Here is the transcript from the phone interview between reporters and LB Mason Unck earlier this week. Unck is the middle linebacker for the Frankfurt Galaxy, who are playing in today's World Bowl. Unck was with the Browns after signing with the team as an undrafted free agent, and will be competing for a roster spot in this year's training camp.
Q: Mason, the defense that you guys played this year... is it one that really fit into your game, or was it one that you were really able to take advantage of to make the progress you just talked about?
A: "I lucked out with the coaches in Cleveland and the people that helped me
get into this team because we run the same defense here that we run in
Cleveland. It calls for linebackers that are maybe a little smaller
traditionally but can run better. That's what I plan on. It helped me figure out
pieces of the defense I can take back to Cleveland. Also, the special teams are
the same too, so it helped me out for getting back into the NFL game."
Q: What are you going to do about making up 41 points this week?
A: We have a little something for them. That was embarrassing. There's nothing you can take away from the fact that they beat us 41-0 but we have a lot of motivation coming into this game. Obviously it's the World Bowl and they beat us 41-0 (last week). We just have to put last week behind us. We have looked at the film. We have evaluated it. We're moving on. We know we can beat them. We were very close to beating them (the first time), so it's not like we're scared of them or anything. It should be fun on Saturday."
Q: What about Richard Alston? He was kind of off of the radar, but he's
having a heck of a year for (Berlin)?
A: Rich is having a good year for them. I'm really happy for him. He has been catching touchdowns and stuff. We talk on and off the field a little bit and I'm really proud of what he has done. He's representing the Browns very well.
Q: Our visitors (at BerniesInsiders.com) wanted me to ask you what it was
like going over to Europe, what sort of adjustments you had to make, and what
you will miss most when you come back to the U.S.
A: Anytime you come over to a place where you have a new language, that's the toughest part. It has been interesting and fun. I'm starting to learn a little bit about how to get around here and stuff. The thing I'll miss the most is staying here with the guys and being in a new part of the world. I had never been outside of the United States. People are a lot more laid back and it's a fun way of life.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about your number change (to 40, to honor Pat Tillman), and how that's inspired you?
A: Pat was my host. With what happened with him in the war it was the least I
could do to honor him. This season it's been an honor to do that and wear No. 40
and finish up this game with it. I'm happy to do it.
Q: Mason, what number did you wear before, and are you going to wear 40 when you get back here with the Browns?
A: I think I'm going to stay with my 53 back in Cleveland. Forty was the deal out here, and when it happened with Pat and everything, I just wanted to make sure I could honor him, but it's his number and I'm not trying to take that over. I realize it's his number, so I'll just stay with 53.
Q: Mason, could you talk about getting a chance to play for the World Bowl title and getting to play in a championship game?
A: This is going to be a lot of fun. I haven't played in a championship since Junior High so I'm pretty excited about the fact that I'm going to be able to showcase my talents on national TV. All the money is on the line this week. There are a lot of plays to be made and hopefully I'll make some of them. Everybody comes out – our team especially, hopefully – and plays their best in championship games. Hopefully I can be one to do that and lead these guys.
Q: When the game is over, how soon will you be coming back to the States and what will you be doing for the rest of the month of June to get yourself ready for Training Camp?
A: We're flying out on Monday following the World Bowl. I'll be flying to Cleveland for physicals and then I'll fly to Arizona where I plan to work out near the school (Arizona State). They've got a real good training program out there and I'll be working out for basically the whole six weeks until we report. We're going to make sure I get a little rest, you can't wear your body out too much, but we'll also make sure I get the proper training for an NFL training camp. So, I'll be coming to camp ready.
Q: Just kind of elaborate on that Mason. You're a young guy, but you've
played a lot of football here in the last 5-6 months, are you afraid that at
some point during training camp, with the two-a-days, that your body is going to
break down a little bit?
A: The thing about two-a-days is that no matter what you have been doing, your body breaks down. It's definitely a concern. I need to make sure I get rest and recuperate a little bit, but I can't expect anybody to take it easy on me. I'll be a second-year guy coming in and I'll be fighting for a position on that 53-man roster. So, I'm going to be busting my butt to make that team. Whatever happens happens but I can't be holding back - that's when you actually get hurt, when you hold back.
Q: Mason, do you feel (NFL Europe) was actually more beneficial to you than
going through the mini-camps and quarterback school?
A: Yeah, I really do. I could really learn the ins and outs of the defense. Also playing with the caliber of players we have played with here, I have really benefited from it. Of course you learn big things at quarterback school. You get that one-on-one coaching with the coaches who will be with you in camp, but I benefited from (NFL Europe). I'm happy I came over here. It has been a fun season.
Materials provided by the Cleveland Browns assisted in the compilation of this transcript.