Transcripts: Ravens Practice in London (10/12)


On if he's been able to spend time with his family while being in London:"Yes. [I've] just [spent time with] my immediate family, my mom, brother, dad [and] sister. We're big on family time, so we're just spending time [together and] catching up. We know our time is very limited, so honestly, we've been at home. We've been to one dinner, but [mostly] just being at home, kind of catching up and embracing each other." 

On how much he leans on his family during his rehab from injury: "It's critical. Family is the most important thing in this life, so [it's nice] just to be able to tune out the outside noise and just know what's really important [is] what it comes down to." 

On if there were any other sports he grew up playing:"I won't lie. I was a soccer player, definitely. Manchester United was my [favorite team]. Yes." (laughter) "Look, I know they're not doing too [well] now, but yes, I was a 'Man U' fan. I kind of fizzled away as I started playing football." 

On if he still follows Manchester United: "No. More [focus on] NFL. I focus on that." 

On if he has a favorite player from Manchester United from when he was younger: "That [Christiano] Ronaldo-[Wayne] Rooney era, when they were together … My dad took us to a live game, so I'll never forget that one." 

On how important it is for kids like NFL Academy athlete Daniel Akinkunmi, who committed to Oklahoma for football, to get an opportunity at a Division I school as a Nigerian kid: "A lot of times, kids like myself and [Daniel Akinkunmi] just need a chance. We just need a chance to showcase the God-given talent we have. Timeframe might be a thing, growing up in the sport, but sometimes you're just really athletic and really driven, so I'm glad he got his chance, and I pray he takes full advantage of it." 

On if his injury is just a rehab situation with no surgery:"Yes. [I'm] just rehabbing and taking it day by day. I'll be back out there." 

On if he has a lot of ticket requests for Sunday's game:"Yes. I have a lot of people [coming to the game]. I can't really put a number on it, but like I said, it's a special event. You don't really get it too often, that I'm so close to home and my people could come. So, yes, I have a lot of people coming [to the game]." 

On if he's treating his family to good seats on Sunday:"They're going to be treated right. They're going to be good." 

On what he thinks the NFL and the Baltimore Ravens can do to expand opportunities for international kids who want to play football:"It's just outreach programs like I mentioned with Osi [Umenyiora]. He has NFL Africa going, so just putting little programs in place that kids can just go and showcase their athletic ability in [front of] the coaches and the eyes, who have that kind of [vision], where they can scope them out. They can just see them and give them a chance." 


On his impressions of Tottenham's practice facility: "It's an amazing facility, just being here and seeing it [is great]. They definitely take good care of their players, and the fields, they are pretty sweet. Even the ones we didn't get a chance to practice on, they're pretty sweet. I'm a fan." 

On how good OLB David Ojabo can be in the NFL when he's healthy:"I think [David] Ojabo has a lot of potential. It's just more so about being healthy and whatnot. I'm very excited for him to get back out there when he's healthy, because I think he can do a lot of good things. We've seen that before. When he's actually on the field, he definitely can produce. As long as he gets healthy, [I'd] definitely love to see him back out there." 

On how he feels physically after three nights sleeping in London:"[I feel] very well. I've been going to sleep ... I feel like a" (laughter) "I don't know how good that [accent] actually was, but I've been going to sleep like around 11 [p.m.] or so. [I've] kind of been waking up like around 7 or 8 [a.m.] – 8 [a.m.] more so – in the morning. It's been pretty good for me. I feel like I'm adjusted [to] the time zone. I think tonight will probably be the best night of sleep, whereas I feel like I've gotten even more acclimated, so I'm excited about that." 

On if he played in London earlier in his career:"Yes, I did back in 2019. [It was] Chicago [Bears] vs. Vegas, or they were [the] Oakland [Raiders] at the time." 

On who has the best British accent on the team and who has the worst: "I probably have the worst [accent]." (laughter) "I'm sure some other people have the worst, because I can say a few words here and there. I heard 'Tuck' [Justin Tucker] talk today, and 'Tuck' actually … A couple of the nice people over at the hotel were like, 'Oh my God.' They said his [accent] was pretty good." (laughter) "But, mine is not the best." 

On what he can say in a good British accent: (in a British accent)"'Let's have a proper English breakfast.' That's probably not good." (laughter) "That's probably not good. 'A water.'" (laughter) 

On the craziest questions teammates asked him about London since he has already been before: "Some teammates – it's kind of funny – have never been outside of America. It's kind of funny. I'm just like, 'Bro, there are so many dudes that make crazy means for themselves, created a great life for themselves and never really get out to see other parts of the world.' I never quite understood that. So, guys will sometimes be like, 'OK, what do they speak?' [asking about] the language that they speak. The language [question] was probably the best one. When you think English – England – so when you think about it from that perspective, but yes, you hear some crazy things in that locker room. I'll tell you that." 

