D’Qwell Jackson Press Conference Transcript


From Clevleandbrowns.com
Mike Holmgren

“At ease everybody. This isn’t the big part of this press conference, this is the small part. (Tom) Heckert, there has been some speculation about where he has been and all that kind of stuff and I just kind of want to set the record straight. I just got off the phone with him. He had heart surgery and he is going to be fine. Actually, he is a very healthy guy now. He had a blockage, as you guys understand, in an artery. They found it, they went in and fixed it. But, it lays him up for a while. He is coming in tomorrow. This was done a couple weeks ago. He is coming in tomorrow, he’s going to work for a little bit and I’ll kick him out of the building. It’s according to the doctor’s plan how much he can do with this sort of thing. He is going to be a very integral part; it won’t change anything with his involvement in the draft. Little by little by the time the draft comes up, he should be back in here working full time. The good thing was that they did the surgery, his heart muscle is good and they just had to kind of clear the tubes just a little bit. So, that’s what is happening with Tom and that’s why he missed the Combine. He has been at home recuperating. He did not want me to go into great detail. At first, he didn’t want to say anything and we respected his wishes. It’s a very personal thing as you might expect. But, I thought because there were stories swirling around and different things happening. I thought it was important to kind of set the record straight. No more, no less, that’s it.”

(On how the hard part now is getting out of the bed) – “Little by little he is getting out of the bed. He’s wearing those funky slippers he owns. He has to get rid of those (jokingly). He is going to be fine and in fact, he is on the road to recovery as we speak.”

(On if he had a heart attack) – “No, he did not have a heart attack. He came in, was feeling kind of funky, so they took him in and they did what doctors do at the Cleveland Clinic. They found it, they fixed it and he should be good to go. But that’s what it was. I just got back from the Combine and there were all sorts of stories. But that’s what happened. I would appreciate and I know he would, let’s give him some time here and then at some point he’ll explain to everyone what happened.”

Browns President Mike Holmgren and Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson press conference 2-27-12

Mike Holmgren

(Opening statement) – “It’s my privilege today to bring to you our starting middle linebacker and team leader, D’Qwell Jackson, and announce that he has just signed a contract extension to be with the Cleveland Browns for many years to come. Most of you, I dare say all of you, know this man very, very well. You know how important he is to this team. You know how important he will be in the development of the team in years to come. Signing this extension was a number one priority for us as an organization this offseason. I have to compliment Brian Mackler, his agent, and D’Qwell on the business side of this and conducting the negotiation. They were tremendous. Matt Thomas, who worked on our end with them, did a wonderful job. It’s a big deal, I mean, not the deal itself, but having him – that’s a big deal too (joking). Having him with us is a big deal for this football team in the developmental stages that we’re in. I’ve talked to you about building the foundation, and building the foundation with the young guys in the draft. That’s all well and good. But what you also need, the component every successful team needs is leadership from players that the younger players look up too. By having D’Qwell sign with us again for an extension, we have one of the pieces of that puzzle in place because there’s not a finer guy on our team as a person and you guys all know what a great player he is. I’m very, very excited about this. I might even consider giving Matt Thomas a raise. He did a great job with this. (To D’Qwell) D’Qwell, thank you and we’ll go through this together. I’m going to walk over there and this is his day and I’m not here to talk about anything else. This is about this young man sitting next to me and I’m very, very pleased that this happened. So Brian thank you and thank you (to D’Qwell).”

D’Qwell Jackson

(On his reaction to the extension) – “It’s definitely a blessing. As I sit here today, I can remember dating back over a year ago when I didn’t know whether or not I was injured, I was rehabbing, I was doing the necessary things to get myself prepared for an upcoming season and when Coach Holmgren and his staff gave me an opportunity to come back and plays that’s all I needed. I just wanted an opportunity. Now, I sit here, I’ve been through a lot, prepared for and ready to lead this team into a postseason and carry the young guys on this team.”

(On the organization feeling this was important to take care of) – “I thought it was a fairly easy decision. I mean, both sides, we took care of things business-like. I did what I needed to do throughout the course of a season, but I know today is quote-on-quote ‘my day’, but I’ve got to give a lot of credit to the guys that I played around. I wouldn’t be able to sit here today and make the plays that I made without Ahtyba Rubin, Jabaal Sheard, Mike Adams, Dimitri Patterson, the guys that were brought in. It was a collective group effort and I’m happy to say that I’m here today to talk about an extension, but in the grand scheme of things winning games is more important. Now, that we’ve got that behind us, that’s my main focus from here on.”

