NFL Media's Oklahoma Drill series presents exclusive, quick-hitting one-on-one interviews with players and coaches from around the league. No nonsense -- just football experiences directly from the source.
Linebacker, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Born: Aug. 4, 1993
Experience: Three NFL seasons
I started off with the Rams as a rookie (out of Syracuse in 2015). I got let go after [the team] moved (from St. Louis) to Los Angeles, and after training camp, I just had to pick up and move. It was kind of crazy with it happening [then], because the first year, I had a great year, going into training camp thinking, OK this is great, I'm from L.A. This is about to be awesome. Then I get let go.
With this whole process, I would say it's important to treat people in a great manner, because you never know. Somebody is always watching you. I just keep that mentality as I go, and I let everything else handle itself.
At the end of the day, we're replaceable, but if you put an impression on the city and on your team and the people in that building that you're here for more than just football, they'll keep you around a lot longer. So I make sure I do things outside of my comfort zone and outside of just football.
When I got cut, I kept my same routine. ... Train, reach out to people you're supposed to reach out to, handle your business. Do everything that you were doing before, but to a higher level, because now you have to find work.
My goal is to hit a minimum of five years [in the NFL]. You work so hard, so when you get cut, you just have confidence that what I put on the field is great, so I pray that someone is going to look at this and pick me up. It's tough. It was really tough going from Tampa to L.A., because it happened so fast.
[My top option] was always Tampa. They said, "Hey, we want you back." I didn't give up my apartment, so I was like, "Wow, this is sick."
It was pretty sick last year, making the team through (HBO's) "Hard Knocks." I made a tackle and knocked the ball out, and I knew I made the team right then and there. I had to top that this year somehow and do something pretty sick, so I danced on camera. There's football, and then there's "Hard Knocks," so it's double the pressure.
My favorite player growing up was Ray Lewis. I watched a lot of Willie McGinest, as well. But I also looked up to a guy named Rennie Curran; he went to Brookwood, my high school (in Georgia). He played with the Buccaneers and the Titans, and he would just always set the tone for what I wanted to do in football. He was an undersized guy, as well, so that's somebody I really looked up to, playing the sport of football.
[Aaron Rodgers'] ball is crazy. They say his release is quick like Steph Curry's. It's like if you've ever seen a barber do a perfect line. The way Aaron throws the ball is like a perfect line.
Kobe. I'm pretty upset that LeBron came [to L.A.] because of Kobe's legacy. It's going to put a blanket over his legacy, so that was pretty tough. But they still have to beat the Warriors, so I'm not too mad. Once Kobe retired, Steph Curry became my guy.
Toughest guy to tackle in the NFL is (Cowboys receiver) Tavon Austin. That's a tough dude. I played with him as a rookie and watched him play. Another guy is (Chiefs receiver) Tyreek Hill. He's so fast. It's like, "Oh, snap, he's about to take this punt back." But I would say Tavon. He brings a lot to the game, and coaches just say, "Hey, if he gets the ball, just slow him down, please."
My role models come as I play.Daren Bates when I was a rookie -- he's with the Tennessee Titans now. He's an undrafted guy. ... There's some other guys, too. Jo-Lonn Dunbar, my rookie year, I met him. He's from the Syracuse area, as well, so seeing him undrafted and play in the league for five-, six-, seven-plus years, was a great example for me.
Media is something that I really like to do. Broadcasting, I love being in front of the camera. I love getting my teammates on camera and showing the world what my team is about. I think football allows me to have that platform.
I'm big into yoga. I'm big into video games, as well, but yoga, really. That's something that people overlook in society. I talk to a lot of people [who say], "Oh, my back really hurts," and I say, "Hey, do some yoga." My grandma is 70, and she moves better than half the people I know. Yoga is a big proponent in my life when it comes to training and when it comes to getting myself centered.
My homeboys taught me how to do a flip. Then, the next thing you know, I'm like, "All right, let me just do this real quick." I haven't done it in a minute, because money's on the line; I can't play around. When you're in college or high school, it's like, "All right, let me mess around with my friends and run up a wall and do a backflip." But now, it's like, "How'd you get hurt?" That's tough; that's not the move. If I got my technique down, I'm definitely still explosive enough to get it done.