Head Coach Bill O’Brien
Defensive Coordinator Mike Vrabel
OLB/DE Jadeveon Clowney
ILB Brian Cushing
CB Johnathan Joseph
HEAD COACH BILL O’BRIEN
Are special talents like Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger and Patriots QB Tom Brady born or are they made?
“That’s a great question. I would say that a little bit of both. I think there’s certain things that they’re born with – their intelligence, their ability to think quickly, their poise, their drive, their want to be the best, their willingness to sacrifice everything to be the best and then there’s other things that obviously help them along the way I think. Obviously, coaching’s a big part of it, pointing them in the right direction relative to how to play that position at this level. So, I think it’s a little bit of both.”
Based on what you’ve seen so far from QB Deshaun Watson, do you think he has what it takes at some point to be that kind of guy?
What do you see that make you feel that way?
“He’s a leader. He’s a winner. I mean, he’s a very instinctive player. He can throw. He can run. And he’s very, very smart.”
Does it slow down for quarterbacks in those situations?
“I think that’s a better question for them. I think the more experience you have, I think that’s definitely the case. I think the less experience you have, I don’t think it slows down quite as much, if that makes sense. I think the more you see things and you get used to the speed of the game and the different things that you’re seeing at this level, I do think that it does slow down. But, I don’t know if it slows down – I don’t know when it would slow down for every player, if that makes sense. I think it has a lot to do with experience.”
What do you think about Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger and how he’s played under pressure?
“Yeah, I mean, there was a stat in the game that I think Tom (Brady) had 50 fourth quarter comebacks and I think Ben (Roethlisberger) had probably in the 30s or 40s. I just remember seeing the stat, I probably misquoted it, but I’m sure he has a lot. He’s led that team back in the fourth quarter several, plenty of times because of the poise he has, the control he has of the game. If you watch it on TV – TV shows a lot of different things than the coaches tape. You just hear his control of the game. He’s a great player. He doesn’t feel like any play is ever over. He’s very accurate. He’s got great players around him. He’s got a real, real good offensive line and he’s a great player.”
What are your thoughts on T Derek Newton being the team’s honoree for the Ed Block Courage Award?
“There’s a guy that deserves that. If there’s a guy that deserves to be voted for that award it’s Derek Newton. I mean, the guy – it’s almost like, what, you’re getting close to 18 months, getting into the two-year range from when he did that, and he’s been in there since his surgery which was a long time ago. He’s been in there every day really to the point where now he might have a chance to play again, and I think when it happened I’m not sure that you could really say that. He blew out both of his knees on one play. It’s just kind of a flukey non-contact kind of deal and he’s really busted hard to be back to where he is. So, I think he’s very deserving of that award.”
What have you seen from Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell and how rare is it to have a guy so good in both phases of the offense?
“He’s one of the best backs I’ve seen on tape in a long time, to be honest with you. He’s a very patient runner. I don’t think I’ve ever really seen anything like it. How he runs, it’s hard to describe behind some of the blocking schemes that they have. Mike Munchak, who I know real well, does a great job with their offensive line and Le’Veon’s a great back for what they’re doing. Then they split him out and they run slants for touchdowns, they run go-routes, double-moves. He can do it all. He can definitely do it all, no doubt about it.”
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger was the third quarterback taken from his class and came from a small college. Is there something to a quarterback with a chip on his shoulder who feels he has something to prove?
“Some of the great ones were drafted with the first pick, but there are several examples of guys that weren’t drafted that high. I can remember, obviously Tom Brady’s the most famous story relative to that, sixth-round pick, but if it’s Ben or Aaron Rodgers – you can remember the scene of Aaron Rodgers sitting in the greenroom waiting to be drafted. Part of what makes them who they are, and again, it’s a better question for them, but to me it’s definitely having a chip. The guys that I’ve coached, they have that, too. They have something that they’re going to do in the back of their mind. They may not verbalize it, but they’re going to prove the doubters wrong.”
How hard is it to evaluate the mental makeup of a college player when you don’t have a lot of time with them in the pre-draft process?
“I’ll say this about that, I think relative to, let’s just say free agency, you get a lot more time with the college player. You can visit them at the combine, which is kind of brief, Fifteen minutes in the big room, but you can also get them in the train station for a while longer than that with an assistant coach. You can go to their campus and visit with them, you can bring them here and visit with them. So, I think you really get a good sense for the player in the pre-draft process, I really do, at any position but especially that position. That’s different than the free agency process. I think you do get a good feel for them and I think you try to talk to people that you know within their program, people that have been involved with them from a coaching standpoint that you trust, that you know. Coaching’s kind of a small fraternity. There were guys at Clemson that we knew real well. Danny Pearman was a guy that I coached with. Couldn’t say enough about Deshaun Watson and what type of player and what type of person he was. I think there’s a lot of different things that go into it.”
