Catching up with Travis Wilson

With several Sooner rookies about to embark on their NFL careers, we had a chance to catch up with former Oklahoma standout receiver Travis Wilson, who will take part in the Cleveland Browns training camp beginning Wednesday. (Photo/Getty Images)

The 6-foot-2, 213-pound Wilson was the Brown's third-round choice (78th overall) in the 2006 NFL Draft in April.

Sooners Illustrated: What are your thoughts about your first NFL training camp?

Travis Wilson: I'm excited. It really hasn't sunk in. I'm just glad for the opportunity. It's a dream come true. The way my senior year ended, it wasn't the way I wanted it to end. I'm chomping at the bit to get back out there and just make plays and get back in the swing of football.

We had a rookie mini-camp and also had a full mini-camp at the end of June. You can't get too overwhelmed and get caught up looking at the big names. The bottom line is when you get on that football field you are there for a reason.

When you were young, and when you were in college, you played for fun. Now, you're playing to feed your family and earn your money. To get to this level, you have to be the best you can be and do all you can. I love the opportunity, so when I go out there I don't get caught up in everything. It's faced-paced.

SI: What type of impact do you think you'll have with the Browns this season?

TW: They are looking for me to help out. Braylon Edwards tore his ACL toward the end of the year. So the opportunity is there. It's all about how much I can handle mentally — learning the game and learning the playbook and the system.

Even when I got to OU as a freshman, who's to say this person has the job won. You go out there every day and earn it. That's why I'm out here. It's an opportunity for everyone. I'm looking forward to it.

SI: How much more difficult have the playbooks and systems been at the pro level? Did your time at OU help you make the transition to the NFL?

TW: The way OU runs the program — from the offseason workouts to the meetings — it's like being with an NFL team. It's real first class.

As far as the playbook, the meetings and all that, you just have to learn football. It's the same stuff, just different names. It's still football. You just have to get accustomed to it.

SI: Do you have any types of personal goals for the season, whether it be playing time or making it to a certain level of the depth chart?

TW: I want to start. I want to earn respect. In college, I was surrounded by a lot of great players so you might not get all the pub that you want. I just know how hungry I am and I know what it means to make plays and be respected. That's why I play football; I want to be known as one of the best. My goals are about as high the sky. I want to go in and make the most of the opportunity.

SI: How hard was it last year, when you were battling injuries, to see three freshmen step up while you were on the sideline? How hard was that to watch?

I came back my junior year and I knew we had lost so many players. It was the same nucleus of players since the Rose Bowl of my freshman year. To come back, me and Adrian wanted all of the pressure on our shoulders. We wanted to carry them.

I knew I was going to be playing with the younger guys. I wanted to be there as a leader because I've been through it. To have those injuries and not be able to go out there to fight with them on Saturdays, it just tore me up inside. I put everything in the last year and wanted to leave my mark one last time.

When we were struggling, it was just the young guys understanding what it takes to win. Since I knew what it took, not being able to be out there with them, it hurt a lot. It was definitely a long and tough year.

SI: Have you had to experience any of the notorious innocent hazing that rookies usually endure their first season?

TW: I already got my rookie hazing. They try to make you sing and stand up in front of the team; in the lunchroom they make you stand up on a table.

They tied me up, threw water, Gatorade and baby powder on me, rolled me and this other boy outside — this was like two fields away from where you have to walk in this sand where we train — and they left us there. It took us 20 minutes to get out and get back.

SI: What are your thoughts on being reunited with former Sooners that are now with Cleveland?

TW: Brodney (Pool) came in his freshman year and lived right next to me at the dorm. We were always real cool. To get back with him after all our tough times our freshman year, it's good to end up on the same team. It was a dream when we first got there. It was good to be back with him. It makes it easier on me because it's a little more comfortable.

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