Patriots 2nd round pick (58th overall) Sebastian Vollmer addresses the New England media during his conference call on Saturday, April 25, 2009.
Q: Can you just talk a little bit about your start in football? I think you’re kind of a unique case, being a guy from Germany that ends up getting drafted.
SV: I was always involved in athletics. I played soccer and I was a swimmer for about 10 years when I was in Germany. When I was about 14 years old I started playing football. In my hometown of Dusseldorf, there was a club team called the Dusseldorf Panthers and I absolutely loved it. I ended up playing for the German national team and for the European All-Star team. In 2003, we came to San Diego to play in the Global Junior Championships. The year after that we play in Germany again for their national title. There were 8-to-10 college coaches there who recruited me and, about a year later, I ended up in Houston.
Q: How did you pick Houston and what were some of the other schools that were interested?
SV: I really liked Houston because I connected with the coach [Kevin Sumlin] and I thought it was a good organization. I thought they were up and coming so that kind of made sense for me. Some of the other schools were Indiana, Western Michigan, Louisiana Tech, New Hampshire, Delaware.
Q: What were your expectations coming into today? Did you think you’d go on the first day of the Draft?
SV: I was certainly hoping. I always set my goals really high. But I was super-excited; I was super-happy when I received the phone call. I was hoping and my prayers were answered.
Q: What was your contact with the Patriots prior to the Draft?
SV: Coach [Dante] Scarnecchia came down to Houston and he worked me out. So I got to know him and we talked for a little bit. That was pretty much my contact.
Q: What were your impressions of the Patriots? What did you know about this organization?
SV: I think that it’s a great organization, good people. I really like the O-line coach. I think that I’m coming in just to learn things, to learn the system, to become a better football player. I think that that’s really the right place for a guy like me just to develop and become a better player. It’s just amazing to be a part of this.
Q: How did you get your nickname [Sea Bass]?
SV: Oh, um. I think I actually got it before I arrived in Houston. I can’t tell you how or who created the name, but it’s always stuck with me. I go by “Sea Bass” I guess.
Q: Obviously, you’re a big guy. What are your strengths and weaknesses? You’re athletic. I see that you’re a former tight end.
SV: I think that I’m a pretty athletic guy, but I’m just coming in learning and trying to be better at everything and learning everything that there is to learn and soak everything in as much as I can.
Q: How much was your back an issue to you over the last two seasons?
SV: Not at all. Not an issue at all.
Q: Do you consider yourself a raw prospect? Seeing that you’re a little bit later to the game of American football than most of the people that are going to get drafted and that you’ll be playing against.
SV: Like I said, I know I have to work on a lot of things. I’m just glad I can learn under Coach Scarnecchia and he can make me a better football player. I’m just going in and trying to learn the system, the technique, everything.
Q: Do you happen to know where you fall in terms of guys drafted from Germany on the first day?
SV: I’m not quite sure if there are too many others like that.
Q: Your biography said that you didn’t speak any English until you got to Houston, is that true?
SV: I took a couple of classes in high school when I was in Germany, but I was definitely not fluent. When I first got there I would talk, talk to myself, learned the language and just got better at it over time.
Q: Was it difficult to learn English while trying to learn football at the same time?
SV: Yeah, sometimes it was hard but football is kind of an outlet where you can relax, do what you know and do what you love to do. It’s more like a release and an outlet, so it’s really not something that’s… it’s hard but in a good way. That’s what I came here for and took the weight off.
Q: The Patriots had a player in the past who said he used Madden, the video game, to learn football. Did you do anything like that? Read books or play video games?
SV: I thought I got a pretty good basic education when I was playing ball in Germany. I learned to play when I got to Houston. I watched a lot of film of practices or of a game, so that’s how I was taught. I taught myself.
Q: Did you follow the Europe when it was over there?
SV: Yes, I did.
Q: Did that influence your desire to play?
SV: I definitely liked watching it and my hometown, not far away in Dusseldorf. I was a fan. I watched them play. I always aimed wanting to be at the highest level. That probably had something to do with it.
Q: Did you wonder why you weren’t invited to the combine?
SV: No. I really wish I could have because I feel like I could have competed with a lot of these guys, but unfortunately I couldn’t invite myself. So I knew I had to work even harder to put up a good pro day.
Q: What is your hometown of Kaarst like and how do you think that will compare to coming to New England?
SV: It’s really small. It’s a really small town. It gets cold at times. I really haven’t been to New England yet so I’m excited to see the city and be a part of the organization.