QUARTERBACK RUSSELL WILSON
*(On how he is) *
I can't complain. I get to go to a second Super Bowl, two years in a row. It's pretty special. We've come a long way.
*(On looking back at the video of him in tears and how special it was) *
Well, I'm not a very good crier. I was ugly when I cry. No, it's just a blessing to be on this football team. Just thinking about all the things we've been through this year and all the fight and one of the greatest come backs in my opinion. Especially with the circumstances with three minutes or so to go and score two touchdowns, then get the ball in overtime and win the game and go to the Super Bowl. I just think about my teammates. I think about all the hard work we've put in and it's just been a blessing to come a mighty long way.
*(On what this season means to him after all they've been through) *
Well I think we've just been so passionate about the game of football. I mean every guy on this team truly cares about each other and truly cares about winning and wants to do our best every time we step out on the field. The fight, resiliency that we have, it's shown the whole year. That game is a sum-up of our season so far. It started off kind of ugly and finished strong at the end. I just think that to go to Arizona to play a great team, the Patriots, play a great coach, Coach Belichick and a great quarterback, Tom Brady. We're looking forward to the opportunity. We have a lot of respect for them and what they do. We're just grateful to be there and just grateful we have another week of practice and another week after that to get ready to go.
*(On how key the preparation is having been through this last year) *
Well it's huge. To be able to go to the Super Bowl last year and obviously win and then to come back again and get prepared we all kind of know what to do and how to prepare. It seems like it wasn't too long ago that we did it, so our preparation is crucial. Getting this week down and feeling like we truly have a game this Sunday, that type of preparation, so that way, when you get there you kind of understand what you're trying to do already and you don't have to start all over with all the distractions, with all the media, with all the extra stuff, it kind of eases your mind a little bit.
*(On the week leading up to his rookie game with the Patriots) *
To go back to my rookie season, it seems like forever ago. But to go back to my rookie season, and to play the Patriots, I truly think that was one of the biggest games for me personally just to be able to come back against a great team and to take the lead throwing the ball to Sidney Rice. Tremendous receiver makes a big time play for us to win the game with about a minute and a half left. That was a huge comeback for us. I think that was kind of the momentum starter for the past three years really, to be honest with you. I think Chicago was another big game for our offense and for me personally. So, I think back to those games and just remember the experience, the grit that it takes to win, especially against a big time quarterback like Tom Brady and their football team and what they do so well. They're always on it, they're always ready to go, and so we're going to have to play our best football that's for sure.
*(On how important it was to proving to the nation that last year wasn't a fluke) *
I think for us it wasn't about proving to the world or to the nation that last year wasn't a fluke. I think we've proved last year wasn't a fluke by the way we played. By the way we prepared and by the way that we came out every week and played great football. This year too I think just the way that we have consistently gone out there and played great football. So physical, so fast, make crucial plays when we needed to, the come backs. You're going to have to have some crazy comebacks sometimes to win a Super Bowl like that and to have a great season. That's the journey that you go on. Every game you're not going to blow out every team. Some games you're going to have to come back and –I look back to Super Bowl last year and the games that we won, Houston game and so many different games, the Saints game, and all the different games that we had to play. The NFC Championship game against the 49ers. This year having o win some big games and being six in four and having to win six games in a row to get first place and then getting first place then beating Carolina Panthers team that was a tremendous football team to find a way –an ugly game against the Green Bay Packers. It's a great journey that you go on. It's a journey that you keep believing and keep trusting the guys that you have around you and the people you have around you.
*(On the Patriots game a couple years ago and the different between him then and now) *
Well I think the biggest difference between me in my rookie year against the Patriots and now, I just think the experience, the composure, all the reps that I've had, all the practices, all the games, all the big games, and quote on quote, 'big games'. I try not to look at them as big games, I just try to look at them as great moments and you just try to add up those moments and more great moments than bad moments. You just trust the guys you have around you. For me, just the development of our offense and what we can really do and the versatility of our offense and how we can quickly score and all the things that we can do. I just think that collectively we've grown. You think about my rookie year we had so many young guys. We're the youngest team in the National Football League. We're probably still the top five, top six youngest team in the league if you look across the board. Just the development of the receivers, with Doug Baldwin, with Jermaine Kearse, those guys are lights out for us I think and then Luke Willson has really developed for us. My relationship with Marshawn Lynch and all the other guys too as well. We've got a lot of really great football players on our team and so guys really step up for us and I just trust the guys that I have around me.
