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Press Conference Transcript - Practice 10/20


Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement: "Good to see everybody. [We're] excited to get back at it. There's nothing like getting back to work and getting ready for the next game, the next opponent, and getting back to football to get you ready. We've had a good two days since game time. Our guys have been in watching tape. The meetings went really well this morning and, we had an excellent walk-through. Now, we're ready to practice after we get some lunch."

On his good track record winning games against teams with non-winning records and if it's because he stresses not being complacent about any opponent:"We've got guys who understand that. I just can't imagine our guys taking anybody for granted in this league. There are too many good players. We talked about it a couple of times. We've been asked about that. When you watch the tape, you see a good football team. And in football, you recognize that. And that's what we see, and that's what we're getting ready for."

On what players on the Bills' roster stand out as threats: ­"They've got players all over the place. I love [Fred] Jackson. I love [C.J.]Spiller – definitely a threat. [Lee] Evans... They've got players all over the place that can make plays on offense. The secondary is one of the best secondaries in the league. Their front plays very hard; they fly around. Dwan [Edwards] has got those guys going. They are a very well-coached team. You see what they're trying to build. As a football team, they want to be physical, they want to be tough. They want to run the football. [[Ryan] Fitzpatrick has given the Ravens – if you look historically over the years – he's given the Ravens trouble. And that's the way he plays. He scrambles, he runs around, he's a tough guy. So, that's what we're looking at."

On the players lifting and watching tape more than usual after such a tough loss in New England:"We do that all the time. I don't know that we've ever [not worked hard]. I talk to Bob [Rogucki, strength and conditioning coach] all the time about guys working out and watching tape. Working out from [his] perspective and the coaches watching tape, and our guys are in there working hard every single week. That's what we try to do. We try to build for what we're doing over the long haul every single week. And, it's weight room, it's studying football, it's practice. So we're focused 100 percent on this week, and at the same time, we're focused 100 percent on what we're trying to become as a football team over the course of this season."

On having S Ed Reed back at practice and if he will be ready to play on Sunday:"We will be prudent, certainly, but there's definitely a possibility he can play. He was out here in the walk-through, so that's the first we've seen him out there on the field. That was really great. We all had a smile on our face, and he was excited to be out there. It's going to be based on how the specific issue responds to specifically practicing football at a fast pace. So, we'll just have to see how that shakes out."

On his opinion on the NFL position to take a tougher stand on helmet-to-helmet hits:"It's always about enforcement. The NFL has been very clear with how they define those types of situations to protect defenseless players that don't have a chance to get their pads behind them and protect themselves. They've been doing that for a few years now, and I think whatever it takes to enforce the rule to make sure that guys respect the rules is something that obviously needs to be done."

On what he will do to be sure the Ravens' defense complies with the NFL dangerous hit rules:"We've worked really hard at that. It's something that we've done a good job of as a team, this year and even last year. Even the couple of ones we got called on last year were ones that you could clearly tell the guys weren't trying to go to the helmet. The guys were trying to get down in the strike zone. If you look at our track record this year – not to say it couldn't happen to us – but our guys have really tried to get those hits in that area that aren't helmet to helmet on the defenseless guys."

On whether he sees things during games that are worrisome to him:"That's a great point. I was just talking about this with Jerry Rosburg. We were talking about an onside kick play that took place in the Cleveland game. They ran the guys up, and the one guy in the middle who was catching the ball got blocked by two or three guys, and that's perfectly legal. But, it's a tough game. I just have so much admiration for the men who play this game, because when you stand on the sidelines – and you guys have covered it, and it's physical – it's big men and they go at it hard and it's competitive. And if you can't respect the courage it takes to play this game, man, I don't know what you're looking at."

On encouraging aggressive hits on other players as a coach:"No. Absolutely not. We don't coach that and never will. You play within the rules. You go strike zone. That's how we coach our guys."

