What was it like meeting Al Davis?
That was kind of like something that you never think is going to happen. He's a guy that's been around football for a lot of years and you see on TV all of the time. He's one of those guys that you don't think is real. He's just so well known and done so much for football. To meet him was great. I was kind of taken back by it. We talked, and he's really a decent, down-to-earth guy. It's no wonder that they've been successful with a guy like that.
Art Shell wore 78, right? So, you'll have to surrender that?
I don't know. We'll see. I know that a kid has it there right now.
Oh, so it's not retired?
No it's not. They have a guy there that's wearing it right now. We'll see. Maybe I'll change numbers for awhile. Who knows? I've got to look into that.
Your dad was wearing a Raiders hat that was so new that it almost looked like he needed to put some gear oil on it.
Yeah. I gave him two hats and told him that one was for work and one was for when they went out. I told him that we needed to rub some oil or some grease on that work one because other wise he wouldn't wear it. I'm sure he'll have a few work ones that he'll be wearing.
He said that he was hoping that maybe you'll get a Sunday off so you can come back in for the harvest?
It's hard to say. Maybe in a few years. Maybe when I retire I'll go back and help. I've got a big task ahead. It's a pretty important year for me.
You're going to have a lot thrown at you pretty quick.
It's my job now. It's all that I'm going to worry about when I get out there. As soon as I can after this minicamp, I think the 15th is the first week that we can go back out, and then I'm there for good. I'm going to get things taken care of, get a house and all of that. I've got to get into the (play) book. I want to play, and that's a big part of it.
Have you been out to the Bay Area before?
When I visited two weeks ago. That was my first experience out there.
What did you think?
It's nice. It's expensive. There's a lot of big buildings and busy highways. I liked it, though. It's a great area where their stadium is. Their facility, the airport, everything is all right there within five minutes. It's going to be a good fit for me. I've just got to get used to a new lifestyle.
Have you met Warren Sapp?
No I haven't. I'm sure I'll meet him in minicamp. I'm sure I'll be introduced to him in one way or another, probably carrying his helmet.
What do you think of Warren?
He's a guy that I'd like to have on my side of the ball. He's a veteran guy like Jerry Rice and Tim Brown. It's going to be an eye-opening experience to realize that I'm on the same team with these guys. But they're definitely guys that you want on your team.
Did you run into any rowdy Raider fans out there?
Yeah. We got a chance to hang out with a couple of them for awhile. Raider fans are great. They do a great job. They really support the team. It's a great place to play.
Are you surprised at any of this; the Outland Trophy; No. 2 in the draft?
You're always surprised when things like this happen. Who would have every thought I would be the second pick in the draft. I don't think that anybody ever truly believed that. Growing up, I always dreamed of it, but who really thinks it's going to happen? This is really kind of a big dream come true. It's something that very few other people are going to experience. I've been blessed. I'm ready to get started. Not I have to start all over and earn respect and accomplish all of the things that I want to at the next level.
But I never thought that I'd be in this position. It really hit at the draft after I got picked. Who would have thought my family in New York City; being the second pick in the draft?
Are you the model for staying in school?
Yeah. I think for some people I am. It helped me. It not only helped my draft position but also my financial situation is going to be a lot better than what it would have been last year. There were a lot of positive things to coming back. It's kind of up to each individual guy.
Is it somewhat intimidating when you hear about all the money?
It's not really intimidating. I'll glady take it. I don't believe it. Until I get my signing bonus check, I won't believe it. Eight, 10, 12 14 million dollars, who believes that? I know I'm going to make a lot of money, but I don't think I'm going to truly realize what it means until I get that signing bonus check. I don't really believe it now.
Your agent said that he's got some interesting plans for your endorsements.
Yeah. It will be a good place for me. I fit right in to their mystique. Definitely some opportunities will arise for some things to do out there. I'm looking forward to that.
Now, it's time to get down to work. You're the first-rounder. You're the superstar.
Right. Everything that I do from now on is going to be looked at. I'm sure the media will tear me up the first time that I give up a sack. That's part of the game. That's part of the gig. It's time to earn all of this. I'm the richest guy in America that hasn't done anything. (laughter) I've got to earn all of this stuff I'm getting. They're looking for me to big things, and I'm looking for myself to go as far as possible.
Is this (Iowa) program to the point to where it's always going to be good?
I believe that. As long as you have Kirk Ferentz as the head coach, things are always going to be on the upside. He does a great job. And every year he'll take no matter who he has and take them to level that nobody thought they could go. I'm looking for big things next year. Hopefully, I'll make some money in the locker room betting on the Iowa games. (laughter)