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Press Conference Transcript - Donte' Stallworth Introduction

Opening statement by wide receivers coach Jim Hostler: "A few things about Donte' [Stallworth]: You know, going back – and Kevin [Byrne, Ravens senior vice president of public and community relations] mentioned it – Kevin mentioned it going back to when we brought [Stallworth] to New Orleans, and I was involved with that process. A few things that stick out in my mind from that: When you think back over time about why we brought Donte' [in] and made him a first-round draft choice, a high draft choice, one of the first things you think about is what kind of kid he was. He's an outstanding person – and as you guys get to know him – he's got a great heart, you'll feel it right away. He's a great teammate, as you're going to hear from all of his teammates. If you can go back through the years, you're going to hear that from his teammates. He's a great teammate. And the second thing was, is [that] he's tough. He's a tough guy. For a guy that's fast – [he's] maybe the only true fast guy that I've ever been around that is tough. Which those two qualities were a big reason why we fell in love with Donte' way back when I was with him in New Orleans, and they're the same qualities he has now. As soon as he walked in the building, and over the years, every time I see him around here and there, he has the same qualities. He's a great kid, he has a great heart, and he's tough. And he plays that way, and it shows up that way, and those are the reasons why he has a chance here with us. They're based off of him as a person first, how he fits with us, how he's going to fit in our locker room. He's going to be a great Raven. He has that mentality right off the bat, because he's tough and he understands how to be a good teammate. So, those are the reasons why we like him, and we're going to really like him here, too. Without any further ado, Donte' will come up and you'll get the same feeling from Donte' that I just told you."

Opening statement from WR Donte' Stallworth: "That was a nice introduction, Hoss. You've got me nervous now. (laughter) First off, I want to say that coming here, speaking with Ozzie [Newsome, Ravens vice president and general manager] and other people in the management, they wanted me to hang around the facility for a couple weeks with my teammates and get used to the transition of being in Baltimore and becoming a Raven [before addressing the media]. So, as we go throughout this process of the season, you guys will know. Once you get to know me, you'll see that I won't be reluctant to speak with you guys. I've spoken with [the media] many a time, [in] college and the NFL. So, you guys will know that you can grab me whenever you want to talk about football – I can't give out too much information about the game plans and all that other stuff – but whatever else you guys want to speak about, I'll be around and available."

On whether there is anything about the Ravens' environment that sets it apart from other cities in which he has played: "The sense that I got is that this team is very hungry, and it's a good mixture of youth and veteran leadership on this team. And the first time I'd ever spoken with Ray Rice, the first thing he talked about was getting a championship ring, and that's what guys are really playing for, is a championship ring. So, you see the hunger when we're out throwing with the quarterbacks and all the running backs, receivers, tight ends are together, you see the hunger out there. And the same thing in the weight room – guys are hungry to make something happen soon. Not only in future steps, but definitely this year as well."

On what he learned last year with going through adversity and not being able to play football: "I think one of the biggest things I learned about myself was that if you put your faith in God, and you just let God take care of everything that's not in my power, then that really just lets me know that I can be at calm and peace and serenity with myself. And I think that it was a really long year for me, as well as other people, but I think that I continue to keep faith and persevere through everything. And you know I'm here now to hopefully help this team win some games this year."

On whether he feels like he has more to prove on the field, off the field or a combination of both:"I always feel like whenever… I've been on a couple different teams, and regardless of where you're coming from, what you've done in the past, you always want to make a good impression with your teammates. And if your teammates respect you then that will trickle down to everything else from the coaches to the fans. So, that's one thing I've tried to do, is come in here and try to be the typical guy, the normal guy that I am – a hard worker and a guy that's fun to be around."

On whether it's been tough to get through the incident and how he approaches life now with some changes, like not being able to drive:"I've already pretty much adjusted. I've had some time to be able to deal with the things that I'm going to have to be accustomed to for some time here, but there are a lot of things that are already in the works with me getting to and from work. And as far as an adjustment, like I said, I just wanted to come in here and get in with the guys and be a part of that hunger that everybody is experiencing. Because coming off of a year [of] not playing any football, I had the chance to really sit back and have a renewed love for the game. And anytime people miss games during the season, same thing – guys, when you miss three or four games, you're even more hungry to come back. So, it's been a long time, but I feel comfortable around here and people have made me feel like I'm at home, so I just want to do my part and help this team."

On whether he ever thought there was a possibility he would never be back in the NFL, and how he kept his skills up during his time away from the game: "I'm a positive-thinking person, and I like to think of myself as an optimistic [person]. From the very beginning, after I met with Roger Goodell, and after the ruling of me being suspended and being able to have the possibility of being reinstated after the Super Bowl, the only thing on my mind was to make sure that I tried to keep up with the guys that were playing this season. And I worked harder than probably I ever have in my whole life just to try to keep that same intensity. You can't replace game speed in the NFL as far as being out there, but I tried my best, and when I was here for the workouts, I felt like I was in shape and ready to go. And fortunately, the coaches thought the same thing, so they ended up signing me."

On how much he thinks about the Reyes family and how he has reconciled what happened the night of the incident:"It's tough. It's a daily process. It's not something that now that I'm back playing… It's not something that's in the back of my mind. You know, it's something that I deal with every day, waking up in the morning and going to sleep at night. It's a tough situation for everyone involved, but my main thing is I've got a great support group in family and close friends, and my faith in God has really helped me out as far as being able to be at peace with myself and being in a serene state of mind, I guess you could say."

On whether he has had any contact with the victim's family: "Legally, I'm not obligated to, but my lawyer can contact their lawyers. That's the only way, through the legal process, that I'm able to have contact with them."