*(On what his take is on the Patriots deflated balls) *
I don't know anything about that. I honestly don't. It's not really much I can comment on that. Obviously they're a great team. I don't think that has an issue, probably, but I have no idea.
*(On how his stats and Tom Brady's are similar and if he sees any similarities) *
Well I think the similarity can kind of compare maybe to Tom Brady and myself. That's a tough similarity, he's the greatest quarterback to ever play the game, one of the greatest at least. I can't really comment on that. I just think that maybe just being the underdogs, kind of people that were drafted later. He was drafted later than me. His ability to be clutch and his ability to be big time for them is the best thing that I see about Tom Brady. I can't even compare myself to that. I just think that he's as good as it gets and just watching him play the game of football is truly spectacular.
*(On if he has any preference on how the game balls are prepared) *
Just as long as they have laces. As long as the football has laces, I'm good to go.
*(On if there is one specific play in the Green Bay game he couldn't believe they did) *
I think that any great win or any great comeback there's a lot of consecutive plays that you have to make. I think the best part about that game was just our composure with three minutes and fifty-two seconds left. On a collective effort. That's championship type football. Despite all the things that have happened before, despite all the other stuff, all the interceptions and all that kind of stuff, was kind of crazy, you just stay in the moment. As a collective effort that's what we did best and that's what allowed us to make the plays that we needed to make and just be in the moment and just play on play at a time and have that kind of quiet mind and we were able to do that.
*(On the three possessions what had changed for him in the last three against Green Bay) *
I think we were able to make the plays and made smart decisions and just was in the moment. I truly felt like I was in it the whole game, just for some reason the ball was bouncing their way not our way. I never felt out of it. I kept believing in our guys, I kept telling our guys on the sideline, we're going to win this game, we're going to find a way, we're going to find a way, we're going to find a way, and they believed too. We got the onside kick, that was big. Steven Hauschka kicks a perfect kick and Chris Matthews makes an unbelievable play and that was exciting and we get the ball back and keep our composure and just be in it and find a way to score. Marshawn [Lynch] runs into the end zone there. Aaron Rodgers makes a lot of great plays, they kick a field goal, go into overtime, T-Jack gets the coin flip and the rest was history and we just made the plays. That was great. Just Jermaine Kearse's catch, Doug Baldwin's third down play, those are the types of plays you have to make to win championships. The guys around me were cold as ice. They really were just so smooth and kept believing in it.
*(On if he remembers his first comeback he ever led, ever) *
Probably little league baseball maybe. I don't know. Not college football, but high school football. We had some comebacks before. NC State we had a lot of comebacks. Wisconsin we were up by a good amount most of the time. NC State we threw the ball a lot so those were some fun games too.
*(On what stands out as most important having Marshawn Lynch in the offense) *
I think the thing that he brings to our offense is his versatility. People underestimate I think his ability to catch the football, his ability to block, his ability to run after contact. Just what he does in the back field I mean I don't think there's another football player like him in terms of the running back position. Then you think about Robert Turbin the guy we have to back him up who's truly probably a starter in my opinion, the guy can do everything too. You just have two great guys that can run the football really, really well. It's hard to tackle them. It's hard to make plays on them. They both can catch the ball extremely well. They both run great routes. So to have two great running backs like that, it's a great thing to have.
*(On how his relationship with Coach Carroll has evolved over the past three seasons and impacted him personally) *
Well I think the relationship that Coach Carroll and I have is a great one because we believe in just the positivity of speaking the right way and just trying to lead the guys in the right way and just being on the same page. We meet every Monday. We talk all the time about the week and what we're going to try to do and what we want to talk about and how we want to go about our business, so just to be around a person that is so consistent really helps me a lot. You know what you're going to get every time. He's a guy that's going to believe in his players and be a player's first coach and just lead the right way. I love being around him and just the relationship that we've built over time has really helped. I think also, the relationship that I have with Coach Darrell Bevell and also Coach Carl Smith, my quarterback coach I mean those two guys are really consistent too as well. Their demeanor and just the way that they go about their business, I love being around them. I think to have a head coach that's like that but also to have two assistant coaches that really lead in the right way and really get me prepared I think that really helps me.
