The Arizona Cardinals used the 2005 NFL draft to improve their defense. They selected Antrel Rollle as the 8th overall selection in this year’s draft. In the third round they continued to add depth to the cornerback position by adding Eric Green out of Virginia Tech. The winner of the Presidents Award for leadership in 2004 is an outstanding player and person overall. The upcoming NFL training camps and pre season will be Eric Green’s chance to prove he will be a great addition to the Arizona Cardinals’ defense.
Listen to the Eric Green CYInterview:
(Backup Player: Including IE)
Chris Yandek: First off how are you?
Eric Green: “I am doing good.”
CY: What teams talked to you leading up to the draft? Were the Arizona Cardinals one of them?
EG: “Actually no. I met with Coach Sullivan at the combine, but they really weren’t talking to me that much. I met with Coach Green also. I had a set of interviews with him, but they weren’t one of the teams who was talking to me a lot. I had Miami talking to me a lot. I had New Orleans and Kansas City also. Teams like that. It wasn’t Arizona.”
CY: Where were you when you got the phone call that you had been drafted or about to be drafted? Did Dennis Green call you and if so what did he say?
EG: “Yes. Well, it was kind of a long period. I was sitting in my house from 12:00 PM to about 9:00 PM. Finally got a phone call and it was actually Coach Sullivan calling me who is my defense back coach. He called me and told me that they were really interested, but we had to wait and see what the New York Giants were going to do. They went to a commercial and he said, ‘Are you ready?’. I said I am ready. He then said, ‘You are our guy.’ I was there with my family and the camera crew was there. It was a really exciting moment.”
CY: The Arizona Cardinals drafted Antrel Rolle as their first selection in this year’s NFL Draft. What’s it going to be like playing next to him on defense?
EG: “It’s going to be good. Antrel is a great cornerback that I faced throughout my college career at Virginia Tech. It’s going to be really fun. We are also friends off the field. It’s going to be really fun going out there and show what we can do together out there in Arizona. Especially us two South Florida guys coming out there.”
CY: What do you think is the most important thing you can learn as a rookie in the NFL?
EG: “Just to come out and play every week and play to the level of competition every week. I am going to be facing top guys week in and week out. I gotta take care of my body, learn to study film every week, and bring my A game every week instead of having one week up and one week down. Just bring it and play to my best every week.”
CY: What are your thoughts on playing for Dennis Green and as a coach overall?
EG: “I think he is a great coach. He is a very known guy. Coach Green is a coach with a good working ethic. He really knows how to control his team. A lot of people are starting to say that this is Arizona’s rising year here. I really believe that. It really feels good to come out and play for Coach Green. With the reputation he has just going to mini camps and traveling for three days. You can really see what kind of guy he is and he’s all about business. I think that’s the way it should be. I am really happy to play for him myself. I am going to give him 100 percent just like he’s going to give me and the entire team. I think we are going to go a long way with that attitude.”
CY: In 47 games at Virginia Tech you had eight interceptions for 264 yards and two touchdowns. You are third all time in interception yardage in school history. As a cornerback what do you credit yourself for getting to the football in your time at Virginia Tech and forcing turnovers?
EG: “We just have the whole mentality on defense to take the ball. In high school I was a quarterback and a wide receiver. We are used to having the ball in our hand. Whenever I see that ball coming my way I am just hungry to get it. When I get the chance to take it I try to score as much as I can. It’s just really exciting to have the ball in my hands. Not just on defense but to make plays on special teams also. It’s just a thing that’s really big for Virginia Tech and a really big thing for me.”
CY: You took on a positive leadership role as a senior starting every game at cornerback and won the President’s Award for leadership the 2004 college football season. What are your thoughts on being a leader on the team and winning the award?
EG: “I really plan to come in and be a leader on the Arizona Cardinals. I am a young guy, but I have a winning mentality. I think guys like me and Antrel Rolle that come from a winning program has that leadership. I think us just bringing the winning attitude to the team, everybody working hard to get better, and everybody playing their role and not trying to do too much will make us better as a team.”
CY: What are your thoughts on Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer and what you learned from him?
EG: “I think Coach Beamer is the best thing that happened to me. He’s a great guy. He really leads by example. The way Coach Beamer runs things is the way the team wants it to go not the way you want it to go. If you are going to do your own thing you aren’t going to be around. He not only teaches us good things on the field, but also good things off the field. If you aren’t a good person off the field you aren’t going to play. That’s Coach Beamer’s way of doing things. I think that takes you a long way. It also helps you in being a good person and doing the right things. That’s just the way Coach Beamer is.”
CY: What did it feel like to be on this Virginia Tech team that won the ACC Championship in their first year in the conference?
EG: “It was great. Especially me as a senior. That was the best way I could go out. Just having a young team and everybody bringing it together. Coach Beamer started this. At the beginning of the year he said we were going to do something different. Our team joined with the United Way and did those whole team united thing. It really brought our team together. I think that’s what really set our season off. It was great for me as a senior to go out that way. It was just a great experience overall.”
CY: Virginia Tech ended up losing to undefeated Auburn 16-13 in the 2005 Nokia Sugar Bowl. Any memories of playing in your only BCS game?
EG: “There were fond memories. Just seeing the tears in everybody’s eyes. Getting up and saying a speech after that game was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I grew a bond with those guys coming in five years ago in 2000. I came in as a guy not knowing much. You end up fighting and bleeding with these people and sharing a bond. Just going out there and laying it on the line and never giving up. We were down big to Auburn and we were fighting, but it was just a matter of running out of time.”
CY: Finally, what’s the one thing you want to accomplish over this season and your entire NFL career?
EG: “Well, I feel like I have a lot to prove to my teammates. I have to go out and prove that I belong and show that I belong in every play and every snap. I need to show them that I can play and they can rely on me. As a future goal, I just want to be one of those guys that is known. Eric Green is a great cornerback, but if he gets beat on one play he will come back and make it next. Just a guy that never gives up and does his best. A very unselfish guy not only as a cornerback but also on special teams.”