(On if he ever wondered if his career was over during the rehab process) – “Maybe one day when it occurred, but to come back from an injury like that back-to-back years you have to be mentally strong. It’s tough to do. Once I made that decision, you know what? This is my plan of action, this is what I’m going to do and not sway from that. It’s a great feeling to be sitting here today, it’s a great feeling to play 16 games, to get that behind me and my goals are going to continue to increase. What it did for me was, I’ve matured as far as how to take care of my body better, how to do whatever I could. I have a motto to myself, ‘whatever I put into my body is either going to help you or hurt you.’ At that point, being at the time which I thought was the lowest of the low, I was able to get out of it, dig myself out of the hole and it wasn’t the end of the world. Not being able to play football would not have been the end of the world, but that’s my life right now and I was going to put my best foot forward doing it.”

(On why he wanted to finish his career in Cleveland) – “It’s a feat that a lot of guys around my age and the years that I have in the league can’t say. It’s something (they’re) not able to say they can do, is to start somewhere and finish somewhere. That has become important each and every day that I think about me being here for next year, the year after, the year after that so it’s important just to prove anybody wrong. I always carry a chip on my shoulder, I always want to put my best foot forward and I’ve never been dealt the great hand growing up. I’ve always had to go above and beyond it and that’s been my life and that’s how I’m wired and that’s who I am.”

(On what the chip on his shoulder is like now) – “This fan base and this community have been great. They’ve shown me nothing but love over the years. They love you when you win and they’ll show you how they feel when you lose, so it’s a good happy medium so to say. I feel like now we have a good staff intact, we have a stable of players here to build off of moving forward. I would say this last year, the guys who know me, getting to the postseason is very important. That’s number one over anything. Winning games and obviously winning a Super Bowl, so we’re moving in the right direction.”

(On if the way he was raised is part of the reason he wants to stay here and finish) – “Just to be a part of when we do make that next step, I want to be a part of it. That means something. That means something to be able to walk away and say, ‘You know what? I was a part of that team. I was a part of this team.’ So I have something to talk about when I get old and gray. It’s important.”

(On how it feels to be where he’s at right now) – “I can’t express it in words. I’m excited, but I know it’s hard to tell, but I’m trying to bottle it all in right now. It’s just to live within the moment and I’ve got to understand with a contract a lot is expected, and that’s fine as well. Me being here and going into my seventh year, it’s important to lead guys in this locker room. Over the years, we’ve had a lot of guys moving around – young guys – and now we have guys that are in the building for the long haul. Now, we can pass on what we’ve learned over the years and what we’ve been through over the years so we can make that next step.”

(On how important the switch to a 4-3 was for him) – “It was the hand I was dealt. Whether it’s a 3-4 or 4-3 I feel I can go out and make plays just from the preparation and what it means to me. So 4-3 if it better suites me? I guess it has. But, if I was in the 3-4, I would feel the same exact way. But, to Dick Jauron’s credit and the coaches that we have in that room, we have Ray Rhodes who has a laundry list of accomplishments. Billy Davis, my position coach, he’s been a one-time coordinator so we have a group of guys that demand instant respect and instant credibility. Just having those guys and that knowledge helps myself and helps the rest of this team.”

(On if the two seasons he missed being injured may prolong his career in the end) – “I feel like it has as far as my legs. Knock on wood, I haven’t had any issues on the lower part of my body and I’ve always been blessed. God gave me a gift to be able to run and for some reason not get tired when I play. I feel like it has, but I can’t think down the road. I can think about today and approach tomorrow as much as I can and that’s what I’ve learned. Going through that you maximize your days and when you’re able to reflect, it feels that much greater.”

(On what the next step is in order to elevate his play and the play of his teammates) – “Me personally, I’m thinking more team oriented. It’s not about me anymore. It was about me when I was injured. I don’t even like to talk about it. It’s not about me it’s about the guys that we have in the building. Can we move forward? Can we take steps forward? That should be everyone’s goal in the building, which I know it is and that’s it. Bottom line.”

(On the experience they have on defense and how good those young guys can be next year) – “We’re only going to be as good as what we put into it individually, what we put into it in the offseason, what we do when we get back, what we do when we get together so it’s going to be a collective effort. From the guys that we have in: Sheldon Brown on the backend, he takes care of that group. I’ll take care of the linebackers. Ahtyba Rubin will take care of the D-line and with everyone on the same page – your goal should be the number one defense, the number one offense, the number one team going into February. Point blank.”

(On how much did he doubt he could be the player he was before the injury) – “You can’t think about it. You have to think about getting healthy. Once you get an opportunity, once you get the opportunity then it’s just – you don’t think about, ‘Okay, well am I going to be back to this form?’ When you’ve been broken down like I have, you build yourself back up. When I was building myself back up, hey, I was just wishing for an opportunity and I can’t thank this man enough (points at Mike Holmgren). Just for the opportunity. It’s definitely a blessing. Thank you.”

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