Ed Thompson: What have these last few weeks been like for you while you've been waiting to get back into action? Your neck problem has been related to a pinched nerve, is that right?
Tyjuan Hagler: Yeah, it was a pinched nerve. I was coming off a good game against Carolina, so it's been a very frustrating four weeks. I can say it was a humbling experience.
Thompson: Talk about your practices this week. How have they been going and how much time have you been able to get it in?
Hagler: It was pretty much the same as when I'd been playing before I got hurt. I picked up from where I had left off and it felt good being out there. I thought I'd be a little out of shape, but actually, when I got out there I was fine. And I always stay up on the game plan, so once I got out there this week in practice, I didn't miss a beat at all. So it felt good being back out there.
Thompson: Were able to do some hitting in practice to check out how your neck would do?
Hagler: Oh yeah, on Wednesday and Thursday we were hitting. And it felt good to be back out there hitting people again. Actually, I hit one of the running backs, and he went over to Coach Dungy and said, "Tyjuan is ready." (laughs) It was really funny.
Tyjuan Hagler celebrates following a play.
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Thompson: Well, let's talk about Jacksonville a bit. What are your thoughts on them after watching some film this week?
Hagler: They're just a great team. They've got their starting quarterback back in the lineup. And they've got two tough running backs, so we just have to make sure we stop the run.
Thompson: You're facing a quarterback in David Garrard who hasn't thrown an interception yet this year. Are you guys excited about the chance to maybe give him his first one of the season?
Hagler: Oh yeah, our defensive backs and our linebackers are playing great this year as far as getting interceptions and creating turnovers goes. So we're looking forward to the challenge.
Thompson: What's the biggest challenge for you personally in this game from the strongside linebacker position?
Hagler: Just reading my keys right and getting to the ball. What they do is a bit predictable, so we all just have to read our keys and go with what we see.
Thompson: I don't want you to give away any strategy, but are you able to say anything more about in what ways they are predictable?
Hagler: In terms of in certain formations, they only run "x" amount of plays. So we just have to be watching for that and play.
Thompson: How big of a factor is Maurice Jones-Drew, and how tough is he to bring down?
Hagler: He's very tough to bring down, I can tell you that (laughs). After playing against him earlier this year, he brings a lot of energy to the crowd and to the game. With him and Fred Taylor in there, you've got two great backs who are going to go into the record books someway, somehow. With two great backs like that, we're definitely looking forward to playing them again.
Thompson: Anything else you want to pass on to the fans?
Hagler: Just tell them I'm definitely ready, and I'm back, and I'm not leaving no more (laughs).