Bengals 2005 first-round draft pick David Pollack met the local media during a press conference Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium. The transcript follows:
HEAD COACH MARVIN LEWIS
"My part of this will be brief, but I wanted to introduce David Pollack to you. As I said yesterday, we're excited that we were able to draft David and have him join our football team. We talked a lot yesterday about all the things he will add to our football team. He's a football player and we're just excited to have him."
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR CHUCK BRESNAHAN
Q: Coach Lewis was talking last night about how it's good to have players that are 'raw'. Is David raw?
"I don't think he really falls into that category. If you look at his track record at Georgia, he's played a lot of games in a major conference and had a lot of success. I'm totally confident that he's got enough experience under his belt and knows how to approach the game.
I told you, that's one of the things that impressed me in getting to know David throughout this whole process. He's not just a great football player on the field. You're getting the whole package. He knows how to prepare, he knows how to do the things we're going to ask him to do, and that's going to make that learning curve that much easier."
Q: Do you envision David doing a little bit more than just rushing the quarterback?
"It's a process for us as well to see how these guys mesh with one another. The one thing that happens at this level, if you can get the mismatches you want, is the opportunity to allow players to do different things. There's that question, 'Why drop your best pass rusher (into coverage occasionally)?' There's merit to that. If you can get the offense to account for that pass rusher with a chip or a double team, then all of a sudden you're bringing someone who's not accounted for, or you get a mismatch on a running back, that's when you drop your best pass rusher.
There are some things we'll be creative with. He brings a lot of flexibility. Brian VanGorder, his coordinator at Georgia, is now in the NFL and ran a pro style approach at Georgia. All those things help that learning curve, and David will be fine."
Q: Why do you feel so comfortable that David can make the transition from defensive end in college to outside linebacker in the NFL?
"Two words, football player. He shows it on tape."
Q: Is there something special about the University of Georgia that might better prepare its players for the professional level?
"I think that's going on at a lot of programs right now. There's an intermingling of pro coaches going to coach college, so there are certain programs that have a pro flavor, and I think that does help the transition. That's not to say that guys who don't come from that type of program are far behind. I just think the high level of competition in the SEC and the pro style approach at Georgia add to the package that he brings to this level. I think that enhances what he already has."
Q: While the Bengals were on the clock to make their first pick yesterday, ESPN's Chris Mortensen said the Bengals are his sleeper pick to dethrone the Patriots in the AFC if they can improve the defense. Will the defensive selections made in this draft help you do that?
"Every guy is a piece to the puzzle. There are so many pieces to the puzzle to put together. It starts up top and goes all the way down to the last player to get cut. To me, it's a collective effort, and the better character people you can get into that room to play as one, the better off you're all going to be. We have a tremendous group of players here, and by no means can we say that someone specific is out the door. Competition breeds success. We're going to be better because we added two more excellent football players to the package."
LINEBACKERS COACH RICKY HUNLEY
Q: Do you feel a certain personality in necessary to play linebacker?
"I think David adds nicely to what we have. We have some quality people at the linebacker position. The character of a guy like Kevin Hardy is important, because he's the kind of guy you want your other players to take after. David has all the ingredients you look for in a guy when you bring him in.
Odell Thurman and David possess the same qualities as Kevin and Brian Simmons. They all have something similar that you like. They like to compete, they're coachable, and they want to win. They're also willing to do whatever it takes to be a part of this team. All of our guys are competitive people, and that's a good trait to have."
LINEBACKER DAVID POLLACK
Q: I understand this is your first time in town, what do you think of the place?
"It's unbelievable. It's nice. I love the colors, man. I love the orange. The stadium is just beautiful. The coaches have been awesome so far, too. I think they'll be a little harder on me when I get here. But it's a first-class facility. And Coach (Lewis) reminds me a lot of Coach Richt (Georgia head coach Mark Richt) in his demeanor and stuff, so it feels like home already."
Q: What did you think when you found out Odell Thurman had been drafted, and have you talked to him yet?
"Yeah, I talked to him last night. That was awesome. That's awesome for Cincinnati, the kind of player he is. He's phenomenal and I'm glad he's on our side, knocking people out. He'll definitely knock some people out and he can definitely play the game. That's good to have somebody familiar. And then you've got Robert Geathers Jr. playing defensive end, a couple Georgia boys. I think it makes the transition a little easier."
Q: Has Coach talked to you about your role and where you fit in?
"Right now we're talking about outside linebacker."
Q: You switched positions twice at Georgia, can you make that transition smoothly here?
"Absolutely. Football is football. I'm going to listen to the coaches. They're going to put me in a position and they're going to tell me how to play, and I'm going to listen."
Q: Which famous linebackers do you like the most?
"I like (Tedy Bruschi) and the way he played, but Reggie White was my hero. The way he carried himself off the field and the way he played on the field, I always looked up to Reggie White."
