|Battles went to training camp this past summer with the Minnesota Vikings|
As mentioned earlier, MavBlog set up a phone interview with Green Bay Packer practice squad player Adrian Battles who is gearing up for next week’s Super Bowl. Battles took a few minutes to chat with us Tuesday and this is how the conversation went.
Mavblog: Has it sunk in yet, going to the Super Bowl?
Adrian Battles: It really hasn’t sunk in yet. I have gotten a lot of phone calls from my family. It is starting to sink in more once we travel to Dallas on Monday.
MB: So you went to training camp with the Vikings and got cut during the final cut down day. After that you don’t get picked up until December. Walk us through that process
AB: When I got released, it was a hard time for me. A lot people would give up at that time, but I used it as a positive and trained harder each and every week. I felt like it would come some day that I would get picked up by another team. I just tried to stay positive during the whole situation, train hard each and every day and always have positive. When the call finally came from the Packers, it was like a dream come true, because they had always been my favorite team growing up. I live 100 miles from this place and it was unbelievable. When I got this call, it was a dream come true and I came here just ready to work.
MB: When you joined this team, did you see a deep playoff run?
AB: I knew that they had a rough season with some tough losses and players on injured reserve. When I got here it was clear that it was playoff mode already with the last two games of the season being must win games to get into the playoffs. I felt like, even when I was a fan of this team that they had the firepower to get into the playoffs, especially with the quarterback, Aaron Rodgers. Just watching the guys practice and watching how much they wanted it, I knew it was a possibility. They went out and performed the last two weeks of the season and got a late playoff push and we got a lot of momentum.
MB: When you got into that locker room for the first time, was it hard to separate yourself as a fan and as a player or did it come naturally?
AB: It was kind of natural. Starting with meetings on that first day that I got here, they made it feel like a family. Everyone was on my side, cracking jokes and stuff like that and it made me feel at home when I got here, so it helped a lot.
MB: Postseason games, did you get make any travel?
MB: But you do get to go to Dallas… What is your mindset going into that?
AB: I am going to soak it all in. Every football player, college and even the NFL veterans, you watch the game from the couch every year with a dream of going there. If you asked me when I got released from the Vikings, that I would be going to the Super Bowl and be a part of and be on a team that was in it, I wouldn’t even know what to say. I am going to soak it in, we got a couple of work days but I am going to enjoy every minute of it.
MB: Is there anything in particular you are looking forward to down there?
AB: The entire thing. I am looking forward to being on the sidelines for that game and watching it up close. All the fans and cameras flashing, it’ll be crazy.
MB: When you left here did you envision this happening this fast or was it what you thought it would be?
AB: Leaving MSU, I knew it was going to be an uphill battle coming from a small school. I always felt if I worked hard enough, I felt I would be able to show someone or some team that I was capable of giving it a shot. When I got the shot with Minnesota, it made even more hungry when I got cut. I felt like I could find a home in this league. I feel like I have found a home here.
MB: Talk about your time at MSU, who had the biggest impact on you
AB: Mike Cunningham, the offensive line coach. He has had a great impact on me. He always treated me like a son, checked on my grades, brought me over for dinner and stuff like that. He had the biggest impact. He always had a positive outlook on things. When I got there, things didn’t go my way right away and he always told me that better days were going to come.
MB: Talk about Mike and how he helped you prepare to get to this level.
AB: He is a great offensive line coach. He is really detailed on what he teaches us. He learns a lot by going to camps himself in the offseason and he relays the information himself onto us. A lot of the stuff I learned from him I was able to use that when I got here. Combing that with my athletic ability, I think that is part of the reason I have been able to excel so fast. He taught me a lot of technique things that have helped me out a lot.
MB: Have the Packers given you any indication on the future?
AB: I am going to be here in the future.