No Quit: An Interview with Shawn Loiseau
Patrick D. Starr
"There is nothing more that I wanted than a chance to live my lifelong dream and now I have that with the Houston Texans. Now it is about taking this opportunity and making the most of it. Life isn't about where you come from it's about where you want to go and how hard you are willing to work to get there."
- Shawn Loiseau, Inside Linebacker, Houston Texans (Merrimack College)
With the NFL Draft finished, the Houston Texans hit the undrafted free agent wire and started their process and with that the Texans have brought in an impressive group of rookies that will surely push for a spot on the roster. One of those players that will turn some heads is Senior Inside Linebacker from Merrimack College, Shawn Loiseau (Pronounced Low-We-So). The most decorated player that has played for the Warriors, Loiseau was what you would call a tackling machine.
In his four years at Merrimack, the Shrewsbury, Mass. native Loiseau tallied 382 total tackles, with 377 of those coming the last three seasons. The two time Northeast-10 Conference Defensive Player of the Year was a defensive force for the Warriors. Loiseau turned in many firsts for the Warriors. He was the first to sign a deal with an NFL team and also the first Merrimack football player to appear in the East-West Shrine Game. Loiseau was also the only Northeast-10 player invited to participate in the 2011 NFL Combine.
At 6-0 and 244 lbs., Loiseau has the makeup to be an NFL linebacker and with his desire and high motor, he fits what Wade Phillips wants on his defense. Loiseau just wanted a chance to prove himself and playing at Merrimack for him was a blessing. Now he is going to do everything possible to stay with the Texans, starting with training camp.
First of all can you describe the feeling you have right now being a part of the Houston Texans?
I can’t even put into words what it means to be given an opportunity to play for a great organization like the Houston Texans. Ever since I was a little boy I have dreamed of playing in the NFL and always had it as one of my goals. No matter what other people have told me I have always believed that I could one day play in the NFL no matter where I came from, especially being from division 2. My whole life has been about opportunity and being overlooked and it started at the high school level when I wasn’t given the chance to play Division 1. No college coach believed I had what it took to play at the division 1 level not even to walk on. Ultimately I chose to go to Merrimack and believed it doesn’t matter where you come from it matters where you want to go and how hard you are willing to work to get there. Houston has now given me a great opportunity and I am going to make the most of it! I am excited to meet the coaching staff and players and show everyone how I work.
Who influenced you the most in your life to get you to this point?
My biggest influence has been my father. Ever since I was a little boy football has always been the most important thing in my life, besides my family. He has always been there to motivate me and push me to be the best I can possibly be. He taught me at a young age that I am not just competing against the people on my team or in my league, but all the people who I can’t see. And if I wanted to be nationally recognized and one of the best linebackers in the country then every single day I had to outwork all the other linebackers in the country. Not just on the football field, but in the weight room, film room, how I conduct myself and everything that I do. He is the most important person in my life and he is one of the few people in my life that has truly believed I could make the NFL no matter the road I took or how challenging everyone else thought it would be.
Can you tell me what Merrimack College meant to you as a student athlete?
At Merrimack College you are truly defined as a student/athlete. This school has only had football for just over 10 years. When I committed to Merrimack I knew that I wasn’t going to be playing on television, play in front of large crowds, receive national notoriety or do all the things that I dreamed of doing at a division 1 school. I was going to attend a college where I was not on full scholarship, had to pay tuition and was going to play football for the love of the game. I never lost sight of my goal of the NFL and going to Merrimack did not make me think I was any less better than the guys at division 1, it only motivated more to succeed. I took bus rides to every game, played in the Northeast 10 Conference where only 1 player has ever been drafted into the NFL, and was attending a private catholic school that has never had anyone even come close to signing an NFL contract. Merrimack has taught me a lot about myself and showed me how hard you have to work if you want to achieve your goals and I am very grateful they gave me an opportunity to come here the past 4 years.
