Linebacker Jaylon Smith
Q: Where were you working out and living when you got the call from the Giants? Like, how did you stay ready?
A: In Fort Wayne, Indiana, my hometown. I was just working and training at Traction Athletic Performance with some guys there, (Performance and Skill Trainer) Daronte Powers, (Director of System Integration Eclipse Skill & Performance Trainer) Lawrence Barnett. Just doing a great job at keeping me in shape, keeping me fine-tuned for when the opportunity presented itself.
Q: Why was this opportunity the right one for you? I mean, did having a chance to play those guys have anything to do with it?
A: It was a blessing, it was a blessing. I got the call from my agent saying that the Giants were calling and asking about me. I was actually working out when they called me, and my phone was dead, so I didn't get a chance to answer right away, but I hopped in the sauna afterwards and got the news. So, I headed out and I'm here. It feels great.
Q: What was the last few days leading into that? What was that like, that whirlwind moment? You were there for 10 minutes, and then all of a sudden, you're on the field playing your former team.
A: I'm a pro. I'm a pro's pro, a guy that's always going to be prepared and ready for the opportunity, so that's really what it was. I've been playing this game since I was seven years old, so getting in here learning the system. The coaches are doing a great job at giving me the basics and allowing me to go out and just play my game.
Q: How do you think you did?
A: I did well. There's so much more to improve, and that's the focus this week, getting the playbook all the way down and getting ready to get after the Eagles this weekend.
Q: How much were they trying to simplify things for you? I mean, you were there for two days. Was it just like, 'Okay, we're going to make it so that the plays that you're in, you're doing certain specific things, rather than reads and all kinds of stuff that might take time'?
A: With this being my sixth year in the league, I've been in a few systems now, so you kind of understand as time goes on that teams are running the same stuff. It's just different terminology, different formats, different ways to execute, and it's all about consistency. For me, it's just taking it day-by-day and learning.
Q: You've been an accomplished player for a period of time now, obviously. You're still young, and I'm just curious what it was like sitting and obviously being let go by two teams this year? Has that been humbling? What's the vibe been for you during the year?
A: It's a humbling experience. It's my first year really dealing with the politics and business side of the National Football League, but I'm a guy that I've been through so much, nothing can stop me. I'm a guy that's going to continue to work, continue to learn. Just a humble servant. But a guy that's young and got a lot of ball left playing at a high level. It was a blessing to be able to show that versus the team that drafted me last weekend. Now, it's just about moving forward.
Q: How much would you like that to be taking place here as you go forward?
A: Man, day-by-day. This team has welcomed me. These guys that I was drafted in the same class with, we've linked up and met before. (Defensive Lineman) Leonard Williams' agent is my cousin. Just understanding the whole dynamic of what New York offers. My brother spent some time here, so I'm getting some great feedback on just the building, the locker room, the training staff and me just taking it all in, but I'm focused.
Q: You looked so jacked up after the first play, I thought you were going to get a taunting penalty. Were you just happy to be out there?
A: A blessing to be out there playing the game I love. Being able to make a dynamic play on my first play out there, or second play out there, it's just a great opportunity getting a chance to hit somebody. It just happened to be my former teammate and that was a good thing. I got up a little rowdy. All respect though. All respect.
Q: Does it help you that you obviously knew last week's opponent very well, this is a team that's been in your division for a while, so you know them well. Does that help kind of acclimate you to things quickly?
A: Absolutely. Absolutely. Playing five years in the NFC East, you get a chance to learn the system, to learn how teams operate, just some of the basic plays and formations that they'll run 10 years after I'm done playing. It's just how it works in the league, but specifically in the NFC East. We all know each other. Big week coming up.
Q: Why were you let go in Dallas and Green Bay? What were the circumstances in each of those scenarios, at least what you were told or what was in your mind?
A: Just business and political. For me, it's just about keeping my head up high.
Q: What do you mean by business and political? I don't really understand that. Was it a money thing?
A: I can't really speak too much on it, but I'm blessed to be here. That's my main focus is being here with the New York Giants and finding a way to dominate. Getting in here and learning this playbook, getting great camaraderie with the guys, with the coaches and doing whatever I'm asked.
Q: How much do you have to prove? There's obviously people who doubted you and the teams that got rid of you, do you have a desire to show them that, 'hey, they made a big mistake here'?
A: It's less of proving people wrong, it's more so proving myself right and proving people that do believe in me right. I know what I can do. It's just about going out and continuing to display that. It's something I've done my entire career. It's just a blessing to be able to play the game I love again.
Q: Two quick ones – did you turn down opportunities over the last couple of months, like prior to getting a call with the Giants? Did you have other opportunities that you said, 'not right now'?
A: I focus completely on my training and my agent did a great job at bringing the right opportunities to us.
Q: What was it like wearing the same number (Former Giants Running Back) Rod (Smith) wore here?
A: Yeah, it's a blessing. It's a blessing being able to my brother's jersey. Like I said, he spent some time here in New York wearing 45. It's all in the family. He's training and he's ready, staying patient. For me, it's just about going out here and competing at a high level and adding value to the team.
Q: What conversations have you had with him about here?
A: Just really how well-rounded people are. There's a lot of Notre Dame love here, so he kind of warned me about that. That's a blessing having some familiar faces in the locker room with (Co-Director of Player Personnel) Tim (McDonnell) and (College Scouting Coordinator) Chad Klunder spent some time at Notre Dame as well. Like I said, it's just a blessing. All these guys in the locker room, I respect, and they respect me. We've played against each other for a long time. For me to be wearing this blue is a great feeling in the Big Apple.