*(On people thinking they're underdogs and how that chip on the shoulder motivates his team) *
I definitely think that a lot of us have a chip on our shoulder. I don't necessarily look at it that way for me personally, I just think that I've been graced with a great opportunity to play the game of football. I'm blessed to just be able to play the game. Every time I step out there I'm trying to compete to be the best and try to compete to find a way to win the game. That's the ultimate measure. How do you win games and how do you find ways to win. Doesn't matter what it looks like sometimes. That's what I try to surround myself with, my thoughts. But, a guy like Doug Baldwin, probably the most competitive guy in the room. Just a guy that's relentless in his approach, relentless in the way he prepares, very, very smart player, very, very smart human being, and has done a lot of great things for us and has been clutch for us over and over and over again. So, I love his competitive edge.
*(On what he takes from last year's Super Bowl to this years and if he'd change anything) *
You know I don't think I'd change anything. I think that obviously you won the game but I just think that the way we play as a collective effort but also for me the mentality that I went into the game with. I felt very composed. I felt like just playing in the back yard. Just one hundred yards, fifty three and a third and the best thing I tried to do last time in the goal and this time was get your work done this week. Try to get everything in. Get all your tickets out the way, get all that stuff, get all the noise out of the way, ignore the noise at the same time, and just try to focus on the game of football and the fundamentals of the game of football and being engaged with your teammates. Be locked in and just have a ball. Just go out there and just love the game for what it is, we're playing in the Super Bowl. Super Bowl XLIX. There's only so many people and so many times that you get to play in the Super Bowl and you don't take that for granted. I personally think about I'm one of thirty two. I'm one of thirty two guys in the National Football League that get to play the great position of quarterback. Two of thirty two to play in this game. To play against or with a guy like Tom Brady is a tremendous honor. He's a great football player and I think about that. That excites me. I think that's something you don't take for granted and puts a smile on your face when you wake up in the morning.
*(On how many ticket requests he's gotten for the Super Bowl so far) *
Probably one hundred plus ticket requests but in terms of tickets I got probably fifteen. You can't satisfy everybody.
*(On the general mindset in the locker room at the Patriots game three years ago) *
I think just find a way to win. I think that was our mindset. It doesn't change. I wasn't worried about that stuff. I was going to prepare the same way as always and just keep trying to get better. I was a rookie. I was young, I was trying to learn. I'm still young. I'm just trying to learn as much as I can. I'm on a constant quest for knowledge just to gain as much knowledge and get prepared to help my football team win. That's what it's about for me. How can I prepare, how can I get ready to give ourselves a really, really good chance to win on a consistent basis. That's always been my approach. It's pretty simple. How can I get better today, how can I get better tomorrow and once that day's over and I'm watching film and I'm breaking down film and just quiet the noise. Just really focus on my teammates and focus on my fundamentals of the game of football.
*(On cutting him loose and if that was a turning point) *
Yeah, I don't remember who we played the week before, but I do remember going to Coach Carroll's office and talking to him and in the conversation, telling him let me go. I'm ready to go. He completely agreed, okay I'm going to let you go. That was that type of thing. I'm better when I can just play ball, I think. I'm not a close-minded person so I just want to have it all on my plate and just go for it. I think that lets me relax to be honest with you because I put all the work in, so when the game just comes to me that's usually when I play my best. That was something that went in to that week we talked about and sure enough we went for it and found a way to win.
*(On the two point play to Luke Willson and a similar play at North Carolina State) *
Yeah. The two point play, a great play by Luke Willson I mean just to catch that ball in the end zone just a crazy play, we needed it obviously and Aaron Rodgers made a couple great plays and take them down to get the field goal so we needed that. But, yeah I did have a similar play at NC State, it was fourth and two I believe my junior year in college and playing a great team at University of North Carolina, UNC and we had a sprint out and I kind of had to spin around, move around, and then throw it to the back right corner to Owen Spencer and he caught it for a touchdown, and we needed that touchdown to win the game. That kind of took me back before as soon as he called the play, I knew what play he was going to call but –Coach Bevell, but as soon as he called it that's what I was thinking, okay, maybe we might have to make a play. I told the guys in the huddle, hey be alive, stay alive. It was a great play by Luke [Willson] and that was pretty awesome.