You are one of the most decorated players to play for the Warriors. How has your team and coaches made you ready for this next step?
My coaches have influenced me the most here being a Warrior. My biggest influence has been my Coach Dan Curran. He joined the coaching staff at the beginning of my junior year. He was a guy that played his college career at the University of New Hampshire at Division 1-AA school. He got signed as a free agent to play in the NFL and played for 7 years. He influenced me because he shared his story and experience throughout the NFL process and understood what it took to be a guy coming from a small school. He understood the blood, sweat and tears that you have to put in every single day without the national recognition or being in the spotlight and helped me become a much better player. He helped me evolve my game as a pass rusher and how to become a better student of the game off of the field in the film room. He is also a guy that helps me in the weight room and puts me through rigorous workouts. I have great respect for Coach Dan Curran and am very blessed to have a man like him as a role model and mentor in my life.
You became the first player from Merrimack to ink a deal in the NFL. Describe what that means to you.
Being the first player in Merrimack history to sign an NFL deal is a huge deal to me. I am very passionate about my school and where I come from. I am very grateful for the opportunity that they gave me here and throughout my career I was able to play alongside and be coached by some of the best and most important people in my life. The guys on my team are my best friends and my coaches here are great. It means a lot to be able to represent Merrimack at a national level and show that even though I’m from division 2 does not mean that I do not have what it takes to play at the next level. I was overlooked and then given the opportunity to play here and make the most out of my situation.
Who was on the other line when you received the call from the Texans and what was said?
I believe the linebackers coach Reggie Herring was on the other line. My agent was the one talking mostly with the Texans during the draft and when I received the call late in the 7th round I knew this was ultimately the place I wanted to go and be given the best opportunity to succeed and be a part of a great organization.
Were you uneasy at all after not being drafted?
Yes it was a feeling that I have felt my whole life. It’s almost cliché the way it turned out but it has been my M/O since high school. I was overlooked and passed on by many teams who did not feel like I was good enough to be drafted. They knew I was a good player but were still questioning whether I had what it took to make an impact in the NFL and make it at the next level. It did not bring me down, it just added to the chip on my shoulder that I already had. I have a harnessed anger inside me to prove to everyone who doesn’t believe I have what it takes. To me even to be considered and given the opportunity to play in the NFL is something that not many people get the chance to do. But football to me is not about the money, fame or notoriety, it is my lifestyle and I want nothing more than to have a long and successful career with the Houston Texans.
Did you have an idea that Houston might be your destination?
At the beginning of the 7th round, me and my agents started getting the feeling that free agency was a strong possibility. My agents had been in contact with the Texans and this is a spot where we both felt was the best fit and would give me the best opportunity if I did become a FA. Ultimately I feel like I made the best decision and couldn’t be any more happy.
What is your mindset coming into camp?
My mindset going into camp is to play the way I know how to play: fast, intense and relentless. I am going to hustle around and make the most out of my opportunity and show I have what it takes to be a part of this organization.
How would you describe your game as an inside linebacker?
My game as an inside linebacker is intense and high motor. Anyone who turns on my film will see that I am a sideline to sideline guy who loves to hit. I am not afraid of contact and I am always trying to evolve my game and be the best I can be. I feel like I am a hard hitter and a good blitzer and will not stop until the whistle is blown. My mindset is every play lasts for an average of 5 seconds, and if you cannot give everything you have for 5 seconds on a football field you have no right stepping foot on it!
Is there anything you might want to say to Texans fans?
I am very proud and excited to be a part of the Houston Texans. I have never been to Texas and am excited to meet the coaching staff, players and the fans! This is an unbelievable opportunity that I was given and I promise to make sure the Texans' organization is not disappointed in their decision to sign me. Can’t wait to get down to Texas, strap on the pads and help the Texans make a super bowl run any way I can!
You can follow your new Houston Texans linebacker, Shawn Loiseau on Twitter and let him know he is Welcomed To the Texans' family.