1. What’s the best part of being Canadian?
“Having a profession that is not too common to have when you’re from where I’m from. I have my identity. I have a different personality because of where I’m from. So I guess it’s being a little more unique than your average NFL player. There’s a big Ravens Canada group – Ravens Flock North. All these guys message me. I have my own fan club, so it’s kind of nice.” How are you stereotypically Canadian? “Ummm, people say I’m pretty friendly. I’m generally polite. I’m laid back, not super loud or brash. I’m laid back and like to take it easy. I guess that’s generally Canadian.”
2. How close were you to pursing a professional hockey career?
“I was really close. I had to make a decision right before the semi-pro draft. There’s a league where a lot of the guys in the NHL get drafted from. It was right before then when my dad was like, ‘Alright, what are you going to pick?’ I was close, man. I would have been drafted into semi-pro and gone from there.”
3. Have you ever thought about what your life would be like if you had gone the hockey route?
“I’m happy I didn’t because the NHL has become a smaller speed game. I was a decent skater, but there’s maybe one guy as tall as me in the NHL. So I don’t regret it at all.” Couldn’t you have been a good enforcer? “People don’t even really fight any more in the NHL. It’s sadly not really part of the game. I’d be in the minor leagues probably.”
4. What’s up with the huge pharaoh tattoo on your arm?
“I’m a huge history buff. That was my major in college (Virginia). I’m really into ancient Egypt and iconography. So that’s what I wanted on my tattoo. I think it turned out well. That and the pyramid.”
5. You’re 6-foot-7, 300 pounds. What’s the best part of being tall in the NFL?
“I get natural leverage being able to bend my knees. I work on my flexibility a lot. If I’m able to get lower than an offensive lineman, my length just gives me natural leverage. They can’t get their hands on me. I have a long upper body. My legs aren’t as long. It just makes sure that offensive linemen can’t get to me.”
6. What’s the toughest part of your job?
“Playing against different types of offensive linemen. I’ve played almost every position up front. In one instance, I’m going against someone almost as tall as me and the next I’m against a little stocky guy trying to run me over. It’s using my advantage against different players. I have to try to figure out what each guy is good at instead of lining up on the right and going against this one guy all day. It takes a little more preparation I find.”
7. What was your welcome to the NFL moment?
“Probably the first game I played in. I had missed my entire rookie year and the start of my second year because of injuries. It was that Monday Night Football game in Cleveland. I was so nervous. Being able to block the kick to win it was great. But I also went against Joe Thomas and I was like, ‘Oh man, this is bad.’ The blocked kick was nice, but on defense I wasn’t playing very well.”
8. Now what’s a time when you really kicked someone else’s butt?
“I don’t know. There are plays here and there. I don’t know. I’ll usually line up on tight ends a lot and have a lot of success doing that. That’s one of my favorite things to do because they’re a little lighter. Usually when a tight end is blocking me straight up against the run, that’s when I do pretty well. I’m usually pretty excited when they line up on me.”
9. What’s the best thing you’ve learned from Terrell Suggs and the other veterans?
“Probably just the preparation that goes into anything. I watch the amount of film that Suggs watches and I’ll watch how he takes care of his body. I watch his day-to-day process, pick up new things and try them out to see what works for me. It’s making my body feel good while gaining a mental edge off it.”
10. What’s the best part of being tall off the field?
“I guess just being more noticed, I guess. But I don’t really care about that. I don’t know. People want to be tall for some reason, but I’ve been really tall my whole life so I don’t know any different. I guess it’s cool. I’m randomly looking over everybody. I guess concerts are the one thing. I can get things off higher shelves. Those are the plusses.”