By Rams Nation's George Pate
How did you get allocated to NFLE
I talked to my agent and I decided it would be good to come across and get some game experience. I had been out of playing football in a game since the Citrus Bowl against Tennessee and I thought it was important to get back into the grind of playing each week. I feel I improved greatly in my time with the Rams, but I felt I was missing out on tackling and the physical side of the game. It was wanted to get my pads dirty, get the tackles in, get knocked down a couple of times, bang my head against a few people and get that feeling back again.
I saw you getting physical with the Claymores TE in the first quarter
Yeh, he came out pretty physical the first time we played them, so we knew he was that kind of player. Those big guys tend to try and pick on us little guys, so I just had to let him know I wasn’t backing down.
Did you speak to any of the ex NFLE players at the Rams before coming across
I spoke to Dane Looker and asked him how it was across here and what his outlook on it was. I did ask a couple of the other guys as well and then took that information and talked to my agent, my parents and my girlfriend. We decided this would be the best route for me. I don’t think the Rams were going to allocate me at first but I requested it and they were gracious enough to agree.
Do you feel you have benefited from your time here.
Definitely , I have been blessed with Martin Bayless as my position coach , a guy with 13 years in the league. It’s been great to have him almost as a player coach because he’s been there before and there was so much he could share from his experience both on and off the field. He is a very good “hands on” coach, I would definitely look for him to get a coaching spot in the league soon.
Should be now be looking for NFLE coaches to graduate into the NFL just
as the players have
I think that is something you will see soon.. There are some coaches that are happy to coach in Europe but guys like Martin Bayless and Amp Lee our running backs coach did an excellent job over here and the experience they have gained should benefit them.
Where do you go now that NFL Europe is finished
Jump on a plane Monday and fly back to St Louis Tuesday. A quick physical and hop back onto the plane and take all my bags back home. Then I’ll hibernate for 3-4 days and get over the travel and the jet lag. Although we have a month off before camp, it’s not really that long to get over the season and get back into shape. Apart from a few knocks and bruises I’m in really good physical shape, but it’s game shape which means I need to get back the strength and weight I’ve lost over the ten weeks. So I want to get home and eat my mom’s cooking and put myself in the best possible shape for starting camp
You’re going back to a crowded secondary at the Rams, what are the
strengths of your game. What do you offer the Rams as a Corner
I’m a competitor, I try to be a student of the game. When you get to this level everybody is a good player, everybody is athletic, everybody is strong. It’s the other things that you do off the field that make you a better player, I believe I have the ability to do these things. But really I’m just excited to have this opportunity with the Rams, to do what I love best , play football. I expect to make a strong run for a roster spot with the Rams and hopefully next season be able to contribute as well.
What are your best memories of Europe, both playing and non playing.
I don’t know about a playing memory because each game has been dramatic. Usually when you go through a season you will get one or two games that go down to the wire but over here we have been in every game, every week has been exciting , there has never been a blow out. The league is so balanced, there has never been a week where you could say this opponent isn’t so strong and it is different from college and the NFL in that respect. I have a lot of wonderful non playing memories places like the Berlin Wall, the Olympic stadium where Jesse Owens once ran, the Olympic city of Barcelona sitting right on the beach. But my favourite city would have to be Amsterdam because I saw more of it and was able to spend time in it. But I’m just very happy to have had the chance to visit so much of Europe and experience the different cultures in Holland, Spain, Germany and Scotland, there aren’t many 23 year olds that will have had that opportunity.
What has been your experience of Dutch football fans.
They have been very supportive, we have had people at our practices regardless of whether we have been winning or losing. They did a lot for us, they held barbecues for us and they were understanding that sometimes you are tired and sore and don’t have time to talk but we did try and give them as much time as we could. We were also able to carry out some visits in the community to schools and hospitals and that was fun.
Have you had any feedback from the Rams
I spoke to my agent and he’s heard that they think I’ve had a good season. Anybody can have one good game, it’s putting them back to back through the season that is hard but I hope that is what I’ve done. I hope they weren’t too surprised by what they saw but that it will give them more confidence in my ability to play and what I’m capable of.
I guess Claymores safety Robbie Robinson is going to have bragging rights
He’ll have the bragging rights and I’ll have to listen but I can maybe touch on a couple things about his college (Colorado) which I can have over him.