The Kansas City Chiefs began their rookie minicamp on Saturday, and four members of their 2016 draft class spoke with the media.
Here's the transcript of those interviews:
DL CHRIS JONES
Q:What has this last week been like for you, knowing that you're a football player and you're in the NFL?
JONES: "It's pretty exciting, man. Especially getting drafted to Kansas City – I heard it's the best barbecue around. It's pretty exciting."
Q:Where did you go?
JONES: "I haven't been anywhere yet. I got in at six yesterday and we had some things to clear up. I'm definitely going to have to go around the block to some barbecue places."
Q:Do you have a favorite place or are you going to play it politically and say everybody's good?
JONES: "I'll have to check everybody. You can't just go on one of them, you have to go around."
Q:How much of an issue is it for you to control your weight?
JONES: "No, I've really never had an issue with it. My weight, I can keep it balanced. But I definitely have to watch how much I eat and what I eat and what time I eat so I won't just be packing on pounds."
Q:Do you find that you gain weight easily?
JONES: "I can. You know those late night snacks, they'll get to you. The late night snacks, they'll get you."
Q:What are your first impressions on the first day of rookie minicamp?
JONES: "Just trying to get better and know my role on the team. Trying to figure out schemes and things I can get better at. Talking with Coach Reid, trying to figure out how I can get myself to be a better fit for this team."
Q:Have they talked about how they may want to utilize you going forward?
JONES: "Right now, it's just knowing the defense and getting me in the right places where I can make plays."
Q:What are you guys doing to welcome Tyreek Hill into the fold?
JONES: "He's a part of the family. We're all looking to get better, know our role on this team and try to make the cut."
Q:You're joining a pretty tight position group, have any of them reached out to you yet?
JONES: "Not yet. I definitely want to reach out to them. They're a good group of guys, I want to see what they do best, pick up from it, see where I can excel my game from them."
Q:You said McDonalds is the biggest thing in your hometown. What about here, are you going to try to stay away from McDonalds?
JONES: "Oh man, I have to. I told you those late night snacks, they'll get to you. I definitely have to stay away from McDonalds."
Q:What's your late night snack?
JONES: "My go-to? I don't know, I have so many go-tos, it just depends on what my appetite feels like. If I feel like I'm in a smashing mode, McDonalds is probably the thing. They're the cheapest, but the burgers are alright. They're not that bad."
Q:When you do to go to a barbecue place, what do you like? Ribs, brisket?* *
JONES: "All of the above. You know on the test back in high school – a, b, c or d? I like all of the above. All of the above."
CB KEIVARAE RUSSELL
Q:You seemed pretty emotional when you were drafted and it seemed like more emotion for the school part, more for graduating than being drafted. Is that right?
RUSSELL: "Not really, it probably sounded like that. But I think just the accomplishment of being drafted and the fact that I haven't graduated just yet – I have a semester left at the University of Notre Dame – but the fact that I will be the first one to graduate from my family, I think that's where the emotion came from. I've accomplished something this big and the fact that no one in my family has graduated – even from high school – like I said, everybody dropped out of high school, to come from the circumstances I came from. Like I said, I lived in the projects, that same story everybody always talks about – not having a father, all this other stuff – so to come from those circumstances, there wasn't much around me as far as education I can go to, to look for how to be successful, I had the love, I had the support from my mom and my grandfather, but I could look at them like they're a success story. So for me to accomplish (and make it to) the NFL, that's where that emotion came from, we really made it, this is crazy."
Q:What's your degree in?
Q:What are your plans to finish up your degree?
RUSSELL: "Whatever's convenient. Rookie year, it's not going to be this rookie year just because of how hectic it is – I want to get the playbook down, I want to try to earn a spot at the Chiefs. I just want to be a great rookie, that's the main thing for me right now, just worry about football. Eventually, when the time is right, I'll try to go back and get my degree. Right now, it's all football for me."
