OLB Kayvon Thibodeaux
May 13, 2022
Q. How did it feel to be out there?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: Felt great, first day back. It was weird for me, the past six months I hadn't been a part of a team. Now getting here, doing walkthroughs, doing indies, doing everything, going back to being part of the team. It's been fun.
Q. How were your negotiations with Graham Gano over the No. 5 jersey?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: I mean, he's a great guy. Before we even started negotiating, we really got to know each other. That's the biggest part of being a teammate, joining someone's family, getting to know him. Getting some wisdom from him. Been in the game 13 years or thereabouts. A lot of wisdom. He was able to give me a lot of wisdom; we were able to make it work.
And military was big for me, my grandfather was in the military. He's a military kid, figuring a way to give back, do something positive. We figured it out.
Q. When was your last football practice?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: My last football practice was Utah, oh, man, I don't want to think about that. I would say it was like December. Somewhere in December.
Q. Given the fact that you are here and you're going to be going into OTAs next week, are you cognizant of, obviously you want to practice hard but not overdoing it?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: What do you mean?
Q. Maybe pulling a muscle or something.
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: No, I mean, I feel like when you respect the game, the game respects you. So for me, I can't leave anything out there. As far as my work, as far as getting in shape. I know a lot of guys are ahead of me. For me, it's just about making sure I’m getting in shape and learning the playbook and trying to get ahead as much as I can.
Q. What's it like coming here and putting on a Giants jersey, feeling like you're part of the team now?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: You know, I put it on. But I felt like I'm not there yet. I feel like there's still some hoops and some hurdles. There is still some prelims prelims I’ve got to go through to be part of the team. But I don't have words for it. It still hasn't hit me. I feel like it’s going to hit me once we really get into it. I heard some music and I almost cried. I said, man, we're really here.
Q. Which song?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: It was Biggie. It was Juicy.
Q. Have you set a sack goal?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: I haven't. Listen, it was funny, we were making jokes today. Coach said, yeah, you have to go out there – we were covering running backs, and he said, you think you can run with Saquon? And I just laughed because it's like all these great guys that now you're going against. It's a different level.
I've just got to do everything I can to keep getting better.
Q. Have you heard from Saquon or some of the team leaders?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: I tapped in with a few of them. Everyone is coming in within the next couple days. Me, I've just been really diving into ths playbook, so I can come out here and just play fast.
Q. When you look at the playbook, what do you see?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: It's a variety. For me, I love being able to do a lot of different things and I feel like with Coach Wink and Coach Drew (Wilkins), they really put together a plan for the whole system. Anybody can play any position, I feel like.
Q. Your place in that system, you look at it and say, yeah, this can work?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: Yeah, I lick my chops. It's good. I just gotta keep making sure I get all the ins and outs of the game.
Q. Combine interview with the Giants, you told them you almost quit football in eighth grade, I think it was. Why was that?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: It wasn't necessarily a quit. It wasn't like I was on the field and I quit. It was a conversation I had with my mom talking about I wanted to take a year off football and go play basketball. It was an idea for me because being a kid you see all these statistics and you see all of you guys creating narratives and creating frames on how hard it is to make it to the NFL. For me, I had doubt in my mind. And then I had to really dial back to my faith and realize that there's going to be statistics with everything. It's up to you to create your own legacy.
Q. You were putting pressure on yourself to live up to the numbers of somebody great, basically?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: Exactly. Not the numbers of somebody great, but we talked about it today. Only, what is it, one out of 2,000 high schoolers got to sit in one of these seats.
Q. Are you guys watching a lot of Ravens tape? If so, is there a guy you identified on film and see yourself in that role?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: You've got to watch all of them. You've got outside linebackers playing D tackle, you got D tackles playing outside linebacker, you got linebackers playing Mikes. People are interchangeable all over, but we are watching the Ravens defense.
Q. Lawrence Taylor was in the building this week. Did you cross paths with him?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: I wasn’t here. I was still coming in on the flight, but I’ll hopefully be able to chop it up with him one day.
Q. Did you learn anything new on the field today from the coaching points?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: Yeah, but I can't tell you. I can't tell you what I learned.
Q. One thing people say about Wink's defense, he loves to turn pass rushers loose. Do you feel like you'll be turned loose to blitz more than in college?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: It's all about creating trust. Once he trusts in me that I know the playbook, and that I’m going to be available every Sunday, that I can live up to those expectations, then I feel he'll be able to cut whoever loose as long as they have that consistency and trust.
Q. Judging by your reaction, seems like you savor that?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: I savor every moment. When you've been through everything and your life has brought you to this point, MetLife, the American Dream, the New York Giants. Are you serious? You know what I mean?
Q. Empire State Building, too.
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: I can't even see it because there is all this greatness right here. For me, it's a dream come true.
Q. Since you were drafted, what would you say has changed within these past few weeks for you, if anything?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: The narrative, for sure, changed. If you notice, everybody thinks I'm a good guy now, and it’s all funny, which is hilarious to me because I've been the same guy this whole time. I'm happy I get to be here with my team. I don't have to focus on anybody any more. Now I can really just hone in on what I love to do.
Q. Can you lead as a rookie?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: I feel like you can lead, not in football, you can lead in any position in life. It's about doing the right thing at all times. For me, as long as I'm leading myself down the right path, people are going to follow. As long as I'm going the right way, it's going to be easy to have people go with me. So I’m not saying I'm going to step in and be a vocal leader, but I'll make sure I do everything the right way, so when people see me, they know I'm the last one leaving, they know I’m the first one in. That's how I do things.