Press Pass — Jeremiah Trotter

In this edition of "Press Pass," Jeremiah Trotter speaks to the Tampa Bay media for the first time since his signing on Tuesday:

Tell us about being here and what led you to come this way?

"You know what, I'm excited to be here. When I came down here for the first workout, it went great and I really enjoyed meeting the team, the coaches and I like the system and they have a great chemistry here. That was really big for me.

How much does it hurt when a team that you've been with for so many years says, ‘Thanks but it's time to move on.' ?

If I said it didn't hurt I'd be lying. But that's the nature of the business. You have to keep moving. You can't worry about the past.

What have the coaches told you that they want from you in this system?

I don't know much. I know about as much as you. Right now I'm just working hard, trying to absorb as much of the system as I can. Whatever they need me to do to help this team win I'm ready to do.

Do you feel like you're going to get on the field on Sunday?

I don't know. Like I said, I'm working with Gus (Bradley, linebackers coach) every day to learn the system as quickly as possible and obviously X's and O's are X's and O's, but I think the biggest thing is the terminology. I'm just working hard.

When you say learn the system, is that at middle linebacker?

Right. I'm a middle linebacker, without a doubt.

How exciting is the prospect of playing with guys like Derrick Brooks and Cato June, guys you played with in the Pro Bowl?

It's very exciting. I know what kind of athletic ability they have, big play ability. I'm just here to work hard and contribute to the team in any way I can.

There were questions in Philadelphia about why a player of your caliber was released. Some said you lost a step. Does that bug you?

No, I actually didn't know they said that until you told me.

How do you answer it?

You don't. You can't worry about it. You going to always have critics. You can't worry about what people say or think. You just have to keep working hard and when you're in between those white lines hit somebody in the mouth. That's the only thing I can control, man, hitting somebody in the mouth. That's all I know how to do.

Did the Eagles try to talk you into retiring?

You know what, that chapter of my life is closed. I'm moving on, moving forward with my new team, the Bucs, and my new teammates. I'm excited to be here and I'm looking forward to gelling with everybody and making new friendships and moving forward.

People talk to you about being a leader. In your opinion, what makes a good leader?

I think leading by example, doing the little things. Just being on the field. It's something you can't really describe. When you're on that field and your back is against the wall, your leaders are the guys that step up and rally guys together and be able to get guys to play above the level that they're capable of doing. When I'm out there in that huddle and I'm looking at 10 guys looking back at me, that's the greatest feeling in the world, just leading those guys.

Have you always been like that?

Always, yeah.

How much do you know about your partner at middle linebacker, Barrett Ruud?

Not much. I'm really trying to learn everyone. All I know is what I've watched over the years, people like Brooks and June when he was in Indy. I'm just really learning everybody and trying to get a feel.

You feel like you'll be all right dropping back into coverage?

Oh, yeah, I'll be fine.

Does this feel like 2004 all over again for you?

It's a little different this time, a little different. Things transpired a little different this time. I'm older, I'm wiser and I'm just ready to have some fun.

Jeremiah in the past some free agents have come here, veteran guys, and they've had an adjustment period with Monte's defense. Have you seen that as something that's going to take a little time to get used to?

I don't know yet. We'll have to see when I get out on the practice field. I know the last couple of days I've been cramming like a final exam and we'll see how much I absorb today.

Do you feel like you still have it?

Yeah, I think so. I think I can help this team in any way they need me to. So I'm looking forward to getting out there and smash-mouthing somebody.

You played with Jeff (Garcia) last year. Is that the reason you're here?

Yeah, I think that was a consideration. I talked to Jeff on the phone before I signed and he had nothing but great things to say about the city, the team, the chemistry, the coaches and that was a big part.

What did he bring to the Eagles last year when Donovan (McNabb) went down?

You can't even describe what he brought to the team, just coming in and … It's tough on a team when you lose your star quarterback and him coming in and lifting up the offense, it carried over to the defense. He brought that fire and leadership and took control over there. We made a big run at the end of the season and we made the playoffs.

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