REY MAUALUGA (Linebacker, Southern California)
Q: Were you surprised that it took so long for you to get drafted?RM: Yeah, I was a little upset. But, I think God works in mysterious ways. I'm just happy to be taken. I'm happy to get things going with the Bengals.
Q: Was Cincinnati a team you thought you might go to?RM: To tell you the truth, I really didn't think that they were going to pick me. But, then again, I am overly excited to be picked by these guys.
Q: Have you heard from Keith Rivers yet?RM: Keith had called, but I didn't get the chance to answer it. Domata Peko had called and congratulated me. (Jonathan) Fanene called as well.
Q: Did you get a chance to talk to Keith after he came to the Bengals about the transition from college to the NFL?RM: Not really. All he said is that Coach (Pete) Carroll prepared us really well for the opportunity to play at the next level. He said that the only thing that changes is the mindset of things, and the mental part of football. He said that everything is fast and it is quicker than it is in college. Then again, to transition from USC to the pros isn't that much different.
Q: What will it be like to play alongside of Keith again?RM: It will be a great feeling. He would play around and say 'Hey, I'm trying to get one of you guys to come and play with us,' whether it be, Brian Cushman, Craig Matthews or myself. It actually happened, and what's crazy is that another player from my hometown, Maurice Purify, is on the Bengals.
Q: Do you know Carson Palmer at all?RM: I've met him a couple of times and chatted, but nothing special. Hopefully things are better now.
Q: There are a ton of USC players that play here:RM: Frostee Rucker just called me and congratulated me.
Q: I think people are excited about your demeanor on the field. Can you talk about what you are going to bring to the table attitude-wise?RM: I'm a hard-nosed guy that brings some intensity. I'm a hard-nosed football player that loves to play football that will smash people in the mouth. If you know who I am, then you know I'm a soft-spoken guy, but when I get on the football field I flip that switch on and start playing. I'm just happy for the opportunity to put on a Bengals uniform and go out there and give it everything I have. I want to show everyone at the Cincinnati Bengals that they got a great pick in Rey Maualuga.
Q: Can you play all three spots? Would it bother you not to start out in the middle?RM: It doesn't matter. Whatever position that gets me on the field the fastest. I'm going to go there and compete for the job and play.
Q: Do you see yourself as a pass rusher, a run blocker or a combination?RM: A combination of both. It's really nothing new to me. Just line me up, tell me what to do and I will go and do it.
Q: Why do you think today took so long?RM: I really don't know. I think it's just the position of middle linebacker. Everyone is looking for this hybrid outside linebacker-defensive end type of defensive player. I really don't know. I'm just excited to be drafted and to be playing for Marvin Lewis and that staff. I'm anxious to get things going.
Q: What was it like with you, Brian Cushing and Clay Matthews all starting on the same unit?RM: It was crazy. We are like brothers off the field, and when we get on the field, we don't know each other. We are trying to compete, and Coach Carroll loves to compete. We try to get each other ready and to the potential that we can be. Everyone feeds off of each other.
Q: How was it like to have Ken Norton Jr. as your position coach?RM: It was awesome to have him as a coach. It was an honor. He hasn't been out of the game too long, so he knew how players reacted off the field and on the field. He knew what to do at practice and in the meetings. He is such a great motivator and a great leader. He's a guy that taught us everything that we needed to know about football.