BOSS BAILEY TALKS ABOUT BEING BACK!

Hondo S. Carpenter

LINEBACKER BOSS BAILEY -- JULY 31, 2006

>> On how it feels to be back
“Oh, it feels good you know. It seems like a little while but hey, it’s I’m back at it. I’m not doing everything yet, but I’m working more here and there. But everything was good today, everything. Everything went the way I hoped it would.”

>> On how he feels
“As far as the injury goes, I do feel 100 percent just because of the simple fact that I don’t have any pain in it. The only thing I’m battling now is strength, so the. The only way I’m going to strengthen it is to work on it. I mean I went the first few days trying to test it out and see if it would develop any pain when I was pushing it off to the side, but it didn’t, so now it’s the next step. I’m just trying to take it day -by -day.”

>> On how it feels to play middle linebacker on this defense
“That’s my dream man - I can’t even kid you all. I always envied the middle guys because you get the best of both worlds,; you get to go both ways, you’re. You’re not one dimensional, so to speak, on the outside. I’m loving it, and I’m going to try my best to make it work.”

>> On whether he has ever played inside linebacker
“I was always (on the) strong side. When I came in, the outside is what I was at college and that’s what they drafted me at and we had Earl (Holmes) who was a mighty fine middle guy. Hopefully I can do as (well) as he did as far as being a leader and being a player out on the field.”

>> On when he hurt his ankle
“It was the Minnesota game last year. It was just one of those things where I just tried to plant and get off a block and I felt a little pop in there – I tore a tendon. I had one surgery, the tendon was partially torn so I allowed it to heal on its own, which it did; and then the (second) surgery came about when I started workouts and it developed a lot of tendonitis in there. On the MRI they couldn’t tell if it was torn or not so it was best to go in there and look around; that was in April. It was a little (frustrating) because it was late in the game but I’m here the first few days of camp and I’m out here in pads. I worked my butt off to get to this point.”

>> On who first came to him and said he would be moved to middle linebacker
“It was Donnie (Henderson), the first person I saw face-to-face who told me. I went into his office and met him for the first time and he was drawing up different scenarios for me. You could see at the middle linebacker everything is wide open for you – we’re going to make everything go outside and it’s on me to run it down.”

>> On what went through his mind when he found out
“I was a little concerned about how we were going to do it. I always knew I had the ability to play it. At the same I didn’t want to be taking on blocks all day. I’d rather use my speed and run down tackles and that’s what I do. So when he drew it up for me that was exactly the plan, so I’m excited about that.

>> On whether he embraced the idea of moving to middle linebacker
“Oh absolutely, I was smiling from ear to ear. I was like ‘this is going to be my ship and it’s on me to run it.’ I have some big shoes to fill coming behind Earl (Holmes) and I’m excited about it.”

>> On being happy to be back at practice
“Oh absolutely, I feel like I’m home again. It was like I was on a vacation or something. Being over to the side – it’s no fun to watch everybody get banged up and go through all the blood sweat and tears and not be involved in that. It just felt good to get back involved in a little bit of that.”

>> On how playing middle linebacker plays into his strengths as a player
“It plays perfectly into my strength. The way we’re playing, it is perfect for a guy like me because we’re sending it all to the outside. With my speed they know I can run it down and make the play.”

>> On going back to what he used to do
“I never played the middle, for one. But, it’s funny because in a 4-3 defense you can play it two ways: you can either spill runs or you can hammer runs back inside. Here we’re going to send everything outside and it’s on me to run it down – plain and simple.”

>> On whether he was stunned when he was told that he would be the middle linebacker
“No, I mean, I knew we had a good coach here. I know Donnie has sent a few middle linebackers to the Pro Bowl, so I wasn’t stunned at all. I was like ‘ok, how am I going to be like the guys he had making 180 tackles. They didn’t make those just by taking on blocks all day – obviously, they were free to run. I wasn’t stunned at all and then when he drew it up he just had me more excited about it.”

>> On how this is a different mold of middle linebacker than this team has had recently
“You can look at linebackers today and tell that it’s a whole lot different. Linebackers are smaller and faster. I never thought that I would ever be a 240 guy, or a 245 to 250 guy holding on a lot of weight taking on blocks all day – that’s not my game. My game is: push on big guys in front of me that are going to get off the ball and let me go make the tackle – plain and simple.”

>> On his current weight and if that’s what he can play at
“I’m 230 – Absolutely.”

>> On being more fresh than his teammates
“No, not at all. What you got to understand is that you have to play football in order to get into football shape. You can’t get into football shape on the sidelines, there’s no way, no how. You got to be out there thinking, you have to know how to change direction, know how to react and go make a tackle. That in itself is going to weigh you down. Running on the side is easy: ok go touch the line and come back – that’s easy. Being out there on the field is where you get in football shape.”

>> On whether he was concerned about teammates getting an edge on him while he was missing practice
“No, because I stay in the game mentally. I’m here everyday. I know physically I’ll catch up. I know I’m not there 100-percent physically right now but mentally is where I get my edge. I get to sit back and watch it a little more than those guys and break things down in my head and that’s going to keep me in the fold.”

>> On being able to show the coaches what’s already on tape
“Absolutely. When it’s time to turn the lights on I want to them to say: ‘Damn, Boss didn’t miss a beat, that guy’s looking faster and better than ever.’ That’s what I work my butt off to be. I’m not trying to work my butt off to go out there and be just mediocre. I’m trying to be the best at it that I can be.”
COURTESY OF THE LIONS

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