*(On the nature and competitiveness of Doug Baldwin and the team) *
Just how relentless those guys are. You think about Doug Baldwin and all the plays he's made over his career as a Seattle Seahawk, I love the guy to death. The plays that he can make in the slot position and the plays that he can make outside, the clutch mentality that he has. Same with Jermaine Kearse, me and him didn't have our best day the other night But just the attitude that he kept playing with and kept coming with and it was like a boxer. He was like Floyd Mayweather. He doesn't usually go down very much though but just watching his relentless mindset. Both of those guys really exude that. They really have that and it's great to watch.
*(On how soon after last year's Super Bowl he started thinking about this season) *
In terms of last year, and this may be a buzz kill for most, but I think that, honestly, I started thinking about last year as soon as I started loading the trophy down. It was kind of like now it's time to think about next year and what we can do. That's just kind of my mindset, maybe call me crazy, maybe call me insane, I don't know that's just the way that I think. How can I get prepared for the next opportunity, and I think throughout the summer and throughout the training too you think about it you know, all the time, consistently. How do I get back there, how do we get prepared, how do I prepare my body, how do I prepare my mind, how do I prepare my teammates, and how do we get ready to go to try and repeat. That's not necessarily the words you use, the repeat word, but how do you try to be the best in the game of football again, as a team. That's what we look at it as.
*(On the toughest challenge the team had this year) *
I think the toughest challenge is to remain focused on the preparation and remain focused on your teammates. We have a lot of success. We've had a lot of great individual success in this football team from the DB's to the skill position guys, to all the different guys to win the Super Bowl as a team. Sometimes you can be selfish and focus on yourself, and I think the best thing that we've done all year and doesn't matter what happens in this game –hopefully we win, obviously. But, the best thing that's happened to us as a team as collective effort but also as men and individuals is just the selfless act of what we're doing right now. What we're doing in the community but also as men and as teammates. It's really special and it's great to be around.
CORNERBACK RICHARD SHERMAN
*(On his elbow) *
It's better than it was during the game—it's a little sore, but not too bad.
*(On him playing 100% in the Super Bowl) *
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
*(On proving to the world that last year wasn't a fluke by reaching their 2nd Super Bowl) *
No—on the list of important things to us, that's probably under the list.
*(On his range of motion with his elbow) *
If I had to slap my brother, I'd be able to do it.
*(On is it going to be easier preparing for their 2nd Super Bowl) *
You know what to pack this time—last year we over packed and you had to leave a bunch of stuff so we know not to pack as much. You know what media day is about so you're kind of prepared for the distractions of the week a little bit more. I guess the ticket situation—you been to it once so everyone knows, either you're letting people come or you're letting nobody come.
*(On distractions) *
I think it was somebody naked at media day—then that was kind of a circus. Everybody was like, 'Media Day is so serious.' Then you see a clown, three kids—somebody asked me about a Nintendo over there. So I was like, 'Oh, I guess this isn't as serious as they made it out to be.'
*(On the best part of Super Bowl week) *
I guess anytime that you get free stuff is kind of cool. To us, it was just another week in the season obviously. You're with these guys 180 or 190 of the 365 days, so you get to spend a special week with them, you get to know their families a little better because it's not just them their but it's their families, their sons and daughters. A lot of times you don't get to meet them during these weeks, we're always at work from eight to six and everyone goes home. You get one day during training camp to meet people's family, but that's about it. So you have a good time getting to know people more.
*(On the game being a turning point for the entire team) *
Not really—honestly I never thought about that game being as a big turning point. I would say the Chicago game during Russell [Wilson's] rookie year was it—him driving down in OT and winning that game for us, that game was just a fun battle at [Soldier Field]. It was one battle against a great team, and just one of those things.
*(On if he's mellowed down this year) *
No—I've just become cliché. It's just what it required. I didn't want to distract from my teammates, I wanted my teammates to get more attention this year. You can kind of take that away from them sometimes, not intentionally; people just want to pay attention to what you say. So if you say more cliché things then they pay more attention to a Bobby Wagner, Mike Bennett, or a Kam Chancellor—guys who are playing fantastic football.