On what stands out to him about the Tennessee Titans offense: "[They are a] physical team. [They are a] physical team, and that's something we pride ourselves on as well, knowing they have a really good [running] back. [Derrick] Henry's been doing it for a really long time. [They have a] good quarterback in [Ryan] Tannehill as well as 'D-Hop' [DeAndre Hopkins], [who has been] one of the best in the game for a while. They definitely have some pieces over there. It's just going to be about doing our jobs, stopping the run first and foremost. [It's] what they definitely lean on all game long. Then, eliminating 'D-Hop' as well, because they're definitely going to try and get him the ball. It'll be a great match for us, a great challenge, so [we're] looking forward to it." 

On if the change of scenery helps moving forward after a tough loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers:"Yes. Like last week, that was last week. [I'm] going to leave it at that. We definitely did not play our best, in a sense, and when you don't play your best, [with] the parity in the league, you can lose. I think being over here – it's great. Also, being here for the fans in the U.K. is awesome, being able to just put on in front of them and actually see some good football. I'm excited being able to do that, as well as just being away from home and having a chance to just to bond with the teammates outside of the facility, where we're at the hotel spending hours together when you get to know them even on a deeper level, playing card games and things of that nature. I really enjoy it, and I love just being in different places where some people are out of their comfort zone. It makes you grow as a person, as well as a team." 

On if he prefers playing on grass or turf and if there are any adjustments he has to make when playing on a turf field: "That's definitely been a huge thing with the grass and turf. Personally, I'd rather play on actual grass, but you know, I'm not the one that's making the decision. At the end of the day, they can roll the ball out anywhere, concrete, basketball court or wherever. I'll be there." 


On what he thinks of the London trip: "I've been over here a few times, so I definitely think London is a beautiful place. [You] don't really see much sun, but I'm used to that over here, and the trip is great. It's a great atmosphere. It's definitely difficult to get adjusted to times and find your rhythm. Life is set up that way, where you have to learn how to adjust, and this is just one of those situations. Coming off of a tough loss, a team just has to find a way to be resilient and keep driving, knowing it's a long journey [and a] long season. This is just the situation [that we're in] now, but definitely playing in a game in 2016, it was funny to be there – it was the [New York] Giants versus the [Los Angeles] Rams, and I'm seeing [Miami] Dolphins' jerseys [and New York] Jets [jerseys]. Everybody's wearing their team, but the energy is still amazing, and I know that the fans over here are very excited about it, so it is definitely a blessing and a unique opportunity. [I'm] just looking forward to it." 

On whether he relishes playing in the London games because it's an opportunity to grow the game of football internationally: "Absolutely. I remember when [the NFL International series] was just kind of starting – I think [it was] 2016 – and before that, there was a long break between the games over in London. I remember going to Germany – I had an event or something – and the streets went absolutely crazy. Just to feel that in my heart was a crazy feeling. I remember these kids followed me on bikes for miles pedaling, I'm sweating, [and] I tell the driver, 'Just pull over because they've already done a Lance Armstrong race all the way to come meet [me].' So, I was just like, 'Just pull over,' and we met them. Just for this game to be able to grow and see it be loved by people outside of America, it's a true testament to the game of football, which is such a beautiful thing. So, anything that I can do to help these kids over here – you see them, and they want to feel what the football is like and throw with them – it's a beautiful thing to see a game that can touch so many people."  

On the status of his current ankle injury and if it's been bothering him a bit still: "Yes, it's been tough. I've worked my [butt] off for a long time, since that Super Bowl [after the 2021 season]. Just to have a small, small setback, which you never saw coming, it's just unfortunate. Now, [I'm] just kind of getting readjusted, and it's behind you now, but maybe [I'm] sitting there in hindsight, thinking, '[I] could've waited one more week.' To just get your feet back underneath you, it's a blessing to be able to be out on the field, but it never feels good when you're not at your very, very best. So, I feel much better this week, even though there was a lot of traveling. It's hard to stay up on hydration, stay up on the regular schedule. There are so many things that you have to adapt to, but there's no time for excuses or putting blame here or there. I'm a man. I take my wins with my losses. I just have to come out and just be better – plain and simple – and do whatever I can to help this team win. [That's] starting with my energy [from] day to day, a lot of things that I feel like I can just do better, and I just have to accept that challenge, embrace it and be exactly who I know I am." 

