TE Rhett Ellison
March 10, 2017
Q: Have you talked with Ben [McAdoo] about how he sort of envisions you fitting into the offense?
A: Well, I just toured the place so I havenít gotten into the details of what exactly they want me to do. My whole M.O. is just whatever they need me to do and Iím going to do it. Blocking, catching, whatever it takes. Whatever is going to help this team be successful is what Iíll be doing.
Q: What do you view yourself as; running back, full back, tight end, h-back? How do you sort of look at it?
A: Itís hard. I guess you can say h-back because it kind of puts tight end and fullback all in one thing. A little bit of everything, fullback, tight end, getting split out, whatever it is. Itís just knowing the concept and how you fit in it. I donít really look at the position, itís just Iím a moving piece kind of thing.
Q: What was it about the Giants that led you here? What did you like most about them that made you sign here?
A: I mean, itís a winning tradition, itís New York City, itís the biggest stage you can play on, itís a Super Bowl winning quarterback, itís the guys that they are bringing in right now, itís everything. Itís the culture here, itís amazing, just the entire organization. The funny thing is before the draft, they had just won the Super Bowl, so that was like my dream team, and in college all I watched was [former Giants TE] Bear Pascoe film. I watched a lot of New York Giants tight end stuff and they flew me out so I was really hoping to come here but it didnít work out, and for the best, because Iím here now. I canít believe itís actually happening.
Q: Can you take us through the free agent process; was it hard for to sign really quickly? Was there interest from other teams and what made you pull the trigger so quickly on the Giants?
A: There were a few teams that were interested, but this was the one team that had exactly what I was looking for. I want an opportunity to win a Super Bowl, I want to be a part of a winning tradition, so thatís what separated the Giants from everyone else. It was an easy and fast decision for me when the Giants came to the table.
Q: How heavily did you think you were going to Jacksonville at any point?
A: It was definitely on the table at first, but once the Giants came in it was kind of a no-brainer for me.
Q: I was reading that you have a background or interest in New Zealand rugby, is that correct? Can you talk to us a little bit about that and why you pursued that?
A: My dad is from New Zealand, he was born there, his family, his father, they all still live over there, some of his brothers and sisters. His grandfather played for the All Blacks rugby team and then his grandfatherís oldest brother was Tom Ellison, the first All Blacks captain of the rugby team. Thereís a lot of rugby in the blood and Iíve always had an appreciation for the technique, the attention to detail, and the humility that the guys play with. Itís a hooligan sport played by gentlemen. Itís just kind of always been in the bloodline. I never got a chance to play it but itís just a part of our family tradition.
Q: You talked about Bear Pascoe, tell us a little bit about that. Howíd you end up looking at Bear Pascoe, seems like a strange guy to sort of look at?
A: That was what my role kind of was at USC, which was a lot of the dirty work. The current special teams coach [at USC] John Baxter he was at Fresno State with Pascoe and had a lot of his film. I would be like, ĎWho is this guy?í, then I figured out he was with the Giants. I asked for the film and checked it out and he did exactly what I did. It was one of the few guys that I could learn from and watch because there are not a lot of those guys out there that do it at the level he did. Thatís how I studied him.
Q: You played 15 game last year; Iím curious to what the recovery was like from the patella injury and are you back to everything you were before?
A: Yes, currently itís the best itís ever felt. It was definitely the hardest season in my life, physically and mentally. The injury was in the last game, in the fourth quarter, in the last couple of minutes of the season. It was a bummer and itís a tough injury. Itís not a good injury to have; itís one of the lower rate of return injuries you can get in the game of football. It was definitely tough, and the first half of the season was really difficult. It was actually when the Vikings played the Giants last season, I took a hit on the knee and it blew up on me and that was the one game that I missed. Because of the hit, it knocked some scar tissue loose or something and my knee has never felt better since that hit. I have the Giants to thank for my knee feeling a lot better.
Q: Did you have any concerns, obviously landing this deal, but that something like this might not happen after going through the injury?
A: Yes, and I experienced it because I was a free agent last year and fresh off of surgery on a tough injury. I had to through all of that. It was the mental side of it that was really tough because you never know if you are going to play again. A lot of guys donít with that injury, so it was a blessing and it was one of the best things that could have happened to me. It pushed me mentally, it challenged the way I think, how I approach things, and my appreciation for football and everything. It sucked at first but ended up being the best thing that happened to me.
Q: How surprised were you that you were able to make it back at the start of last season, given that you had that injury? Did you speak to Victor Cruz at any point? Obviously a guy who suffered the same thing?
A: I never actually talked to him about it, but I would look up articles about it. I was following [Seahawks TE] Jimmy Graham pretty closely because he had the same injury about a month before I did. I was just fortunate. My wife was the biggest reason I was able to persevere through it. She never let me get down, she just kept pushing me through; but I had a great team around me. I had all positive energy, a lot of great people, a lot of people that love their job and just surrounded myself with those people in the offseason so I wasnít that surprised when I made it back. When I look back at it, it was a crazy journey but the amount of work that we put into it; we expected to get back that early.
Q: Giants have already been linked to a guy that you used to block for, just curious what your relationship is with Adrian Peterson and have you talked with him at all this week?
A: Yes, I talked to him. He was actually one of the first guys to call me and congratulate me. Adrian is one of my favorite guys, heís a specimen, you donít really see guys like that ever.
Q: Iím just curious if you did any recruiting or did he tell you anything about where he wants to end up?
A: He hasnít told me anything yet. Of course, it would be great to have him with the Giants, but he hasnít told me. He has his own family to think about and what he wants to do. Heís a great player, great guy, great work ethic, and it was a lot of fun to block for him.
Q: What were those practice battles with Devon Kennard like? You tweeted something about that last night.
A: DK, we had a lot of practice battles back in the day. SC practices were extremely competitive and heís a physical guy. He definitely helped me with my craft and getting into the NFL because he brought it every day. I think you guys know heís a heck of player, cares about his teammates, and works his butt off. There were a lot of battles, but I think weíre both better for it.