On the Ravens already having a playing style that fits the NFL's rules on dangerous hits:"That's how I feel. I think we've been very good, and it's probably reflected in the penalty situation so far this year. Like I said, there are situations where you're trying to go low and your head may drop, and it happens. That's happened to us before. But, I'd be very surprised if one of our guys intentionally would go after somebody's head. I'd be disappointed if that happened."

On if it's OK to got helmet-to-helmet with running backs:"Willis [McGahee] kind of revamped that this year on the one that happened in the Steelers game a couple of years ago. So, the running backs are protected the same way like the wide receivers as defenseless players, just like defensive players who are coming [back]… The block-back that happened a few years ago based on the Hines Ward blocks… So, if you're defenseless by the definition of it, then you're defenseless, no matter what you play. It comes up more with the wide receivers than it does with the running backs, because usually the running back gets both feet on the ground and they start forward. But if they're in a defenseless position, they're protected also."

On how he would respond to players or fans who think the new rules to limit dangerous hits are making the game soft:"I don't agree with that. I have issues sometimes with the ones [such as] the touch thing to the head, the brush on the knee. You can have a fair conversation about those things. But, you're talking about a blatant helmet-to-helmet shot – it's dangerous. Concussions are an issue, and the league is right in what they're doing."

On Buffalo's rookie RB C.J. Spiller being the fastest in the league:"He's probably about it. He's just a jet. It's not like he's a straight-line guy. Some of the fast guys are straight-line [runners]. He can make you miss. He has great vision. He's a threat every single time he touches the ball, both in the kick game and on the offense."

On if he was surprised that Patriots S Brandon Meriweather was not suspended for his dangerous hit on TE Todd Heap:"I don't know. I understand the logic. They said it's not something that they have given players or coaches fair warning on."

On the NFL giving teams another week to adapt to the stricter enforcement of the dangerous hit rule before suspending players:"It sounds that way. I can't speak for Ray [Anderson] and for the league, but that's how I took it as a coach."

On the players who had MRIs performed on Monday:"Good news, good news. The guys you're talking about, they have a chance to play this week. I'll say it's going to be day-to-day. It truly is going to be day-to-day. 'Zibby' [Tom Zbikowski] has got a shot. He's got a heel situation. Todd [Heap] has a shot. I think Todd will be there, but you never know what can come up."

QB Joe Flacco

On if Buffalo coming off the bye with a winless record makes the team more dangerous than usual:"I'm not sure. I think they're going to come ready to play. They've played some good games, and we'll have to be ready for them. We're going to go into our bye week, and they're coming off of theirs. So, we're going to have to come ready to play. They're going to come out pretty pumped up in our house, and they're going to try to get after it. So, it's going to be a good game. I don't know if it's going to make a difference for them, but we're going to act like it does."

On what he can learn from losing a close game in overtime and if it makes him prepare harder for the next week:"No. It's all the same. We think we could've come out of [New England] with a win, and we didn't do it. We didn't do what we had to do to come out with a win, but you move on. You learn from it. I don't know exactly what you learn, but I'm sure the same situation or a similar situation will come up in the future and we will definitely have experienced it before and [that will] make us more ready for it."

On if he will be more likely to throw over the middle knowing that defensive backs and linebackers can be suspended for dangerous hits:"I don't think they are going to treat it too much differently. They've got to go in there, and they've got to make the play, and they've got to break up the pass. I'm not in their head, and I don't know what they're thinking, but I don't think so. I think those guys are still going to be aggressive and do all the things they need to do to play successful for them."

On criticism that the Ravens play-calling in the fourth quarter and overtime period was too cautious last Sunday:"I'm the quarterback, and we've got to make everything successful no matter how people feel about it. We didn't execute good enough to get the game won. That's it."

