FLOWERY BRANCH – Here’s transcript of the teleconference with cornerback Asante Samuel from Wednesday.
He has no hard feelings toward the Eagles, believes that he, Dunta Robinson and Brent Grimes can co-exist and that he and Jacquizz Rodgers can work out a deal for jersey number 22.
OPENING STATEMENT: How is everybody doing today. Ok, I’m sorry that I had to jet out so fast on you guys. This thing happened out of the middle of nowhere. I’ll be back up there shortly. I’m happy to be a Falcon. I know the city is embracing me well. I’m excited. I know the Falcons already have an excellent team, excellent coaches, schemes and talent. I’m just going to add to the bunch to try to get the one common goal. You know what I mean. I’ll take any questions that you all have.
ON WHEN THE DEAL STARTED TO COME TOGETHER AND HOW HE’LL FIT INTO THE DEFENSE: I’m a confident guy. I’m going to always have confidence and that’s how I play and how I operate on a daily basis. I’m going to come into this thing and be ready to compete. . . we’ll see how that goes. I’m sure I’ll make a big impact, some way, some how.
ON THE SOCIAL MEDIA FEEDBACK:
I’ve been getting [new followers] every second of the minute. It’s fun right now. Everybody is excited and pumped up. They feel like I’m a missing part of the (chain). We’ll see how this thing goes.
[You can follow him on Twitter @pick_six22]
ON HIS IMPRESSIONS OF THE FALCONS (The Falcons have played the Eagles in each of the past two seasons): Like I said, Great talent. Great coaches. Great schemes. A wonderful place and organization to play. I have heard nothing but great things . . . Thomas Dimitroff, the general manager, we knew each other from New England and he was a big a part of making this deal happen. He was excited too. He knows what I bring to the table. I’m going to come in their confident.
MORE ON DIMITROFF: I knew he had a lot of familiarity with me. We knew each other. We talked every time that we play each other. That definitely had a lot to do with it. He definitely made me feel comfortable. I also talked to coach [Mike Smith]. Everybody is making me feel comfortable and at home. It feels like I have not missed a beat coming from Philly.
MORE ON COACH SMITH: I spoke to him a couple of times actually.
ON WHAT SMITH SAID ABOUT HOW SAMUEL WILL FIT IN: He knows that I’m confident and the expectations that I have of myself. . . He knows that I can make a big impact.
ON IF HE HAS A PREFERENCE TO PLAY ON THE RIGHT OR LEFT SIDE:Whatever I need to do and whatever’s best to help the team win, I’m ready to do. Wherever they need to play me at left, right, back or forth and make a difference.
ON PLAYING WITH DUNTA ROBINSON AND BRENT GRIMES: I think it’s going to be good. Those guys are very talented and well established. Brent Grimes is coming off the last two years. He’s adjusted and is making some big plays. Dunta has been doing his thing since he’s been there. So you know what I mean, we are all going to come in and work together to make this thing the best that it’s ever been.
ON WHEN HE PLANS TO START TALKING TO SOME OF HIS NEW TEAMMATES: Probably a little after I finish talking to you guys.
ON IF HE KNOWS SOME OF THE PLAYERS ALREADY: I’ve run across a few of the guys. Dunta Robinson, Roddy White and Mike Turner. They are some of the people that I’ve seen out or I’ve seen before. We’ve talked. My boy Matt Ryan, I know he’s happy to see me. . .(laugh). Tell him it’s all love and I can teach him some of the little tricks of the trade.
ON RESTRUCTING THE CONTRACT: It was not a big deal for me at all.
ON ADDING A YEAR: That’s more something for my agent. He could talk to you about it. He did the deal. We just went over the numbers. I wanted to be a Falcon and they made it work.
ANY HARD FEELINGS TOWARD PHILADELPHIA FOR TRADING YOU: Come on man. You know it’s always hard feelings, man. Naw, I was just joking. I wish Philly nothing but the best. I love that organization and Eagles nation. I know they were sad to see me go. I know everybody can’t figure out how this is happening and why this is going this way. Business is Business and life is life.
ON THE QUARTERBACKS THE FALCONS ARE FACING THIS YEAR: I’m not a big talking. The only thing I can say is that it’s time to go to work. It’s time to get to work. Put the pedal to the metal. It seems like a bunch of all-star quarterbacks that we are playing against. So, like I said, we have to get cracking.
ON HIS 5 PERCENT RULE: It’s my 10 percent rule. You guys will find out when I get there that I only talk to the media 10 percent of the time. That could change. We could negotiate that. In Philly, they are real drama-fied. If y’all start some drama that 10 percent could get real tight.
ON HIS AGE (31): You’ve got a lot of people 30 and 31 and still producing at a high level. I think for the most part, it’s how you handle your offseason. How you train. How you work on your explosiveness, your technique and your hands. You can just say I need to go out there and be in shape and run 100 laps and run 100, 110 [yard sprints] and all of that and say I’m in the best shape of my life. You need to constantly work on your speed, your explosiveness, your hand-to-eye coordination and quickness. That’s how you maintain, you know what I mean.
ON IF HIS OFFSEASON PROGRAM HAS CHANGE AS HE’S GOTTEN OLDER: It’s my same routine since I entered the league, you know what I mean. I’m not missing a beat with my explosion, speed and hands. I do a lot of the resistance training with the bands and all that stuff. Those are some of the things that I like to get into.
ON KEEPING JERSEY NUMBER 22: (Laughs) You know I’m a deuce-deuce man for life. I’m sure the Lil’ Homie [Jacquizz Rodgers]. . . we won’t have a problem working it out. You know how that goes.
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog