Q: Do you even know who your outside linebackers are?
A: Oh, yeah. I know whoís there.
Q: Is it an emergency situation?
A: I think itís one of those situations that will really be beneficial in the end. Joeyís in Miami and Clarkís at home dealing with the situation with his family right now, so these young guys are getting a lot of snaps outside and thatís good. We know James Harrison has had the snaps and a lot of these guys are not. Itís really a beneficial situation. Itís a great opportunity for us and for them.
Q: In terms of assessing the situation, isnít this a good opportunity for you a week before the draft?
A: I donít think anything that happens out here is going to affect the draft. The draft is definitely a longer range situation than what youíre talking about in even a year.
Q: Brett Keisel hasnít played any linebacker yet, has he?
A: Heís always been a guy who can play outside backer for us in case we get in an injury situation during a Sunday afternoon, a particular game. Weíve had him take a lot of snaps on Fridays at that outside backer, but heís never had to do it in a game. And I kind of like the way he plays defensive end, so weíre going to keep him right there. He still has that capability in a pinch. If we needed him to go in there and play outside backer he can do it and thatís a real plus for us.
Q: It sounds like you only have him in mind for an emergency instead of in a new package like an Adalius Thomas type.
A: Well, we might see a little bit of that too but that wouldnít be on first or second down.
Q: Do you know the new linebackers working out there with you?
A: Itís definitely different with 55 gone and Clark not here. Itís definitely different.
Q: Youíre the veteran leader. Are you feeling old?
A: Me? Iím still young. Iím not more veteran than Farrior, but, yeah, I guess Iím into the second half of my career.
Q: Are you worried about depth?
A: Iím not worried. Weíve got two bona fide. We know they can do it. But we definitely need depth with Arnold being injured.
Q: Do you see that position in the draft plans?
A: Thatís what I see on TV. Iím watching just like everybody else.
Q: Is it strange playing outside?
A: Not so much. I played a little bit of it in an emergency situation. Getting this many reps in the whole full concept of the defense and the sub packages is a lot but not too much.
Q: Are you suited for the position?
A: Iím athletically suited for the position. Itís just different from inside. Thereís different techniques, and when youíre that close you canít really shuffle. Youíve got to hold the point of attack on run instead of trying to shed so quickly. Youíve got to hold the point longer.
Q: What was your primary position?
A: I had to do all of them, but primarily the mack; a little buck and also outside.
Q: Isnít it funny how quickly things can change?
A: Iíve been playing football a long time and I didnít come this far to be a back-up. When you get a chance to step in at a position youíve got to take advantage of the opportunity.
Q: Other players tell me the light goes on in the third year. Has yours?
A: Yes, pretty much so. The lightís trying to go off, but now that Iím playing a different position itís almost being back to like your first year and a half, but the lightís off on the whole concept of the defense. Now Iím just learning a new position.
Q: Dick LeBeau said in the long run this will be good for everyone.
A: Yes, in the long run itís good because in case when I go back inside I can also be a guy who can go outside or inside for however long Iím in the league.
Q: Could this be your year?
A: Yeah. Coming out, I knew I had a growing process coming to the No. 1 defense. I wanted to get on the field early but I saw in this defense that it takes growth. Coach Butler told me in the third year, thatís when this defense all comes together for certain players. So I sense I have to take advantage of this year being that Iím in the third year of a three-year contract. Itís time to start playing.
Q: Are you impatient?
A: Yes. Like I said, when you come this far in your life, you donít come this far just to be a back-up, so Iím ready to take advantage and become a starter.
Q: How do you feel weighing 252?
A: Carry what you can carry. If you can carry it, hold onto it. Down in the trenches, you need to have a couple of bags of nickels in your back pocket to hold up. Iím carrying the weight good, I look good with it, I feel good with it and my body fat level ainít went up; itís good clean muscle so Iím going to hold onto it. I was due. Iíve been lifting a lot, so it was just a matter of time before I started getting a little bigger. You get a little older, you get a little stronger. Iím 24 years old.
Q: Is it killing you not to be getting these reps?
A: Oh, most definitely. A competitor like myself, Iím sitting here, been in this system going on three years now. I know it. Iíve had a chance to get my feet wet and play some games, start some games. I played behind some great players all this time, and when you get the opportunity to come out for a new coaching staff and youíre running the same defense and youíve got guys out there who arenít nowhere near as experienced as I am, of course I would love, relish, the chance to get out there and get it mixing up and started up and talk trash to my teammates. But you know what? Thatís all a learning experience. Perseverance is also a lesson learned. So I get to sit back and watch and learn and get a feel for the coaches. When I hit the ground running, my first impressionís going to be a big one.
Q: Are you the forgotten man when everyoneís talking about draft needs?
A: My job here is to be the best player I can possibly be and to learn as much as I can learn and play as hard as I can play. The people that know this team, the organization, they know Iím a good player, otherwise I wouldnít be here. Even if they do decide to go out and draft an outside linebacker, thatís their decision. The only thing you can control is what you can control. The way I see it, when they call my number and itís time to strap on the helmets and put the shoulder pads on, Iíll be ready. No matter what happens, Iím going to make sure they donít forget about me.
Q: How much did you play before you got hurt?
A: I played in eight games, five at outside linebacker and started and played two full games at outside linebacker and in the third game I got hurt in the first quarter