Friday, May 9, 2014
General Manager Doug Whaley Opening Statement:
The entire Buffalo Bills organization is very excited to present to you, the Buffalo media and the Western New York region and all Bills fans across the nation, our first round pick, Sammy Watkins.
Q: What was your first thought when you were picked by Buffalo?
Sammy Watkins: The best moment of my life right now. It’s a great accomplishment. I’m proud to be a Bill and I can’t wait to get it started. I want to thank all the fans and the organization for believing in me. I’ve been having a great morning. Woke up this morning, did interviews and I’m having a great time.
Q: You said Doug Whaley told you on your visit that he was going to come up and get you and you didn’t think it was true. What did you say to him today?
A: My first impression was that he was serious and an upfront guy. He trusts and believes in me and jumped up and came and got me. I just want to thank him and the organization and the team for believing in me.
Q: You haven’t been afraid in the past to talk about your talent and how good of a player you are. How ready are you for this and how good do you think you can be in this league?
A: I just have to work. I have to come in and be focused and ready to start with the team. Got to be prepared and just get in here and be ready to work and learn. That’s the biggest transition; I have to be willing to sacrifice, get the right rest, eat right, stay in that playbook, dissect the playbook and get started with EJ.
Q: They’ve basically said you’re going to be the guy that takes them to the playoffs and they expect you to help develop EJ. Do you feel the weight of all that responsibility?
A: Throughout my whole life I’ve been having high expectations for myself and my coaches and my parents and peers also. For me it’s to keep doing what I’ve been doing, which is working hard and being a great citizen. Just translate that to this team, to the Buffalo Bills and I’m 100 percent committed to the game and to myself. I think for the most part I come in and get behind some great, great guys and some great receivers and coaches and listen. I’ll be perfectly fine.
Q: Do you realize that you were six years old the last time this team made the playoffs?
A: Yeah. That’s ok, there are a lot of factors that weigh that out, but now it’s time to worry about the future and I’m a Buffalo Bill. I just can’t wait to get started and get things on the right path.
Q: You’re known for getting a lot of yards after the catch. How did you gain that ability?
A: God blessed me with that unique talent over the years. I have trained to get fast, I’ve trained to know how to run and it’s just a privilege that by going to Clemson, they got me the ball a lot of different ways, with smoke screens and getting a lot of guys in front of me blocking and it’s definitely been a privilege playing with those guys.
Q: Can you talk about your mentality after the catch?
A: My mentality is to score every play. That’s my mentality, to score and catch every ball that touches my hands. To create a problem for the defense, to make the defensive coordinator think hard, to make them double guard me. That’s my job. To dominate cornerbacks, safeties, defense, linebackers and that’s what I take pride in, in scoring all over the field. I can play X, Y, Z, I can do kick return and punt return, I’m willing to sacrifice anything to win.
Q: How did you become a Bills fan when you were younger and what did it mean to be drafted by your favorite team?
A: Growing up you want to be playing with the best team in the game and you love the colors. Growing up playing my dad, my brother and my cousins, I always used the Bills. Just using Drew Bledsoe, Andre Reed, Eric Moulds, all those guys and Takeo Spikes on defense. It’s a great accomplishment just to be on this type of stage and having all of the organization believe in me. Now I can’t wait to get started, get ready for minicamps and OTA’s and get started with the offense. Just getting accustomed to everybody here.
Q: How much did you pay attention when you were at Clemson and
A: Well I played against him and 99 percent of the plays he made, he came back from a 14 point deficit in the fourth quarter and beat us for the division. I mean he’s a great guy and so far he’s been doing great in the NFL and he’s going to be a great future pro here.
Q: Did you have any contact with him off the football field when you were in college?
A: Not at all, but since I’ve been drafted I’ve had a lot of guys reach out. EJ,
Q: Can you explain how you’ve maintained your humility despite people telling you for years how great you are as a football player?
A: The best thing that I can do is stay humble. That’s when it works; I don’t like talking about my game and my accomplishments, that is what the media is for. All I love doing is playing football, dominating the defense and being a great citizen. That’s what it is about. That’s when you get more out of being a leader and being a figure that all the kids look up to. That’s what God put me on this earth to do and that is to lead.