What do you think is behind the success of your run defense this season?
“I think it’s been inconsistent. I think that in the past, it’s been a lot more consistent. I think when we’re good, it means we’re setting the edge, we’re building a wall, we’re not letting plays get outside of us, we’re not allowing creases up inside. I think it’s been probably better than our pass defense, which I think has a lot to do with not just coverage but pass rush, but I think it’s been a little inconsistent and it’s got to be consistent on Monday if we’re going to have a chance.”
Have you been more consistent against mobile quarterbacks or pocket passers?
“I’d have to think about that. I think mobile quarterbacks are tough. I mean, I’d have to go back and think about that but it’s an interesting question. I don’t really know the answer to that one.”
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR MIKE VRABEL
Can you talk about your relationship with Steelers LB Ryan Shazier, and when you saw his injury, what ran through your mind?
“Well, I was lucky enough to coach Ryan (Shazier) as a freshman at Ohio State. I was a first-year linebacker coach. Great kid. Great passion for the game. Unbelievable family – his mom and dad, his younger brother. (I) got to know them very well. And then watched him progress and play, watched his success, watched his injuries. Then, when it happened, you’re like, it’s a violent game, Ryan plays it violent, plays it physical, he plays it fast. Then you just kind of worry about his son, Ryan, his wife, just really everybody. When you have family and you have friends that play this game, you realize what can happen. Hopefully he’ll be able to recover, but that’s obviously part of the game.”
Does Steelers LB Ryan Shazier’s injury cause you and the players to think at all when you see something like that?
“No, I think that people, the guys that play this game, I think you’re wired a little differently. I just think that that’s how it goes. That’s how you become professional football players. The violence of it, you have to enjoy the speed of it, the competition of it. So, it’s the reason people jump out of airplanes and they free fall or do whatever they do. I think you’re just wired differently. So, when you get guys that play in the NFL, they’re grown men that understand the risk of it, but the reward of it is so great because it’s what you’re – guys that are great players, they can’t live without football. They can’t live without coming to work and practicing and playing and competing. So, that’s the downside of it.”
What do you think of OLB/DE Jadeveon Clowney’s honor of being named to the Pro Bowl?
“Well-deserved. Well-deserved and happy for him. We got to get more of them. We got to get more of those guys. So, that’s the goal, is to get guys coached up that can perform at that level, worthy of postseason recognition.”
What do you think of T Derek Newton being named the Ed Block Courage Award winner for the team?
“It’s a great honor because it’s voted on by your teammates, and so they see guys every day that have gone through struggle and come out better, have conquered whatever issue they may have. Obviously, with Quess (David Quessenberry) and Derek (Newton), the guys see them every day and they see how much work and time they put in. So, any time there’s actually an award that’s voted on by peers, I think you appreciate those.”
How special was today for you with your son, Tyler, signed his National Letter of Intent to play at Boston College?
“We didn’t do much. Everybody’s like, ‘What are you guys doing?,’ and I said, ‘I came to work and Jen and him sat at the kitchen table and signed it at 7 o’clock.’ But, it is cool that – I’m proud of Tyler, I don’t want to tell him that, but I am proud of him for where he’s come. He struggled as a young high school kid. He switched schools midway through high school and got his grades figured out and got football figured out.”
Does it bring back your memories to when you signed your National Letter of Intent?
“Yeah, I think so. I think that I was 17, he’s young, he’s a young senior, so I was young. He knows he’s got a lot of work ahead of him to play offensive line in the ACC.”
Are you surprised by all the trouble that so many guys go through to announce where they’re going with videos, going somewhere else, etc.?
“I lived that world with recruiting, and so you play that game and you get caught up in it and it’s brutal. It’s almost embarrassing the things that you do to try to get guys to sign the NLI, which is part of the reason I’m here today in the National Football League. I do think, just track them. I think we should just track that in five or six years to see how many of those guys that are five-stars end up as pros. Some of them certainly do, but there’s a lot of guys that are two-stars, that are three-stars that grind through and develop. I don’t even know what star Antonio Brown was, but you’ve never seen anything like this guy on film. You just sit there and stare at it and you’re in awe of it and I’m like, ‘I don’t even know how the guy ended up at Central Michigan.’ I’m sure there’s a story behind it, but the development of the player that ultimately gets to the National Football League.”
