New Orleans Saints Defensive End Mario Edwards Jr. - Conference Call with New Orleans Media - Friday, March 15, 2019
What was it about the Saints that you liked?
"It was just a home feeling talking to the D coordinator and talking to the D line coach. They made me feel welcome. Not only just being home…I'm originally from Gautier, Mississippi, an hour and 45 minutes away…That definitely made it a little bit easier."
Was your family pretty excited about you being able to play this close to where you are originally from?
"Most definitely. My brother and my sister-in-law and little niece are here right now. They had a chance to come up here with me and make this happen for me."
How old were you when you left Gautier?
"I was eight and then started living with my dad from then on."
That's when you moved to Texas?
Were you a Saints fan as a kid?
"Growing up I was a Cowboys fan because that's where my dad played. This was the business and I love the Saints. It's close to home, so I love it."
Were your family Saints fans at all or did they become Cowboys fans once your father was drafted there?
"Whatever my last name was on or is on. If they were Cowboys fans they are going to convert into Saints fans now."
Can you describe what the free agent process was like for you?
It was okay. It's always a little weird not knowing what's the next step for you. But just having faith and having my dad having been in the process (before), kind of giving me the blueprint of what he had been through before, basically not being too high or too low,
with the lows stay even-steven. That was my mindset going into free agency."
* How would you describe to someone what you can bring to the Saints?*
"Someone who is going to work hard, someone with versatility and someone who is going to get after the passer and give 100 percent every time. I'm excited to be here and am willing to do whatever I can to contribute."
Do you know Malcom Brown at all?
Yes, Malcom and I were in the same (high school and college) class (from Texas). We went and visited the University of Texas together. He chose Texas and I chose FSU."
Did you talk to him much before you signed?
"I didn't talk to him much. The person I had a better relationship with was P.J. Williams. We played at FSU together. He had positive things to say about here and that helped me as well."
What were some things he told you about the organization?
"Just a straightforward organization, the camaraderie, the locker room is great, we have great leaders here and when you come in here, you're expected to win. That's what I came from in college. At Florida State we won, so to come here, I'm ready to put workin here as well."
What was your visit like and what sold you on the Saints?
"Honestly this was the first organization that was straightforward with me, no gray areas, no sugarcoating it, they kept it how it is with me, how it would be and what they had to offer and that they're going to win. Just being straightforward, very honest and not sugarcoating anything, sold me."
What was their vision for you?
"A pass rushing, three technique. They are looking for me to get a lot of pressure on the quarterback and look at me predominantly as a three-technique."
Did you have conversations with any other teams and if so, how many?
"I spoke with a few teams, maybe about three or four other teams, but this was the best fit for me in terms of what I have to focus on and maximizing my potential this year."
You played with Latavius Murray in Oakland?
Despite playing on different sides of the ball, what can you tell us about him?
"Latavius is a hard worker, first person in the building, last one out. He's a tall back, but also fast and powerful as well. He's going to be able to give you a lot in terms of speed, but also power as well. I'm excited to see what he's able to do."
Is it anymore difficult to tackle a tall back like him?
"You definitely have to wrap up, there's no arm tackling that's going to bring him down. You have to wrap up and put a hat on him to bring him down."
Being from Gautier, explain how you ended up in Texas?
"I grew up in Gautier until the time I was eight years old and from that time my dad joined the Cowboys. He took me (to the Dallas area) when he was with the Cowboys."
What are some of the memories you have of being around professional football with your father?
"Just being in awe in a sense. When he was with the Cowboys I had the chance to meet Emmitt Smith, Darren Woodson, George Teague, some of those great guys. Just being in the locker room and knowing at a young age that's what I wanted to do when I grew up."
Is it pressure being the son of an NFL player and sharing the name?
"Yes, definitely. He kind of set the blueprint out for me. He let me know early if anything happens and you drop the ball, you have the blueprint set out for you. That was your choice. He was kind of tough on me and straightforward with me from an early start. I knew what I was getting myself into."
Is he in coaching?
"Yes, he's at FSU as the player development coach."