You have been in the club’s culture now for three years, how do you find it – It’s a great family-type atmosphere, probably one of the closest teams I’ve been a part of since my career began. It’s a great atmosphere.
Your career began like a lot of players do, by going to different teams. How is that adjustment – It’s definitely tough on you mentally but as you get older, you know it’s part of the game. You just find ways to make it work in a different city. You just have to toughen yourself and know it is what it is.
What do you have to work on personally – Just being accountable to my teammates and coaches when my number’s called, go out and handle my job and prepare every day as a starter.
That’s what this league is about – being ready when your number’s called.
What were your high points as a player last year – Toward the end of the year, during the playoffs, to make some key plays in big games, being physical with receivers, challenging them and getting my hand on some balls.
How important is the bonding of teammates in the secondary – It’s important. It’s one of the closest groups I’ve been a part of. (We’re) very tight, and that goes a long way on Sundays on the field. If you’re tight with the guy beside you, you’re going to do what you can not to let him down.
You practice against
Do you ever ask quarterbacks what they see in you in case you can make a correction – I do that with a lot of quarterbacks. I do it with Matt (Hasselbeck) and Chandler (Harnish), too. If they can tell me what they’re seeing, hopefully, I won’t show it to them the next time. That’s what I can take from them.
Most fun thing I did during the summer – It was spending time with my newborn, Micah. That’s all I did. I spent as much time as I could because I knew when camp came, I wouldn’t see him for a while. Being with him every day was important.
What teammate did you learn the most from – I took a lot from Antoine Bethea, seeing how he did things as a pro. He carried himself well on and off the field. If he could practice, he was out there. There were times he could have sat out, but he was at every practice. He went 100 miles an hour on Sunday.
Chuck Pagano is a former DB, does that help you – Oh, yeah, he shows a lot every day. He takes it to another level when it comes to knowledge of DBs. He’s a very knowledgeable guy, smart. He’s always telling you something new every day.
What drives you the most about this game – Having the opportunity to compete. There are opportunities sometimes when you’re young and you don’t see the future. You don’t think you’ll be here. When I got here, I knew I’d do whatever I needed to do to stay as long as I can.
What are your business plans after football – I’m a licensed barber in Georgia. My dad has owned a shop in Sandersville, Georgia for 63 years now. It was my granddad’s before that, Gordy’s Barbershop. It’s the second-oldest black-owned business in the county. That’s a big thing. I wouldn’t mind taking it over, but not in the way he does it. If I had the chance, I’d own it from afar, be in and out but not having to be there every day. It’s a social hub in the city.
What did you learn from how your dad worked – He knows people want a service done, and he’s going to be there to provide it for them. His saying is the only thing he leaves for are his kids’ graduations or weddings. It was a great lesson for me. It shows dedication and hard work. He also raised me up the way he was. I started as a shoeshine boy in the shop. That’s how he did it in his younger days. When I was 16, I started cutting hair. I have a couple of nephews coming up, and they’re starting up the same way. It’s a family tradition.
Who was the NFL player you wanted to meet the most before you made the league and why – It was Al Harris. I grew my hair out in part because of him. I got the chance to play with him in Green Bay and St. Louis. We actually started a couple of games together in St. Louis. I was on the field when he took his last snap. He tore his ACL. I learned a lot from him. He was another guy who brought it every day in practice, no matter the situation.
Do you have a favorite quote? If so, who did you hear it from and why does it mean something to you – I stick to one, ‘I’m one of 1,696.’ I’m one of that many players in the league. To be here is a blessing, so I stick with that.
Do you ever think of that when you’re playing, that you’ve beaten the odds – (Laughs) Probably during the game you don’t think about it. After the game is over and you’ve won, you made a couple of plays it’s, ‘Hey, there’s a thousand guys who would love to be in this situation.’ For whatever reason, they’re not.
What you know now about training camp that you didn’t as a rookie – To pace yourself, and I don’t mean in a lazy way. When you’re a rookie, you want to come out 100 miles an hour. My first day as a rookie, I had a full lower body cramp. I learned my lesson about hydrating, and I stick to it now. Pace yourself, don’t do too much out of your job assignment. When the opportunity arises, make the play.