Free Agent Q&A: Gerome Sapp

Even before they lost both Todd Johnson and Cameron Worrell last week to free agency, the Bears were in desperate need for help at safety. GM Jerry Angelo will most certainly draft at least one next month, but signing a free agent might also make some sense. Gerome Sapp sat down with Ed Thompson of, and it turns out the Bears could be on his radar.

Ed Thompson: Tell us a little bit about your thoughts heading into free agency this year.

Gerome Sapp: This year is a little different because I'm an unrestricted free agent, which means I'm pretty much wide open. My agent (Scott Smith of XAM Sports) and I had some talks leading up to March 2nd, kind of feeling out teams and seeing what their needs are, seeing where I can fit in. I've been talking to the Ravens and I've even been talking about going back to the Colts, so you never know.

ET: Are you looking forward to this courtship period where you'll have the opportunity to travel around and sort of size people up?

GS: I don't really look forward to that part of it. I don't really like to travel and have to start all over and meet new people, but you've got to do what you've got to do and I'd be willing to do that obviously. I just kind of wish it was just, "Okay, here's what you're offering, this is what you're offering, this is your opportunity, these are your opportunities," and just weigh it like that. But obviously, it's not that easy.

ET: Have you missed many games during your pro career due to injuries?

GS: I think I've only missed two games because of injury. I missed one this year because of a hamstring and the other game was because of cracked ribs.

ET: When you talk to teams, what are you going to tell as far as what schemes you would excel in and what talents you bring to the table?

GS: Just overall, I want to show them I'm a hell of a competitor. That word gets thrown around in this league a lot, but I am. Just the defenses I've played in and what they've faced and what my role has been and how I played in that defense, it kind of shows for itself. When I get on the field, I like to make a statement. So just let them know I'm willing to compete for whatever job they want to give me, and in my mind that's a starting job. I'm just a smart player. I think I study well, I retain information well, and the information I retain, I can retain in the fire on the field when it matters.

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
ET: The Ravens have actually spent two draft picks on you - a sixth-round pick when you were coming out of Notre Dame, and then a fourth-round pick in last year's draft to bring you back. In between, you spent two years with the Colts. So how ironic would it be for you if Indianapolis made you a great offer and you got to go back to help them make a run at repeating as Super Bowl Champions?

GS: That would be extremely crazy and ironic, but crazier things have happened to me in this league. It wouldn't be that far-fetched.

ET: Have there been any other teams that because of the coaching or other players you've sat there and thought that it'd be fun to play for them?

GS: I grew up as a Cowboys fan. Since I've been in the league, I've grown to like a lot of different teams or dislike a lot of different teams. The Bears' Lovie Smith is a wonderful coach, he reminds me a lot of coach [Tony] Dungy.

ET: Where does the competitiveness of a team fit in on your list of priorities?

GS: I think the competitiveness of the team would be in third place. Teams have shown year in and year out that even though last year their year was sub-par, you could come back and have a good year. Just look at San Francisco. They didn't have an amazing year but they came back and had a pretty good year against some good teams, and that team's probably going to be on the rise. I think you have to watch when you gauge what a team's going to be like based on the year before. So that would probably be the third most important thing.

ET: Your former team, the Colts, had some problems on special teams last year, and that's an area where you were a leader for them during your two seasons there. Do you expect to get interest from them?

GS: The Colts' situation was weird last year in that they almost went down to no safeties due to all of their injuries. So who knows what they're going to look for? Now they have a couple of good safeties on their roster, so who knows what they're actually going to look for this offseason as far as free agents and the draft.

ET: While you were in Baltimore this past year, were you still doing both kickoff and punt coverage?

GS: I started off on both, but near the end of the year they took me off of punt coverage because I was playing more on defense. So I guess my special teams numbers and tackles kind of dropped, but I picked up my productivity on defense. They have me in a lot of packages to get me out on the field as a third safety.

ET: Would you be excited about doing more special teams work again?

GS: I just want to get on the field. But to be honest with you, I want to play defense. I played special teams for four years in this league and if I have to play it again I will, but as a safety and a competitor, that's what I got drafted to play. Don't get me wrong. If a team wants me to play both, I'll play both. But my main priority is to play defense.

ET: Other than the Colts and the Ravens, who else do you think you might be a good match for?

GS: I know the Bears might need some safeties. The Ravens still seemed interested in keeping me, but you never know.

ET: Is there any advantage to staying with the Ravens as opposed to going to another team?

GS: The advantage of staying with Baltimore is that I kind of have a role on that team. Even though I didn't start this year, I was always one play away from starting. I'm the next guy set to go in. I have a role in the dime package there. Rex Ryan is a defensive mastermind, so they create packages just to get me in there at free safety. Indy went through some safety issues this past season, so I might be able to get a role there, too. There are a lot of things that play into it. Financial aspects play a role in it, too. But you know, it's funny. Money should play more of a role to me, but actually it doesn't. I'd rather play than get paid more money to sit on the sidelines.

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