On what he likes about how well the offense has played the last four games:"I think we're starting to hit a little bit of a stride and get everybody involved and really have some long, consistent drives. I think we still need to get more points on the board, but we're having a lot of good drives. We're keeping the ball a lot and keeping our defense off the field. Obviously, that comes in part with those guys doing a good job of getting three and outs. But, we're doing a great job of controlling the ball, and I think the points are going to start to come."

On if it is gratifying that the Ravens are starting to be known for their offense and not just for their strong defensive play:"I think we've been getting better the last couple of years, and we always felt like we've had a good offense. I don't think we ever viewed ourselves as not being a good offense. It's tough to answer that. I think we're improving, but I think we've always looked at ourselves as being pretty good."

On what it is like to be on the receiving end of a helmet-to-helmet hit:"For me, it happens a good amount. It happens a lot. It's part of the reason why we wear helmets. I've never been actually hurt by one, so I can't necessarily explain to you what that's like. But, it happens. During the game you have to move on. And if you do get hurt, everybody moves on and plays. But they're a serious thing. Obviously, you can see that with the injuries that have happened over time. But when you're a player, as the game goes on, you're just thinking about making the next play."

On what a helmet-to-helmet hit sounds like for a player:"It probably sounds worse when you're a spectator on the sideline or on the field, because when you're me or you're the guy taking it, I don't know if you hear it as much as you feel it."

On if he agrees with the NFL's decision to impose suspensions for dangerous hits:"I feel like head injuries are definitely a big part of what we have to look at. It's tough when you suspend guys and fine guys lots of money, like taking a couple of game checks away from a couple guys. It's definitely a thin line. I wouldn't like to be fined a lot of money if I was a defensive guy just trying to make a play. There are some times when they go a little out of control and they're definitely a little bit late, and they're the ones you have to look at. But like I said, it's definitely a thing now."

On if he talked to or tried to convince head coach John Harbaugh to go for the first down on fourth-and-inches last Sunday:"No. I wasn't even trying to go for it; I thought there was no question we had the first down. They showed it on the big screen. I don't know what they showed on TV, but they showed a shot on the big screen in the stadium, and when my knee was down the ball was obviously over the marker. So, I wasn't having a discussion with John about going for it. He came over and said, 'Good job, great effort. I think you got it.' I went back out to the field, and they finally showed that on the jumbo [screen], and I was like, 'Oh yeah, we've got this.' And then the guy came back out. I don't know if they reviewed the spot or if they were reviewing if it was a fumble or not. And they really didn't check out the spot. I don't know what happened, but I thought I had it."

LB Ray Lewis

On what it is like having S Ed Reed back:"I tell you… You go around the league and you hear about all the different teams missing a lot of pieces here and there and the importance of them. But, to get a guy like Ed back is probably, for us right now, is probably one of the biggest things we can have for this team. Not just him, [but] Brendon Ayanbadejo is coming back and things. So as a complete team, we're getting totally healthy, and that's a very exciting thing. But to have Ed back, it's just a huge, huge bonus."

On whether he got the feeling that Reed was getting antsy on the sidelines:"Yeah, you could tell that Ed was getting antsy by just how much of coaching he was doing. You know what I'm saying? Ed doesn't usually get all into that. Ed kind of just stays to himself. But when you sit on the sideline, even at practice… At practice, man, he's running around and making sure all of the calls are correct – making sure the DB's are seeing this and seeing that in meetings.* *And you can just hear his enthusiasm on really wanting to get back to the field. Anytime you can get a player like that, who I arguably say is probably the best defensive player in this game, that's a bonus. That's a good thing."

On what it is like to be on the sidelines:"It [isn't] good. It [isn't] a good feeling at all. You go through your pains, your bumps and bruises, your surgeries, whatever, and when you get through them, you try to get through them as fast as possible. But the hardest thing to do is to be a complete competitor, like me or Ed is, and have to sit over there and go through that knowing that there's nothing you can do to get back on the field. But I think he carried it well. He carried it well. Everybody who saw him [and] everything he was doing – all the players saw – the only thing they saw was him working, busting his behind. And I tell you, just to see that really inspired a lot of people."

