MARVIN LEWIS - Head coach
JOE MIXON - Running back
JORDAN WILLIS - Defensive end
Initial comments ...
Lewis: "It's been nice to get these guys here and have an opportunity (for them to meet) with the coaches, and obviously (for us to) meet with you here today. They told me I had to (laughs). If you have any questions for me, then I'm going to get back upstairs."
It seems like — not just with these guys, but these guys are great examples of it — that your team speed, your suddenness ...
"Obviously we picked Josh Malone, and we just picked the kicker Jake Elliott, and Ryan Glasgow, the defensive lineman from Michigan. Other than Ryan, who I don't think is going to break any land speed records, we're excited about improving our overall team speed, and that's been important. I think also that these guys come with a very, very sharp intellect, which is important to us as well, and then the physical part of the game we know they bring. That's been important."
Joe, you were pretty emotional with us on the phone last night. What have these last 12 hours or so been like as you've traveled to get here?
Mixon: "Overwhelming. I couldn't wait to walk in the building, be introduced here, meet the coaches and players. I'm just very excited to be here."
Jordan, did you visit here as well?
Willis: "I had no contact with them, no."
I know you did, Joe. After your meetings with the Bengals, did you leave meeting thinking this was a strong possibility?
Mixon: "Definitely. I definitely did. Like I said, I can't thank the Bengals organization enough for bringing me in and giving me opportunity to showcase that I'm a great player and that I'm a great person here."
Joe, it sounds like you just went into a Bengals fan event and there was a pretty warm reaction. What was that like and what does that mean to you?
Mixon: "It means a lot. Just to come here, walk in and see all the fans and their reaction. It makes me very excited to go to work, and I can't wait to be with the team."
We've got the Defensive Player of the Year in the Big 12 and an offensive stud in the Big 12. You guys played against each other. What can you tell us about your opinion of each other?
Mixon: "Very athletic, he is (laughs). He's very athletic. Obviously he's fast — a 4.5 guy — and he makes plays. I feel like he's going to be a great addition to the Bengals."
Willis: "I think Joe is a little bit underrated. I think he's up there with some of the other running backs that got drafted earlier on. Of all the running backs we faced, I think he was the hardest to tackle. He's a great football player and he's going to do great things going forward."
Joe, you talked about it in front of the fans — everybody makes mistakes. Yours was a pretty significant mistake. What have you learned from it and what have you been doing to climb out of it?
Mixon: "I've learned a lot, a lot about being in situations, being in certain areas that you shouldn't be around. Basically, I did a lot of community service, did a lot of counseling, and I'm still seeking it. That's pretty much about it."
What does all of that entail for you now as far as social life?
Mixon: "It's about being aware of your surroundings and being in the right places. At the end of the day, I'm not worried about going out. We all make a lot of bad choices, but I'm very excited to be here and have an opportunity to redeem a lot of things."
Are you excited about the leadership culture that is here in this building?
Mixon: "Definitely. I'm very excited. I want to bring what I brought to Oklahoma, which is excitement and being a great teammate. I want to bring that here to the Bengals."
Willis: "I'm very excited about the same thing. I'm a quiet leader; I lead by example. I did that at Kansas State. I'm excited to be in the locker room. I know there are a lot of good leaders on this team. I want to start working alongside them, and pick up their good habits."
Where does your attention to detail come from?
Willis: "For me, when I went to Kansas State, Coach Snyder preached consistency. As a young player, I had aspirations of being great someday. You don't really know how to get there though, so Coach Snyder laid out his simple plan: Be consistent. He wanted me to be the same guy every day, and come in every day ready to work and improve. When I took that on as a junior and senior, I saw my play escalate. I started doing that consistency with everything, whether it was in-season or offseason. Once you start doing it and you see that it works and (see) the results, you realize it's very beneficial to you."