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What We Learned From KeiVarae Russell's Conference Call

Posted Apr 29, 2016

Kansas City Chiefs spoke with their third round draft pick, cornerback KeiVarae Russell

Q: Why does this moment mean so much to you?

RUSSELL: “My mom has struggled. We’ve never had much. It was just a way out. Basically, it was a way out to help my family, but just a way to make my family smile, too. I’m the first one to graduate high school, first one to go to college and the first one to get my degree when I get it. So, this is something big. That is why it is so special – just being drafted is changing my circumstances and being able to play the game that I loved since I was a kid.”

Q: Are you at home with your family now?

RUSSELL: “Yes, back home. We’re at a little venue, but yeah, back home.”

Q: How did your family react when you got the call from the Chiefs?

RUSSELL: “Everybody went crazy, man. Everybody went crazy. It was quiet for a while. I was on the phone because I didn’t want to give it away. I was just acting like I was talking to somebody else. Then, I couldn’t hold it in anymore. They defiantly knew it was an NFL team – they didn’t know what team exactly. Once they found out it was Kansas City from the TV, they went crazy.

Q: I am curious with the academics that you had to deal with in 2014, is there anything where that would affect your future?

RUSSELL: “Obviously, with something like that, you are in a time that you are stuck in kind of a deep, darkness kind of thing. Thinking about, what do I do here? You have to think what you did wrong and how it will affect your future. I kind of knew at the end of the day, I just had to do what I did to get where I am at now as far as coming back home during my suspension. I went to school still, I had a job, I was still training. I knew I was about ready to go through a process of reenrolling back at school. I knew that was going to go smooth, so it was all about if Notre Dame would accept me back or not because I wasn’t expelled indefinitely. I wasn’t expelled fully from the school; it was just a suspension. So, all it was, was doing everything right and showing that I made a mistake and that I wanted to come back. I figured it would all work in my favor.”

Q: How much interaction did you have with the Chiefs throughout the pre‐draft process?

RUSSELL: “I talked to them at Pro Day. They showed a lot of interest that day. Talked to them at the Combine a little bit, but at Pro Day when I talked to one of the coaches, one of the scouts, they showed a lot of interest, but before that they weren’t one of my top five in interests. When they called me, I was shocked. I was really shocked. It wasn’t what I was expecting, but I am fortunate and blessed right now.”

Q: Did you take part in any pre‐draft visits?

RUSSELL: “I only took one to the Seattle Seahawks and the other one was to the Lions. I didn’t even take a visit to these guys.”

Q: When at Notre Dame, were you mainly a boundary corner, field corner or nickel slot guy?

RUSSELL: “So my freshman and sophomore year, we played boundary infield – that was the defensive scheme we had. So my freshman year I was a boundary corner and my sophomore year. My senior year we played left and right and I played left corner, but I also played a little bit of nickel.”

Q: How much press man did you play in your day?

RUSSELL: “I played a lot. That was what we predominantly played there at Notre Dame, especially with Brian VanGorder’s defensive scheme, a high intense pressure and things, just a lot of man‐to‐man on the back hand. I love to press, man. That is what I do.”

Q: Marcus Peters plays the left side here, how much of a switch would it be for you playing on the right side?

RUSSELL: “I play it all, man. They just wanted me to play left side at Notre Dame, but I played right, I played left. I played with (Bob) Diaco’s defense my first two years, we were boundary and field. So, I played left, I played right. I am just excited to get to the Kansas City Chiefs. I met Marcus Peters a few times because he went to the University of Washington and I am from Seattle, so I already know him a little bit so it is going to be exciting competing with those guys.”

Q: What do you like about Peters and how could you potentially complement him?

RUSSELL: “I think with our different skill set, I think I am more athletic as far as true athleticism like the jumping and running kind of thing, but he has great size and length and is very aggressive and a very sound tackler. He is a great athlete as well. I think I bring that great athlete to the table as far as being able to match up with the quickest guy or whatever you want me to do for you. If you want inside, I can play inside because I am fast enough and quick enough to play in slots. If you want me to play outside, I think I am strong enough to do all that. I think I bring that versatility and athleticism to the game. Just being able to play opposite someone who is considered a big corner, great with his hands, great when the ball is in the air – like I said flawless ball skill. I think it is going to be a great time me and him and the rest of the guys in the secondary. I think it is a special group of guys.”

Q: What kind of venue are you at and how many people are there?

RUSSELL: “I am at a real estate place. I have a job in real estate, so I am at our real estate building. There is probably 20 to 25 people here.”

Q: How are you guys going to celebrate the rest of the night? 

RUSSELL: “Man, I don’t even know. I don’t drink. I don’t know what I am going to do.”

Q: Just to be clear, what city are you in?

RUSSELL: “To be specific, I am in Everett, Washington. It is about 20 minutes north of Seattle, Washington.”

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