"Actually, it feels good. It's a bit of a climate change, but it's well worth it."
It seemed like you were going to finish your career in Pittsburgh. Why do you think it didn't work out?
"I'd like to start off saying I appreciate Mr. (Wayne) Huizenga giving me a chance to come here to Miami. Pittsburgh was good. I had a great eight years there. That was the start of my career. I had something special there. It was one of those situations where it was time to move on. They were heading in a different direction. Obviously, I wasn't part of that plan, so I came here to Miami to help this team get to a championship. Hopefully, I can come over here and bring my part to this puzzle. It looks like it's already put together. I'm just coming here to help."
How much will it help to have Jason Taylor on the other side of you?
"It's good. When I was talking to the coaches, I knew Dom Capers was over here already. Having the opportunity to play on the other side of Jason Taylor, I feel, will be good. I played with him before at the Pro Bowl, and I already was a fan of him and Zach (Thomas). I knew they already had a great defense over here already. I just wanted to be a part of it."
They've been releasing a lot of players here; how did they sell you on what they're doing here and what their plan?
"It wasn't that hard. I feel like they already had a lot of pieces to the puzzle already. They've been playing good defense over here for a long time. Just me having the opportunity to get over here, I felt like it would have been a good situation for me. It didn't take a lot of convincing."
You weren't on the market a long time, you didn't make any other visits. What sealed the deal on getting you to Miami?
"They were eager to get something done, and when I looked at the situation, I didn't look at like they were rebuilding. It looked like they were trying to put a championship team together. For the most part, they already were a good football team -- a couple of pieces away. Hopefully, I can be a part of the puzzle to help this thing get going. But like I said, the foundation's already been here. I'm just coming to help."
How much did it impress you that they flew out to Bakersfield, Calif., to see you?
"I knew they were serious. They came all the way out to Bakersfield to see me. It wasn't a little plane. It was a 737. Our airport doesn't ever see those. That right there said they were serious. Mr. H flew in the plane, and I'm looking for a whole lot of people to get off the plane and I see two guys get off this big 737. You use that type of gas for an airplane to come out there, you've got to be serious. They weren't going to waste their gas to come out there and visit me for nothing, so I knew we were heading in the right direction when I got the visit."
What do you say to the critics who say you're slowing down?
"They have to have something to write. It doesn't bother me at all. I know what I can do. In the reality of it, you put me in a situation (where) I do my job, I can do my job well. The reality of last year, our whole season last year, the team … we just didn't get it done. We didn't play well enough to be successful. I think as a whole team, we never had that many third downs, we never were ahead of a team to get after a quarterback like we normally would.
"As far as my play, my play will be there. I'm not worried about it. They look at it as a down year, we had a whole down year as a team. We all failed to get the job that we wanted to get done. I feel like I can still play this game at a Pro Bowl level, and that's the type of player I am."
Have you had a chance to talk to Jason, Zach, or Channing Crowder?
"I just got through hanging out hanging out with Jason right now. Like I said, I played with him and Zach at the Pro Bowl. Since I've been watching them play football, I already was a fan. I felt like it would be an honor to get over here and line up on the other side of them and start Phase II of my football career here in Miami."
Bill Cowher has said you are a fiery, intense kind of player he loved having. Then, there was a story where the players voted you the second-dirtiest player in the league. Describe the type of player that you are?
"I play with a lot of emotion. I like to leave it out there on the football field. I say what's on my mind, I say how I feel. Sometimes, it might not be at the right time, and everybody can't digest it like it comes out. But I speak the truth. I feel like I'm pretty much a straight shooter. I'm not going to sugar-coat nothing. I'm going to call a spade a spade, and I'm going to play. So if I say something, I meant it. I'm not going to get up here and apologize the next day because over something I said, because if I said it that day, pretty much that's how I felt.
"I play football. Football is football. No matter where I'm at, I still know how to play the game of football. I just leave it out there on the field when I'm playing."
So … you would say you're not dirty?