Q:When you were suspended at Notre Dame, did you think that was it? That this dream was over for you?
RUSSELL: "Initially it ran through my mind, like 'Man, what could happen? Am I going to play football again?' It wasn't like I can't make the NFL, it was really about would I be able to play at Notre Dame again. That was the football thing. I figured I was talented enough, even if I left after I was suspended, I feel like I would have done well enough at the Combine or put up the numbers, I feel like I would have been drafted or even made some type of team. It wasn't really an NFL thing, it was just will I be able to play at Notre Dame again? That's where I was kind of skeptical, (saying) I don't know if I'll be able to go back to ND and play football, I might have to go to an FCS if I can't go back to ND, I might have to wait until the end of the year and go to another Division I school. That was the worry for football."
Q: What did you do in the meantime while you were suspended?
RUSSELL: "That was a busy time for me. I went back home and I worked in real estate for about 12 or 14 hours a week. I was going to school full-time at a smaller community college and I was still training six days a week. Went back home to the Seattle area, trained six days a week, got a job in real estate and was still going to school full-time."
Q: What did you do to get reinstated by Notre Dame?
RUSSELL: "It was a lot of process at first, just talking to all the advisors, deans…reinstatement letters, going over constant paperwork, personal statement, all that stuff. Just really showing that I'm dedicated and want to come back. Like I said, doing the real estate, going to school. Going to school helped me out as far as getting reinstated with the NCAA as well because I didn't have — I think they call it the nine-hour rule you have to take as far as being reinstated for the following year. I had those already accomplished because I was suspended for one semester but during that semester I was able to take 18 credits that came back to Notre Dame."
Q: What did you learn from that experience that's made you the man that you are now?
RUSSELL: "Just that you've got to do the right thing all the time and not some of the time. I think that's what it was for me, just like at the Chiefs, you want to do the right thing all the time, when nobody's watching and not just when the camera is on you. I've got to do the right thing all the time and for me, I've never been through something so tough. Football and school was something I've always exceled at. I graduated high school with a 3.7 (GPA), I've always been at the top of my game in football, so the fact that those two things are gone, it put me through a tough time and a challenging time. You guys know, or people know me as this charismatic, energy guy. Now during that time, are you still that same person? Is it a mistake or a character issue? So that was the one thing I wanted to show everybody, that yeah, I made a mistake but I'm still this charismatic, hard-working, ambitious kid that's going to make it through tough, good or anything. I'm still going to be this person and I'm not going to change."
Q: What was it like to put on the jersey and run out on an NFL field today?
RUSSELL: "Man, it's wild. As you see, I smile with joy. When I put it on, it's like, I literally ran out here and looked at all the coaches and was like, 'This is crazy. This is not Notre Dame anymore.' I looked around like, this is real, I'm playing in the NFL. We aren't on a college field. It was cool. I think today when we put the helmets on, it will feel even better to really compete with these guys. I can't wait for the afternoon."
Q: What was the mistake you made that got you suspended?
RUSSELL: "I just put myself in a tough situation. I followed a different crowd of individuals where I basically plagiarized some answers, instead of like during high school, what got me there was I did all my work. I worked hard, but this time I didn't cite the person who helped me correctly, and I just got lazy. I got the help and just took credit for somebody else's work instead of me working for it like I did before. I took that mistake and got lazy obviously, got overwhelmed, school was hard and all this, football was stressful. I got overwhelmed and I let my laziness get to me at that point. But, like I said, I went back to Notre Dame and did it the right way my senior year. That's why I said there's no issue there. It brought me back to reality. Everything you've got today, the reason why I'm in the NFL right now, I worked to get here. I have got to keep doing that. The last time I didn't work, the last time I took it easy, I got suspended. That kind of reassured me that if you want to be great, if you want all the aspirations that I've got, obviously pro football and all those, you've got to work for that. You can't just take the easy way out. You've got to put that extra work in that somebody may not. You can't just sit there like, okay it's just going to come to me. It won't come if you don't work. That's really what I learned throughout that process."
