On Wednesday and Thursday this week, Dwight Freeney held his fifth annual football procamp for kids ages 7-14 years old. He took a little time out of his camp schedule Wednesday morning to answer some questions for local media in attendance.
Thanks to our work with ProCamps Worldwide, who were fantastic hosts and partners, Colts Authority was able to be a part of the event and asked some questions about how he is handling the many changes of the off-season, how his move to outside linebacker is going, and if he's had any discussions with the team regarding a future in Indianapolis after 2012.
We hope you enjoy the video. Special thanks to Nate Manahan for his time and for the use of his fantastic AV equipment that made our participation possible. A transcript has been provided beneath the video.
Q: Dwight, tell us about the camp and what you guys have got going on today.
A: This is my fifth year doing this. It is real special for me, giving back to the community somehow, getting the kids involved and kind of teach them the fundamentals of football, what it’s about, having fun. I wish I had something like this when I was younger, so it’s really special for me too.
Q: You look like you’re having fun out there.
A: You know, I really am. I’m probably having a little bit more fun than they are to be honest with you. It’s great to see those guys throw, catch, and run and that type of stuff.
Q: What are your hopes for the season and with Luck?
A: Obviously there are a lot of changes we’ve made. Luck, hopefully he can get in there and just do his job. As a first round draft pick, the first pick of the draft, obviously it’s a lot of pressure that comes with that. But we have a lot of vets still that are going to help him understand that he doesn’t need to do anything out of the ordinary. Just do your job and have command of the huddle.
Q: What has it been like working with him so far?
A: Some of the young guys and some people have worked with him have told me that he is definitely a smart kid, knows what is going on, and is going to be something special. It’s always tough when you have a rookie quarterback. There is only a handful of guys who have come in their first year and have done exceptionally well. We’re going to try to give him as much help as we possibly can.
Q: What realistic expectations do you have for the season?
A: Realistically, the sky is the limit, to be honest with you. It’s all in our hands and what we end up doing before the season starts at OTAs, minicamps, preseason camps -- that is when the new team gels together, you get the new scheme, and all of that stuff. You can’t really put a limitation on what is going to happen this year. We’re just going to have to go out, give it our best, and see what happens.
Q: Do you feel like onus is going to be on the defense this year, more than ever?
A: Yeah, but to be honest with you, people’s perception of where the pressure is is kind of… somehow it has become where all of the pressure goes on the QB but as a professional athlete, no matter what position you are, you have a tremendous amount of pressure to do your job. Defensively, we go out there regardless of whoever the quarterback is – Joe Montana, Peyton Manning, whoever, it doesn’t matter. We still deal with a lot of pressure and have to go out there and accomplish our goals. No points, no first downs, no this or that. Special teams has the same thing. Offensive line, running backs, everybody has a tremendous amount of pressure. It’s not going to change. It’s going to be the same because you can’t guy in like, “oh hey, well, you know we have a great offense, let’s put our hands over our heads and just relax.” It doesn’t work that way.
Q: You’re going into the last season of your contract. Have you and the Colts had any discussions about an extension or moving forward?
A: No, we haven’t. They’re probably just waiting. This is a new staff, they have to get to know me, I need to get to know them. We’ll find out what happens after we do.
Q: You’ve had a lot of off-season changes going on this year – fired head coach, fired GM – how is the team acclimating to that? How are you acclimating to that?
A: You know what? I think everything in this transition has been good. Everybody really understands what Chuck wants, and the new regime. The regime loves the guys that are around. It’s great energy, new energy. It’s kind of different for me, I’m in my eleventh year now and it’s like I’m starting all over in a way and it feels good. It’s that new freshness and it’s good.
Q: How are you going to bridge team support from the old fans to the new fans?
A: Well, our responsibility as players is to go out and play football. To go out there and play to the best of our abilities. We would love as much fan support as possible but really it’s all about those guys that are on the field in between those lines. We’re going to try our hardest to bring the morale up but that is going to happen when it happens.
Q: A lot of Colts fans never would have thought that Peyton Manning would play anywhere else, we just talked about you going into the last season of your contract, have you given any thought to playing somewhere else?
A: No I haven’t. All I know is Indianapolis so for me this is home and this is where I want to be. We all understand though, this is a business and we don’t know what is going to happen at the end of the day. But I am just going to cherish every moment of the time that I have here. Hopefully it will last forever.
Q: Is having events like this a great way for you guys, as players, to help build a new fan base?
A: To be honest, I hadn’t thought about that because I don’t do it for the fans. I do it for the community, really. Just to give back to the kids. The kids need that. There are so many things they can get from this. You don’t even have to be a football player to come out here and learn something. Discipline, teamwork. Those things happen no matter what profession you’re in. These are the types of skills that start young. So those are the reasons why.
Q: How’s the move to outside linebacker been so far?
A: It’s been fun. It’s been interesting. It’s kind of a funny story, I think it was one of the first three practices, they threw a ball my way and I didn’t know what to do. I was kind of like, “why is there a ball coming at me?” I am so used to going after the quarterback and not being on the receiving end of an interception. It’s been a good transition but you know what? That’s football, that’s life. Things sometimes have to change. Thank God it is pretty similar to the defensive end position. So it’s not that different, like what people think.
** Nate works for for Women's Oncology Research and Dialogue. You can find out more about their work to diagnose and development treatments for gynecological cancers at WORDoncancer.org. These guys work hard to raise awareness and funds to help save the lives of women across the country. Please visit their website and get educated on this important topic.
Just another example of how lucky we have been to be Colts fans. Not only great teams, but great people. I love #93.
Wow...a bombshell there about the extension. Was that Brett Mock peppering Mr. Freeney with tough questions?
That's huge news.
@coltsauth_todd That was our own Brett Mock indeed.
@Nate Dunlevy Unbelievably good presser. Freeney was open, jovial as usual and shared some big news. Great job to Brett!
Freeney is fantastic.
I'm not one to get "star struck" but it was a cool experience to be standing there with Dwight and feel so comfortable because he is such a professional at what he does and his personality transcends sport.
He is the kind of guy that you could hang out with at a bar, go to a movie with, play video games with, and think to yourself... this guy is a really cool down to earth dude.
While I've not been exposed to tons of athletes in this manner, I'd suspect that this kind of thing is either rare or exemplifies the athletes who will never be forgotten.
I look forward to speaking with Dwight again, hopefully in a Colts uniform next year. Though the admission that no discussion of a future contract has occurred does not bode well, in my mind, for that occurring.
A lot of athletes still stay home for these kinds of events, so even if he does leave and puts on his 6th and final Dwight Freeney ProCamp in 2013 (while donning a different uniform), I'll do all I can to be there. @coltsauth_todd @Nate Dunlevy