Opponent Opinions

Adewale Ogunleye appeared headed for a tremendous career with the Dolphins until a contract holdout led to his 2004 trade to the Chicago Bears for WR Marty Booker and a third-round draft pick. Ogunleye will face the Dolphins for the first time since the trade this weekend and he talked about that reunion and more in a chat with South Florida media.

Q: What does it mean to play against Dolphins?

Ogunleye: "It's going to mean a lot. I still have my offseason home down in Florida. I still keep in touch with some of the guys on the team. I've got a lot of guys I played with. The Dolphins were the team that gave me a shot in the NFL and I'm really apprreciative. That's why I look at it as such a big game for me because I've got so many ties with that organization."

Q: Did you ever feel underappreciated in Miami?

Ogunleye: "Toward the end, it got sticky. It kind of opened my eyes this is just a business. Early on, you think it's all fun and games. When the contract situation came up, it opened my eyes that this is so much bigger than the game, it's really just a business."

Q: Who got the better of the trade?

Ogunleye: "I couldn't tell you that. I'm totally happy with where I'm at. I wouldn't trade it for the world. I'm excited to be on this team. The first year was pretty tough at 5-11, but we turned it around last year. To be part of that building process with Coach (Lovie) Smith, I'm really excited. That's for everybody else to decide who they think got the better end of the deal."

Q: How did you react to the trade?

Ogunleye: "Mixed feelings. I didn't think it was going to happen. It happened so quickly, I was excited; at the same time I was leaving the only place I called home in the NFL. It was a new chapter for my life and I'm really happy it happened."

Q: Can you talk about the confidence you have as a team?

Ogunleye: "Shoot, I've never been 7-0 in my life, this is a new area for me, but it's a great feeling for me to go 7-0 with the prospect of going 8-0. That's the fun part of being undefeated every week. This team is really enjoying it and the city is embracing us."

Q: What did Coach Smith do to turn things around?

Ogunleye: "As soon as he got here, when we were 5-11 that first year, he always an optimistic coach. He always talked about winning a championship. When we're 5-11 and we're talking about winning Super Bowls, some people might think that's crazy; he didn't. He was able to stay on that and right the ship. He has a lot of people believing in his system, believing in him. We have a lot of confidence in him. There's nobody better than him to coach this team."

Q: What has Rex Grossman done to help?

Ogunleye: "It's huge.That's something big. When we first got here, it was the same situation as Miami. We didn't have a steady QB situation. Rex got hurt. We had a good defense, but if the QB isn't steady, it's tough to win. He's been the difference. He's been playing well and putting us in great situations to perform well on defense; that's all we ask."

Q: Did you know he would be this good?

Ogunleye: "I didn't know. I saw he had a strong arm, but I'm a fan of players once they play in the game and do the things on the field in the regular season. I didn't know what to expect. I'm just happy it's going the right way."

Q: Did you getting 10 sacks last season take care of the critics who had said you benefited in Miami from playing opposite Jason Taylor?

Ogunleye: "It was huge. Anybody, whether you're a schoolteacher or a garbage man, you don't want anyone else getting credit for things that you did and the hard work that you do. I think that was a little bit of a slap in the face looking back at it. I understand he's a helluva player, he deserves all the credit he gets, he busts his tail. I've seen him play and he's a great player; I'm glad that I was able to come to Chicago and prove a lot of the critics wrong and worry about this team and my play."

Q: Can you talk about the Arizona game and that amazing comeback you guys had?

Ogunleye: "That was a little bit of a scare, but good teams find a way to win. We did that. Good thing about Coach Smith is he doesn't change his attitude whether we play well or we play poorly. He's going to coach the same way he coaches, he's going to preach the things he continues to preach."

Q: Can you talk a little about Sunday's game?

Ogunleye: "Everybody knows in South Florida the No. 1 team I had on my schedule all offseason was Miami. I can't wait because of my friends to play against guys like Randy McMichael and Zach (Thomas). If you look at Miami's team, often they are probably one of the best skill-position teams. If we don't play our A game and if we make mistakes, they will beat us. The thing we have to understand is since we're undefeated, every team is going to give us their best shot. They're going to game-plan us very well, Miami, especially with the extra week. I know they're going to come with their best effort and some new wrinkles. We definitely have to be ready, and I think the whole team understands that."

Q: Can you talk about playing December games in Chicago after playing in Miami?

Ogunleye: "They're very different when you're winning. When we were 5-11, those games are the worst; when we were 11-5, I didn't feel the cold at all."

Q: How does it feel to know you were traded for two players (the third-round pick was used to selected LB Channing Crowder)?

Ogunleye: "I can tell my kids, 'Daddy got traded for two players one time in his career.' Crowder is a good player and he will hopefully be a Pro Bowl player soon."

Q: Have you begun thinking about the possibility of having a perfect season?

Ogunleye: "I'm not one of those guys who looks ahead. I take it one game at a time. If you try and go 16-0, before you know it, you lose three or four games."


Dolphins Report Top Stories