On what he has tried to pass on to the Reyes family through his lawyers: "You know, ever since my first statement that I had put out a couple of days after the accident, my main focus was to make sure that the Reyes family knew that I was very apologetic about what happened. And I just wanted to let them know that if I could go back and take that night over, I would. But I would do everything in my power at the same time to make sure that the process was smooth for everybody involved."

On if he values playing in the NFL more now than ever because of what he's been through: "Yeah, definitely, definitely. Just being out here and seeing all my friends, and even some family that I have that are playing in the NFL, it's… I was cheering them on every week. It was tough, because I've been playing football since I was 11 years old. This was the first time I hadn't played in a whole… I don't want to reveal my age, although you guys can Google it. (laughter) It's been a while since I haven't played football. I just tried to stay into it. It's definitely a renewed thinking, a new love for the game. Just being around with the guys, I value it so much now, as opposed to me just working out down in South Florida and watching the games every Sunday. It's a renewed passion for the game, definitely."

On if the Ravens, due to the veterans on the team, are one of the best places he be:"Yeah, I think so. Going into this offseason, I was excited when the Ravens made the call. I had no idea; I wasn't really expecting it. I knew looking at certain teams what possibilities were, but when I got the call from the Ravens it was almost like a dream come true. As you guys know, I've had a relationship with some coaches here prior – actually, all the offensive coaches that pertain to my position with 'Hoss' and Cam Cameron, and I was with John Harbaugh over in Philadelphia. I've gotten accustomed to being around here, and a lot of that is due to relationships I established in the past."

On his history with hamstring injuries and how the year off helped him strengthen that area:"I think it has given me an opportunity to really diagnose certain things that have been wrong with me in the past. I've been able to see a couple of doctors here and there. My biggest thing is just to make sure that I continue to do maintenance work on it during the season and hit it hard during the offseason. That's one thing that I've been working at here. I've got yoga sessions, although I'm in there with all the big guys – the offensive linemen – and you guys would be surprised at how flexible some of those guys are. It's been fun, like I said, being with the guys, but at the same time being able to take care of my body as well. I think that I'll be able to handle that this year."

On what he will bring to the wide receiver position for the Ravens:"I think, just me as a player, I still have a little bit of speed left in me. I think I can [do] whatever they need me to do, really, down the field. I've been working some things in the slot here and there, just trying to learn different positions. Like I said, wherever they need me, that's where I'll be. Anything I can do to help this team."

On other teams he considered before signing with Baltimore:"I went to work out with Detroit first. For my situation, [it] was a good opportunity, I felt, to be over there. They've got a really good young quarterback, have Calvin Johnson on the other side. The offensive coordinator has been around for a while. I thought that would be a good opportunity. But like I said, once the Ravens called, it was pretty much me thinking there was nowhere else I'd rather go [than] Baltimore because of the prior relationships with the coaches and even some players here. Once Baltimore called, I was really excited. After that, I really didn't care who else called."

On if he is ready to say that he's the fastest Raven:"No, no. My main thing is hopefully I'll just be able to prove it on the field. I won't have to race anyone or any of my teammates. Although, we do have our little inner battles where guys will do a little bit of talking, but that's all fun with the guys though."

On what it's like to catch passes from QB Joe Flacco, and where he fits in with WRs Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason:"It's been pretty good. He throws a nice ball. He throws a real nice, catchable ball. When I was younger, I didn't really understand what people meant by 'throwing a catchable ball' until I had played with someone who didn't have a catchable ball. But, Flacco's got a real catchable ball. Flacco's got a nice, catchable ball. I've known Anquan before he signed here, so he's also a great acquisition. I'm excited to learn some things from Mason as well. He's been in the league for a while. We're all just going to be here doing our best we can to help this team. As far as where I fit in, I'm not really sure right now. We're just working and trying to get our timing down and everything."

On his message to fans who define him by the one incident:"As far as me being a person, one instance doesn't define a person at all. It's a situation to where I could have used better judgment and I didn't, and the end result was what it was. At the end of the day, I think that once people get to know me, they'll know I'm not the kind of person that is perceived from the outcome of what had happened with my case."

On other interests that he has:"I majored in psychology when I was in school. Over the past couple of years, I've really gotten into politics a lot. That's been one of the biggest things for me, is I was able to read a lot more than I have in the past. Just being able to have a sense of what's going on in the world… I always try to educate the younger guys; some of them don't want to hear it. But, I'm really into politics and political books and current events and things like that."

On how much he changed as a person following the incident:"I think the biggest change for me is that I've become a better decision maker. Just from that accident, [it] allows me to understand the severity of making one bad decision, how it can snowball into a whole terrible incident. I've become a better decision maker. I wasn't, before this accident, I wasn't a bad person at all. That's not the way my mom raised me. I haven't changed much as a person, just more so, I'm more aware of the decisions that I make and things of that nature."

On what is a fair time limit for how often he'll have to explain the incident whenever anything's asked of him:"That's a good question. Maybe I should be asking you guys that. I don't know. I know that the Lord won't put anything on my shoulders that I can't bear. I've been accustomed to… Like I said, I'm a very optimistic person, and once people get to know me, then they'll understand what kind of a person I really am at heart."

On what he's looking for in the rivalry with the Steelers:"For those of you that don't know, I have a Twitter account, and when I signed here in Baltimore, probably at least 70 percent of the things I got [were] from a lot of the fans, a lot of the Ravens fans, expressing their, what's the word I should use? 'Dislike.' We'll try to keep in PG-13. Definitely, it's a huge rivalry. It's two good teams, smash-mouth football. I'm looking forward to that, to playing against Pittsburgh. I played against them down when I was in Cleveland and got to play against them a couple of times in New England as well. They're a good team, and I'm excited about being able to play football again. But I'm definitely looking forward to that rivalry."

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