New Orleans Saints Safety Chris Banjo - Conference Call with Local Media - Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Talk about your thought process and about how you and your wife and Craig Robertson and his wife talked about this as a group since the four of you and your families are so close and you guys are both important parts to the special teams unit?
“Really we were just praying that we could be presented the opportunity to come back to New Orleans. The continuity of that is huge. The relationships, we have been fortunate enough for them to build and grow. It’s something we’ll take for the rest of our lives and we are thankful.”
What was your reaction in seeing that Craig had rejoined you in deciding to return to the Saints as well?
“I was ecstatic. Craig, I think anyone else on the team feels the same way, Craig is definitely a leader in the locker room on and off the field and a role model in terms of being a true professional, how he approaches the game. The same person everyday who you can consistently count on. To have a guy that you can count on like that coming back to the team is phenomenal.”
What made staying in New Orleans a priority for you?
“First and foremost, unfinished business that we have. The year ended the way it did, obviously not the way that we would have liked. That definitely will always haunt me personally. We can give it another shot with the type of guys that we have on the team, it’s definitely a wonderful opportunity. And then, all the other things that go into it, the off the field stuff, the relationships that we’ve been able to build, the people we’ve been able to work with. New Orleans was a no-brainer.”
Talk about the importance of cohesion in the special teams units with people like you, Craig, Wil Lutz, Thomas Morstead, Zach Wood coming back?
“It’s huge. Personally I understand the area of special teams might not be talked about as much, but the same principles of chemistry that apply to offense and defense apply to special teams. There’s communication and a lot of other variables that go into it. So that continuity is huge. We’re definitely glad to have a huge part of that back.”
How are you and Craig and others on special teams so close?
“I would definitely say our personalities played a huge part in that in terms of being able to click so fast. You definitely have to work on that in terms of watching a lot of film. We definitely put a lot of time and energy into being on the same page and being able to speak the same language. There are a lot of different things that go into it.”
How does a guy from Southern Methodist and a guy from North Texas in Craig hit it off so well?
“I really think if you look at the foundation of that, we’re both from Houston (suburbs). Before the SMU-North Texas part, us being from Houston and growing up in Houston is probably the biggest part I would personally say.”
Have you had a chance to meet the new special teams coaching staff?
“I have not, but I’ve heard nothing but good things. I’m looking forward to getting back. I’m ready to have fun.”
What have you heard about Darren Rizzi?
“His energy, his energy is always upbeat, an aggressive guy in terms of his approach to the game, that’s something that we want to be a part of. Mike (Westhoff) was similar to that as well. It’s something we are looking forward to being a part of and looking to grow.”
What have you seen about being around Wil Lutz?
“Being around Wil, I call him bigfoot, probably since I got here if I can remember correctly. I call him bigfoot. How cool he is in terms of how cool, calm and collected he is, I appreciate it. Nothing can really faze him. At practices, he rarely misses a field goal. You will be the first to know if he’s not happy. I won’t even say, pressure, but how he carries himself with his job, it’s definitely something to admire.”
How did this free agent process work for you? As expected?
“For the most part. When I first got to New Orleans after that season I was set to be a free agent as well. At that time, I didn’t have the same body of work. This is definitely the first time where it was presented that I would have somewhat of a market or options, I guess you could say. But I’m just thankful to be able to come back to New Orleans and the type of organization that New Orleans is, the opportunities I believe we have to do some great things.”