Last Tuesday, as the Berlin Thunder and Frankfurt Galaxy got ready for Saturday's World Bowl, the Browns made Richard Alston, Mason Unck, and Corey Jackson available to the media. Here is the transcript of the interview with surprising defensive end Corey Jackson, who was recently named NFL Europe Defensive Player of the Year.
Q: You were named NFL Defensive Player of the Week for week one and week three, can you just talk about the progress you made during the course of the season?
Corey Jackson: I think just getting actual game environment and just getting actual reps and playing. That was a lot, because I have very little experience, so, as the season went on, I was able to get more reps and get a little more experience. That helps me out with every game.
Q: Corey, you're a great athlete, but you haven't played a lot of football. Now you get an opportunity, like you said, to get a lot of reps. Has your production surprised maybe even yourself?
CJ: Well, I expect a lot out of myself, and I push myself pretty hard. I think the coaches in Cleveland really expected me to do well, and expected me to do the best that I could. I think that, um, having the opportunity just to play and be out there and just showcase my talent a little bit makes it easier...
Q: Corey, do you think that going over there and having the success that you had, was just so good for your confidence coming back here?
CJ: Yeah, definitely. There's nothing like having confidence in what you're doing, and your ability. It helps you out a lot coming in to camp and you have to totally know what you're doing and nothing really surprises you... you expect to do well... you expect to do the best that you can do. So, it's got to help me with my confidence.
Q: Back when you were a college basketball player, did you think you would be playing for a football championship in Germany?
CJ: Oh no, not really. Never crossed my mind in my wildest dreams.
Q: Corey, you're listed as 255 on the Browns roster, how big are you now? Are you the same size, get bigger?
CJ: I weighted in at (NFL Europe) camp in Tampa at 273. So, I did pick up a little weight since the first game with the Browns last year, but I'm not quite sure exactly where I'm at right now, but I know I'm a little less than that... a little less than 273.
Q: You were waived by the team in September of last year, and then they re-signed you again in December. Did you stay in contact with the Browns during that time, and what did do during your months away from Cleveland?
CJ: Yeah, I stayed in contact with those guys, off and on, and actually I played basketball almost every day. I was back in Nevada, in my old college town, just playing pick-up basketball, working out, and trying to be prepared for when I was coming back, if I was coming back.
Q: Mason (Unck) talked about the caliber of player over there, that's the term he used. For those who are not familiar, or haven't had a chance to see any NFL Europe games on TV, talk about the level of play over there, and how it would equate to what people are used to seeing in the NFL and in the states.
CJ: It's really competitive. You got a lot of guys who are really hungry and trying to get to the next level, so they can contribute in the NFL. Every week is a battle, and you're going against talented guys that want to make it in the league. So, it's always great competition.
Q: With what you've been able to accomplish this Spring over in Europe, how does that prepare you then to come in for Training Camp? Does that give you a renewed confidence as to how you're going to approach this training camp and your shot of making this team?
CJ: Yeah, definitely. Also, this will be my second time going through training camp. I already know what to expect, I know what things are going to be like now. Now that I'm playing well over here, I just need to take that and apply it over there when I get back to Cleveland....try to find a spot for me to fit in and make the team.
Q: I asked Mason this, and I'll ask you the same thing, Corey. Once you finish the game this weekend and you come back to the States, what will you do between the time you get back and the time you have to be ready for the start of Training Camp? How much rest do you think you need to give yourself to be prepared for the start of Training Camp?
CJ: I definitely am going to need to rest... rest up for a couple of weeks, and then get back to working out. Then work out strong so I can be at the best physically when I get back for Training Camp. I am definitely going to get some rest, you know I need some rest... after eleven games you do need a little break.
Q: Corey, when you got waived at the end of training camp last year, what did the Browns coaches tell you that you needed to work on? Obviously, there's the experience factor, but then second to that, do you feel that over there in Europe that you've proven to them that you can play at this level?
CJ: Yeah, one of the coaches told me that I just didn't have a lot of playing experience and that was what they wanted to do... they wanted to give me the opportunity to get some playing experience and improve. Coming over here helped me do that. Coming over here they told me that they wanted me to get experience and also that they want to see me on film. You know, we don't have game film from college, so they wanted to see me on film and see how I look. So, coming over here was a great thing for me and probably the best thing that could happen.
Q: Corey, why do you think the Galaxy will win the game on Saturday?
CJ: I think that we're really hungry and we've got a lot of pride. Getting whipped on Sunday really upset us a little bit and you're going to see a different team on Sunday. We've got a function we've got to go to, so we have to wrap it up, but it's been a pleasure talking to you.
Q: Good luck this weekend Corey
CJ: Thank you.