QUESTIONS WITH THE COLTS

Questions and Answers with Colts OT-Jeff Linkenbach Questions and Answers with Colts offensive tackle Jeff Linkenbach . . .

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Question: You're in the NFL now, the latest step in a lifelong dream. But when did it begin? When did you first start playing football?

Answer: "I actually started playing football in seventh grade for Margaretta (grades K-12). We were the Polar Bears. I was actually a better defensive lineman than an offensive lineman."

Q: What do you remember about your first team?

A: "I was one of those 'backyard' players, so that was my official sports beginning there in seventh grade. I was always playing backyard basketball and backyard football, but official sports team, that was in seventh grade."

Q: To get to this level, it has to be about more than money, or fame – the things a lot of people associate with the NFL. What do you love about the game that has kept you playing?

A: "Just always striving to be better and the competition. Most of us pros thrive on the competition, and we're competing in everything we do. So it's just logical to stay with that and compete as long as you can."

Q: What was your best sport growing up? It wasn't football for all NFL players…

A: "I was a 'football only' guy, this big body is made for football."

Q: When did you move to offensive tackle? What position on the defensive line did you play?

A: "I was a nose tackle in junior high, and I played pretty much everywhere along the offensive line in high school and junior high. So I was (on) both lines everywhere."

Q: Is there a reason why you ended up playing on the offensive line, opposed to the defensive line?

A: "I guess I was considered a smarter type of guy, so offense would be the better fit for me. I would say once I got to my freshman year in high school, I started playing more along the offensive line."

Q: Why are you a good offensive tackle? Why are you here when a lot of guys aren't?

A: "I honestly couldn't tell you. I just strive to get better every day, and, personally, I don't think I'm any better than anybody. I just continue striving to get better."

Q: What's your best football memory?

A: "In 2009, winning the Big East Championship against the University of Pittsburgh on a last-second Hail Mary from Tony Pike to Armon Binns."

Q: When did you first think this was real? When did you first think, 'I have a chance to play in the NFL?'

A: "It wasn't really until the Colts gave me an opportunity last April after the draft. I wasn't sure if I would end up getting that call, so I would say that was really when it became real. But towards the end of my senior year when you have agents and everybody talking to you, I would say that's when it became a possibility."

Q: Do you have a pre-game ritual?

A: "I just have a routine that I like to go through. I'm not really superstitious, I just like a routine."

Q: What about after football? Do you have any post-career plans?

A: "Nothing specific. I have a B.A. in finance, so eventually go into that if this football thing doesn't work out."

Q: Who's the person most responsible for you being in the NFL?

A: "I would have to say my mom's always been there for me, and every coach I've ever had from seventh grade on has always pushed me to get better. You're either getting better or getting worse every day, so I think every coach and my mother had a profound (impact)."

Q: Did you have a favorite player growing up?

A: "I was an Orlando Pace fan."

Q: Favorite team?

A: "The Cleveland Browns. I am from Sandusky, Ohio, so Orlando Pace from Sandusky and Cleveland is the closest team."

Q: What was your first car?

A: "A 1993 Jeep Wrangler."

Q: What was your first job?

A: "I was doing grunt work for my dad's painting business."

Q: Was it your hardest job?

A: "I would have to say so. Sanding and lower back pains, I would have to say so."

Q: What is it about football that drives you the most?

A: "It's just the inner struggle within yourself to come out and get better every day. Just continue to strive to get better."

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