Q&A with Chad Hutchinson

"I prepared myself to play as soon as the first game. The whole off-season and the mini-camps, I approached it as getting ready to play," said Cowboys' quarterback Chad Hutchinson. "I'm not the kind of person to say, 'Hey, lets get ready to sit on the bench.' That is not why I made the transition to football."

Has it taken any adjustment to get back into the whole football flow?
Hutchinson: Definitely. Luckily, I had plenty of time to get myself adjusted, coming out in February last year. Basically, I've just been working on things up until the season and then working out in training camp. There have definitely been a lot of adjustments.

Were you prepared to sit the bench for most of the year or were you shocked when they made the move because the plan was to go with Quincy (Carter)?
Hutchinson: I prepared myself to play as soon as the first game. The whole off-season and the mini-camps, I approached it as getting ready to play. I'm not the kind of person to say, 'hey, lets get ready to sit on the bench.' That is not why I made the transition to football. I came in preparing myself to play and if I didn't then at least I was prepared to do so.

Dave (Campo) was saying that you were a little more accurate with a football than you were with a baseball. If that is true, what's the reasoning for that?
Hutchinson: I think that football is something that I have worked on a lot more than baseball. In terms of baseball in high school, I was a hitter. I just went out and threw hard. I never worked on pitching, nor did I have pitching lessons. It wasn't something that I wanted to do. In college, I spent most of my time working on football. I would go out and pitch and I would have success, but it was more just going out and competing. In terms of football, I had a lot of direction growing up. I had the right mechanics. I think there is a huge difference in terms of the time I spent on the two.

At what point did you pull the trigger and decide to give up on baseball and try football?
Hutchinson: Basically, every offseason I would think about it a little bit and say to myself that it would be fun to play football, but I figured I would give it three years until my contract ended and then figure out what I wanted to do after that. Once this last year ended, I thought I should try and explore the options. In exploring the options, I found that there was a lot of interest. Therefore, I pursued the football option.

Why did you choose baseball first over football?
Hutchinson: It was timing. Growing up with a single mom and five kids and passing up the opportunity to get out of high school for the money. It was the right time to help out my family. It was one of those things where, financially, I was able to step up. Taking care of my mom, my sisters, and my brother, was more important than anything. That was the primary reason.

Do you think it helped you, as a first-year NFL player, to be in a pro sports organization for four years prior to switching sports?
Hutchinson: Tremendously. The lessons I've learned from baseball and the up and downs I've had have really help me deal with the pressures and the things that go along with football. It helped me separate me as a person and me as an athlete. Football is something I love to do, but it doesn't define me as a person. Growing up in baseball and maturing over the last four years has definitely helped me this year.

Did you follow the 49ers much when you were in the Bay Area?
Hutchinson: Absolutely.

Were the 49ers ever an option, in terms of scouting you at the Thanksgiving workout and beyond that?
Hutchinson: Not really. They are a team that I always loved watching and grew up watching, but it wasn't an option for this year.

What are your thoughts playing against them, a team you've watched closely over the years?
Hutchinson: I'm excited. For me, I try to take more of a logical approach to every week. Instead of saying, 'I'm playing the Niners or I'm playing the Giants.' I try not to get excited about the rivalry. I just try to break them down by whether they play a cover 2 or cover 3, what is their personnel, what are they going to do against me, what kind of looks am I going to see.

Have you experienced any culture shock going from laid-back Southern California to Dallas, where football is taken seriously?
Hutchinson: Definitely. Coming from Stanford, which is such an academic school that doesn't have much of a following on the campus, and then going to Dallas, where everything is centered around football. It is interesting to see the differences and how seriously people take their sports out here.

You don't miss those bus rides down dusty roads in the minors?
Hutchinson: Oh no, definitely not, but I am thankful that I had those experiences so I could enjoy these experiences even more.

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