On whether having Reed will increase the amount of turnovers in the secondary:"I just think, just check his résumé. His résumé speaks for itself. He's a ballhawk in the back end of the field. And when he wants to go get something, he's going to go get it. And that takes our defense to a whole other level. So we understand it, he understands it, and I think that's kind of what the excitement is, definitely, [of] him being back. 'Sizzle' [Terrell Suggs] has even messed with him about trying to catch a pig in walk-through and things like that. But I just think it's a nice energy to really see him back out there. As somebody who has followed him for so long and [to be able to] do whatever I was supposed to do with him, it's a beautiful life to have Ed back."

On whether he is in favor of the NFL suspending players for helmet-to-helmet hits:"Man, you know what? There are so many people who are going to have so many different opinions on it. And my opinion is [to] play the game like the game is supposed to be played, and whatever happens, happens. You can't… If you go into the game thinking about any of that stuff, man, I'm telling you the game is… The game will be diluted very quickly, because you'll have people thinking about that. You look at the [Steelers LB] James Harrison hit… You look at all these hits, whatever they may be, [and] the bottom line is those are hits that [when] you go into your defensive room, you're getting praised for because that's the way the game of football is supposed to be played. So like I said, many opinions will be voiced. But the bottom line is play the game the way the game is supposed to be played, and whatever happens, happens."

On that he would get suspended for those hits:"That's what I'm saying. You can't… I'm trying to make it clear to say it. You can't think about it. I don't care if it's a fine, if it's a suspension, if it's whatever, because if you do, you get yourself in trouble. You're going to find out that's like going out on the field worrying about an injury [and] if you're going to get hurt. Then if you're worrying about it, you're going to get hurt. If you're worrying about all these different things, then a couple of things are going to happen: You're going to get hurt, and you're not going to play the best way you know how to play football. So I just tell our guys, 'Man, just keep playing the game. Just keep playing the game and let whatever rules they're trying to make work, work, and fight them as hard as you can.' But from my side, man, I have to back those players and tell them, 'Just keep having fun. Keep playing the game.'"

On how quickly the line is between attempting to make a clean hit and making helmet-to-helmet contact:"Right. You know what? I'm going to leave that to all the people who review it, because as a defender, you [aren't] thinking about that line. As a defender, you're thinking about if somebody is getting ready to touch that ball, they've got to get dealt with, bottom line. That's all you're thinking. And whatever comes with it… That's the way I've played the game since the beginning of time; it's the way I've watched the game be played since the beginning of time. And honestly, no matter what they try to do, that part of the game can't change. The game is called tackling and hitting, and that part of the game will never change. Hopefully they understand that – that both sides are at risk. There's not just one side at risk. Both men have the same organs that everybody has. It's going to be what it's going to be."

On whether he has sensed that the team will not take Buffalo lightly:"Absolutely. Oh, absolutely. I don't care what their record is. You're talking about talent all the way across the board over there on the Buffalo Bills. I like the young kid C.J. Spiller coming out of college. I liked him when he was in college. I was actually at the game at the University of Miami when he did some of the most incredible things against us. I like that kid. And then their quarterback played at Cincinnati. He likes to run around a lot. And they always have their deep threat over there – [No.] 83 [Lee Evans] and things like that. Roscoe [Parrish] is playing at a high level. So they have pieces. They have pieces, and they're trying to create an identity over there. And maybe a couple bounces of the ball haven't [gone] their way, but we don't have time to overlook nobody. We don't have time to worry about last week's loss. I tell you guys all the time: 'Take a win just like a loss – 24-hour rule. Once it's over, it's over.'"