It’s kind of amazing that at Central Michigan, DE J.J. Watt was a two-star.
“Same thing. And so, they’ve got good recruiters and they got a good eye for talent.”
OLB/DE Jadeveon Clowney says he believes he has room for growth. How much better do you think he can get?
“I would agree with him. I think we all have room for growth. We all have room for improvement and self-development. I just think that he can continue to improve on things – improve on pass rush, ‘Hey, they’re going to double team me,’ you’re going to have to work on ways to beat double teams. Just like Antonio Brown, you look at him, he’s figured out a way to beat double teams, they double team him every play.”
Earlier this season, you talked about DE J.J. Watt’s production and how it’s not all about sacks and statistics. Do you think there’s a little bit of that with OLB/DE Jadeveon Clowney?
“I think he’s a disruptive player. I think that if, yeah, you tracked the time that he is disruptive in the run game and somebody else gets a tackle for loss, I’m sure there’s a lot of those too where he doesn’t get a stat, but I’m sure that there’s disruption and made the ball bounce and bubble, took two blockers. I’m sure there’s a lot of those.”
How much do you expect the Steelers offense to be different without WR Antonio Brown or do you not expect it to be different?
“A lot of skill. A lot of skill, a lot of speed. The line – very impressive. Ben (Roethlisberger) runs the show. Le’Veon Bell – special back, very unique, very elusive. He’s going to touch the ball 30 times. We understand that. So, I don’t anticipate a whole lot of changes. They have good players over there – (Martavis) Bryant and (JuJu Smith-) Schuster. Certainly (Eli) Rodgers or (Darrius Heyward-) Bey stepping in, whoever’s going to step in there at that third spot. Jesse James has become a reliable target underneath for them. And then clearly, Le’Veon is going to be an issue.”
What do you think are the traits of Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger that have allowed him to continue to play at this high level for so long?
“Again, I think you’re wired differently and I think Ben is. I think, you talk about development, I’m sure he developed as a quarterback in where he went in Miami of Ohio. But, he doesn’t – he’s going to throw the ball. He’s going to make plays. He wants to make plays. He may throw an interception or two, but at the end of the day, he’s going to trust his arm, he’s going to trust his talent, he’s going to trust what he sees and he’s going to – he’s worried about making the play as opposed to worried about not making it, and I think that’s the mentality of great players. They don’t worry about, ‘Well, what if this happens? Or what if I throw a pick?’ It’s like, ‘What happens if I throw a touchdown? We’re going to win the game.’”
You saw that trait with Patriots QB Tom Brady early on. Are guys born with that in them?
“I think there’s got to be some of that in you, but then I also think that there comes a time in your career, probably early on, where you make a play. Where something, where you gain some confidence, you’re like, ‘Man, I can’t believe I just did that,’ and your confidence level grows. To have faith in a system or have faith in a person, you have to kind of do it, it’s had to have happened. And so, maybe early on in his career with the Super Bowl and the guys that he had around him, maybe he made a play, maybe he hit one in there to Hines Ward and then everything just took off from there.”
From what you’ve seen of QB Deshaun Watson, if he gets in those situations next year, can he be that kind of guy?
“I think that, from the plays that I’ve seen Deshaun make in the games that we’ve played with him, I would imagine. I mean, the play’s never over. He believes that he’s going to score. You see the scramble ability, the play extension. That’s tough to defend, at least from our standpoint.”
OLB/DE JADEVEON CLOWNEY
Some Jaguars fans were allegedly sending trash cans to the stadium…
“I’m done with the Jaguars. Don’t ask me no Jaguars questions. Any more questions?”
I understand the Jaguars fans have been sending trash cans here…
“I’m done with the Jaguars questions. We’re past that. We’ve got to play the Pittsburgh Steelers this week.”
How does it feel to make the Pro Bowl?
“Thank you. I’m very honored and excited about the Pro Bowl. I want to thank my teammates, coaching staff, training staff, just about everybody in the building that helped me get to this point.”
What was your reaction to being named to the Pro Bowl?
“I was excited about it. One of my goals every year (is) to try to get to the Pro Bowl and the All-Pro team. Just one of the goals you set every year and set out to achieve, so I was very excited about it.”
What have the last couple of years meant to you after struggling with injuries the first two?
