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Jonathan Cooper Conference Call Transcript 3/17

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Q: What was your reaction to being traded here and what do you hope to prove this season?

JC: My reaction is that I'm excited. I'm coming into a great organization, a great situation and I'm just super excited about the opportunity I have to play and learn so much from such a great coaching staff. I'm really excited just to take advantage of this opportunity.

Q: Do you have any familiarity working with offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia?

JC: I haven't had too much interaction with him prior to this point, but I have heard nothing but good things from him. Even going in and training today with other players – they say that he's such a great coach and he's old school and he'll get on you a little bit but the guys love him and that you won't have a better teacher than Coach Scarnecchia.

Q: How do you think the leg injury you suffered your rookie year has hindered your progression thus far?

JC: It was definitely a learning experience. I'm a firm believer that God has a perfect plan for everybody, so it happened and now I'm here. It was one of those things where it happened and it was kind of an unfortunate event, but now I'm here with the Patriots and have a great opportunity to kind of almost transcend that event. It's almost like redemption.

Q: What would you say your strengths as a player are?

JC: As a player, I'd say my strengths are literally strength. That's really one of my biggest strong points, as well as being a cerebral player and working to become more cerebral. Even with the Cardinals just learning the playbook, got it down, now I'm looking to really become even more ingrained with the game, like learning different things I may not necessarily need to get my job done but it'll make my life easier in the long run, and just become even a better professional as well as speed and agility. I feel those are also strong points I have and it's just a matter of putting it all on display on the field.

Q: Do you have an offensive lineman that you've often looked up to?

JC: There are a bunch but I would definitely have to go with somebody along the lines of Dermontti Dawson, somebody like that. Just an innovator at the center spot – and not that that's necessarily where my focus is – but just as an offensive lineman, being a professional, and just the tenacity that he played with and the physical ability. Also being a Hall of Famer, that doesn't hurt either. Dermontti Dawson, just a great example of just a professional player.

Q: How would you characterize your mental approach to the game? Do you have a nasty side?

JC: I do have that and it's one of those things that you learn that when you're bigger than everybody when you're younger you should be gentle, be nice, and it's one of those things that you kind of have to learn that it's nothing personal. It's just business. So when you finish somebody at the whistle at the end of a play, it's nothing personal. It's within the rulebooks. But it's just those little things that kind of show like, 'He's nasty, you don't really want to mess with him.' I do feel like I have that.

Q: Have you spoken with Coach Bill Belichick yet and how did that conversation go?

JC: I did speak with him briefly and it went well. He was just saying he was excited to have me on board and I expressed the same sentiments, and just to come in and work hard and that's pretty much it there. Glad to have me and excited to see what I can do. I'm excited to be a part of such a great organization with such great structure and really just excited to come in and work.

Q: How have you managed the expectations that are placed on you by being such a high draft pick?

JC: I feel like the biggest thing is I can't really focus on what outsiders think. It's about yourself and your organization. That's the most important thing and for myself, I know that there's been certain talent instilled in me that I just have to put together and I know that there's – I hate to use the word but, potential – there's the potential there to be a great player but it's just a matter of it kind of all coming together and I'm happy for this opportunity. As for the organization, I'm just excited for the ability to kind of plug in and just help the team so as far as everybody else's expectations, you can't let that affect you. Because whether you're doing good, bad, or ugly somebody's always going to have something to say but as long as your teammates, the people inside your organization, working on being a team guy and really just trying to help the team as best as you can, then I feel like that's really I can do.

Q: Is there anything that sticks out in particular that you think may have prevented you from reaching your potential thus far in your career?

JC: I don't like to dwell on 'what-ifs.' What kind of happens, happens. Honestly it's just looking forward for me, making progress every day, continuing to get better, and like I said I can't redo what has happened to this point but what I can do is keep my head up and move forward and be grateful for the great situation that I am in here.

Q: What was it about Dermontti Dawson that caught your eye?

JC: Honestly, it's just that back when he was playing even to this day there are only two African-American centers in the Hall of Fame, so that's one thing that caught my eye. It's just that professionalism, that tenacity, that viciousness and obviously being a cerebral African-American center and making it to the Hall of Fame. He's a tremendous person to look up to.

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