After defensive end Chris Long was drafted by the Rams, he hopped on the phone and spoke with media about his future and how he will help the Rams. There’s an audio clip from Long following the transcript
(On being a St. Louis Ram)
I’m extremely excited to be here. It’s been a long weekend and the God’s honest truth is that I wouldn’t rather be anywhere but St. Louis. That’s where I was hoping to go. I just want to thank the entire organization for believing in me and picking me. I intend on proving that I am worth the pick, if that’s possible. I’m really excited to work for Coach Linehan and the entire organization. I look forward to getting to know the people in the city as well. I can’t wait to get back to football and get back to doing what I do best and that’s not being an NFL draft prospect, it’s being a football player. I’m very excited.
(On why St. Louis is where Long wanted to go)
I think schematically, the coaching staff, everything I’ve heard about the city and the organization. The combination of those things and the people that I have met here and obviously their position in the draft. It all made sense to me that this would be the place for me to be. I wouldn’t rather have it any other way.
(On what the last 24 hours have been like)
I haven’t slept as a St. Louis Ram. It’s been crazy. We flew out early this morning from New York City. I got a chance to spend time with my family and friends that came to New York and that was a lot of fun. That made the whole day worth while even more. To have them around is awesome and I’m excited to be here. I can’t wait to go back. I will be leaving today to go back to Charlottesville, but I’ll be back soon.
(On how many interview Long has had today)
Thousands. I have not kept count. There has been a lot of questions and a lot of the same answers, but now I can tell everyone the truth, which is that I want to be a Ram and it couldn’t have gone any better this weekend. It was awesome.
(On how much help he will seek from DE Leonard Little)
The first thing I want to do here is learn from the veterans and establish myself in the locker room because I’m not a guy who takes anything for granted and I know I have a lot to learn. Any guy like that, Leonard Little, La’Roi Glover, Adam (Carriker), any of those guys that are willing to help me, I would love to be helped. I need help. I’m a young guy. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve got a lot to learn. I can’t wait to work with guys like that. Whatever they are willing to do, I’m receptive to that.
(On being better suited than most rookies because of his experience being around the NFL)
Maybe so. I think that because of the fact that there is more pressure in my situation growing up that it has probably given me a bit of a mental edge. But at this point we are all equal as rookies. We have all been through college football for four or five years, so I don’t have any advantage over the guys now. I think the game has changed a lot since my dad played and since I grew up around that game. I’m new to it, just like he is new to the process as well.
(On how many colleges recruited Long and his choice of Virginia)
Not too many. I committed early just to try to get the process over. I’m not one for the process. I kind of like to get to work. The interesting thing with this is that you don’t have a choice. You do have to wait until draft day. I committed my junior year to Virginia. Coach Al Grow with his NFL background, the academics, I’m still working to get my degree there and that’s going to mean a lot to me and the city of Charlottesville is where I’m from, my family is close by. That was a perfect fit for me and I really enjoy it.
(On whether Long wanted to prove himself to those who passed on him)
Not really. I wasn’t out to prove other colleges wrong. I just wanted to get the people who I thought didn’t pay much attention to me to respect me. I think a lot of people looked at me for my last name and not who I was. I was just happy to be able to forge a great career at UVA with a bunch of great teammates. Everything happens for a reason.
(On Long’s ability to be a leader in the locker room)
I think you are who you are throughout this whole process. As a teammate and a player, passion is not something that you can contrive and neither is leadership. I think these things come naturally to some people. I don’t think of myself as a leader or anybody out of the ordinary. I just do what comes naturally to me as a person and as a teammate and subsequently as a player. If I’m able to be a leader, great, but I’m going to come in and try to be the same guy everyday.
(On if Long knows any current Rams)
I know Marques (Hagans) real well. I was very excited for the fact that we will be reunited here. He’s one of the best teammates I’ve ever had. Marc Bulger called me yesterday and I had about a five minute conversation with him. It was really encouraging to just hear how cool he was. He’s like ‘Hey you can crash at my place if you need a place to stay in the mean time. Any questions you have, I can answer them.’ And that’s a relief. It speaks volumes for this organization. He is the face of this franchise and the leader. I also talked to La’Roi Glover as well. Someone that I grew up watching back when I was a kid and now I’m going to hopefully be able to learn a lot from him.
(On being touted as one of the most polished DE’s to ever come out of the draft and what Long needs to work on)
I need to work on everything. My technique might be good relative to some guys but I don’t think technically the college game, especially with defensive lineman, is too high of a level. I really have to step my game up in some of these phases. I mean the press conference would go on for hours if I talked about what I need to get better at.
(On the feeling from the Long got from the Rams during the pro day)
It was good to see a lot of Rams personnel there. They were more heavily represented than any organization at my pro day, so I got the sense that they were interested. Still, that was early. That was so long ago that I can’t even remember. This process was crazy. It goes day to day and up and down. Any of us waiting in New York last night, I believe could be wearing any jersey. I think it just comes down to need and consensus that is in the building on the day of the draft. I just feel so lucky to be here.
(On wanting to visit the Arch)
I still want to visit the arch. It was foggy when I was here before, but now I saw it when I flew in this morning. I woke up to see the Arch.
(On Howie Long being coached by Jim Haslett)
My dad has nothing but great things to say about Coach Haslett. It’s another thing that I feel very comfortable about. I really like this coaching staff. Anywhere I go, I’m receptive to anything that they want me to do or what they want me to learn. I’m the player, they are the coach. Here, I have a lot of background with these coaches and I’m excited to play for them.
(On Long checking out high draft team’s personnel)
I think there were different needs for each team and I think that was made clear by the so called experts and prognosticators, but you really don’t know what’s going on inside the building. I just feel like they felt that I was the best player that they could pick and I feel lucky to be that guy. I don’t know if it’s a need or what, but I just excited to be that guy.
(On Long’s versatility)
Versatility is something that I feel that I can bring to a team. I think it’s fun to play a number of different spots. To have a number of different responsibilities is something that I did at Virginia. Obviously that’s the college level and this is the pro level. I think really what I have to do is get just good enough to get on the field and do one thing well. I’m willing to do anything that coach wants me to do. I can’t wait to lineup anywhere on the field.