*(On how his arm felt making a tackle and was he surprised that Green Bay didn't attack him more) *
Was I surprised—somewhat. I thought they would at least try one, and they did. The pass to Jordy [Nelson]—it did not feel great at all. It wasn't a fun down for me, but I got him down and we were off the field, they kicked the field goal and we didn't have to go back on the field so that was a good moment for us. It was sore, but I got an interception earlier in the game and I think everyone that told him to throw at me kind of swallowed what they said after that point. 'Oh, maybe that's why you don't throw at him because he intercepts the football and he's got 27 of them in the last four years so you probably should stop throwing at him.' That might have been what they were thinking.
*(On will he wear a brace and his limitations) *
I'm not sure—they're going to have me practice in one, but I should be fine by game day. There shouldn't be any limitations honestly—my left stiff arm may not be the greatest right now, but I think other than that, I'll be pretty decent.
*(On why the Patriots' slot receiver production is so good) *
Tom [Brady] gets the ball out quick and they're usually the ones getting out of their breaks the quickest, they're usually the shorter routes, they're usually the quicker reads—especially against the blitz. They play against a lot of blitzing teams in their division—Buffalo, Jets, and Miami as well there's a lot of fire zone. The slot receivers are going to get a lot of action in those games and I think a lot of times that's the focal point—people double team [Rob] Gronk [owski] and [Tim] Wright is there so you have to worry about him as well. So now the slot receiver also gets the lesser matchups.
*(On what will happen when Kam Chancellor and Rob Gronkowski collide) *
I don't know—I'll be sitting there with popcorn—it'll be good football though.
*(On his appreciation for Kam Chancellor's ability to hit after hitting his elbow) *
It was always pretty great, but I think he let off a little. I think he felt his brother right there and took a little bit off that hit and let me survive.
*(On what Kam Chancellor's big hits do for the defense) *
It gives us energy—they give us life. They allow us to play free—we were out and somebody came up to us, but Kam wasn't around, but I was like, 'we're a bunch of wild dogs until the big lion comes around and we're some bad men when he comes. He just brings that menacing force—we're a pack of wild dogs and they're pretty dangerous, but a lion running with a pack of wild dogs—that's something.
*(On what hits stick out) *
Take any of the hits on Vernon [Davis]—the one of Demaryius [Thomas] during our first Super Bowl last year. I think he hit [Richard] Rodgers pretty hard in the hole last week—that was a bad decision by #89, but that might have been the one.
*(On the 'You Mad Bro' moment with Tom Brady in 2012) *
Like I said before, I think people some time get a skewed view of Tom Brady—that he's just a clean cut, does everything right, and never says a bad word to anyone, and we know him to be otherwise, but in that moment of him being himself, he said some things and we returned the favor. Unfortunately he apparently didn't remember what he said, but I'm sure at those moments of yelling at the ref, I'm sure he was saying, 'Good job, you're doing a fantastic job, keep it up.'
*(On if he's caught any deflated balls) *
I'll have to go to my collection and check—I have to see if there any pounds missing, but no I've never heard of that and I'm not sure anything will come from it honestly whether it's true or it's not true. It didn't have much effect on the game and if it did—if it's against the rules, then it's against the rules, but you'll see that it's not going to have any effect on this game. Nobody is going to get suspended, nothing is going to happen, they're going to play this game, whatever they did—the risk reward was greater. They were trying to suspend Marshawn [Lynch] for gold shoes—that really affects the game if you suspend Marshawn for gold shoes, but then you got balls being deflated and that's an issue.
*(On what Tom Brady said) *
He was pretty much saying that we were nobodies and that we should come up to him after they get the win. So we should take that pretty well, 'Cool, can I get your autograph too?'
*(On did Russell Wilson trash talk that game) *
I have no idea—you'd have to ask other opponents. I've never played against him other than practice, but he's never said anything crazy like that to us.
*(On Richard being in Tom Brady's sights right now) *
I could care less—I hope so, gives me more opportunities to get the ball. He's had me in his sights before—it's fine.
*(On Doug Baldwin's rant) *
Well they keep calling him pedestrian for some reason. You would think after last year that they would at least give him some kind of semblance of respect, but they didn't.
