Marshall Pros Return to Huntington
Seven NFL Players met with the media Friday
April 27, 2012
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Seven of Marshall's current NFL players spoke with members of the media Friday at the Marshall Rec Center.
Daniel Baldridge, Chris Crocker, Mario Harvey, Doug Legursky, Chris Massey, Albert McClellan and CJ Spillman were in town in anticipation of the 34th annual Big Green Scholarship Foundation Banquet titled "Evening with the Pros," which features former Marshall players currently in the NFL. Ahmad Bradshaw and the event's host, Chad Pennington, were also expected to attend the banquet.
On his recruiting trip to Marshall:
"Doug (Legursky) was my host. When I showed up I was probably 230 - pounds. I was probably as big as this bottle. I was a basketball guy. He showed me a good time and showed me how to work out and it's been awesome."
On the Jaguars:
"It's been good. I think we'll be solid. We just got new coaches. It looks like a very promising season. We want to make a run at the Super Bowl, that's the plan."
On his NFL future:
"I'm trying to contemplate whether I am going to retire or whether I'm going to play. I feel great. My problem is I've been injured for the last few years. But you know I told my wife I'd look at every situation and that if I really don't like the options I'm happy hanging it up. We'll see. We'll know within the next month or so what I'm going to do."
On if he's surprised himself with his longevity in the league:
"No, because I've always had that drive and kind of been that overachiever. I've had a chip on my shoulder and I've always told myself I'll play until I can't play anymore, but at some point the injuries pile-up and you have to know when to say when. So, you know, nothing surprises me at this point in time."
On Marshall football's tradition for having players make it to the NFL:
"It says a lot because it doesn't matter where you go or where you play, people will come and support you. It does look really nice. You know Chad [Pennington] and those guys started it for us and we just got to carry on the tradition. You know I picked it up, and of course (Ahmad) Bradshaw shortly after. It hasn't been the same but Marshall's on the right track and they'll get back to where we were, but it's really good for them to now be in the Conference USA, able to knock it with the big boys."
On if NFL players pay a lot of attention to the draft:
"A lot because you're trying to figure out who your teammate is going to be. I'm always excited for it. I can't wait for the second round to see what we (Colts) are going to do. I'm always on the edge of my seat just watching it. I hope we pick someone good that I've watched this college football season."
On a rebuilding phase:
"I don't have a problem with it. At Marshall I had coach (Dan) Snyder and coach (Doc) Holliday. I went through three linebacker coaches throughout my career so I don't have a problem with it. I just go out there and do what they tell me to do and learn the new system. Everybody is at ground zero right now. Everybody is learning the new material at the same time so everybody gets a fair shot. I'm proud to be a part of a new era."
On newly drafted quarterback Andrew Luck:
"I'm excited for him. He's a great quarterback. He's smart. He always does the right thing with the ball. He's going to help usher in a new era and I'm behind him 100 percent."
On recently becoming a father and playing in the NFL:
"You have more of a responsibility to go out there and bring home the bacon. It's going to be a little nerve-racking."
On the Steelers offering him a tender:
"It's not what I wanted, I definitely wanted a long-term contract, but that will come in time. They could have risked giving me a league-minimum and losing me, but them giving me a tender shows me they want me there, and I want to be there, so I'm going to play my heart out this year and hopefully get an extended contract next season."
On changes with a new offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh:
"It's still a little early. We've gone over little things, but under the new CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) the rules are a little funky on how much stuff you can actually do with your coaches on the field and off the field. Some of these guys have already been on the field at mini-camps with their teams, but with Pittsburgh we've just had a few meetings and that's it. Just workouts. Starting next week we'll be on the go a little bit more doing stuff installed, things like that, so I'll get a little more information on the new offense."
On how much he follows Marshall football:
"Well I always follow Marshall football, either through Twitter or things on Facebook. Some of my friends are still here at Marshall. The new strength coach, and the assistant strength coach, Scott Wilks, who I'm really close to, is a family friend and the new strength coach here so I definitely have a lot of connections and I definitely keep up with you guys."
On whether or not he'll be at the Green and White game:
"Absolutely. I'm going to be there with all of my Marshall gear on; the newly purchased Marshall gear, since a lot of my old stuff is really rundown."
On the outlook for the Marshall football team for next season:
"I think it looks really good. You know whenever a new coaching staff comes in it takes a little time for it to get turned around and for them to get on track. They just need to stay focused, stay hungry, and work hard."
On the Steelers acquiring David DeCastro in the draft:
"We're really excited. I talked to a couple guys last night and also texted him and told him congratulations. I'm excited to be on the other side of (Maurkice) Pouncey with him so it's going to be interesting with him coming in. Being a first-rounder I'm sure he's going to be plugged-in on day one. Him, Pouncey, and me side by side is going to be a lot of fun. A lot of fun running that football."
On Marshall producing players in the NFL:
"Marshall is on the map. Everywhere I go I wear my Marshall gear. They always talk about We Are Marshall the movie and ask me about it. So I spend 15 - 20 minute talking about the university and the sports program and all the guys who have played in the league. This is a great tradition and it's going to carry on for years to come."
On being successful despite being one of the least physically imposing guys in the NFL:
"My dad always told me it's always the size of the fight in the dog. I've been fortunate enough to do a good enough job in my career to be consistant and reliable. I've had some good coaches, I've been a great team guy and a hard worker and a good example for our young guys to follow.
On his NFL future:
"I'm a free agent now. I'm taking it day-by-day and we'll see what happens."
On coming back to Marshall:
"I love coming back home. This is my home state. Every year after the season ends, my wife is also from here, we come back for a few weeks in the winter time and then we also come back and spend a few weeks before training camp starts. I love the state and I love the university. It's just always fun to come back."
On the difference playing with the Bears and the Rams:
"I was in St. Louis for 10 years and Chicago is one of the great franchises in the National Football League. Their tradition speaks for itself and they have a great fan base. That's the difference in playing in Chicago and St. Louis is that it's a true football city. St. Louis has always been a baseball town with the Cardinals being first and it definitely doesn't help that we didn't win too many games during my career there."
On advice for Marshall senior Vinny Curry once he makes it to the NFL:
"To continue to work for his second contract. Even to get this first one he needs to work on his next one. So whether he likes this one or not, he needs to worry about the next one."
Favorite memory from Marshall:
"The bowl game was nice, but I'm going to say early-morning workouts during the spring when it was ice cold and we woke up and rolled around in the grass. I thought it was the best memory I had. I enjoyed that time. That's when everybody came together as one."
On reaching the NFC Championship game:
"That's why you play this game because you want to get to the biggest stage every single year. We'll think of everything that we did wrong so when we go out next year we can be more successful."
On playing multiple positions:
"The coaches have seen flashes of my ability and what I can do. So I think now they have more confidence in me and they can give me the opportunity to see what I can do as a special teams player just as much as a defensive player."
"My best memories were with a lot of the guys that I'm here with today; Training camp, dorms, all those elements that you don't see on game day."