Antoine Bethea: My progress has been smooth. My knee injury set me back a little bit, but my main thing was getting back on the field and doing the things I do on the field (make some plays and help the defense improve) so I far as my transition…it's been good.
ET: Tell us a little bit about that knee injury in regards to how it happened and how you feel you did with your progress coming back.
AB: Well you know, on the football field anything goes. You never know what's going to happen. I was jumping up for the ball and I was undercut, I sprained my ACL, but after that I was in the weight room and in the training room and now I'm back on the field feeling one hundred percent.
ET: You really showed good instincts for being around the ball both with your tackling and turnovers during the preseason. And you had to be pleased by Tony Dungy's comment when he complimented those instincts saying, "We'll coach him into a guy who doesn't make as many plays if we're not careful." Were you aware of that comment?
AB: Yeah, I heard about it. Coach Dungy's a good coach and a good guy and I appreciate everything he does on and off the field. As far as my instincts, that's something I've had since I've been playing football and something I enjoy having.
ET: What are your thoughts going into your first game? You're heading into a major market, national TV. How are you handling on that?
AB: Well, I have to handle it like a professional. It's my first game on the big stage, so I can't really get to amped up because I might become unfocused. So the main thing I want to do is stay focused when I get on the field and I think everything else will come too.
ET: Earlier in the week you were getting reps with the first team, are you still working out with the first team?
AB: Yeah, I'm still taking reps with the first team.
ET: Are you under the impression that you're going to get the chance to start this week?
AB: I don't know yet; the coaches have to make a decision Friday, and they'll let us know who will be getting the start. If I do get to start I'll be happy, but if not I'll be behind whoever else is starting and be ready for them to call my name.
ET: I would think you'll still see some special teams work if you don't start…
AB: Right, right, that was the main team I was expecting to be on when I came here. So whatever special teams they want me to be on, I'll go out there and give it my all.
ET: What's been the most exciting part of this whole experience for you Antoine?
AB: It's a dream I had as a young child, playing Pee Wee football, to make it to the pros. And now I'm here, so I want to take advantage of the opportunity that I have.
ET: Any big challenges you're still working on overcoming?
AB: How to manage my free time, taking care of my body, getting into the film room. But other than that, I think everything will come. I'm a rookie so I can't take everything head-on right now. So I think I'll have to make progress like everyone else does.
ET: Anything else you'd like me to pass on to the fans at this point?
AB: Just keep a look out for me and all the other small school players, because I think a lot of small school players are going to begin to open people's eyes.