ColtPower Q&A with Gerome Sapp

It was a bittersweet moment for Gerome Sapp this week when he learned that he would be packing his bags and leaving Indianapolis to return to Baltimore. Ed Thompson caught up with Gerome for this exclusive interview.

Q:  When and how did you find out about the trade?

Gerome Sapp: Coming back from Houston on Monday, I got a call in the airport when I was about to get my ticket. Chris Polian called me and just basically said, "Gerome, you've just been traded to Baltimore." And I was like, "Okay..." and it was a bit of a shock, and I wondered where do I go from here? But then I was contacted by (Ravens general manager) Ozzie Newsome, and he said they realized they never should have let me go in the first place (after his rookie year) and this was a chance to get me back. He said they needed help at the safety position and wanted me to come in and play. It's basically a good situation for me in Baltimore.

Q:  Do you know whether the Ravens or the Colts initiated the trade?

GS:  The Ravens. The safety spot is kind of thin for them, and they see me as a veteran guy who can come in and compete and basically take the spot. Obviously I'll have to compete for it because there are guys there, but they're thinking I can come in and be the starter. They had a history with me, so they initiated the trade with the Colts.

Q:  That had to be hard, standing there in the airport and getting that news with no family or friends there with you...

GS:  It was, but after the initial shock, you have to get your mind ready for the next step, which was to call my agent and have them talk to both sides and figure out the details. They actually wanted me to fly out that day to meet with the coaches and take my physical, but I was stuck in Houston because of the weather. So I ended up flying out early Tuesday morning, got my physical and passed it. I met with Ozzie and defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, and my defensive backs coach Dennis Thurman.  We talked X's and O's for a couple of hours, had lunch and then I caught a plane back to Indianapolis. 

Q:  What a whirlwind of a day for you....

GS:  Yeah, (laughs) but it seems like it's going to work out for me. I still know a lot of people there and everybody seems happy to have me back. I just can't wait to go in there and play, do what I can do and need to do to end up starting and be a contributor on defense. It's funny, a lot of it I still remember from being there before. My coach seemed to be impressed with how much I still retained even though I've been away for two seasons. 

Q:  Will you have the same defensive backs coach that you had when you were a rookie?

GS:  The one I had as a rookie is now the defensive coordinator for the Jets, but the one I have now, Dennis Thurman, was the assistant defensive backs coach.

Q:  When are they expecting you to officially report to Baltimore?

They start training camp July 27th. So I have until then to get all my affairs in order.

Q:  You've got a good shot at claiming a starting safety position in Baltimore. That's got to be the big plus out of this trade for you personally since if you get more playing time and continue to raise your profile, that should translate into financial rewards and extending your career. Is that what you're trying to focus on as you make this transition?

GS:  That's exactly what I'm trying to focus on. Nothing in life is guaranteed, so I won't be so naive to expect to just walk in and be named the starter, and I'm going to have to work for everything that I'm going to get. I think the important thing is that I'm going to be given an opportunity -- that I don't think I've always had here -- to be a starter. Playing behind Bob Sanders and Mike Doss, two good safeties, it was hard for the coaches to sit them down and let me play a great deal. In Baltimore I'm getting a wonderful opportunity to show that I can be and should be a starter. That's all anybody in this league wants is opportunity. Some guys have talent and never get the opportunity to show it. So getting that opportunity is the number one thing in my career right now.

Q:  From what you know at this point, has their defensive scheme changed much since you left?

GS:  No, it hasn't. They've added some packages, they go back and forth from a 3-4 to a 4-3 and even a 4-4 package, so they're defense is more complex, but it's more like I played in college. And for some reason, I've always kept up with their defense in the back of my mind, like I've never forgotten what things meant in that defense, so going back now -- even though they've added some things -- the basics of what they do, I believe I still understand it. Obviously I have to freshen up on some stuff, but the a lot of the terminology has stayed the same, so that's a plus for me.  

Our Insiders can read the rest of our exclusive interview with Gerome where he talks about the hardest part of leaving Indy, what he liked about playing for Brian Billick and Baltimore during his rookie season, and much more! Just click here to continue reading. Not an insider yet? Click the 7-day free trial offer in our banner at the top of the page!

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