1. Why do you run so hard?
“Because I’m passionate. I run with a purpose. It’s all mental. I tell myself that this is the type of runner I have to be. I never want the first person to tackle me. That’s why I’m always aggressive with trying to make people miss. I always make it a point to make my guy miss. Hopefully things are blocked up right and I make that guy miss and I make a house call. That’s my mentality.”
2. What does Ravens-Steelers this week mean to you?
“It definitely brings the passion out, especially looking at all the veterans and knowing how much it means to them. It’s one of those rivalries that’s easy to grow into. Getting in the locker room with those guys, you automatically have that same hatred.”
3. How hard is it after you have a breakout season and then expectations change?
“It’s a little difficult because you have that expectation from last year and that’s what everyone is basing your performances off of. It happens different. It’s not the same as last year. I always have to take that into account and take it week-by-week instead of having the mindset like, ‘Oh, I’m not doing as good as I was last year.’ It’s all situational. Last year, I had success early in the season. Maybe this year is more of an end-of-the-year success season.”
4. Is a big part of being a running back being patient?
“That’s the whole game. You never know when it’s going to happen. You may have some early runs and be like, ‘Oh man, we’re about to tear this team up.’ And then it just slows down automatically. It can mess with a player’s head if they aren’t patient. I definitely believe that no matter how it’s going, you should treat every play the exact same. Don’t predetermine how it’s going to go before the snap.”
5. You were one of last season’s best stories. What’s something people still don’t know about you?
“Well I think they know everything now – even the Irish dancing. I’ll tell you this. They don’t know that the only time that I do it is after I score a touchdown. All throughout practice, through the facility – I don’t practice it. It’s just strictly for celebrations. If I want to do it that bad, I’m going to get in the end zone and make it a point to do that dance. I want to do it a lot, so I’m trying to get in there as much as possible.”
6. Are you a shy person? You’re kind of an enigma to us media people.
“My head football coach in high school, that was one of the words he used to describe me. I’m all over the place, honestly. I really am.” How so? “I can’t even explain it myself. I’m just going with it. I’ve always been like that. Always been a clown, messing around. I’ve always been hard to grab.”
7. What were you like as a kid?
“The same way. I’ve always had this same passion and a will to be great. I’ve always had the same drive. I am passionate about the game and want to do better than the day before.”
8. When did you know you would make it in the NFL?
“That happened at an early age for me in little league when I really dedicated myself to it. I feel like that mindset is what really got me here today. Having that mindset helped me overcome a lot of adversity and really persevere. I feel like people who aren’t dedicated to the game, when they’re hit with setbacks – playing time, injuries, whatever the case may be – they may wander away from the game. But being as passionate as I’ve been through it, no matter what the cause is, in my mind I know my capabilities and what I can become. That helps me keep striving to be great.”
9. What was the toughest adversity you dealt with?
“I feel like every phase I have some adversity to deal with. In high school, it was keeping the grades up so you can have the scouts and coaches to come recruit you. In college, it was more adversity working your way up. Now you’re not the only big name; all of these guys are four- and five-star players. At this level, it’s more of a business and the adversity of working from the practice squad, trying to make a name for yourself, trying to find that roster spot. Every year, you’re working for your job because they have younger, faster guys coming in.”
10. What about the migraines?
“That’s part of my adversity, oh yeah. You guys haven’t heard much about it because I’ve been wearing the dark visor. Without that, I’d be throwing up all the time, all over the field. Without even practicing – we’ll be stretching – just squinting my eyes for five minutes, I’ll get a migraine.” Do you play with headaches often? “I play with migraines all the time. I’ll be out there in my stance and I’ll just throw up real fast and continue to play. My headache is the beginning of a migraine. If I tell myself or tell anyone I have a headache, about five minutes later, I’ll have a migraine. It just gets worse. I’ll stop talking, put my hand over my head, start rubbing my temples. Like right now, I don’t know if you can tell how it’s starting to bulge here [points to temple].”