Offensive Tackle Evan Neal
Q. You issued an apology on social media. What would you like to share with us today?
A: That I'm remorseful and I definitely could've used a better choice of words. Coming from humble beginnings myself, I never want to belittle anyone. Regardless of their financial status or their occupation. I really just want to apologize for what I said.
Q. How do you gain or regain the trust of the fans?
A: Just by continuing to move forward. Just taking it day-by-day, trust is built over time. I'm sure nothing is going to happen overnight. Just got to continue to make the right choices moving forward.
Q. (Head Coach Brian) Daboll told us you talked to him. Did you have to address it with your teammates as well?
A: That's our business – but I did address them because I felt like they should know because they may get questioned about it from you guys. So, I just wanted to let them know how I felt.
Q. When was this and where?
A: I'm not going to elaborate any further.
Q. Were you upset with yourself when you realized you made comments that would be received in such a negative fashion?
A: To be honest with you, when I made those comments, it was just out of a moment of frustration. Right now, we must play better as a team, and I must perform better myself. I just kind of let my frustrations get the best of me in that moment.
Q. I think everyone wants to know is were you speaking for yourself or is that a message that's been told to you from up above? Or is it common in this locker room the idea that booing, and fans don't matter?
A: It came out of my mouth, so I said it. Those were my words.
Q. You mentioned frustration with your own play. What specifically is frustrating you the most about how you're playing versus what your expectations are of yourself?
A: Right now, I'm just not performing at my absolute best. We're not performing as a team to our absolute best and it's frustrating when you're a competitor, when you want to win, and you put a lot of hard work into something and you're not getting the result that you want. It's tough and it's frustrating.
Q: We all know you went to Alabama, so there was nothing but success there pretty much. Is this really the first time in your life you've ever been on a losing team?
A: Yeah, since my freshman year of high school at Okeechobee. But I wouldn't label us a losing team.
Q: I mean right now.
A: There are peaks and valleys and we're just navigating this valley, man. We'll get there.
Q: What were the last 24 hours like for you?
A: Normal. I got a lot of texts and phone calls, but outside of that, pretty normal.
Q: Do you understand that you really can't get into a fight with the fans?
A: I wasn't trying to pick a fight with anyone, honestly. That was just a moment of frustration. I kind of said something, although it wasn't my intent to offend anyone or anyone's occupation, but that's how it came across. I own up to that. I definitely could have just used a better choice of words for sure, but I mean…Hey, I love the fans that support us and are behind us and want to fight for us and cheer for us. I just apologize to those that I offended.
Q: Have you considered getting off social media or taking any steps like that to avoid hearing things that might put you in that mental space again?
A: Maybe, but who knows. We live in a digital world, so if I'm not on social media, somebody I'm close to is, and they may send me cut ups or send me something. The way the world is now, it's kind of hard to tune out the negative noise but you just can't let it affect you. You've got to move forward, and we must get better as a team.
Q: What do you want the fans to know about Evan Neal's character?
A: I want the fans to know that I'm a human like everyone else. If you ask anyone that's ever been around me, they always speak highly of me. Nobody's perfect, including myself. I just want to apologize again for the things that I said yesterday, because I know it's unacceptable, and I just could have used a better choice of words.
Q: When it comes to fans, this is bigger than just the football side. Did you speak to ownership? Did they try to talk to you? Did it reach that level?
A: Family business is our business, so I don't want to get into that.
Q: How has this, if at all, changed the way you view things and the way you've been performing, and how you would react in the future?
A: You've just got to be careful with the words that you choose. So, if anything, I'll be quicker to hear and slower to speak.