Q: You had an incident off the field two years ago. How did you change from that and how have you applied that to get to where you are right now?
A: Everything happens for a reason. I did have an incident two years ago that weighed a factor in now. That’s why I’m here today in front of everybody and that is why the Bills picked me. I learned from all my mistakes and I’m a guy that if it happened one time it won’t happen again. I definitely have been blessed with the support staff I have in my coaches and my parents and that is why I’m here today.
Q: I also read that you got a little lazy after you were an All-American as a freshman.
A: I think that’s a natural reaction from a young guy. I was 18 and didn’t know that college was that serious. All I was doing was playing football and having fun and scoring touchdowns. Then I’m being put on a stage like that, you can’t recognize it. All you’re doing is living and having fun, being a young kid. After you get caught, you realize how many people look up to you and now I understand why I’m put on this earth and that is to lead and to inspire a lot of other people just like myself.
Q: As you’re meeting fans and being interviewed and learning about Buffalo, can you begin to appreciate the urgency that this team needs to win sooner than later?
A: I think that’s why everybody is here. That is why the coaches and the whole team are here, to win games. That’s why they chose me, to win and I just have to start off on the right foot. It’s a blessing being here with the organization. I’ve been other areas and had great interviews and everyone has welcomed me here. It’s been a great last two days for me and now I’m committed to the Bills and hopefully we have a great season.
Q: Who do you pattern your game after?
A: Being a shorter receiver, I look at myself as a Torrey Smith, a Victor Cruz, Julio Jones type guy. Trying to get to Larry Fitzgerald, I’m trying to be that finesse guy, that guy that can run any route. The guy that can make just about any play and a complete player. A guy that blocks down field and a guy that is being physical on the line and dominating defenses.
Q: Who went with you to New York?
A: I got my mom, my dad, my high school coach who was a guy that definitely impacted my life and stayed on me with grades and doing the right thing. I had my whole coaching staff (from Clemson). Coach Swinney, my offensive coordinator, my receivers coach and those guys really impacted me throughout my career there.
Q: Any siblings with you?
A: No, my little sister don’t really know what is going on. She’s in to track, so she stayed home.
Q: Your high school coach was Coach Redhead?
A: No, it was actually my freshman coach from my freshman year who helped me out through hard times and kept on me with grades.
Q: What’s his name?
A: Coach Hampton.
Q: You told your college coaches to coach you hard and that you didn’t want to be friends. Is that the same approach you’re going to take here?
A: Being a freshman, they give you everything and you go out to eat every night and then once you get on the practice field they’re yelling at you. For me, I took that differently. I didn’t want to be taken out to dinners every night or be over your house. I wanted to treat it like business, like I did my freshman year. That’s what I did and it translated to the football field.
Q: Have you gotten to see much of the city yet?
A: Not just yet, but the welcome has been great. I’ve been welcomed by just about everybody in the town. It’s been great for me just to be a Buffalo Bill. It’s a pleasure being here with the organization and I just want to thank everybody that supported this. I want to thank the coaches and the organization for choosing me.
Q: You know C.J. Spiller from when you were being recruited right?
A: Yes sir. He weighs a big factor in my life. I definitely went to Clemson because of him. We had a couple conversations about going to Clemson and I’ve looked up to him since I was probably a freshman or sophomore in high school. It’s going to be a pleasure playing with him and hopefully we play 8, 10, 12 years from now.
Q: Did you talk to him throughout your Clemson career?
A: He’d stop by Clemson all the time and I’d see him, but I didn’t want to bother him too much, he would have other things to do at Clemson. Every time he came down I’d definitely see him, greeted him every time he came down. That’s a guy I always looked up to and it’s a pleasure that I’m going to be playing with him now.
Q: Is that support circle with you now?
A: I got a couple of them here with me, but most of them have other jobs to do with other clients. I got my parents and I got my endorsement guy here.
Q: You’re 20?
A: Yes sir.
Q: They say that receivers have it the hardest to adjust to the league. What makes you different?
A: Age doesn’t matter in this league. There are a lot of great guys that are 20. I just have to be prepared and get behind the coaches and the younger receivers in the group. We have a great group of guys and I just have to get with those guys and break down the offense and learn the little things and I should be fine.