Q: What happened with the Raiders? Are you glad to have a fresh start?
A: I am. The team is definitely in the hunt for a championship and it’s a team I felt comfortable with the whole time. I was so eager to get out of Atlanta that I didn’t take my time. If I had, I would have been here from the jump. But I was so eager to get out that I ended up going to a situation that probably wasn’t the best for me. But at the end of the day I’m where I wanted to be from the jump.
Q: Why didn’t it work out in Oakland?
A: It wasn’t so much that it didn’t work out. Al [Davis] is a great guy, an honest guy. He told me, ‘We’re not as good as I thought we were as a team so we need to free up some room.’ I was the last guy to come in. That’s the kind of person he is, very honest and straight forward. He said I was the last to come in so I was the first to go. He’s a standup guy and true to his players. That’s what makes him so likeable.
Q: How many teams wanted you?
A: Um, every team in the league wanted me as far as coming in to help them out. But for me it came down to what team did feel I had a future with. I didn’t want to hit the free agent market again when the season is over. Washington was here from the jump last offseason and I thought we would work something out.
Q: Were you given any promises?
A: I just feel it in my gut that this is the place for me.
Q: What changed for you in Atlanta? Was it Petrino?
A: It had a little to do with Petrino. He’s a different kind of guy. But all that is in the past now. I don’t blame anything. Every lesson you learn from it; it only makes you stronger as a person and as a player.
Q: The Redskins have Carlos Rogers, Shawn Springs and Fred Smoot; there’s no starting job here so why did you want to come here?
A: Like I said, this team is close to winning a championship. I felt I did fit in whether it was right away or in the future. I don’t mind working for what I get. I’ve had to do that since day one. I’m just out here to help this team win, whether it’s off the bench or starting.
Q: Will it be weird coming off the bench?
A: Not at all. In this league you play so many great receivers. And anything can happen out there and you’re one injury away from being on the field.
Q: Do you feel you have something left to prove?
A: Yes and no. I feel like that situation in Oakland left a bitter taste in my mouth. I feel I have to have a great rest of the season, but I feel I’ve done so much already that all I have to do is go out and do what I need to do.
Q: There are always critics and one thing yours say is that you have great talent but need to mature. Is that fair?
A: I don’t know if it’s unfair. Everyone has their own opinions. The biggest thing I took in Oakland is that it wasn’t me. A lot of media speculated that I came in there and I was all over the place running rampant and doing whatever I wanted to do and that wasn’t the case at all. That’s one thing I wanted to clear up is that it wasn’t me. It was a numbers thing. I’m 24 years old and had a lot of success early, going to Pro Bowls. But I am still young. I still have learning and maturing to do. That all comes in time.
Q: Do you feel you’ve gotten a bad rap?
A: Not necessarily a bad rap. A lot of owners and GMs know who I am. The media doesn’t matter when it comes to keeping a job or getting a job. It’s the owners and GMs and they know who I am. That’s why I had 31 phone calls.
Q: What didn’t fit you in Oakland and why does Washington fit you better?
A: It wasn’t that it didn’t fit me, it didn’t give me the best chance to have success and make plays. I like to make plays. I like to get in the end zone and I like to get the ball in my hands. When you’re playing so much man to man it’s hard to get interceptions. It’s hard to make plays. I like to look at the quarterback. You look at the quarterback too much and you’ll get beat on comebacks. I was suffering giving up those plays to try to make plays. I was trying to do too much. I feel good about this situation. I don’t have to do too much, just come in and play football and be another piece to the puzzle. They already have playmakers.
Q: Did you admire Darrell Green growing up? Was he someone you looked up to?
A: He was. My old coach, Emmitt Thomas, put me in touch with Darrell Green a couple years ago. I’ve been talking to him. I’ll reach out to him in the next couple of days.
Q: What did your family and friends think of you coming here?
A: Everyone wants tickets. I want to keep them at bay right now.