Safety Xavier McKinney
Q: Your third year in the NFL is your first actual offseason training program because of the pandemic and everything and it's probably your first time to see the Giants facility where the field house is the field house, and the weight room is the weight room and all that. What's it like being there and coming back this week?
A: Man, it's different, but I love the energy. I feel like it's a whole new energy, a whole different energy. It's really up right now and I'm sure it will continue to be that way, but I love it. Obviously, I haven't gotten to see a lot of stuff. Like I didn't even know where the position rooms were. So that was new for me, but I like being back how it should have been and being back to normal.
Q: I would imagine you looked at a lot of Baltimore Ravens defense. How excited are you to be in (Defensive Coordinator) Wink's (Martindale) system?
A: I think I'm really excited for it, I think we all are as a defense, just coming into it knowing it's going to be something new, knowing that it's an aggressive play style. We'll all be prepared, and we'll be ready for the challenge, but I think it'll be really fun being in this new defense.
Q: What was your reaction to (Safety) Logan Ryan's release?
A: That's my guy. We had conversations, we talked, and you know, it sucked. I've actually seen a lot of different things throughout my two years. I was actually talking to (Cornerback James Bradberry) JB a day ago and I told him these two yearsm, it has felt like I've been in the league for six years, just with all the COVID stuff and just the staff movements and things going around in the organization. But like I said, I talked with him and that's my guy and you know, we're brothers, but I was happy for him with whatever he was going to do, and he's at the Bucs now. I'll keep it at that.
Q: Does it put more on your shoulders to step into that leadership role? He was obviously a big leader, does it put more on your plate to step into that void?
A: Yeah, my goal has always been the same from day one. I've always wanted to be and was going to be a leader, that has not changed no matter who's here, who's not here. So that's how I see it and that's how I go with it.
Q: You mentioned Bradberry. I'm curious, obviously there's a lot going on with him, how much do you guys need him here as a top corner in this league? How much do you guys want him to be here? You already lost Logan. I can imagine how you guys would feel about losing another top player in your secondary…
A: Yeah, those are my guys. So, obviously that's not any of my control. We control what we can control, and I do the same as well. But like I said, we talk all the time, and we're really close. Obviously, those guys have taught me a lot and I actually told JB, I told him I was going to continue to just talk with him and try to get some knowledge from him just because he's been in the league for so long – or longer than I have, just playing wise and just in general in life. Whatever happens, happens, but that's nothing in my control. That's just what it is.
Q: I feel like I ask you this every April, I guess that's the blessing of going to Alabama, any of these guys that you're really close with in this draft? I know you're a couple years older, but (Alabama Wide Receiver John) Metchie or if you had any interaction with a young (Alabama Offensive Tackle) Evan Neal – any of these guys you're close with and can tell us anything about?
A: Yeah, I'm pretty close with Metch. I obviously got to play a little bit with some of those guys there. I haven't talked to them in a while, but I'm pretty close with them. I don't know what they're doing right now. I'll stay in touch with them. Those are my brothers, so, that's my answer to that.
Q: You're entering your third year in the league, and you mentioned it a little bit, but is it really time for you to step into that leadership role and are you really looking forward to that?
A: Like I said, from day one I've been a leader, so nothing changes. It doesn't matter who's here, it doesn't matter who's gone, I've been the same. I'll just continue to improve and get better. I pride myself on consistency and being able to improve myself, my game, and how I lead each and every day. That's the steps that I'm going to take forward with it. Like I've said, I've been a leader for a very long time, so this is nothing new to me. I don't see it as something that's bigger than what it was before because it's just who I am. There's no added pressure or anything like that. It's who I am and it's what I do.
Q: You talk about last year as a whole for you individually and what your goals are. Do you feel like you've laid the foundation now to know who you are as a player at this level, and now you can kind of attack where you want to go beyond what you showed last year?
A: Yeah, I definitely do. I think I've done a lot of good things very well. I think I've figured out a lot of things. Obviously, I still have a lot of improvement to continue to grow. But as far as laying a foundation wise, I think I've done that. I think I've learned a lot. I've seen a lot of different things throughout these two years that I've been here. Now I think it's time to kind of step it up a notch and go a little bit further with it and just keep building on from what I've already built.