On whether there is a right and wrong way to hit somebody: "Like I said, I don't want to… I'm telling you, it's a more personal issue than you think. It's not somebody looking at it from the outside saying, 'Oh, that's right. That's wrong.' No. It's not that. The game is too fast. The game is way too fast, and you just never know what's going to happen in between a play. So that's why you've just got to play it out. You can't think about it, you can't hesitate about it. You've just got to play it out. You can't worry about what the league was saying. Whatever the league is going to do, they're going to do, man. Just go out and enjoy the game of football. That's kind of where I stand on backing these players. With all of these penalties, fines and all these things, you've just got to keep playing the game."

On whether you can generate a pass rush consistently with the three- or four-man rush or if you have to incorporate LBs and safeties:"I think you can. I think you can. You find your mismatches wherever you see they might fit and things like that. But I think there are certain times you go to a three-man rush when you know something is coming. You don't just master in it, sitting back and letting a quarterback just have all day. But you do it a lot of times, and you see it does confuse quarterbacks, because there [are] a lot of different zones that [are] taken away when you do that. So, I think it does have a place in the game."

On what DE Dwan Edwards brings to the Bills:"Dwan Edwards, I think it's just hard work, just period. One thing when he was here, he just loves to work hard. He loves to do the things that you're supposed to do every day as a true professional. And I think any young players following him, and even veteran players, they'll know what 'come to work' means."

On the Super Bowl anniversary celebration on Sunday and what he remembers from winning in 2000:"Wow. I… You know what? That right there, I think that has an identity of its own, because you'll never forget that. That's one thing about a champion: A champion is always a champion. And the feeling of that confetti dropping and looking at those men's eyes – you recreate that moment coming back 10 years later. And that moment, like I said, man, just seeing those guys come back, I talk to most of those guys myself, but just seeing those guys come back is just a heck of a reward to see that. And for that to be this week, I think that's going to be huge. Not for just us, but for our fans as well in Baltimore."

WR Derrick Mason

On facing the winless Buffalo Bills: "We prepare every week as if this is a must-win game for us. That's the way we prepare. We understand that in this league, any team can be beaten in any week. We take every opponent seriously. It doesn't matter if you have a winning record or not."

On what happened in the fourth quarter and overtime at New England: "Honestly, I didn't look at the tape. I didn't. I had to do other things, but the team looked at it. Judging by what happened in the game, they did what they needed to do to win the ballgame in overtime. That's basically what it came down to – both teams fought hard and played hard. At the end, they did what they needed to do."

On what happened in the fourth quarter after playing three good quarters of football: "What do you think happened?"


Reporter answers: "I think you got too conservative. I think you need to throw the ball down the field. I think you need to get you guys involved."

"I don't know. We were playing good when we were giving Ray [Rice] the ball and throwing up the ball, so I don't think we changed any bit. They did what they had to do at the end of the game to win the ballgame. What you can't do is take away what New England did. You can say we were conservative all you want to, but you can't take away what New England did. We still tried to do some things in the passing game as well as the running game, but don't take anything away from what New England was able to do on that offensive side of the ball as well as the defense."

On the NFL cracking down on helmet-to-helmet hits: "I think that they're doing a good job right now. It has to stop. Even for the defensive guys, you're opening up yourself for major injuries. Nine times out of 10 it's not the guy that's getting hit, it's the guy that's doing the hitting that's getting injured. If you want to duck your head and go in there with your helmet, then you're opening up yourself for something terrible. And that's just what the league… You know, they want it to stop. They want to make sure that the person that's being hit doesn't get hurt and then the person that's doing the hitting doesn't get hurt. I hope that the fines don't get too excessive, but [the hits] were excessive this week. The last thing you want is people sprawled out in the middle of the field and they can't move."

On whether there is a fine line between a good play and a guy trying to do bodily harm: "I think there is, but you know the guys that go in there and go in there with the helmet. You see it. It's blatant. Then, some guys go in there with the shoulder or with the head up, but in the position that the receiver or the running back is in, sometimes it looks like they led with the helmet, when in actuality, they didn't. It's just one of those things that you hope doesn't get out of hand. I think it won't. I think it was a week where some guys got really hit hard, and unfortunately, it was done with the helmet. Hopefully, it won't continue."

