"Going to do what I have to do to make it"

Ed Thompson talked to linebacker Tyjuan Hagler about his move to the injured reserve list this week in the first of our two-part interview with the 5th-round draft pick out of Cincinnati.

Question: You got to practice with the team for three weeks. That had to be fun for you after going through surgery, rehab, and sitting through meetings.

Answer: It was a lot of fun because I got to learn a lot. And over the course of the three weeks I really felt good being out there on the field.

Q: On defense, did you practice exclusively at middle linebacker?

A: I did pretty much everything at middle linebacker. I learned a lot during practice about our defense and also by being on the scout team.

Q: So you were working against Peyton Manning and the first team defense as part of the scout team?

A: Oh yeah. And that felt so great just being out on the field and practicing against them. It made me so much better, knowing how good of a quarterback he is.

Q: Did you get to spend some good quality time with Gary Brackett and Rob Morris. Did you pick up anything from them during that stretch?

A: I've been with them throughout the whole year. I sit right in front of Gary Brackett. So every time I have a question in meetings about something I'm seeing that I might not understand, I just turn around and ask Gary. It's been like that ever since I've been here.

Q: I hear that he's a tremendous guy.

A: Oh yeah. Very nice guy. One of the nicest guys on the team.

Q: How did you feel out there? Did you have any pain or discomfort from the surgery?

A: No. I actually felt great out there. I didn't have any pain or anything...I've got to call the doctor and thank him again for what he's done for me.

Q:  How and when did you find out that you were being moved to the injured reserve list?

A: They came up to me yesterday after practice and told me. I felt a little bit down about it, but I've got to try to take the positives out of it -- like at least I'm still here. I've got to keep working and keep getting better....It's just a tough situation I think.

Q: It seems like it's getting tougher for rookies to break in with an NFL team right away. Does this feel a bit like being a first-year college player to you?

A: Yeah, it does. It feels like I'm starting over. I'm last on the depth chart, so I'm starting at the bottom. I've got to keep working my way up to the starting lineup. 

Q: Now that you can't participate in the practices, what's your typical work week going to look like now?

A: I know I have to be at meetings, workout, and work with the strength and conditioning coach. I really haven't sat down and talked to Coach Dungy yet, I'll probably do that tomorrow....I'll keep learning...every little bit helps because I want to get out on that field and live the dream. I'm going to do what I have to do to make it.

Check back on Saturday for the second-half of our interview with Tyjuan Hagler. In that Premium Members' feature, Tyjuan talks about practicing with the Colts, the challenge of playing middle linebacker in the Cover 2, his outlook for the future, and more!

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