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Transcript: LB Kirk Morrison

Posted Mar 9, 2012

On how he feels to be brought back to the Bills:

I’m excited, I can say that. Definitely honored. Then there was the lockout and things happen. I didn’t get a chance to fully show what I can do last year. I’ve known GM Buddy Nix for a long time. He saw me at San Diego State and he saw me my first five seasons in Oakland. I have a lot of football left in me. Being a part of this team last year, I didn’t get a chance to get on the field a lot to show what I can do. The times I did I tried to show flashes of what is yet to come. I think that the coaching staff saw not only what I bring to the locker room but on the field, my work ethic and my studies. I’m excited to be back and to get it done early is like an honor. The organization wanted you back. They didn’t even want you to get out there and see free agency. We’ve been negotiating for the past couple of weeks. At the end of the year when you have those meetings they ask you, “how do you feel?” Well, I want to be back here and they said “well, we want you back.”

On how he feels about Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Dave Wannstedt’s defense:

The thing about that, Dave was the linebacker’s coach this year and I think more than anything he saw the way I worked week-in and week-out. He saw the way I was waiting for that opportunity and I think the way our personnel was last year my opportunity wasn’t there. The last part of the year was a lot of thinking and reflecting and to wait for that opportunity. Every time I got a chance to be out on the football field I made sure I made the best of it. I think coach Wannstedt knows the kind of player I am. He knows my work ethic and he knows what I can bring to the defense. I’ve played outside linebacker and I started my entire rookie year at outside linebacker in Oakland and then I moved inside. I’m very versatile in playing all three linebacker spots. Going forward, wherever they want me at, if it’s strong side linebacker, if it’s in the middle, if it’s outside, I think my biggest asset is my versatility and ability to play all three.

On his playing weight last year being 247lbs:

Last year I was around 245. This year I’m probably looking to come in at 235 or 240.

On the responsibilities he’ll have playing in a 4-3 defense:

It’s something I grew up in. I grew up playing in 4-3 from high school to college. We had a little 3-4 mix in college. When I got to Oakland I came in as a 3-4 linebacker and we switched to 4-3. I’m very familiar with that. I played outside linebacker my rookie year then moved to the middle. I’ve been in a lot of different schemes. I’ve played it for three different teams: Jacksonville, Oakland and Bills. Jacksonville I was only there for a year. In Oakland for five years, it was a man coverage kind of scheme. That’s kind of what it is. In Jacksonville there were cover two’s. There were a lot of multiple coverage defenses and by the time I got to Buffalo last year I had seen everything. I can line up anything, draw it up and know where to be at. I’m excited because I have the opportunity with this new defense to have an offseason and really sit down and get a grasp because I know how well I can learn it. Just be able to go out on the field and have fun. I think that’s what happened last year is we had a lot of fun early on before that losing streak. The team just didn’t have enough of a spark or that edge. I’m hoping this year the guys will get out there and get that spark that the team needs.

On Wannstedt always having linebackers that run and chase:

That’s the way I’ve always wanted to play. I’ve always wanted to be an attacking linebacker. I’ve played like that before. I think sometimes it’s playing different schemes, especially last year with the 3-4; a 3-4 with the 4-3 principles. There’s a lot of reading and kind of playing off with what happened in front of you. You talk about the guys up front in Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams that are athletic, big and physical. It makes things a lot easier for linebackers. That’s definitely one thing that drew me back to Buffalo because I know all the personnel. I know the guys in that locker room. I know we can win and we should. We just have to sustain for a whole entire season.

On what it was about Buffalo that made him want to stay and get more playing time here in the future:

The number one thing is that when the defensive coordinator was your linebacker coach, he’s very familiar in what you can do. He’s worked with you in the film room, on the practice field and in individual drills. He knows what you’re capable of doing. With the limited playing time, I had a couple sacks, couple tackles, couple pass deflections. Just get out there and show that whatever defense is called or whatever is being played I can go out there and make plays. That little time that you have is all about opportunity. When you get your opportunity you have to do it. I didn’t come to Buffalo being a guy that was just trying to find his way. I had an established career. I started every game in the NFL until I got to Buffalo this year so it wasn’t like I had the experience. It was having a new opportunity and new plays. Last year I got the chance to learn from my teammates, learn the coaching staff and learn to get around. I’m more excited now because I’ll have a full season to show what I can do and to show you guys.  A lot of people around the facility and the city of Buffalo didn’t know me because they didn’t have a chance to see me. They just saw what I did before. I’m excited to go out there and show what I can do. I look at it as a new beginning for me. I’m excited to have that happen.

On what he thinks the Bills saw in him that made them want to lock him up before free agency:

I think they saw the leadership skills that I possess. I showed guys what it takes to win in this league. I’ve been in this league for seven years and it went by fast. I’ve played on different teams. I’ve played with Hall of Fame guys. I’ve played with soon to be Hall of Famers; Warren Sapp, Charles Woodson, Randy Moss, and Kerry Collins. I’ve played with a lot of guys around the league who I’ve seen the way they work and that’s the kind of way I implement it as far as how I do it day to day in how I study film, how I workout in the offseason, how I work out during the season and how to condition yourself. Things like that go a long way. It trickles down to the young guys because that’s the way I gravitated to the older guys on the team and just say “hey show me”. I’m trying to show the younger guys on the football team what was given to me. That’s one thing that we saw was early success. With early success you have to be able to maintain that and to build on what you’ve done in the beginning of the season. For them to lock me up before free agency, I’m honored for that opportunity. I’m honored they believed in me and saw what I can do on the practice field and from the little sprits in the game and knowing the kind of person that I am. I think that the fit was right for me in Buffalo. I still live in Buffalo. I still have my place here. In my mind when they told me they wanted me back I was committed to staying in Buffalo.

On what the difference is between strong side and weak side in the 4-3:

I think if you look at strong side more on tight end side which is more starting to see the tight ends come over factored as far as the passing game in the NFL. Especially in our division have Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez in New England, Anthony Fasano in Miami, and then Dustin Keller with the Jets and then we already know the other guys around the league; the Jimmy Graham’s. On the strong side you have to be able to play them to a certain degree with a little help over the top. I don’t think these guys can be covered man to man by a linebacker but yet be able to funnel him to a safety and be able to have underneath coverage. I’ve done it a lot in Oakland because of Antonio Gates. I’d be under helping defenders and double teaming him trying to limit his catches and what he can do to hurt you on the offensive side. It’s not really too much of a big, big difference. It’s something that I’m going to get used to. I’m working eagerly to get started now. Wherever they have me lined up, I think one of the biggest things for me coming back to Buffalo is I can play all three positions. I think that me being versatile that if anything does happen I can play all three at any time.

On if the Bills have mentioned where he will fit in with the linebacking core this season:

I haven’t even asked about that. In the NFL I never want anything given. That’s not how I grew up, that’s not who I am. Everything that I’ve accomplished in this league and in life is something I’ve worked for and I’ve earned it. My job is to go out there and perform and show everybody what I can do and leave the decision up to the coaching staff and the people who watch. That’s my job to go out there and play. That’s what I’m excited about is I’m a competitor. I want to compete regardless of who it is. I want to be a starter in this league. I’ve been a starter in this league. I’ve started 95 consecutive games in this league so I know what it takes to be on that starting lineup. Now it’s my opportunity to show everybody what I can do in Buffalo and I’m eager for that opportunity. I’m really eager. I don’t think you guys understand that last year was just a little of who I am as a football player. I feel like this is another year to get to know each other on the field and off the field. You guys didn’t get a chance to see what Kirk Morrison was all about last year and 2012 is a year for me to show you and everybody what I can do.