On his stance on the turf versus grass debate:"It's something that I'm sure people have seen me talk about on Twitter [now known as X], this and that. It sounds like I'm the one being a baby and complaining, yet, you see a lot of major injuries happen on turf. I don't know. I'll leave the dilemma up for Twitter warriors and all that, but it's just … I mean just look at the results. Look at how many major injuries have happened on it. God willing, there's none [in] this game [on Sunday]. But, it's just not a surface that I think [is] great for players to play on. I think they make enough money to where putting grass in stadiums is really not that big of a thing. I think it's not hard to keep up with, and I just feel like if we're talking about the safety of players, grass would be a better surface area for them. But again, like I said, life throws you curve balls. You just have to adjust, and turf is what we're playing on this week. It is what it is. It's not really up to us, but I think there's a solution. Whatever it is, I hope that one day they figure that out."  

On how tough it's been for him, from a production level, in the first five games of the season: "It's been tough, just finding a way that feels like you can help the team. And again, that's why I say, personally, it starts within yourself, your energy and the way that you internalize, process and analyze the situation and what you can bring to it daily. I think [that] will affect the outcome, and that's where I was doing such a great job early on, and I hadn't been thrown many tests leading up to training camp and all this. Then, things happen, and I feel like I semi-failed the test God gave me. Realizing that, it's a step of growth, and just to be able to go past that, and to now embrace this new challenge and find a way to be productive with whatever opportunities I do have. That's just the bottom line – make the most of whatever you get." 

On if this game in London would be an opportunity to show that he is back on track: "Absolutely, and if it wasn't in London, just having a great game, you always feel like you'll be back on track. But I'll never forget these words that Coach [Sean] McVay had said to me. He was just talking about why he doesn't think that I performed well in Cleveland [with the Browns] or here or there. He was just saying that something about pressure and something about the biggest stage, it drives me even more. It's not like an attention thing. It's like I enjoy the pressure more than when it just feels mundane, even though it's such a blessing to be playing at whatever time. He thinks that the bigger the stage, the more you want to shine. I can understand that, and I've just been sitting in my room, while I'm trying to sleep. The time zone is definitely a bit of a thing. Just laying in my bed, I've just been thinking about it. How can I get back on track? How can I be the person that I know that I'm capable of being? I would absolutely love for that to start this Sunday, knowing that, again, it's a long journey, a long season. There are so many opportunities for us to take advantage of. I'm looking forward to it, and [I'm] praying that this is exactly what I would hope it would be." 

On how he would describe his optimism to break out again this year:"Like I said, I feel like I've failed the test. I feel like I had all these great, positive talks, and then when something hits, it's hard to stay along those lines. You can get bumped off course, and now you just have to get back on track. It's a long season. I think the 1972 [Miami] Dolphins were the only team to ever have a perfect season and win a Super Bowl. Other than that, there's been 50-something Super Bowls or more, however many more. It's a long season. It's about catching fire when you're supposed to. It's about everything coming together at the right time. You do have to be optimistic about the season, and that's [why] I'm trying to stay in that mindset of, 'There's a lot of opportunities.' No team won a Super Bowl in Week 5 or 6, but it is about finding your way to that perfect balance as a team and finding your identity and what is going to work for you for the season. So, I'm very optimistic about it. I'm going to keep continuing to preach positivity over myself, over my teammates and be accountable for my energy and let that run through the team." 

On how the guys in the locker room have responded to a tough loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers followed by a long trip and tough circumstances: "I think it was one of those games … Of course, everybody was [ticked]. Nobody wanted to lose that game, but just to know that there's so much going on with what feels like a short week [with] travel [and] this and that. It's one of those ones you have to put behind you. If you would've won, and it would've been ugly, it still would've been like we're so worried about the next game. [We] just have to continue to press forward. I think the energy has been good knowing you have to take the good with the bad, and that was just part of the bad. Continue to truck forward and keep it moving." 

On how his British accent is:"Oh man, I can't do that right now. I'm a little tired, but I definitely …" (in a British accent) "Fish 'n chips." (laughter) "Maybe outside of here, I'll give you a little bit of a British accent." 

On what he meant by failing the test:"I guess you could say I didn't fail, because I realized that there was a potential that I did fail it, so that's a little bit of winning itself. Just to me, like I was saying, I was in such a positive mindset, and it was because nothing had really [gone] wrong, and there were no setbacks. There was no poor performance or anything leading up into [training] camp. Then, just some little things started to happen. You get into a mindset where I don't feel like I was as positive about looking at things that may not have been positive and looking at them as negative. That's where I feel in my heart [that] I failed the test of just being able to take the good with the bad. To me, to be able to look at it now and be able to smile at it, and be like, 'OK, well now I know for the next time that it does pop up how I can go about things, how I can control my own energy [and] how I can protect my peace.' That's where I feel like I semi-failed the test. [It's] not like I got completely off track and went down the wrong way, but just like a bumped-off track. Sometimes, you need that reminder in life of which way to go and which direction that God's trying to lead you."

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