RW Training camp is rough. There's a tremendous amount of mental and physical work to be done in a very short period of time. Bourbonnais is a nice town and the facilities were fine. I was lucky because the heat there didn't bother me at all. After all, I'm a Florida boy. But, that said, I have to admit that it's nice to be back here and have a chance to get settled in for the season.
BR You injured your ankle 2 weeks ago. How is it feeling?
RW Much better. I have had a lot of rehab work on it since all of this happened. But, I have to tell you that it's been pretty frustrating. As I said before, I'm definitely not injury prone. This just isn't a natural experience for me. I don't want to stand on the sidelines. I'm here to do a job and that job is to be out on the field playing football.
BR Last time we talked, you said that the coaches had you putting in a lot of time in t he weight room. How has that been for you?
RW It's helped a lot. I've always enjoyed lifting weights. I'm very strong right now.
BR You also mentioned last week that you had been told to lose about 5 pounds while you were in camp. Did you do it?
RW Yes. I'm right where I need to be. That is important for my overall conditioning. I want to be able to play with nothing negative holding me back.
BR You were practicing today at full speed for most of the morning. You haven't done that in a while. How did it feel?
RW I loved it. I was definitely ready to go. My leg was just a little stiff. That's to be expected. The trainers have some more work to do on it before the game this weekend.
BR During the past few weeks, the other rookies have had a lot more time on the field than you have. Has that had an effect on your confidence level now that you're back?
RW Yes and no. When you are not playing, you get a little separated from your fellow rookies. It can be depressing. At this stage, it's important to make progress and to learn plays on a daily basis. I could see all of them having the chance to improve while I was just standing there. Since I couldn't do that type of physical work, I did it mentally. I would go through the plays over and over in my head. I think that I should be able to catch up pretty fast with the physical part now. Now that I'm up and around, my confidence is returning.
BR What have you learned so far about being a player in the NFL?
RW That experience is the best teacher. You can be strong. You can be quick. You can know all the plays but the more you are actually out on the field, the quicker you learn how to react and to anticipate. That's what defense is all about. The more you play the better you will be. Football at this level has to be so much a part of you that it becomes an instinct.
BR How are you preparing for the upcoming game against Jacksonville?
RW Well, I'm doing my best to get back into the physical routine. Other than that, I am watching a lot of game films. Also, the coaches are working with us right now on specific plays.
BR Was it hard to watch the last game from the sidelines?
RW Actually, I did go to Champaign to watch the Denver game, but I didn't go to St. Louis. The trainers and coaches felt that it would be much better for me to stay back here and continue healing than to go there and stand on the sidelines. I did watch it on TV though. I'm glad that we won but I'd much rather be on the field helping the team do just that. The more playing minutes I can get, the happier I'll be. I never want to be sitting at home again watching the team play on TV.
BR The first cut down day is coming up. Do you notice any heightened tension in the rookies, or in some of the other players who might feel that they are on the bubble?
RW Not really. We're all working so hard right now that there isn't too much time to think about anything but the plays. I'm sure that will change as we get closer to that time. It's not something you can think too much about. You just give it your best shot and hope that everything will turn out all right.