Q: Until yesterday, how much thought had you given to the possibility of playing linebacker?
"That was very much in my thoughts because it was in the thoughts of a lot of the coaches from the pro teams. There were four different positions that were being suggested for me: middle linebacker, outside linebacker, defensive tackle and defensive end. The possibility of playing any position was definitely in my head. The good thing is that the coaches know better than I do and they'll put me where I'll be most successful."
Q: What experience do you have with special teams?
"I did kickoff returns and punt returns last year at Georgia. I've never covered a kickoff in my career. But it doesn't bother me one way or the other. I expect to play special teams. I played them at Georgia all four years. My freshman year they were the most fun because it was the only time you got on the field all you wanted to."
Q: What makes a great pass rusher?
"I think quickness, getting off the ball, has got to be something that most great pass-rushers have. And then it's pad level and hands. You've got to get good pad level, stay low. You've got to use your hands well. There's a bunch of stuff that makes a great pass rusher. Different people have different things. Obviously, I'm lacking in the height department but I'll make up for it, hopefully."
Q: Has your personality always been this way?
"Yes, sir. I'm crazy, but I'm crazy under control. I don't like roller coasters or stuff like that. I don't like heights that much. But as far as things that I can control, running around and things like that, yeah, it's fun."
Q: How are you and Odell Thurman similar and different in personality?
"Well, if Odell was up here, he would need a sweat-rag for his hands. He's got the sweatiest hands of anybody you'll ever meet. But I'd say we're a lot different. Odell's more quiet probably. He's not like an introvert, he's just not excessively outgoing. He's a great football player. He's a phenomenal football player. He will knock your head off. He's a competitor. If you want to play football in the street, he'll play in the street. I'm glad he's on our side."
Q: Tell us about your leadership ability:
"Coming in this year, obviously, I'm not going to be real vocal. You can lead by example: coming in, doing what you're supposed to do, practicing hard, studying hard. A veteran's not going to be looking to a rookie. But you can do certain things and, hopefully, I'll be able to do those things."
Q: What can you say about the knocks on Odell Thurman's character?
"No one's perfect. Everybody makes mistakes. Some mistakes are bigger than others, but some are written about and some aren't. If you did some of the things he did, it probably wouldn't have been written about. He's a great kid. He's only gotten into a few instances. He's not a guy that always goes out and gets in trouble. He's been in trouble one or two times. I think he's a great guy."
Q: Do you see you and Odell feeding off each other?
"We fed off each other so much in college, it was incredible. If he makes a big hit I get mad. I want to be the one making the big hit. that just makes me want to push harder. We definitely feed off each other and, like I said, I'm glad he's on our side."
Q: Do you feel like the level of competition you faced in the SEC will help you transition into the NFL?
"I think I played in, in my opinion, the best conference in college football. That will definitely help you get ready for the next level. There's big guys that you will play against in the SEC and there's big guys that you'll play against in some other conferences. It's not going to be the pros so, obviously there's a learning curve."
Q: Did you ever drop into pass coverage while playing at Georgia?
"No, I dropped a few times, but my coach said he wanted me to rush the passer. We put in a package one time where I was the guy either blitzing or dropping, but like I said, my coach didn't want me dropping much, he wanted me rushing the passer."
Q: When do you think you can be ready to play? Can you be ready for the opener?
"I'll be honest, I'm not here to sit the bench. I'm here to play football, and I'll go crazy if I have to sit on the bench. I'm coming to play as soon as possible."
Q: Do you expect to play at the same weight (260 lbs) as you did in college?
"I expect to play lighter now as an outside linebacker. I talked to Coach (Hunley) about that the other day. I think I'll lose some weight and get a little faster. Whatever weight the coaches want me to be, I'll be."
Q: What is your current marital status?
"I'm engaged. The wedding is on May 21 in Georgia."
Q: Are there any other sports you like watching other than football?
"If there's anything on TV that has to do with competing, I'll watch it. I don't watch much TV, but if I do it's usually sports."
Q: Are you a baseball fan?
"No, I'm not a baseball fan. That's too idle for me. I haven't gone to see a baseball game in a long time."
Q: Would you say that you can't really tolerate losing no matter what you're playing?
"I'm not a good loser. I don't like to lose in anything. I think it's a positive thing in football, but sometimes I get a little carried away outside of football. When I play a game with my fiancée, I need to let her win, but I don't and that gets me in trouble."
Q: What other sports have you played?
"I wrestled and played basketball in high school. I always got hurt in basketball so I had to hang that up. I finished second in the state in wrestling my sophomore year of high school."
Q: Where does this character you posses come from?
"I'm not anyone special. Your parents raise you to be who you are. My parents spanked the crud out of me when I needed to be spanked, and they let me run wild when it was okay to run wild. Character is something that you learn from your parents, who instill morals and values, so I guess that's why I have the character I have."