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Perry Riley Jr. Talks Father, Future

Posted by Gabe Hiatt on October 11, 2013 – 11:30 am



Linebacker Perry Riley Jr. opened up to ESPN’s John Keim about a number of issues including changing the nameplate on his jersey, his basketball potential and his future position in a Friday Conversation segment.

An ascendant player, Riley Jr. started all 16 games for the first time in his career last season, ranking second on the team with 129 tackles in 2012. He’s on a pace to surpass that mark with a team-high 38 stops through four games.

With Keim, Riley Jr. talked about honoring his father by affixing the extra “Jr.” to his jersey. The linebacker had discussed the thought with his father before, but he didn’t tell his dad his plans. Instead, Riley Jr. waited for his father to see the change on TV against the Eagles.

“My mom said he cried… It caught him by surprise and my mom said he got emotional. That made me happy,” Riley said to Keim.

Riley also said he loves playing basketball in the offseason. If he didn’t play football at LSU, where he was named defensive Most Outstanding Player of the 2008 Chik-Fil-A Bowl, Riley Jr. thinks he could have forged a path in hoops.

“(I could play at) certain colleges, not Duke or anything,” Riley Jr. said. “I could have walked on and made some Division I colleges.”

When Keim asked if Riley Jr. could take over for London Fletcher, the linebacker responded with a diplomatic but confident answer.

“Whatever the coaches decide,” Riley said. “I feel confident enough that I know all the calls and I know all the signals, know the checks. I definitely feel confident enough to take over at the Mike position. But you never know what the coaches think. They might want me to stay where I’m at. They’re similar assignment-wise. If someone motions on offense, we don’t always switch. I’ll go to the Mike and he’ll be the Jack. I know how to run that position. I definitely think I could take over the Mike. “

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