Brooks Bollinger Q&A: Part 1

Brooks Bollinger is about to launch a career in the NFL, following his selection in the sixth round by the New York Jets on Sunday. Here is a two-part Q&A with the former Badger quarterback, as he discusses his thoughts on the selection and his prospects going forward.

So you go from Grand Forks to New York?

Bollinger: It was kind of funny because right after I got drafted, the Jets people put me on with what I'm assuming was the New York media in a conference room. They asked me about Grand Forks, and I said `It's kind of like a little New York out in the middle of the prairie.' But it's funny. I've never been to New York. I'm excited. Obviously it's a great city, but I think more importantly, a great organization. I love the coaches that I've met from the Jets, and anyone in their front office that I met. Going into (Sunday), I didn't really have any idea what was going to happen, but that was a team that I knew was interested in me and that I thought would be a good fit for me, so I was happy it worked out the way it did.

What did the Jets tell you about your role when they called you?

Bollinger: I don't remember a lot of the conversation. All I know for sure is they have (Chad) Pennington and (Vinny) Testaverde, and I believe Todd Husak from Stanford is their No. 3, but I'm coming in there to be their third quarterback. I think that's the position I'm planning for, to make the team, then it's too hard to speculate the future. Someone from the media there asked me, what about the future, and if Testaverde leaves and anything like that? And I said I'm not worried about that. Mini-camp is this week, and I'm just happy to get this opportunity. My goal now is to get in there and do everything I can do to make the team.

Was Sunday the best day of your life?

Bollinger: It's up there. It's a great weekend to be able to just…I was with my whole family and close friends and stuff, just to be able to spend it with them. We don't all get together too much, so that was nice. And for them to be there when I got chosen…it's a roller coaster. The last three months, since this whole thing started and I started preparing for it, there's a lot of ups and downs. You hear different things and you go through the workouts and you don't really know what to expect. (This) is just the culmination of that, and (Saturday)…I didn't really expect to go (on the first day), but you're still watching and (Sunday), the day goes by and picks start going by and you're not getting a ton of phone calls. You start to get a little nervous, and you start to maybe worry a little bit. But I said from the beginning that I would just be happy to get an opportunity and I've got that so I couldn't be more pleased.

With a veteran like Testaverde there to learn under, is this pretty much an ideal situation for you?

Bollinger: I think so. I really do. Being around a guy like Testaverde and even Pennington who is up and coming in the NFL, that had a great year last year and obviously has been around the block for a young guy. I'm going to be like a sponge, not only from the coaches but from those guys, because there's a lot to be learned, not only on the field, X's and O's, but also just the business and how to get around New York.

Were the Jets a team you felt might pick you heading into draft weekend?

Bollinger: Yeah, they were a team that showed interest early. They were a team that liked me, but I didn't know until five minutes before they picked me that it was really going to happen. I heard from them early, when we had our Pro Day here, their coach was there and I met with them at the Combine. I didn't hear from them until a couple of days (before the draft). They called to verify my draft information, my phone numbers and all that. That's all I really heard from them. That's how this thing goes. No one tells you. Because no one knows. Even the people in their rooms. So that makes it a tough day. And then when it finally does happen, it makes it that much more sweet.

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