is your son and what is his name?
"My son is five years old and his name is Al-Quadin Muhammad Jr."
Going through that process, how much did it make you realize just how much you missed the game of football?
"Going through that process, it showed me how much I miss the game of football. I really miss the game of football because I love the game of football. The game of football's going to help me in life as a person and as a father. Football allows me to help others that are not as fortunate and people that actually look up to me. Going through that process, I missed the game a lot. I am not going to put myself in that position ever again because I know what football means to me. It means the world to me."
What was that like sitting and waiting and not knowing if and when you were going to go? How was it to finally get that call and who did you talk to?
"It was really nerve-wrecking but I kept my composure. I stayed calm. I was around family so that really helped, just laughing and having a good time and smiling while talking about old memories when I played little league football and stuff like that. To be honest, right before I got that call, I was actually smiling and laughing with my family. I got the call right on time. After a while, I wasn't too worried because I know that I gave my all and I did everything to the best of my abilities. I knew something great would come out of it. I am really happy and I am really excited to be a part of the New Orleans Saints."
Mark Richt has a history of staying involved with players and helping them out even if he has to make a decision to dismiss them; is that something he did for you?
"Mark Richt played a major part in this. After the situation that happened at the University of Miami, he didn't look at me any different. He welcomed me with open arms and I really appreciated that. It showed what type of guy he is. It showed me a lot about his character and what he is about. For me just knowing him a short period of time with the coaching switch that they had at the University of Miami, it was awesome."
This is a team badly in need of a pass rusher so you must've sold them on your skills in doing that; talk about your ability in that area.
"My ability as a pass rusher is that I'm a hell of a pass rusher. I'm just going to double back and say I love the game of football. I'm passionate about the game of football. When you love the game of football and you're passionate about the game of football, you play football differently. I don't look at football as just a game. I love to play football and am passionate about it. Their need of a pass rusher, they made a great decision. I'm not going to let them down. I'm going to come in and do everything that I need to do to the best of my ability to be successful and to help the team to win. I'm really excited about them picking me. I am really excited. I am blessed and I am thankful. It is just a great feeling. I am still a little bit in shock with this whole thing and I am just taking it all in like a sponge."