When the Miami Dolphins unexpectedly selected Ted Ginn Jr. in the NFL Draft a few years back, their then-Coach Cam Cameron said something in the press conference about how the team drafted the whole Ginn family. (You can hear it at about the :44 second mark in this video.)
At the time, I thought this was one of the dumbest things I had ever heard anyone say when explaining a draft pick — especially since Cameron was being roundly booed at the time for not selecting Brady Quinn — but that quote came to mind when the Redskins introduced first-round pick Brian Orakpo at Redskins Park today.
Because it wasn’t just Orakpo that was introduced, but his entire extended family — a group of about ten that included his brother, his aunt, his uncle, his sister, his nephew, and more. And seeing how excited they were to be there, watching them take pictures as Orakpo displayed his 98 jersey and fielded questions from the media, it was obvious what Cameron had been trying to say, even if it still seems more than little silly to try it under those circumstances.
As to Orakpo himself, he struck all the right notes, as you’d expect. He sounded gracious, humble, excited, almost a little bit nervous — and thrilled to still be a Redskin.
Yes, “still.” Here’s the story:
After thanking owner Daniel M. Snyder, Vinny Cerrato, and the rest of the Redskins for drafting him, and mentioning that he was “so excited so excited to be a Redskin,” Orakpo cotinued, “It’s so ironic, because I was an official Redskin in high school. We modeled the Washington Redskins, and now I went from a Redskin to a Longhorn, back to a Redskin.
“My high school coach told me, once you’re a Redskin, you’re always a Redskin, so that was a great honor.” It’s amazing how what starts out as good old-fashioned team building can wind up seeming borderline prophetic in hindsight.
Orakpo had also clearly brushed up on his Redskins history, namechecking Dexter Manley and Charles Mann as previous Redskin greats at his position (despite mistakenly referring to them as Hall of Famers), and went out of his way to mention how excited he is to impress the fans. “I really want to show the rest of Redskins Nation that I’m a guy that’s here ready to work, [to] come in humble and compete, and most importantly win. That’s the most important thing.”
And you could tell that his family, enthusiastically snapping pictures on their camera phones as he spoke, felt the same way.
Some more quotes from the press conference, followed by an entertaining anecdote from Coach Zorn:
On the recruiting process and being drafted:
“[Vinny Cerrato] was the first guy to call me, and it’s funny because he was saying when he called me he was saying, ‘Are you ready for your second dinner?’ Because the first time I came, they had a great steakhouse and he said, ‘Are you ready for your second dinner and your second steak? Because we’d love to have you as a Washington Redskin.'”
On joining the Redskins:
“It’s a dream come true. Basically, it’s a great defense I’ll be a part of. I just want to be a guy that can come in and help, do what I do best. Position-wise, it’s still up in the air right now, but I just want to come in and help win more games. These guys have been winning games without me, and I just wanna come in and help keep this train rolling.”
On the Redskins defense:
“Like I said, [I’m] joining a great defense with outstanding teammates: Albert Haynesworth, London Fletcher, LaRon Landry … I mean, I could name ‘em all. And just to have my name amongst those guys is just a huge honor and a huge accomplishment. These are guys I used to watch every Sunday, you know, when the Redskins would play, and I’m just so excited, so ecstatic to be here.
“Once again, obviously, they finished fourth in the National Football League in defense and I just want to bring my skills and what I can do to help. First of all I have to compete and earn my job, earn my position on the team and also earn my respect. So thank you very much Redskins Nation for having me. I’m honored to be here, delighted, and just … let’s keep this train rolling.”
And Coach Zorn’s Introduction of Orakpo:
“On Saturday before the draft, I had the chance — this was the second year in a row — flew to, by helicopter, our stadium with our coordinators and was received very boisterously by a large crowd, a large crowd of fans.
“And they had come out predraft to encourage us as coaches as to who to take. And what transpired, I yelled out” — and he really yells, distorting in the microphone — “‘Who should we pick in the first round?’ And simultaneously the shout from the crowd, and there were several thousand people right in that close area where the stage was” — and he yells again — “‘Orakpo, Orakpo.’ And they just continued over and over and started chanting Orakpo.
“Well, you know, as the draft goes I know that in those first early picks we thought that Brian would be taken and gone. And then as the picks started coming down and Brian was still there we all started kind of sweating to think if we might have had the opportunity — well our hands were sweating, anyway — could we actually get Brian Orakpo.
“And as we began to talk to other clubs to even try to move up to get him he just kept ticking down. Much to our surprise and much to our elation we had the chance at the 13th pick to choose Brian Orakpo as our 2009 first-round draft choice, and I’d like to introduce him to you today.”
Tags: Brian Orakpo, BrianOrakpo, press conference, PressConference
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