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Replay: Best of Radio Thu Feb 29 - 02:00 PM | Tue Mar 05 - 11:55 AM

NFL Europe Diary Week 3: Ray Ventrone

After suffering a heartbreaking 20-15 loss to the Amsterdam Admirals last week, Ray Ventrone and the Cologne Centurions get ready for a visit from quarterback Drew Henson and the Rhein Fire this Sunday.


Everything is going well but we had a tough loss this past week against Amsterdam. Our kicker Tim Duncan had a rough game (missing three field goals) but he's still with us and we're supporting him. That's just how it goes sometimes.

I thought our defense played well, other than giving up the one big pass play. There was a miscommunication with the other safety and the corner on that play that allowed the receiver to get open for a long touchdown.

We just have to stay positive as a defense. Even though we played well, next week it could be the other way around. We just have to stick together as a team. Sometimes there are aspects of the game that don't click. Our offense was moving the ball; we just weren't able to put points on the board.

We can't get down on the offense though. One of these weeks a team may put up a lot of points on the defense and the offense may need to bail us out. We just have to stick together as a team and work through it. We had some stupid penalties on both sides of the ball and we can't let that happen in a close game like that.

[Ventrone tied for a team high with six tackles and also forced a fumble that wasn't originally credited to him in the game stats.]

I think they were going to try and get that switched. That would be nice (laughing). I came in and jarred the ball loose with my helmet. That was a huge play in the game because we ended up scoring after the turnover.

I think I did pretty well in comparison to the first week. The things I messed up on special teams last week, I improved on. My assignments were a lot more sound this week on special teams and I made some good plays on defense. I had a couple of solid tackles and obviously the forced fumble was big.

My mom and aunt came out for this game and it was great because I felt like I was back in the states. Every game I've played in back home my parents have been there, so it was nice to have someone there to cheer you on and talk with after the game.

The atmosphere in the stadium was great too. We had a decent amount of fans. I'm not sure what the total number was but I know we'll have a lot this week because we're playing Rhein. There's a big rivalry here between the two cities. They are rivals in soccer, hockey and all the sports, so it should be exciting.

[The Rhein Fire has NFL Europe's marquee player on their roster – Dallas Cowboys quarterback Drew Henson.]

Yeah, we're going up against Drew this week. There will be a lot of interest in this game back home. I've seen on film that he stares down his receivers a lot. I'm excited. I want to get a pick this week off him. I think I'll have some opportunities.

The tattoo on my arm is a prayer that my dad gave me when I broke my ankle in college. It was a good memory and I thought it would be good to have it on me permanently because it was something that helped me overcome my injury.

I really think this experience is going to help me a lot. It's been a great experience so far. I just hope we can win this week. It's really frustrating to lose, especially a game you think you should have won. It's definitely going to help me because I thought I was a little rusty last summer coming off my ankle injury and not playing my senior year in college.

Plus, there's all the mental stuff too. Coming in as a rookie, that's a lot to take on, especially in our scheme with all the terminology. I think having a year under my belt, learning a lot of things from being on the practice squad and now being over here, all those things will help me in this upcoming year. I'm looking forward to training camp and competing for a roster spot.

The game against Rhein is on Sunday at 10:00 am. Make sure you check it out. I'll try to get a pick or least lay a big hit for all my fans.

As told by Ray "Bubba" Ventrone to Patriots Football Weekly's Tom Casale.

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