“It means a lot. I’ve been working extremely hard in the offseason to get healthy and get my game better and come out here and prove to the fans and to my teammates that I’ve got a lot better and improved. It’s great.”
Do you feel the Steelers offense changes without WR Antonio Brown?
“Yeah, of course. He’s one of the best receivers in the game. He’s their best receiver down the field, of course the game’s going to change a lot. They’ve got plenty of threats out there. They’ve got a lot of good guys all across the board. I don’t know if it’s going to change drastically with him being out, but I’m sure it’s going to change some.”
What is your best Christmas memory?
“I don’t know, man. I don’t have too many memories about Christmas. No, I don’t have any.”
What was your favorite Christmas gift growing up?
“I had this little electric scooter-bike thing when I was younger. My mom bought me awhile (back). But I fell off it and she hasn’t bought me any more. I had bumped my head, she thought I was hurt real bad. It was crazy.”
Do you think about your childhood Christmases when you start giving back to young kids?
“Yeah. I’m going to buy my son whatever he wants, really. Whatever he asks for, I’m going to get.”
What does your son want for Christmas?
“I’m going to buy him a little truck. An electric truck-scooter-car thing. Get him something to play around (with). He’s got a lot of toys. My house is crowded with toys. We’re not going to do too much for him. It’s Christmas every day.”
How excited are you to see your son every day?
“I’m very excited. I wake up every day just to look at him and speed race home just to go home and see my son. One of the brightest spots in my life to have him, so I’m happy about that.”
What do you think about chasing down Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger?
“He’s not really a chase around guy. The guy’s huge. It’s not really a big chase, just get him down. It’s like wrestling with a bear. It’s more of a wrestle than a chase. When you get to him, you’ve got to hold on to him. He’s one of the biggest quarterbacks in the league. The guy can make any pass on the field. He’s one of the greatest quarterbacks that has played the game. So, it’s going to be a hassle for us, so we’ve just got to come with it, come ready to play this game.”
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger called you a special player this week.
“He’s a special player.”
Do you appreciate when opponents say good things about you?
“Yeah, very much so. I appreciate it because it shows that everybody takes notice of what you’re doing and your hard work is paying off. Just got to keep it up.”
How much pride do you take on run stopping and on the less glorified blue-collar work?
“I take very much pride in the run game as well as the pass game. I think in the run game, it’s man-on-man. Really, it’s just knock the guy in front of you. Pass blocking is a little different. You can do any schemes for passing but in the running game, I know I’ve got to just knock this guy back and knock him back. That’s why I take more pride in the run game more than anything because it’s really just like blowing up man-to-man out there and showing that you’re not going to get knocked off the ball.”
How does it feel to be healthy in an injury-plagued season?
“I just hope we can make it through these two weeks and nobody else gets injured but it’s part of the game. You don’t go out there half-stepping no game, you don’t just go out there half-stepping to try to reserve yourself, try not to get injured. You go out there and play every game like it’s the first game of the season all the way through. So, I’m not going out there half-stepping, I’m going to play like it’s the first game of the season.”
Do you feel like your past the injury phase?
“You never know. I don’t think anybody expects to get injured. Nobody knows what their path is. Just go out there and play hard. I didn’t get hurt this year, too. I just keep playing, keep pushing and I might be injured now and you don’t even know. It’s something you’ve got to deal with because it’s the NFL, through the league and a lot guys have been well but so many teams just have to come back and try to deal with the pain and just try to get ready to come back. That’s one of those things, just try to stay healthy.”
Are you injured?
“No, I’m good.”
What do you think about what Texans Ed Block Courage Award winner T Derek Newton is doing?
“I think it’s unbelievable. That guy has worked extremely hard, more than I’ve ever seen anybody in here. I think he said, what, six-to-seven hours a day taking care of his stuff, trying to get back just to prove to you guys and the team and people outside the building that he still can play. I’m excited to see him. I watch him work every day. He works more than, like I said, anybody in this building right now. Probably in here just as much as the coaches. Just to see him fight back and do what he’s doing is amazing. I wish him nothing but the best.”
What’s it like to see T David Quessenberry across the line?
“I’m ready to see Quess play. He got moved up this week. I’m looking forward to that, what he’s been through. Me and him were hurt around the same time. When he was coming back, he couldn’t even bench press like 200 pounds at one point and he just gradually increased over the offseason, me and him both and he just gradually increased his way up. Put in a lot of work, a lot of hours and it’s paying off and now he’s on the 53-man active roster. Hope he gets in this week, hopefully.”
