New Orleans Saints Quarterback Tommy Stevens
Saturday, April 25, 2020
How does it feel to be a Saint?
"It's unbelievable. I'm at a loss for words. I couldn't be more thankful for Coach Payton (and) his staff. I'm just incredibly blessed, incredibly thankful for people I have in my life and the Saints for giving me this opportunity."
How much contact did you have with them throughout the draft process?
"I had a good bit of contact with them. I talked to them, I talked to a few different teams, but they were definitely in the top teams that I talked to. So it's definitely refreshing to come to New Orleans."
Is it surprising at all to see your phone ringing from them, especially since they had, as of yesterday, traded all their picks today?
"Yeah, a little bit. After seeing all their picks were gone, I guess it wasn't completely out of the question, but a little bit was surprising yes. But again, I'm so happy that I'm going to end up in New Orleans and I can't wait to get to work."
As soon as you got picked, everybody was like Taysom (Hill) 2.0, do you think that's a fair comparison?
"I think Taysom brings his own game to the table and I bring mine. But again, I'm glad that I'm going to be teammates with somebody like Taysom and the other quarterbacks in that room. I can't wait to get to work with them. Like I keep saying, it's such an unbelievable opportunity. I'm so thankful for it."
Speaking of other quarterbacks in the room, one of them's Drew Brees. What does it mean to you to be able to be in the same room as a guy like that and to be able to absorb as much as you can from him?
"I can't think of a better role model. Drew's always done things the right way and I'm going to absorb as much information as I possibly can from him. (He's) One of the all-time greats. I can't wait to learn as much as I possibly can from him."
Do you think you're someone that could contribute in more ways than just quarterback if they asked?
"I do. I am going to do whatever it takes, whatever the coaches ask me to do. I am willing to do anything. I am so happy, so blown away by this. I keep saying I could not be more thankful. I'm so happy to be a Saint."
The saints asked you to send a video of you running routes. Is that right?
What was that process like? Were there specific routes I asked for or how'd that come about?
"I don't necessarily know if the script came specifically from the Saints, but my agent and I put together a script that we thought was going to please the multiple teams asking me to run routes. We did that. It was not necessarily anything too foreign to me. I I did some of the similar things at Penn State in my time there and I've kind of grown up playing multiple positions. It wasn't totally foreign to me, but obviously it's going to need some fine tuning to have success in the NFL."
I apologize if they've already asked this, but how often have you heard the Taysom Hill comparisons?
"I've heard it quite a bit and my response to that is Taysom obviously brings a unique skillset with his game. In order for me to I guess, gain a little bit, people saying that my game is similar to his, it's an honor. I love the way that Taysom plays and if I can do similar things that he's done for the Saints organization, I'll be very happy. I'm going to do whatever I'm asked to do."
When you were at Penn state, where all did you line up?
"There were certain game plans that had me lining up at a running back, h-back. I did some tight end stuff. Sometimes I went out wide and lined up as a receiver. I would line up in the backfield and motion in and end up being the quarterback. There were a lot of different things that I did. It could be beneficial for me in the future."
What sort of sparked that? What made them decide to move you around like that up there?
"I kind of originally tell this story and it's going to kind of come off as selfish in a way, but I was really bored with the first four weeks of our season. This is my redshirt freshman year at Penn State. I went to our quarterback's coach, Coach (Joe) Moorhead, and was like, hey, coach is there anything I can do? I really want to do something, can I run down on kickoff? Can I be a gunner on punt, can I just do something? He immediately put the running down on kickoff to bed. He was like, yeah, you're not going to do that, but we've got some things that we're going to be able to use you and kind of create some pain for other defenses and that's what we did."
Did you expect to be in this position considering the way the season ended for you at Mississippi State?
"Yeah, in a sense I did, just based (things) off of knowing what I can bring to the table. Through everything, I have never lost faith in the player that I know that I am and obviously the Saints organization believes in me as well and it is really humbling to be drafted. This is a dream come true. I have dreamed of this day really for as long as I can remember. I was born and they (parents) put a football on my cribs. This day was eventually bound to happen and me and my family, we're so unbelievable thankful for the Saints organization."
Do you have any connections to New Orleans or the Saints in particular?
"My time when I was at Mississippi state, I met quite a few Saints fans. I'm sure they're happy in Starkville."
Your first game as a starting college quarterback was at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome when you played the (University of Louisiana Lafayette) Cajuns?
You kind of had to wait a long time for that opportunity. What do you just remember going into that contest and the anticipation you felt wanting to play?
"Yeah, I remember a lot of emotion. A lot of emotion went into that game. I've waited, like you said, I've waited a long time to have that opportunity. It was really hard for me at times to wait like that. I remember going into the game, I was thankful for the opportunity because, obviously there's a lot worse problems to have than waiting your time to play for a Division One school. I was very thankful for the opportunity to be a part of a place like Mississippi State and go into that first game. We were able to play very well and I'll remember that for the rest of my life."
I also apologize if this part is a repeat, but you did spend time with Joe Brady at Penn State, correct?
Were you working on any of that kind of stuff at all or at that time were you more quote unquote traditional quarterback play?
"Yeah, we had Joe Brady that season, the 2016 season, which was my redshirt freshman year and that was kind of when some of the stuff started, so yeah. I never necessarily knew whether or not it was true or not, but I mean, some of that stuff started to happen with Taysom (Hill) right around the same time. So that could have been something that Joe (Brady) maybe proposed to Coach (Sean) Payton and I mean, who knows, I'll never really know, but yeah, Joe was with us."
Where are you these days?
"I'm back at my hometown, Indianapolis, Indiana."
I've got to ask, with all this stuff that you do, do you view yourself as a quarterback or just as a football player? How do you kind of see yourself?
"My dad and my uncle have always taught me that an early age for as long as I've been playing football, they taught me to play as many positions as possible. I do label myself as a quarterback first. I think that that's my primary position, but I'm definitely a guy that can do multiple things I feel like."
Where are you sort of healthwise, I know you battled some injuries throughout your career?
"I'm 100% healthy right now."
This would be kind of a variation of maybe a similar question you got kind of got off the bat, but I always wonder what guys who get picked in some of those later rounds if they almost wonder if they would rather be in an undrafted free agent situation, just depending on what organizations you'd (like to go to), but obviously the Saints have been a contender the last couple of years. Was there a thankfulness that not only, I mean, I know that getting drafted is obviously cool, right, but going somewhere where it's not somewhere where they're still trying to figure it out and put it together, right? At least it's an organization that is in a good spot.
"Yeah. I mean, definitely. I think that the Saints are definitely a contender this year and it's awesome to be a part of that. I can't explain how excited I am to get to work and to help in any way that I can with that. I think that this is the perfect spot for me. I couldn't think of a better situation."