CB Corey Ballentine -- July 28, 2019
Q: What have the last couple of months been like for you, just going back from draft day?
A: Itís been a lot of highs and lows. Trying to stay focused on football now, but everyone kind of knows about the situation I was in. I donít want to speak on it too much, out of respect for my friend, Iíve been kind of dealing with it on my own, the Giants have been helping me. Been seeing therapists, and I just kind of realized I canít keep myself in that mental space. Iíve got goals to reach, and come and help the team win, so Iíve got to do my own thing and keep progressing. Lifeís not going to wait on me, so Iím just going to keep doing my thing.
Q: What happened that day?
A: I donít want to go into detail, but just a tragic event, and I lost my best friend because of it. I donít think it was anything I had to do with it, I just happened to be there, and nothing that I could control. So, to this day I just try not to think about it too much because thereís nothing I can do about it at this point, and I know the police are doing their best to make peace with the family, and bring justice to the family as well.
Q: How will you honor Dwane (Simmons) going forward?
A: Just playing my best. I know he wouldnít want me sulking and being down and what not. So, Iím just going to do my best to make this team and pitch in and try to win a Super Bowl with this team, and Iím just giving my best effort.
Q: How relieving was it that they did make an arrest? What did that mean to you, and what did you make of that?
A: I was glad because a lot of people were looking for answers from me that I didnít really have, so Iím glad that somebody else could kind of take that away from me and give the family and everyone else a little bit of closureósomething that I couldnít really provide because I donít know all the details myself, I just happened to be there. So, that definitely made a good feeling go through my body
Q: You talked about pursuing your dream now, but do you feel like youíre pursuing two dreams here?
A: Yes, because I think he helped me get here every step of the way. When I was on the field by myself, he would come out there and join me, and I feel like Iím kind of doing it for both of us. I know if he was here now, he would love to see where Iím at, how Iím doing, and want to visit and all that stuff. Like I said, I spent the most time with him, I was his best friend, so Iím just going to try and keep him in my heart, but at the same time try to strive for the goals of the team, and also my own personal goals, and just do my best.
Q: How are you physically now?
A: Iím 100 percent now. I can run, I can jump, I canít really feel it at all. Iím 100 percent.
Q: How long did it take you to get your mind back to football?
A: It took me a little bit, maybeóI mean, I think about it every day obviously, because it was somebody that was in my life every day and itís hard to fill that gap, and I havenít filled it yet, but like I said, Iím trying to move forward. We have goals to accomplish here, the playbook I have to learn, and other things I have to learn, so I just canít keep myself in that place, but I think about it every day. Itís hard, and earlier on I was paranoid, but now that Iím out here in New York, Iíve got a lot of support from the organization, and a lot of other people too. Iíve been talking to Janice, the psychologist, and just trying to get my mind off of it. So Iím not thinking about it too much now. Iíll always have it in my heart, but Iím moving forward with my life.
Q: Is there any way you are going to physically honor him? Initials on cleats or something like that?
A: Iíve been thinking about getting a tattoo. Personally, I donít have any tattoos, but this is somebody that was very dear to me, so Iíve been thinking about it. I havenít gotten it yet, Iím not 100 percent sure, but I was thinking about something like that.
Q: How good did that pick-six feel yesterday?
A: It felt good. I feel like Iím finally starting to get somewhere. I came in the spring a little late to mini-camp and all that stuff, so learning the plays I was kind of behind the eight ball, and Iím also learning the nickel and corner, so two positions at once, and now I feel like Iím finally starting to move forward, and now Iím making plays, and it was just kind of rewarding to know that the hard work and the long nights of staying up is paying off.
Q: Do you still feel behind a little bit, or do you feel like youíre finally caught up?
A: I feel like Iím catching up because of the older guys in the room, a lot of them will help us and stay after meetings to help us learn run fits, learn plays, and theyíll help us once we get back to the hotel as well. So, with the help of them and my teammates, and just extra studying, I think I caught up pretty well.
Q: Is there anything specific that you do, either on a daily basis or leading up to camp, that helped you focus, or helped re-center you, or helped you emotionally?
A: Not necessarily. I think it was just kind of me making the effort to learn the plays and try toóbecause I know theyíre not going to wait for me here. Theyíve given me time to think about it and ponder on everything that happened, and recover and everything, and I think personally that itís time for me to be strong now. I canít keep thinking about that and dwelling on it, Iíve got to move forward. If I want to make this team, Iíve got to learn the plays, Iíve got to execute, things like that. So, mentally I just kind of shifted mentally, knowing the obligations that I have to do, and just moving forward with it.
Q: How has the organization helped you?
A: They came to the funeral, theyíve given me the time I needed, the resources, taken me to the doctor, made sure everything was okay, checking up on me, doing all the rehab with me. Coach Pat (Shurmur)óall the coaches reallyóhave contacted me. Even when I wasnít here, they contacted me and made sure that everything was okay and I was taking the time I needed and talking to people and making sure my mental was okay. So, theyíve definitely helped me a lot, providing me with all the resources I needed.
Q: What were your thoughts when there was some narrative that your situation had cast the organization in a bad light or made you at fault for what happened?
A: Initially, I was kind of upset because nobody was there and nobody knows what happened, and at that point, I donít think anybody really knows who I am or who I was. So, for somebody to say those type of things, it kind of made me upset, but at the same time, I donít think I would be here playing for the Giants if I was a bad person. I think everybody knows that the NFL is pretty thorough with everything that they do, so if I was doing anything bad, I think everybody would know about it. So, I think the right people know that everything that happened was out of my control, and thereís nothing I can do about it at this point, so Iím just moving forward with it.