GoMids Exclusive: Merchant Talks About Return

Navy fans were overjoyed this past Tuesday when it was announced that junior defensive back Emmett Merchant would rejoin the football team for preseason camp this summer. Merchant, who recorded 38 tackles and two interceptions in three starts at safety a year go, was expected to be a major contributor for Navy this spring before he left the team for undisclosed personal reasons.

Merchant however had a change of heart within the past week, and informed head coach Ken Niumatalolo that he intended to return to both the team and the Academy for the 2009 season. Merchant answered questions about his return for GoMids.com via Navy Associate AD for Sports Information Scott Strasemeier


1) Can you tell us why you decided to return to the football team?


I had some things I needed to think about and the final conclusion was this is where I need to be.


2) What was the motivating factor for you in your decision to leave the team following last season? What made you have a change of heart? 


It was stuff I was dealing with off the football field and football was not my main focus at the time.  I needed to get some things straightened out before I could focus on football.


3) How important was the role of the 'Brotherhood' in your decision to return? Was there anyone specific (coach or player) who helped you change your mind? 


The ‘Brotherhood' was a major part of it.  Kevin Edwards, Wyatt Middleton and Ricky Dobbs talked to me every day and they let me know they were here for me and they supported me no matter what decision I made, although they were clear they wanted me to stay. I also really respect Coach Green and I love playing for him.  It would have been really hard to leave the guys and the coaches.


4) Do you expect to be listed as a starter in the secondary come fall camp, or have you been told that you will have to compete with players like Kwesi Mitchell for your old job? 


I haven't been told anything, but I don't expect to be a starter. I haven't stepped on the football field for six months so I know I am going to have to come out and compete. I have to prove myself all over again.  Nobody on this football team is ever guaranteed to start. You have to prove yourself every day and I feel like I'm going to have to prove myself even more because of the time I missed, but I'm happy to be back and excited about competing again.

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