Q AND A WITH: JOE REITZ

Question: After two weeks of training camp how do you feel things are going with just a few practices left?

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Answer:  "I think they are going great.  I'm out here every day, trying to work hard, trying to improve every day and I think that I'm well on my way."

Q:  With the uncertainty of the 2011 NFL season, did you prepare any differently this off-season than you had in years past?

A:  "It was a little different because you weren't having team practices with the coaches but we got together, our team, and worked out together.  Also, me and a lot of the other offensive linemen were working out together, sticking to our workout regiment the same.  We had a little bit more free time, which was nice for me because my wife and I had a baby girl born about a month ago so it was nice.  As far as my workouts, they stayed pretty much the same."

Q:  You have played mostly tackle in your career but have been working a lot at left guard this camp.  How is the transition to the interior of the offensive line going?

A:  "It's a little bit different.  You just have to have different footwork shorter steps, things like that.  But wherever I can play and help this team out I'm ready and willing.  If it's guard, if it's tackle, just wherever I can help out this team."

*Q:  Do you feel your versatility along the offensive line is one of your strengths? *

A:  "I think so being versatile.  Any time you can play more than one position it helps if you need somebody in a pinch here or there.  Hopefully, that will help me out."

Q:  You were an Indiana All-Star at Hamilton Southeastern High School in basketball along with being an All-State football player.  Can you explain your reasoning for not pursuing football in college and sticking to basketball?

A:  "It was tough.  It came down to the end.  I think in the end I just liked basketball a little bit more.  I think growing up in Indiana they feed you all that "Hoosiers, Hoosiers, Hoosiers" stuff, but I have been very blessed that I got to follow my dream and play college basketball and then that I've also got to play in the NFL.  So, it's been a great ride so far."

Q:  You are the third all-time leading scorer in Western Michigan Basketball history and played in the most games in school history.  When during your four-year career at Western Michigan did it hit you that professional football would be an option?

A:  "After I graduated, I sat down with my agent and I would have had an opportunity to play basketball overseas but I also had this chance to pursue this NFL dream, and I decided that's what I wanted to do and it's been great so far.  Hopefully, I'll be able to play for many more years."

Q:  How difficult was it to put on the 70 pounds from the time you left Western Michigan to now and did you expect to play tight end or offensive line at the next level?

A:  "Most of the scouts that had talked to my agent told me that they were going to put some weight on me and make me into an offensive lineman.  When I first went out to Baltimore for their training camp, I played tight end just because I was a little bit smaller.  After that, I think they saw that I was moving too slow so they were like, 'Alright here's the protein shake, start packing on the pounds,' so that's what I did.  About 50 pounds more than when I graduated college, here I am now about 315."

*Q:  You were on the 53-man roster against the Jets last year in the AFC Wild Card loss, though you were deactivated.  How much are you looking forward to finally get out on the field to play in your first regular season game? *

A:  "I can't wait.  We've got four preseason games to get ready, but there is nothing like rolling out there on Sunday afternoon putting the pads on and lining up to go play a game.  I'm just ready and anxious and am just doing my best to prepare each and every day for when that time comes I'm ready to help this team out."

Q:  What is it like having your family around you and playing for your hometown team?

A:  "It's great, especially with having a little baby.  It's nice to have a support network of family and friends that can help my wife, Jill, out.  Any time I think you can be around friends and family and people that love and care about you it's good.  I've always had a great support network of people and it's nice to have them close by."

*Q:  What are your personal expectations for the rest of training camp and for the 2011 regular season? *

A:  "Just trying to improve every day and at the end of camp we will see where the chips lie.  Just trying to make myself better and our offensive line as a whole continue to get better and better every day and that way, when that first game comes September 11 we'll be ready to roll out there and play."

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