ILB BRIAN CUSHING
What keeps you guys going after seeing the injury to Steelers LB Ryan Shazier?
“We love the game. We understand how physical the game is and there’s a lot of risk, there’s a lot risk involved. I think for the most part we understand what we signed up for. Like I said, it’s the love of the game. It’s not a safe game, but it’s a very competitive game, and in my opinion, the best game on earth and I think a lot of the guys in this locker room probably feel the same way.”
What was your immediate thought when you saw what happened to Steelers LB Ryan Shazier?
“Just fear. Fear for him, worry for him and his family. Any time you see a guy grab his back like that and just lay motionless on the field, it’s bigger than the game and you just worry about the guy’s future and his health moving forward.”
Do you think Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell is the best all-around back in the league?
“I think he is the best, yeah. He can do it all. I mean, the guy would be an All-Pro wide receiver if he just played that, too. He’s that talented. He’s extremely patient. He’s powerful. He’s quick, he’s shifty, he’s fast. There’s literally nothing he can’t do on the football field.”
How excited are you about the matchup with Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell on national TV and to play with backs like him?
“It’s always exciting. I’ve never played on Christmas Day before, so it’s unique. It’ll be fun. I think they’re a very good team. We’re just trying to do our best we possibly can.”
What are your thoughts on Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger and how he’s still able to produce?
“He makes the whole offense go. It all goes through him and he’s checking plays, he’s rolling out, he’s making big plays, he’s making all the throws he needs to and most of his big plays are outside of the pocket. When you think you have him down he kind of extends the play and guys break off the routes and he’s been doing it for years. He’s one of the best at doing that.”
Is he harder to bring down because he’s bigger?
“He’s bigger, but he’s got a great sense of awareness. He’s got a strong arm and he plays to his strength for sure.”
Defensive Coordinator Mike Vrabel was explaining to us that guys are wired differently who play football in reference to Steelers LB Ryan Shazier’s injury and that they can’t live without it. Could you explain to a casual fan that once you’ve experienced this and been part of a team element in football, do you have that feeling?
“Just imagine the most enjoyable thing in your life and it’s just taken away one day. It’s as close as I can get to explaining that. Some people look at it as a game, we don’t look at it as one. That’s probably part of this level that we play at. If it was just a game, most of us probably would have quit years ago. So, it’s extremely important to a lot of us and for most of us, it’s our lives. Just for a guy to not be able to play one day but it’s also for right now not be able to walk, is terrifying. But, like I said, it’s one of those things, we understand it’s not a safe game, but we know we take those risks, but at the same time you know it’s very dangerous. So, every time we go out there we have to be careful and take care of ourselves and each other.”
What got you into playing football?
“I was too big for soccer. I was too big for soccer and I was tackling everybody. The coaches kept asking me to try out, so I was the first person in my family to play and the first couple game I had a bunch of touchdowns and tackles and the rest was history.”
What do you think about T Derek Newton being honored with the Ed Block Courage Award?
“It’s awesome just to see what he’s gone through. I’m sure Derek would love to be playing but it’s just been such a long road back and he’ll get there. He’ll get there. He’s doing a really good job and the level of injury he had, the devastation was unreal to have both knees done on the same play. So, just to come back and what he’s done so far has been incredible. He’ll be back. We’re all confident in that.”
How meaningful is it to see the encouragement T Derek Newton is getting from his teammates?
“It’s special. It’s special because it’s still just those days that no one’s even here and early mornings and treatments and stuff. I don’t want to say you kind of get forgotten about, but you do a little bit. I’ve been there. I’ve been there. So, I’ve understood it and when you’re not on the team, you’re still on the team but you’re not looked at as valuable at that certain time. So, it’s frustrating, it’s upsetting, but you have to just keep pushing forward. Every day is just one more day closer to playing again.”
Have you talked to T Derek Newton and given him any advice about how to deal with coming back from this?
“Yeah, just staying upbeat and positive. Like I said, every day that goes by is one more day closer to playing again and just keeping that mindset and trying to continue to push through knowing that you will play again.”
As a father and husband, what’s it going to be like to play on Christmas Day?
“It’ll be unique. It’ll be cool, for sure. Just special for the kids to have that experience. I’ll spend the morning with them and then go play football and see them at the game. So, it’s a very, very cool moment and one of those I always hoped for when I was young, if I was a professional, to have.”
What’s your best Christmas memory or gift you got as a kid?