On whether the threat of a suspension will be a deterrent: "OK. Does the threat of throwing somebody in jail stop people from robbing people?"


Reporter answers: "Probably not."

"OK then. Football is football. They're going to continue to play. I don't think guys do it on purpose. There might be one or two instances where a guy goes in there with his helmet, but I think for the most part, guys don't go in because they understand and they know that more than likely, it's not the person that's getting hit that's going to get hurt – it's them. So, guys are not going in there intentionally with their helmet. It just happens sometimes that way because of the position that their body is in or the position that the ball catcher is in. So, I don't think it is going to be a deterrent. It was just unfortunate that this week we had a lot of them, but in previous weeks there wasn't many. So, all of a sudden now, there were three or four or five this week. Now, it's out of control. I don't think it's out of control. I just think it was isolated incidents."

On how he reads the NFL's announcement at this point in the season: "Pressure. I think it was pressure from outside sources. People don't want to see other people sprawled out on the ground and can't move. Other players don't want to see it. Like I said, it was an isolated incident. It was a few isolated situations this week. Last week, I don't think there were any. The week before that, I don't think there were many. I think this week it was just more than usual, so there was an outcry. And, whenever you have a commentator getting on television saying these guys need to be fined, then the Commissioner is going to listen and he's going to do something. I hope that this thing doesn't get out of hand, because seriously, in my heart of hearts, I don't think guys are doing it on purpose."

S Ed Reed

On how it felt to be back on the field today:"Like I said, I've been here for the most part. I haven't been in team activities, but you know, [I've been] talking to the guys, motivating them, encouraging them [and] trying to stay with the game to make sure I don't miss a beat when I come back – as far as mentally. So, it's always good though getting back out there with those guys. It's just moving around a little bit though."

On whether he enjoyed the role he played on the sideline during his time on PUP:"I understood where I was at, at the time, and I knew why I was on PUP and on the sideline. And the most important thing was, 'How can I get better, how can I help the team?' So, it was more or less I just walked into the role and just observed it and just went from there, and like I said, just try to help where I can being on the sideline."

On how he's feeling now:"I feel all right, man."

On whether he thinks he'll play against Buffalo this weekend:"I feel pretty good right now." (laughter)

On whether he agrees with head coach John Harbaugh saying that they'll try to get him into the game on Sunday, but it depends how he reacts to practice throughout the week:"Yeah, I haven't practiced. I haven't moved around how you move around on the football field, as far as plays go back to back like that. So, it's going to be interesting to see how my body reacts this week to all the movement, carry the weight around and stuff like that."

On whether he has thought that it might be smart to skip this weekend's game with the bye week looming, giving him two additional weeks to rehab into game shape:"Yeah, yeah, we definitely talked about that. And that's one thing I know coach Harbaugh is looking into, and the organization, that's why I went on PUP. From the surgical standpoint, it was a 4-6 month period of getting back to full strength [or] a year-long process of full strength. So you know, we still have time until recovery. I still have some soreness in there and everything – still feel it when I move. So, I'm pretty sure that's the thought upstairs."

On his thoughts of the NFL's new helmet-to-helmet hit rule and if it will affect the way players hit and if he will change his hitting technique to adjust to the rule:"No, I mean I never really played the game like that, to try to hit guys helmet-to-helmet. With all this happening, it makes you think about the 18-game season they're thinking about. Maybe that's something they really need to reconsider and look into. But, it's a violent game, it's a very physical game, and guys have to be smart about what they're doing. They're going to make you pay for it – whether it's fining you or suspending you or whatever it may be. And guys are going to pay for it in the long run. I think it's more or less on the guys to really police ourselves and try not to hit guys helmet-to-helmet, because for one, you've got young kids watching us do it. And it's very vicious, and it's going to take a toll on both players once this game is said and done."

