After the Kansas City Chiefs selected Auburn DE Dee Ford with the 23rd-overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, the team's newest rookie made a call to One Arrowhead Drive and shared his emotions with reporters, also answering their questions.
Q: Are you surprised, now that you are a member of the Kansas City Chiefs?
FORD: "I'm not surprised. I hope I don't sound generic, but I definitely think I'm working in God's favor right now. I'm definitely surprised that it was Kansas City, but I'm not surprised that it's first round. I haven't spoken to Kansas City as much. Honestly, all the vets in the NFL had told me that it's going to be a team that has not spoken to you. I'm very ecstatic right now, definitely honored. I'm so humble right now to be a member of the Kansas City Chiefs!"
Q: What do you know about the Chiefs defensively and the players that they have?
FORD: "I love edge rushers! I'm definitely a fan of Tamba Hali. I'm definitely a fan of Eric Berry, I actually played him, during my freshman year in Tennessee. The Chiefs have a great defense. I love Andy Reid and I love the staff. I have heard that you all have the best fans in the league, I don't know for sure, but I hear that you all have the best fans in football. I'm really looking forward to that, and I'm really humbled by this situation."
Q: How confident were you that you would be a first-round pick?
FORD: "I was very confident, coming into it. Coming into the draft, I had to put my best foot forward, because I had the injury, so I had to make it known that I'm still here. I am not accepting second place to anybody. I had a great Senior Bowl and things just worked out for me, so I was confident that I was going to be picked in the first draft."
Q: What was it like, when you got that phone call from the Chiefs?
FORD: "I can't even explain it, to actually talk to these guys, to Andy Reid and the GM and the D coordinator; I'm at a loss for words, because it's such a blessing to have your dreams come true. I see these guys on TV and they are some of the best coaches in the world, and I was humbled by their call. I hope I don't talk too much, I'm just so happy!"
Q: We heard you do like to talk, is this the first time in your life you're almost speechless?
FORD: "Yes, it was! I'm not afraid to say that. I'm very personable, that' why I talk a lot. I'm big on communication. I feel like that's a very good thing for me. I'm not quiet; I do state my mind. I was definitely speechless. I was so speechless! I don't even remember the words they said; I think I might have passed out for a little bit."
Q: The Chiefs never interviewed you at the Senior Bowl or the Combine or anywhere?
FORD: "I talked to them at the Combine."
Q: Just one of those 15 minute in-and-out deals?
FORD: "Yeah, yeah. But I do remember, I do remember vividly that conversation that I had. I remember meeting Andy Reid. I'm trying not to be a fan of his, because he's my head coach right now. But good lord, it's Andy Reid. I was stunned, man. He's a man of character, right there. I definitely remember meeting those two."
Q: Was it Andy Reid who called you?
FORD: "Andy, the GM was on the phone. The D coordinator. They handed down the phone. I talked to him, down the line."
Q: Where are you right now?
FORD: "I'm in Alastair, Alabama, with the family."
Q: There is a lot of talk that you could be a potential replacement for Tamba Hali. Does that put any added pressure on you that you might have to replace a Pro Bowl player at some point?
FORD: "It's no pressure, because he is a dynamic player. He's a dynamic player. That's his life. I'm coming in and I'm Dee Ford. My number one goal is to be a sponge and be a great teammate. I'm not concerned with the hype. I'm concerned with things that I can control, coming into this organization and being a great teammate. I really hope I don't sound generic or sound like I'm just trying to say the right things; I really mean that. I'm going to humble myself, learn from these vets and man, we're going to do some things. I can't measure what I'm going to do from what he did; he's a dynamic pass rusher, who's so beyond me. I need to learn. That's my number one goal, be a teammate and learn."
Q: Give us a little self‐analysis? What do you need to work on the most?
FORD: "Everything. I'm not perfect in my pass rush or my run game. But let's be honest, I played in the SEC and I was a starter for two years – you have to stop the run. You have to stop the run. And, I was a starter. I was not a liability to my defense. I think sometimes, when your specialty is pass rush, the natural thing to do is question their ability to stop the run, because we're getting off the ball. And my height, the height issue and all of that, I can stop the run, but I'm working on every aspect of my game. I'm trying to chip down on every detail of my game. That's why (Tamba) Hali was a Pro Bowler, that's why they have Pro Bowlers on this team; they're constantly working on details in their game and details in their way of being a professional. I'm going to work against the run, I'm going to work against the pass, special teams and do whatever I've got to do."
Q: You had a left knee injury in the preseason last year. What was your injury in 2011?
FORD: "A back surgery. I had a back procedure in 2011."
Q: How soon will you be in Kansas City?
FORD: "I'm going to be in Kansas City tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to seeing everyone. I'm hoping everyone is looking forward to seeing me. We're going to have some great times. I plan on being a Kansas City Chief forever – no trading me – so, let's get it done."