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Behind the Facemask: Asante Samuel

Posted Oct 5, 2012

Go Behind the Facemask with Asante Samuel as vice president of football communications Reggie Roberts sits down with the cornerback to delve further into the swagger he brings to the Falcons D


Reggie Roberts:  Were you excited when you found out that you would have a chance to play here in Atlanta?

Asante SamuelI was very excited. Everyone in Atlanta has embraced me very well. I think the fans appreciate what I do and what I have done in my career. I think they also appreciate my energy and my leadership. The fans have a lot of brotherly love here in Atlanta, so I'm happy that I came here.

RR:  Your 45 interceptions since joining the NFL in 2003 are second in the NFL, but you have yet to grab your first pick as a Falcon.  Any thoughts on that?

AS:  I’m just taking it game-by-game. Sometimes, the opportunity to intercept the ball does not present itself. I really don’t put any pressure on myself to try to intercept the ball. If I finish the season with two interceptions and we win the Super Bowl, that will be fine with me. All I care about is doing what I need to do to help my team win.

RR:  One of the most notable aspects of practice these days is how chatty and talkative the defense is. Between you, Willy Mo (William Moore), Thomas DeCoud and Sean Weatherspoon, there is a lot of positive energy at practice.  Why do you think that is?

AS:  I think all of that energy and chatter is good for the team. When I trash talk, I feel like it puts the bulls-eye on my chest. It makes the offensive guys step up their game, and that’s what it’s all about.  It’s hard to come out here every day and just go through the motions without saying anything and having any fun. So as soon as I got here – Day 1 – I was running my mouth.

RR:  Who are the best three quarterbacks in the NFL that you have played against and give me one sentence on each guy as to why he is so good?

AS:  The first guy is Tom Brady (New England).  He’s a champion, leader and wants to be the best every minute of the day.  I’ve never seen anybody work like him as a quarterback since I’ve been playing this game.  The second guy is Peyton Manning (Denver). Peyton is also a champion and a great leader.  He executes the game plan very well, and knows how to win games.  The third guy is Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay). He has the quickest release that I have ever seen, and he is a much better runner than everybody thinks he is. He has so many different attributes that he brings to the game that he’s really hard to stop.

RR: You have been to on two NFL teams that hoisted the Vince Lombardi Trophy, which signifies that your team is the champion of the NFL.  Take the fans inside the June celebration where the team is presented with that oversized wooden box that contains the Super Bowl ring.  What’s that like?

AS:  It’s probably one of the best feelings in the world.  You are sitting there and you are like, 'We did it.'  We are the champions of the entire football world.  And when you finally open that box and put that ring on your finger, it’s one of the best feelings in the world.

RR:  Who taught you how to play cornerback?

AS:  Gene Chizik (current Auburn University head football coach).  He was my defensive backs coach at the University of Central Florida.  I played quarterback in high school.  My senior year, we had a Wing-T offense and we didn’t throw the ball that much, so the coach told me that I had to switch to defensive back if I wanted to play football in college.  When I got to college, Coach Chizik turned me into a cornerback.  He taught me all of the fundamentals, all of the basics, all of the techniques you employ by using your eyes — drop progressions, quick game — all of it.  I always credit him with teaching me how to be a cornerback.

RR: You are from the great state of Florida, which has produced a number of great NFL players.  Why do you think Florida produces so many great NFL players?

AS:  Florida produces the best athletes. If you live in Florida and you are not playing football, then you’re really not doing anything. You’ve got to play football to be somebody, to be relevant. That’s the way a lot of guys I know got out and made better lives for themselves. 

RR:  How do you relax?

AS:  I’m a big family guy.  I recently got married, so I just hang out at the house with the wife and the kids.  I don’t do too much.  I spend as much time as I can with my family, and I have a record company (DeepSideEntertainment).

RR:  Who is the smartest, most instinctive player you’ve played with during your 10 NFL seasons?

AS:  Beside me, Rodney Harrison.


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