What led you to sign with division rival Detroit Lions?
“I am familiar with the defense. They have a 4-3 defense, an attacking style defense. And as far as adjusting, all I had to learn was the new terminology and plug it into their system. I also signed because of the distance. It was very close to Chicago, only a 45-minute flight, so I can be in Chicago for the things I’m involved with off the field. The biggest component though was the opportunity to be a part of a very complete team. You look at the offense and the weapons they have, you know Reggie Bush, Matt and Calvin, all in all, a very dynamic group of guys. And getting the opportunity to play with arguably the best two tackles in the league in Suh and Fairley. It was an attractive offer to fight and hopefully win championships.
Many of your friends still play on the Chicago Bears, what was it like to put a couple of losses on their record?
“For me it’s been business as usual.”
“As soon as I signed with the Detroit Lions, I was 110% committed to being a Detroit Lion.”
“Even before I was here, you know, you always have friends on the other team, so it was no different. You’re focused on you’re team, you’re focused on your plan and executing your assignments for the game.”
Brandon Marshall recently took a couple of shots at the Lions, calling Detroit, Chicago’s little brother, borderline illegal, and even telling Detroit to focus on their financial state. What are your thoughts on his comments?
“I talked to Brandon about it and I think in speaking to him on the issue that, you know, he said some of those things half-jokingly, and at the end of the day, what’s important is that as a team we continue to play hard and tough football.”
“What anybody outside of the Lions’ family says, it doesn’t matter, it’s irrelevant to us, we’re focused on winning football games, on offense, defense, and special teams.”
“No one is trying to be dirty or maliciously hurt anybody. We’re just playing tough football, and that’s what we’re coached and trained to do and it’s our job. So, I think at the end of the day what anybody says out of our circle doesn’t matter. We’re focused on continuing to play hard and win football games and achieve our goals from there.”
What are your thoughts on the fines that have been assessed to Ndamukong Suh? Has he been treated unfairly by the league and the referees?
“I think anytime you have human being’s making judgment calls about some things, there is a margin of error. And unfortunately some of the refs have not fairly been officiating the game. There are some plays where you can clearly see the refs just focusing on Suh. And at the end of the day, his [the refs] job is to watch all the players on the field, not just the players that are in blue and silver, or certain numbers. I think when you play as hard as he [Suh] does, it’s different because of how the game has changed. Ten years ago, the game was so much more physical and violent than today. If you hit a guy too violently today, a referee’s first instinct is to throw the flag. Even though it’s not at his [opponent’s] head, if you hit him too hard, or he hits the ground too hard, or looks or sounds violent, they throw the flag. Which, does a service to the game, that’s the direction the game is going in, and you know as players there’s nothing we can do. But, some of the fines and suspensions are unfortunate.”
What do you think the game will look like in twenty or thirty years? Do you think it will still be around?
“For me, I don’t know, I have no idea. I think it will still be around because just the monetary gains it brings to so many people. There will be people making sure to change and adjust the rules. I think it will still be around, but it will be a very different game. I have only been in the league since 2003 but since then, so many things have changed and the rules have changed and so many things have gone on that now, you can’t hit a guy certain ways. The game today is so highly officiated. It’s just a different game; it’s so less physical, which I guess is ultimately the goal. It will be a less physical game, it will be a lot more speed, a lot more open field and pulling guys down, rather than the hard-hitting shots they have been taking.”
What do you prefer? Artificial turf or real grass?
“I prefer both for two different reasons. You know as far as your knees and taking care of your body, I prefer regular grass. But artificial turf is an advantage for preparation of the game on Sunday. When you play in a city like Chicago it’s towards November and December when it gets cold, that cold changes the game plan. The condition of the field changes the condition of the game. Guys in Chicago will tell you that for a torque position, like defensive line, it’s harder to get your feet set. Every Sunday, for eight games, I am playing on a surface that I don’t have to worry about footing.”
What is the upside of Ziggy Ansah?
“I mean his speed is a natural God-given ability. He has those natural gifts that he can just wake up in the morning and get off the ball and rush the passer. I think the most exciting thing when you’re analyzing a young player like Ansah, is the thought that in one year, when he understands what his skill set is as a pass rusher, when he knows what is go-to moves are, when he understands reading the offensive line, he will be a real weapon.”