*(On having a chip being important to him and Doug Baldwin) *
Very important, but respect is also important. A lack of respect makes the chip bigger and then it leads to things like that and people saying that they wouldn't lose sleep over our receivers, there's this receiver or that receiver. Well there are two receiving corps left in the playoffs. I mean that's really how it goes, if winning a Super Bowl isn't everything that matters then what are we talking about, what was we comparing tomatoes-tomatoes, what are we comparing things for? These are people who just came from a Super Bowl—Doug caught a pass in the Super Bowl, [Jermaine] Kearse caught a touchdown pass in the Super Bowl. These are guys that have Super Bowl experience—a lot of these receivers that people say are a lot better than them or that have a lot numbers, don't have Super Bowl rings, have never played in the Super Bowl, so you at least have to give them that respect—you would think. Analyst, writers, and critics continue to disrespect these guys so it leads to stuff like that. This is Kearse's 2nd or 3rd game winner…in the NFC Championship—he had the same pass in the last NFC Championship that gave us the lead and we never lost it again.
*(On any difference in Tom Brady since the last meeting) *
Not really—he's still getting the ball out pretty fast just like he was then. He was getting it out fast then, and he's getting it out fast now. I think we're a little different than the guys that were out there in 2012. I think that was Bobby's [Wagner] rookie year, it was my 2nd year, Earl [Thomas] and Kam's [Chancellor] third year, and I don't even think [Byron] Maxwell was here.
*(On his reflection of being under a lot of criticism for trash talking last year) *
It's just growth—I think I've grown from that. You learn about what you can say and what you can't say obviously, what people are going to think of certain things, how judgmental people are, how some people, despite how imperfect they are, judges the world as if they're perfect and sometimes you just have to accept that and just take it with a grain of salt. You just have to sit there and smile and laugh it off because if you let those people get to you, and let those people get under your skin, then you'll have a life time of proving people wrong who would never be able to prove you wrong in anything. You're over here accomplishing things that people wouldn't accomplish in their wildest dreams and you're trying to prove something to them. So at the end of the day, you have to be true to yourself, and true to what you're about. If you have dreams, stick to them and accomplish them and don't let people deter you from what you believe is right, and what you want to accomplish.
*(On being compared to Darrelle Revis) *
I haven't thought about that honestly, but he's had a great year. He's been doing his job effectively and I've liked what I've seen from his game. I'm sure people make comparisons—they always do, but I think we play the game two different ways. He plays it more conventional is what people would say and mines a little more unorthodox, which means it's just more difficult to replicate what I do on the football field. So everyone is going to make comparisons but it's just two different styles to compare—I play my way, he plays his way, and both of them are effective.
*(On Brandon Browner) *
He's still an LOB member—he's still a great friend of ours. It'll be fun, I'm sure he'll find the same joy in playing us as we will in playing him. It's like playing your brothers—you play against your brothers, it's going to be a fun game. At the end of the day, you hug, shake hands, and we'll hang out this offseason, but this 60 minutes, it'll be a fun battle and it'll be a joy to play.
*(On the LOB bond) *
I think it keeps growing as our group continues to grow as well. We welcomed some more members to our group as well—Marcus Burley and Steven Terrell and those guys have made impact in their own ways. Every year their role grows—Tharold Simon's had a greater role this year, Byron Maxwell obviously had a greater role, and it's been fun. It's always fun to see people get better in this game through hard work and dedication, improving their technique, improve their understanding, and also outside of our room, Brandon's [Browner] success—he had a great year and his team won. We're happy to see his success—we're happy to see Will Blackmon, Walter Thurmond, and Chandler Fenner got picked up. We always keep track of our guys.
*(On does LOB still make vacation trips) *
Yes we do—we did one last year. It was fun.
*(On giving Marshawn Lynch media relations lessons) *
We're going to have a course later on this week. Going into media day, we're going to have a good discussion about do's and don'ts of media day—me and Marshawn.
*(On the importance of being recognized as the best corner) *
I think it's more for a historical aspect of it. It's kind of a respect thing and at the end of the day, you're not going to impress everybody. A quarterback can throw 100 touchdown passes and somebody is going to say he sucks and he's not great. A corner can have 1000 interceptions and somebody is going to say that he's bad and this guy is better. So at the end of the day, you kind of have to prove it to yourself more than anybody.
*(On does he think he's the best corner) *
I don't know—anybody else would say otherwise.