Transcripts: Daelin Hayes Press Conference

Can you tell us what you're going to bring to Baltimore? (Ryan Mink) "Man, I mean … I'm sorry, I'm still speechless with the whole situation. I'm just a guy that's going to put it all on the line. I spoke to Coach [John Harbaugh] a couple days ago, and I remember telling him Baltimore has been my favorite team since I was a kid. That love, that genuine love that I've always had for the city of Baltimore, for that team when Ray Lewis and Ed Reed and those guys were locking guys down – that was really the example that I had when I started playing defense. That genuine love, the work ethic, a versatile player, [my] best ball is ahead. I'm going to go in, bust my butt, learn from the older guys and compete to the highest level. As far as the community, that's something that was extremely important to me at Notre Dame, and it's something that I'm going to continue to do with my NFL career. Just continuing to be a servant, to be a leader, grow as a player and just continue to maximize each day and each opportunity."

Can I just follow up really quick and ask you how the Ravens became your favorite team? (Ryan Mink) "Like I said, that defense. Watching Ed Reed and Ray Lewis, some of my favorite … Even Terrell Suggs, when I was a younger guy, just watching that defense, just turning on Sunday Night Football and seeing them play under the lights or playing with them on Madden, it was a great experience. I actually have a pretty cool story. Back when I was in high school, we had the Five Star Challenge. The Five Star Challenge was obviously at M&T Bank Stadium. I remember Coach Harbaugh came and spoke to us and just kind of told a story about him and his brother way back when they would have these wrestling matches on their family vacations. They kind of had these stare downs, and they were like, 'This is where we stand.' He was like … He compared that to when they played in the Super Bowl, and that was kind of like that standoff. It wasn't … Obviously, they're not kids anymore wrestling, but that was kind of that, 'This is where we stand' moment between brothers. So, I remember having that conversation, and it stuck with me, I don't know why, for like five [or] six years. Like I said, I've just been a Baltimore fan for so long. [There have] just been really weird nuances where Baltimore has kind of come up in my life, and it's kind of crazy to see how it all came full circle today. So, it's an amazing experience."

Congratulations on getting picked. Like you said, you grew up watching this team. Just recently in recent years, what have you seen from the defense and how do you think you're going to fit with your skillset? (Daniel Oyefusi) "The beautiful thing is after speaking with Coach [Harbaugh] a couple days ago, just understanding that [with] guys like Yannick [Ngakoue] and Matt Judon, a lot of guys ended up leaving the room, so there's a lot of opportunity to compete and be able to play at that SAM position, [in] that 3-4 [defense]. So, I think it's a great fit. It's a great fit for me to come in and compete, obviously, just to continue to grow, contribute on special teams, do whatever I can do to help this team win and just do my part. I'm just excited to come in and have the opportunity, because that's all I ever needed, was an opportunity. So, I'm just extremely thankful for that. I'm excited to come in and contribute and play in any way that I can, God willing, just continue to grow and have a long career in Baltimore."

Congratulations. You mentioned talking with coaches. It sounds like you were really in contact with the Ravens a lot throughout this process. Can you talk about that a little be more? (Garrett Downing) "No, no, actually. It was not until the beginning, I believe of … It wasn't until earlier this week, I believe, that I had my first phone call with the Ravens. That's why I was joking. I was like, 'Man, I was hoping that,' … I was like, 'Man, this is my favorite team. I was hoping I was talking to you all more.' But they said that had been watching me, obviously watching my film, and they obviously liked the stuff that they saw, but we were just going to see how it played out on draft weekend. So, like I said, I was just extremely excited. I was excited to hear from the guys. But, yes, that contact didn't really start until this week."

You clearly know the history of this team. You mentioned some of the great players. Now you're playing on that defense that some of those guys played on. Is that significant to you? (Garrett Downing) "Absolutely. You talk about a place like Notre Dame, where tradition is everything. You're in alignment with some of the greatest players to ever grace college football, and you just kind of fall into that, and you try to uphold the standard. And that mentality, I believe, is going to be the same here with Baltimore. You're a part of a long history of great defense, tough-nosed football, and that's something that I just want to embody as a player and just continue to put on my back – keep that chip. Keep that chip on the shoulder each and every day and just maximize each opportunity. When you put on that black and purple, you're a part of a long history of greatness, so that's something that I wholeheartedly embrace, and I'm excited to be a part of."

Congratulations on becoming a Raven. I noticed that you are very involved in the community at Notre Dame, with not just Black Lives Matter, but with the kids and different programs. What drives a young man like yourself to be so involved in the community? (Kevin Richardson) "If she would come outside from the party, it's my mother. Seeing that constant sacrifice, that example of what it means to really be a serving leader. My mother had me at 19 years old, in college, and the world told her not to. She had to figure that out on her own, and she sacrificed a lot of her youth to give me and my brothers the lifestyle so that we could be here to chase our dreams, to have different educational opportunities, to be able to go to a place like Notre Dame and flourish, and that wouldn't have been possible without her sacrifice. So, who am I not to sacrifice the immense blessing that I've had of attending the University of Notre Dame, of being a football player, having a voice on our team, being a captain? Who am I not to pay that forward to that next generation? Because you never know – what one interaction with a kid … Similar to that interaction I had with Coach Harbaugh back when I was 17 years old. You just never know how these things are going to stick with a kid. I've done a lot of work – juvenile detention center, Boys & Girls Club, elementary schools, whatever, just trying to touch and serve as many kids as I can. That comes from a constant example that I had in my mother and her sacrifice. So, yes, that really drives me."

Can you talk about your strengths as player? And as a developmental guy, who is going to get to learn from some of those vets ahead of you, where do you feel you're going to make your biggest strides, as well? (Ryan Mink) "For me, I feel like I'm as versatile of a player in this draft – defensive player in this draft – as anyone. For me, it's just about that consistency in pass rush, right? And that's going to come. That's going to come with more reps. Obviously, I'm going to be able to learn. I've taken a lot of strides, obviously, even from the [2020] season to the Senior Bowl – the type of Senior Bowl I was able to have, just off of minor technical cleanups. So, just continuing to keep that open mind, keep that hunger, obviously, that you just want it. While this is a great milestone, the work is far from finished, and I believe that my best ball is ahead of me. So, I'm excited to learn, I'm excited to be a sponge, and I'm excited to work. I'm excited to get back in the grind and to be able to contribute in any way that I can. So, just keeping that hunger, that open-mindedness just to be able to learn and just continue to develop, is something that I look forward to moving forward."

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