New Orleans Saints Center/Guard Nick Easton - Conference Call with New Orleans Media - Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Why did you choose New Orleans?
"My first impression when I got the facility is, wow, this place is beautiful, the city is beautiful and then I go inside and meet the coaches who are so enthusiastic, fired up and knowledgeable about football, going to the locker room, beautiful place, friendly players, it's just an awesome fit man, the offense is a really well-oiled machine and I'm just fired up to be a part of it."
How are you feeling coming off the neck injury that kept you out all of last season?
"I'm feeling really good. It was definitely a long road to recovery for that, but this game has a lot of highs and lows and it's feeling good to come back up to the top now."
At what point did you get clearance and know you were okay to come back and play football?
"Yeah, so we had communications with the doctor throughout the whole process and starting out from the beginning we had a goal for when the ultimate clearance would be and we hit that goal right on solid and that was just just a couple of weeks before the free agency period started."
What was your communication with the Saints? Did you kind of know the Max Unger situation prior to signing?
"They told me they really liked my game and they wanted me. On my visit last Thursday they told me they wanted me to come in and compete and that's what I've done my whole career so I was excited to do that."
What would it be like for you just replacing a guy like Max Unger?
"Yeah, obviously everything I've heard about him, I've never met him personally, but great leader, great man, and great locker room guy. It's obviously huge shoes to fill and obviously I'm a different player so it's going to be different shoes in that spot."
Do you have any preference on whether you play guard or center or what feels more natural to you?
"Yeah, I think I'm a little more natural at the center spot. Obviously I've gotten a lot of reps at guard too. I think that's just a testament to my flexibility in positions. But if I had to choose one, I'm personally choosing the center spot."
Have they talked to you about playing both spots or just primarily playing center?
"My communication has been start out probably at center, but I got to get down there first. I got to get a playbook in my hand. I got to shake everybody's hand first and introduce myself before we can really talk about exactly where I'm going to fit in."
How important is it to develop a relationship with Drew Brees?
"It is going to be an absolute honor to be able to play and learn from a legend like that and I have also played with Teddy (Bridgewater) before, snapped to Teddy. That quarterback room is unbelievable. That's just going to be a huge help to everybody on that offensive line."
How much did you know about the production of the Saints offensive line and I guess how much does that excite you to possibly be a part of that?
"That was kind of part of the pitch when I was down there with that. They've always ranked towards the top of the league in fewest sacks out and most rushing yards, which are probably two of the most important stats for an offensive line. You see the production that they have; it's pretty obvious that is a huge selling point for this team."
With your Ivy League playing background, how would you describe the play in that league and then being in the NFL, how much do you kind of keep tabs on guys that go from the Ivy League into the NFL?
"We had a good group at Harvard when I was a senior and actually four out of the five guys on that offensive line are on a roster right now. That's a testament to (Harvard and the Ivy League schools). They do get some really good players. Some years are better than others and I try and keep track of everybody else who comes out of the Ivy League and at least introduce myself when we play each other."
I have to ask you about the entry on your Wikipedia page, that your brother jokingly put in there about defeating you in basketball battles at the court at your house as a youth. It seems like that's been there for a minute now with your brother being the driver of your athletic success. What's the story behind that?
"Let that be a lesson to all the teachers and everybody else up there that the students who are writing papers, Wikipedia may not be a credible source. I think he went in a couple of years back, my brother, and made that entry. He actually told me at Thanksgiving this year, it has been there so long, I do not think you can even edit it out if you want it to. That is there to say it is a little bit of fun between us. Just a little sibling rivalry."
What did you major in at Harvard?
"I was an economics major."
Had you been in New Orleans before at all? Have you ever visited the city prior to last Thursday?
"The one time I'd ever come down there was with my church group doing some post Katrina relief, but that was all the way back in middle school, so I didn't get really a full feel of the city and the culture and environment during that time."
What do you sort of remember about that visit?
"Honestly, the thing that stuck out to me was obviously the devastation of the city, the healing spirit of the city, and just the work that God was doing in the city. That's what stood out to me at that time."
Meet the newest member of the New Orleans Saints, center Nick Easton.