“Probably snow, that was nice. Those were real Christmases. Probably a Sega Genesis, that was my favorite gift growing up. Usually fighting with my older brother and sister for gifts, but usually lost out on that. I got payback now, though.”
CB JOHNATHAN JOSEPH
How does the absence of Steelers WR Antonio Brown change their offense?
“It just takes one of the focal points away. Him and Le’Veon (Bell), the top two guys. Leads the league in catches I think, over 100 again. Touchdowns, right at the top of the list and obviously playmaking ability. So you take all that away, that’s a lot of production from him. But you look at Le’Veon, he has what, 80 catches this year? Over 1,000 yards, so that picks up some of the slack and then the other guys, JuJu (Smith-Schuster), Eli (Rogers), I’m sure (Darrius) Heyward-Bay will get a chance, Martavis (Bryant), Jesse James. So, there’s no shortage of weapons.”
What do you see from Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger over the years?
“Same guy. Hasn’t changed since I started playing in this league in 2006. He’s the ultimate gamer, he gets in there, he lets it fly. When people say that, they say it loosely. It’s not like he’s playing bad football and making bad decisions, it’s just that when he sees a chance, he’s going to take his chance. That’s just the mentality he has.”
What do you attribute the defensive struggles to this year?
“Same thing all year. Obviously got some big plays, guys made some plays (on us). At the end of the day, they’re making up plays but we’ve got a lot of injuries, pass-rush. I think that’s what our coverage ties into the most in the back end, is the pass-rush and coverage ties together. I think that pretty much sums it up. Other than that, I think the coaches are still doing a good job of putting us in position to make plays. The players just have to go out and execute.”
So this season could have been worse, right?
“It always can be worse. In this league, the type of style we play, aggressive, attacking style, any time you’ve got missed tackles, big plays, that can be every game.”
What do you think about what Texans Ed Block Courage Award winner T Derek Newton has done?
“That’s big for Newt, man. Just the injury he got, to bounce back from that and give yourself a fighting chance, that speaks to the type of character he has as a person. I don’t know anybody who came back from that injury. The only guy I knew to have that injury is, I think, Gary Baxter. He was with the Cleveland Browns years ago. I remember reading about it and that ended his career. So, to have Derek Newton come back and bounce back from that and still be in here competing and fighting for a chance, that speaks volumes about the type of player he is.”
Does Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster bring a lot more to the position that just being a complementary guy?
“Absolutely. I don’t look for him to come right in as a rookie and knock Antonio Brown or Martavis (Bryant) or those guys off, but you look right where he’s at, what, 600-plus yards receiving, coming in making some tough plays. I think he had a game where he was suspended so that obviously takes away from his production. But if you look on film, each game I think he’s grown in the passing game more and more and he’s s trusted guy, he’s a tough, physical guy that can run after the catch and play all three spots.”
Have you played on Christmas day before?
“This may be my first time that I can remember. I may have one other time, maybe before, but not that I remember off the top of my head.”
Is there anything unusual about playing on Christmas?
“No, other than just you have the world watching you obviously sitting at home. I can’t even realty think of many times I’ve had Christmas off and we get to play on it. It will be a little different, but I think all-in-all having the whole world watching you is a great feeling. I’m used to sitting at home watching the NBA games. Trust me, I’m an NBA fan, I haven’t had a Christmas game because I’m always watching the NBA.”
What do you think of the Houston Rockets?
“Oh man, they’re playing lights out. They slipped up last night, but that’s the way the league works. Out of 82 games, you’re going to lose a couple, but they’re not losing many this year. Hats off to those guys.”
What is your favorite memory on Christmas?
“Probably the first time I got my bike because I begged my dad for that bike. Seeing other kids having one and I begged him for it and he kind of told my mom that it didn’t sit right with him with me begging for a bike, to ride other kids bikes and I didn’t have a bike. So, the first time I got my first bike I was nonstop up and down the street all day long like a big kid.”
How old were you when you got your first bike?
“I probably was like – I obviously had a bike before but the first one I got without training wheels and everything, I think I was probably like 4.”
What do you like about Christmas now?
“For me, it would be obviously my kids but helping out others, whether it’s family members or just people in need, just having a chance to give back. Any time, growing up, the Boys and Girls Club, we always did a lot in the community helping out and obviously when I got my chance and made it to the NFL, anytime I had a chance to give back to whether it was a family that didn’t have anything for Christmas, Thanksgiving, whether it’s a relative, whoever it is, any way I can help out, I’m always willing to help. Any year, I’m all for it.”