Q: How have you guys welcomed Tyreek Hill into this thing?
RUSSELL: "That's not a situation I'd like to talk about because I don't know anything about that, so I'm just sticking to myself. I don't know much about that situation."
WR TYREEK HILL
Q:When did you get to Kansas City?
HILL: "I got in this morning – well, yesterday morning."
Q:How do you hope people perceive you going forward? What do you want people to know about your role in the incident and what you can do going forward?
HILL: "Going forward, I just want people to know that I'm a hard-working kid dedicated to what he does. Really, a good citizen, a good teammate, and, like I said, a good, hard worker who's just trying to help the team out."
Q:When you arrived yesterday, how do you think you were perceived, how were you perceived by the people here?
HILL: "The guys here, they welcomed me in just like a brother. Just like any other team. Nobody wanted to know (anything). It was just all love, everywhere you go. They're making me feel comfortable and that's all that I really can ask for."
Q:What was the first thing Coach Reid said when you got here?
HILL: "The only thing he said was just work hard and you'll be alright. That's all."
Q:How did the rookie dinner last night go? How did being around the team structure feel?
HILL: "It felt good. Coming from a small town and just seeing all this, I'm just thankful for the opportunity. I met the owner, Mr. Hunt and Mr. Dorsey, Coach Reid. I'm just really thankful for those guys for believing in me and that's it."
Q:What did Clark Hunt say to you?
HILL: "He didn't say much, he just shook my hand and said good luck with everything."
Q:Now that you are in the NFL with more people looking at you, what are you going to do to make sure you don't put yourself in a situation like that again?
HILL: "Growing up, I always had people looking at me, so I'm used to it, really. I kind of like it, so it is what it is."
Q:Besides court-appointed counselors, is there anybody outside of that you talk to about what happened at Oklahoma State, like friends or anybody?
HILL: "No sir."
Q:When you first spoke, you said you needed to pick your friends better. That seemed to indicate that if you hadn't met the victim, you wouldn't be in this situation. Is that the wrong way to look at it?
HILL: "Yes sir, it's the very wrong way to look at it. I don't blame nobody but myself. It's my fault, it's my mistake, nobody can live my life but me. I just have to deal with it."
Q:Do you understand the criticism that some people in Kansas City have for the Chiefs drafting you?
HILL: "No sir, I have not been aware of that."
Q:Can you understand why some people would have reservations?* *
HILL: "Yes sir, no doubt. Those guys, those fans, they have every right to be mad at me because I did something wrong and I just let my emotions get the best of me and I shouldn't have done it. They have every right to be mad. But guess what, I'm going to come back and be a better man, be a better citizen and everything will just take care of itself and let God do the rest."
Q:If there's another incident in the NFL, they look at you as a repeat offender, which could mean banishment from the league. On your part, is there an understanding of how big the stakes are? Do you understand the repercussions if you were to mess up again?
HILL: "I try not to think about all that. The only thing I'm really thinking of is just doing my counseling and playing football. That's it. I'm just trying to be a better man and help this team. I try not to worry about all the social media talk, I deleted all that."
Q:How much does it mean to you to know that the prosecutor discussed your plea with the victim. How do you feel that there was consultation and the victim ok'd it? Do you get what I'm saying?
HILL:"No sir, I don't."
Q: The fact that there was consultation on the plea deal, it seems like it helped you. Are you appreciative that there was discussion with the victim?
HILL: "Oh yeah, I'm most definitely appreciative. Everything really just worked out, it worked out like it was supposed to work out. I made it to the NFL – well I haven't made it yet, I'm trying to make it to the NFL. Everything worked out how it's supposed to."
Q:Have you had a chance to talk to Coach Toub yet and if so, what have your interactions been like?
HILL: "No, I haven't talked to Coach Toub yet."
