DeMeco De Man

DeMeco Ryan's legacy as a leader was evident when he was patrolling the field and seeking out the ball carrier as an All-America linebacker at The University of Alabama. In his first 11 games as a rookie middle linebacker for the Houston Texans, he is the third leading tackler (99, 83 solo) in the NFL. He certainly is in line for post season awards.

Last Sunday against the New York Jets, DeMeco recorded a career high of 14 tackles (13 solo). A.P. Steadham, who covers former Bama athletes in pro sports for, spent a few moments after the game discussing his rookie season and style of play.

A.P. Steadham: What were your expectations when you were drafted?

DeMeco Ryans: My first expectations were to come in here and start and to help this team win some games.

APS: You've been through training camp and played more than half the season. What has been most difficult in the transition to the NFL?

DM: Just getting the defensive playbook down and learning the terminology of our defense. Other than that, it's still just fun and playing football.

APS: I read that you like to be loose when you play. How are you so loose when you play the game of football?

DM: You have to know what you're doing and you have to be confident in your play. Just go out and let loose and have fun.

APS: How did Alabama prepare you to play in the NFL?

DM: We run pretty much ran the same defensive schemes. Coach Joe Kines did a good job of preparing me, technique wise. The linebacker position is all about learning how to run a defense and learning all about defense. He (Coach Kines) did a great job of teaching me. Concept wise, it's been a smooth transition.

APS: Where did you develop your confidence?

DM: I developed it in high school. My senior year of high school, I knew we were going to win. I had to play with the confidence and swagger that we had the best defense out here and no one was going to score on us. You have to have that type attitude.

APS: Where did you get your first name DeMeco?

DM: My first name came from a cousin of mine that passed. My aunt named me after him.

APS: Where did you learn your tackling technique?

DM: I learned that in college. I learned it from (former defensive coordinator) Coach Carl Torbush. Coach Kines just expounded on that first teaching that I received. College really helped me technique-wise. That's what sticks with you when you go on to the next level, your technique. I did a good job of keeping that up.

APS: You're playing middle linebacker and making all the defensive calls. Is that difficult as a rookie?

DM: It was at first but I just got used to it. It's just a natural leadership role that I have. The guys listen to you a lot more when you're out there making plays for the team.

APS: What would you advise young players about playing in the NFL?

DM: Just keep doing what the coaches tell you to do at Alabama. They know what it takes to achieve at the next level and they're not going to tell you wrong. So just keep doing what they tell you to do and you'll be fine on the next level. It's not this big, crazy thing. Its still football and fun on the next level.

APS: What are your fondest memories at Alabama?

DM: My last year. Beating Tennessee and Florida at home. Going on to win the Cotton Bowl. Those were some great games I'll never forget.

APS: What are some of your outside interests?

DM: There's not too much time off the field but when I'm sitting home, I'm watching movies, shooting pool and listening to music.

APS: How do you like the city of Houston?

DM: It's a great city. It's a big city. It takes a while to get around but I've seem to find my way around.

APS: What did it mean for you to wear the crimson and white?

DM: It means everything. You're representing a lot of great people. The tradition is unbelievable. There is nothing like it in the NFL or anywhere.

APS: What are your future aspirations?

DM: I've been thinking about starting my own foundation to help the youth back at home in Bessemer, Alabama. Also, I would like to get into real estate.

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