Linebacker Blake Martinez
Q: How are you feeling?
A: I'm feeling good. Just kind of working out every day, trying to stay consistent, working with the training staff and strength staff, making sure I make improvements. Keep working through it.
Q: Where are you at in the process? Got stuff you're doing at this point?
A: Right now, it's just progressing. There are certain checkpoints and things like that, but as you can see, I'm able to start walking. Things like moving, bodyweight work in the training room, nothing heavy or anything. It's been good to finally – mentally for me – to be able to do stuff like that again.
Q: You're early in the process. Do you have a targeted return date when you think you'll be good to go?
A: No, just kind of working at it each and every day. Obviously, like any other football player they want to get back as soon as possible, but for me it's just making sure I do the right things, listen to the strength staff, listen to the training staff. When they say it's go time, I know I'll be ready to go.
Q: For a guy that had been so durable throughout his career, when something like this hits, do you kind of take a step back and say 'wow' because you begin to think that maybe you'll never be in a situation where you're hurt?
A: It's definitely a tough moment, but for me I've always been a person that just loves the challenge. When this happens, obviously it sucks to happen, but it's something I can put on my bucket list of something I worked through and came back and conquered.
Q: What have you seen? You'd rather be in the middle of it calling everything, but what have you seen watching this team for pretty much the whole season?
A: I think you see improvements each and every week. Obviously, I'm a big defensive guy, so to be able to watch that and see how the guys are starting to mesh together, playing really well as of late and just seeing the guys grow, especially at the inside linebacker position.
Q: What was your reaction when you heard you guys were going to be coming to Tucson for the week?
A: I was excited for it. I have my bittersweet moments here – they didn't want me to play here, so went to Stanford and became smart (laughs). But no, it's good. I've been kind of the tour guide showing people around, showing them good spots to eat and things like that.
Q: What sort of places have you taken them to eat?
A: My favorite Mexican food spot was Guadalajara Grill, so we went there. Great spot. They cook the salsa in front of you and things like that. Then we did a team activity at my dad's cousin's place, No Anchovies. Great pizza. Then we went to I think Flemings, which is everywhere, but yeah (laughs).
Q: There was a youngster who got to go out during stretch with (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley). What do you think that meant to a local kid to see an NFL team come in here, but have a chance to go out on the field like that with an NFL player?
A: I think it's huge. I look back to the days where if one person – it didn't even matter if it was practice squad, whatever, first-round draft pick, whatever it was – if someone came up to me and spent their time to say hi to me and to talk to me, it was one of those moments that I look back and I'm like, 'I want to become that person.' I get that motivation, I get that drive to be able to be that next guy that's all of a sudden talking to a kid – and I'm not the kid anymore.
Q: Because you guys are here and not in New Jersey during a regular practice week – I know most of your day is probably rehab early in the morning. Are you getting to spend more time with the guys, whether it's in meetings or just at night just because you're here?
A: 100 percent. I think it's slowly grown more and more over the past couple of weeks where I've been able to be reincorporated with the group, whether it's lifting, meetings and all these types of things. Obviously, here I'm the tour guide going to dinners and stuff like that, so it's been fun.
Q: You're a leader of this team. To not be on the field, how can you still lead? Can you find opportunities to lead? Do you behind the scenes that we don't see?
A: Yeah, especially for the inside linebacker group – (Linebacker) Tae (Crowder), in general. Being able to talk to him, whether he comes into the training room while I'm rehabbing or in the locker room. I'll be in meetings every now and then depending on my rehab schedule and be able to talk to the guys, and I watch every game. So, talking through to him on what he can kind of change up, what he can see, how he can hit things quicker and those types of things.
Q: Where are you during the home games?
A: This last game against Miami was the first time that I was able to go on the field and things like that because of my knee. But typically, I'm just watching at home.
Q: How many guys have come to see the facility and what has been their impression?
A: The facility here? Actually, we're going today potentially. I don't know how many people – I invited everybody, so we'll see if it can fit that many people. I think it can, but we'll see what they think after that.