WR DEMARCUS ROBINSON
Q:I've heard three different explanations of your final suspension at Florida. One was that you left your hotel the night before a game, one was you missed a meeting and yours' was that you met with a marketer. Which one is it?
ROBINSON: "I met with a marketing lady to try to seal the deal with who I was going to pick to be my marketing person and that was basically it."
Q:When you got here, how did you feel you were welcomed, you had the rookie dinner and you met Coach Reid, how do you feel that went?
ROBINSON: "It was great. Getting in there and meeting all the veterans and some of the Hall of Famers, guys that used to play here. It was an awesome time. We had a great dinner, I talk to a lot of the guys. It was good to get well-acquainted with some of the teammates."
Q:Is there any part of you that feels like you would have been drafted higher had you not had the issues in the past?
ROBINSON: "There's always that thought in your head (saying) 'Man, if I wouldn't have done this, I could have definitely done something better or I could have played more.' There's that thought in my head that if I wouldn't have done that, then I could have (gone higher)."
Q:Did you give much thought to staying in school another year?
ROBINSON: "I did, but not after I talked to my coach. After we had our conversation, then we both felt it was the best fit for me to leave."
Q:Why did he encourage you to leave?
ROBINSON: "We just had a talk. Me, him and my mom sat down and thought it was a great fit for me to leave."
Q:How can you guys welcome Tyreek Hill into the fold?
ROBINSON: "Just keep encouraging him. He's a great football player, I saw him out here today going through the walkthrough. Man, he's got some explosive moves. Just befriend him and stay humble with him."
Q:What position did you play at Florida?
ROBINSON: "I was the X-receiver."
Q:Coach Reid's offense is widely regarded as complex, what was your reaction when you got your hands on the playbook?
ROBINSON: "I looked at it and was like 'Man, I definitely can see myself fitting in and making some plays.'"
Q:How would you compare it to your college playbook?
ROBINSON: "It's very similar, actually. When I looked at it, I saw a lot of similarities (to what I saw in college)."
Q:Is it the fact that you have to make slight adjustments on the run? What makes it similar?
ROBINSON: "Yeah, stuff like that and just playing the x-position and some of the similar ways that they call the plays."
Q:You're going to face some press coverage, how comfortable are you beating that?
ROBINSON: "Playing at Florida, we had a lot of press corners like Jalen Tabor and Vernon Hargreaves, we practiced (against) a lot of press corners."
Q:Ryne Nutt, the lead scout on you, said he watched the practice tapes of you and Hargreaves and you more than held your own. What was it like facing him and how did he make you better and did you beat him more than he beat you?
ROBINSON: "No, I feel like I (beat) him. If you talk to him, he'll probably say the same thing. We definitely went at it a couple of times in practice, so we definitely made each other better."
Q:What was your first impression of your first day out here?
ROBINSON: "It was a great time. Just getting out here and seeing the pace of the game, talking to the coaches and seeing all the teammates and how excited everybody is to be here. Everybody's trying to make a spot."
Q:How would you compare Kansas City to Florida?
ROBINSON: "It's definitely a little faster going to a higher level of football. It's definitely a faster pace. But like I said, the offenses are pretty similar."
Q:What do you have to do to make sure you don't fall back into some of your old habits?
ROBINSON: "Just stay humble and get with a great guy on the team who's doing right with himself. And just stick around great people."
Q:Do you have any ideas on who that guy may be?
ROBINSON: "I don't know yet. A lot of the veteran guys aren't here yet."
Q:Have you heard from Frankie Hammond Jr., your former Florida guy?
ROBINSON: "I haven't seen him yet, not since I've been here. We've got a lot of the rookie guys in now, so we're doing the rookie minicamp now. I haven't seen a lot of the veteran guys yet."
Q:What are your goals and what are you trying to show this weekend?
ROBINSON: "Just trying to show that I can learn the playbook pretty well and just making plays at the rookie minicamp. Letting them know that I could be a factor for the team."