On whether there is enough reaction time to consciously deter from a helmet-to-helmet hit:"No, sometimes there's not, because you never know what a receiver is going to do. You know, he might duck his head, he might turn left, turn right – you never know. So, you've got to be smarter, I guess, smarter about the fining part to see whether the guy was trying to avoid a guy or if the receiver caused it. Both teams, both players have to be smart about it, but football is all about reaction, so you just never know when it'll happen."

On whether the legislation is "doomed to fail" in that regard:"I mean, it comes with this sport. It comes with this sport, and this is not something that just [started] happening. This has been happening [for] years, before all of us were even standing here. That's something that you've got to just hopefully educate the players and pump it into their minds that this is something that's really going to affect you after you play the game."

On what he has missed the most from not being able to play:"Just being around the guys on the field. It's a totally different feeling being on the field. You know, being in the walk-through [this morning] is a totally different feel. So, just being part of the team – practicing and being out there. That's something you really miss, and that's what you enjoy when you get back."

On what a helmet-to-helmet hit feels like:"When you wake up from it? It doesn't feel good, man. It's like you just erased a part of your memory or something. It's not a good feeling; it's not something I recommend. I never played the game like that. Hopefully, like I said, guys will just police themselves and protect the players on the other team. I know it's a physical game, violent game, and you want to make that big hit, but there's a way to go about it."

On whether handing down a suspension will be a true deterrence now, versus handing down a $50,000 fine:"Like I said, that's something that's been around for a long time. Why would you go to suspending guys now? Now, if it's intentional, who's to say something was intentional? Who's to say somebody's trying to hit somebody in the helmet? So, hopefully they police it the right way."

On whether he feels like he's become a better player now that he's had a chance to see the game from a different perspective watching on the sideline:"If I didn't learn anything on the sideline, I shouldn't be here. But I definitely learned a lot being around the coaches, trying to help the guys on the sideline. It definitely helped me. You know, I wasn't trying to get too comfortable with it, because I'm not looking to coach that long like that, but it was definitely fun and different. There were times when I wanted to be out there, but like I said, I understood where I was at."

On what he can bring to the defense now by returning to the field:"Just play my part, do what I'm supposed to do, and hopefully, I can continue to do the things that I did in the past."

On whether he feels like he could be just as mentally sharp as he was in previous seasons if he played in the game this weekend:"I don't know, man. It takes time to work out those rough spots, the mental lapse that you might have out there on the field. You know, it's like coming into training camp all over again. Those guys constantly, constantly repped our defense, and I mean, I know some things [and] remember a lot, but when you get out there in that fire, and it's moving a lot faster, you can have those brain teasers that make you forget a thing or two. So, you know, that's what the guys are out there for; that's what made me and Dawan [Landry] so good, that we'll help each other. And I will remind him, or ask him [if I need to]. You know, I'm not too much of a veteran or been in this league too long or too proud for to where I can't ask for help."

On how important the remainder of this season is to him, with where he stands in his career:"I'm in my ninth year of playing football. You know, when it's done, it's done. I don't think I would come back and try to do anything differently than I've [already] done on the football field, you know, physically. But like I said, I'm just in my ninth year, and I still feel good. I've been working out tremendously hard to come back from this surgery, and like I said, I'm feeling good but still have some things in there. But we're going to play ball when we're out there, man."

On whether the time off from hip surgery has also helped with healing some of his prior injuries:"I think time off definitely helped it, but you know, getting back in the game it's going to come right back. It never left. You know, I still have the [nerve] impingement, but [I've] worked out hard to try to strengthen it, and at some time I'll have to take care of it. But hopefully, and God willing, I won't have anything major. But like I said, in football, things happen. It's a violent sport, it's a physical sport, [and] people get hurt. Guys always get hurt. It happens."

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