New Packers defensive end Datone Jones spoke with the Green Bay media after being selected as the 26th overall pick of the first round on Thursday:
Did you know Packers were interested?
ďI felt like before I didnít think they were, but then this last stretch, this last week I started getting more calls and heard theyíre really interested, so be ready to become a Packer. I thought I was going to fall to the Colts, which I was kind of sad having to go there. Growing up my childhood team was I liked the Giants and the Packers. So when I finally saw the Green Bay Packers come up on my screen, oh my gosh I almost fainted man because itís such a dream come true to be able to play for the Packers and greats from the past like Clay Matthews and B.J. Raji and to have Aaron Rodgers as a quarterback is so surreal.Ē
On playing in cold weather:
ďI think I played in five snow games at UCLA in my career. It didnít bother me. I played in cold weather toward the end of every season I played in cold weather. You have Washington. You have bowl games. A few other teams play in it Ė Utah, Colorado. You play in cold games on the West Coast, you understand toward the end of the year you play in a lot of cold games. I just canít wait to play with a great team.Ē
What makes him an impact player?
ďJust being versatile and being able to lineup anywhere on the field, and being able to produce at those positions. I only play the game one way. When I was younger I heard the saying about Reggie White. He didnít want to know what was going on in the backfield. He didnít want to know the personnel. The only thing he knew was to beat the guy across from him and thatís the way I grew up playing this game. I put my pads on and I played, and the reason Iím so versatile is because I played one way. I just want to defeat the man across from me and make the play.Ē
What is your basketball background?
ďI grew up playing basketball. That was the first sport my mom had me in. I loved the game. I didnít stop playing until I was in 11th grade. I was a point guard and felt I could dribble, I could shoot a little bit, but I feel in love with the game. I had a great high school football coach who convinced me to come out and play football. I came out and bought into everything he told me to do. It paid off well for me.Ē
Jim Moraís system help you?
Jim Mora helped out a lot; him bringing an NFL background into our locker room and in front of our team, and showing us how things are done in the NFL and showing how we should approach the game and how we should study being pros. That helped us out a lot because I felt it helped us become grown men. We created a UCLA way and the way we had was we were going to be tough guys. Weíre going to be smarter, stronger faster and we were never going to quit and weíre going to practice like how we played. We practiced like that every day. Coming from practice, we were like man this is crazy. I remember if you didnít run to the ball Ė if didnít touch the ball carrier even if you ran 50 yards down field, you were getting cussed out. Thatís the type of mentality Jim Mora brought to UCLA. When I got to the Senior Bowl, it didnít change. In practice, when the ball goes 30 yards down field, catching up to the ball carrier. I was like man, I thought back to it and it was like in a way itís engrained into me.Ē
Why is this defense a good fit for you?
ďItís a good fit for me because they run a lot of different schemes. They run a lot of 3-4, a lot of different fronts, a lot of nickel. Thatís what Iím used to playing. I can play a five. I can play in a four. I can play in a three-technique and nickel situations. I can play with my head up over the ball in a two. Sometimes Iíll rush over center. I can stand up on the outside and play the run from there. I can line up in the seven or six. Their defense is a little bit built for me.Ē
Need for speed?
ďI thought the game is going to be fast. Iím a really quick guy. Iím a quick learner. Iím not going to step onto the field until I know everything thatís going on. Iím a guy whoís going to be in the blitz. I want to be the best guy. I know the speed is going to get me a little bit, but Iím not going to let it psyche me out.Ē
Youíre all about work ethic and character
You know, thatís everything I believe in. I feel like in order to be the best, thatís what youíve got to possess. I always tell myself, I want to be the best defensive lineman. I want to be the best football player of all time. Thatís my goal. In order for me to achieve that goal, everything has to be in line. The character, my work ethic, everything Iím doing has to be right. You have to live right off the field to perform on the field.
What happened in training camp in 2010 that caused you to miss the whole season and how did you get your job back?
We were in team run, the first team run period of fall camp. I came off the edge and planted the wrong way and I fractured my right foot. I sat out the entire year, it was tough. I probably (and at this point, Datone apparently hits puberty and his voice goes up two octaves) put at least three weeks Ö and they said Iíd be out at least 12 weeks, I recovered pretty fast, I did everything the right way, I was getting treatment four times a day, I was eating right, I was lifting hard, when I was able to run I started running hard, I was doing everything to get back to where I was before, because I knew with that injury, I could lose it all and I didnít want that to be the fall of my career.
Where are you, how much family with you, did you watch every minute of the draft
Oh yeah, I watched every minute of the draft, this morning I came back from New York. I was kind of sad that I wasnít able to attend Radio City, that was probably my dream come true, I saw the movie The Blind Side with Michael Oher and once I saw that I made that initial goal that I wanted to be there, but you know what? Iím happy I had the chance to be around my family, LA, right where I landed, I came home and the first pick had just been announced. I thought I would fall anywhere from 20 to 30, so I was pretty excited and I was ready to go.
On Senior Bowl
It was so big of a deal. Every day I would go in Coach Moraís office and ask him, ĎHey coach, have you contacted the Senior Bowl? Have I gotten an invite? How do I get an invite?í Because I felt like a lot of people didnít know who Datone Jones was. And I wanted to show the world who I was not only as a player, but as a person. In the interviews, and all the other things. In the community, when I went out there in the community, I talked to a local church out there. On our own, me and my teammate Johnathan Franklin went down there to a church in Mobile for community service at an inner-city church, where a lot of people were down and didnít have father figures, a lot of relatives being arrested and falling into drugs, just messed-up communities, and I wanted them to know I come from the same background, and everything will be OK if you just trust in your parents, you believe in God, and youd o everything the right way. And for me to be up there in front of 2,000 people, it was just so amazing. I felt so good after that. I was like, forget the game, being there and being able to do that in the community, it felt so great.
How big is the rivalry with USC
Oh yeah man, I know theyíre going to give me so much trouble. Clay Matthews and Nick Perry, man, but you know weíre all on the same side of the ball. Hopefully they donít give me too much trouble. One thing I can say, Iím the first guy drafted out of California this year, so I feel like we won that rivalry already.
On catching TD playing TE
I told my coach, ĎHey coach, Iím telling you, you can use me at tight end, I have great hands, I can run routes,í and I begged him to block. I said, ĎHey coach, I donít even want to catch a pass, can I just block for The Mayor, Johnathan Franklin?í He gave me a chance, he put a package in for me where I played running back at times, then sometimes I lined up and tight end and would play. You saw me go up against the guy D.J. Hayden from Houston, I caught a touchdown pass on him.
On Reggie White/Packers tradition
Just knowing him and watching a lot of him when I was growing up, all I know is Reggie White played one way, and that was with maniacal effort and just complete hunger. No matter who he lined up against, he wanted to dominate. And thatís the type of player I want to carry myself after, just a player that wants to dominate at whatever he does and wants to win. I hate losing and Iím happy to come to an organization like Green Bay, with a winning tradition. To be able to play at Lambeau Field is crazy. Iím so hyped up right now already. I just want to play.