"No, not dirty. (Laughs) I haven't been in trouble for doing anything dirty. I play between the whistle. I mean, they probably take dirty as me being mouthy or something like that. They probably can't handle it. But I'm not the 15-yard penalty guy, every other play. That's not me."
Did you go after Ray Lewis on the team bus?
"No, no. See, stuff like that … that's just talk. I'm going to go on their team bus, by myself, and want to fight. I mean, just think about it. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to walk on another bus, looking for a fight. I can't win that fight (laughs).
"And part two of that story, they said Art Modell broke us up. Now, do you think Art Modell can break up a real fight? You have to know from the beginning that story was fraudulent."
What kind of issues do you think you'll have making the transition?
"Just walking into a new locker room, getting accepted by all the new teammates. That's always different. I feel like a rookie again, from that aspect. But it's good when you know a couple of players already, that you know before. They pretty much know what to expect out of me and I know what to expect out of them. After that part of it, it's back to just playing football."
How thrilling is it for you to be in Dom Capers' 3-4 system?
"I think it's good for me and my career, because I don't have to do too much of a change. But I was ready to do whatever it is they asked of me. It just so happens that Dom Capers was here in Miami and he comes from the 3-4 defense. I think that should be an easy transition. It's not like I'm restarting and learning a whole new defense. It's some of the stuff that I've already been doing, so I'm looking forward to that."
Did you work with Dom at all in that offseason, before he went to the Texans?
"Nah, he was already out of Pittsburgh by then. But at the same time, I had the guy that helped the defense together with him -- Coach (Dick) LeBeau. They were together. They have the same terminology, same schemes. I talked to Dom Capers earlier today and he was fired up about it, because he was going over some of the defense and it was the same stuff that I remember in Pittsburgh. I should pick it up fairly easy."
Do you think you have a softer side that no one knows about?
"It's what they want to report. They don't want to see that. They want to see the guy that goes crazy out there on the football field, getting in fights before the game and stuff like that. That's what they want to report. That's what sells papers. They don't want to hear about Joey, the family man with four kids and stuff like that.
"My whole time in Pittsburgh, I think that I was looked at as a leader over there, a guy that kept the team together -- in all different aspects. And I feel that's one of the aspects I bring to any team. I'm a people person. I get along with anybody. If you sit down with me long enough, you'll understand that I'm a guy that you don't mind having around. I'll laugh with you, I'll joke with you, I'll play with you -- I'll do the whole thing.
"When I'm out there on the football field, you have to take it like you have to take it. It's a game. … I don't ever want to let my teammates down. So, from that aspect, I'm ready to go the extra mile, whatever it takes to win the game. Me playing edgy and fiery, if that gets in some people's way, then that's just something we'll all have to deal with because that's how I play the game."
If Bill Cowher were still the coach in Pittsburgh, do you think you would still be a Steeler?
"I would like to say he would have made an effort to get something done over there. I just feel that way. But at the same time, you know what? This was a blessing in disguise for me. Me having an opportunity to come play here in Miami, I think it's going to be a perfect fit. I'm excited about the transition.
"I did Pittsburgh for eight years. I played college at Colorado State for four years, so I did the cold weather thing for 12 years. I feel like I deserve a little sunshine and a change of atmosphere. I'm fired up about it."
What does J-Peezy mean?
"That's just my nickname. In due time, you'll all be calling me J-Peezy. So don't even worry about it."
Where does it come from? What does it mean?
"It's my childhood nickname. It's just JP for short, just put the peezy on it, because we keep everything easy."
You mentioned earlier you had a choice between a few teams and you felt like the Dolphins were the closest to winning a championship. Can you expound on that?
"When I met Coach Cam and Randy Mueller, their whole thing was, ‘Don't think that we're rebuilding. We're trying to win a championship now. We're not going to make this a five-, six-year down-the-line process. We're trying to come in and win a championship now.' We talked to them for a day, and the deal was done. There was no back-and-forth, back-and-forth. I met with them one day, they flew back. The next morning, it was pretty much over with.
"It don't get any faster than that. It looked like they were headed in the right direction. I went up and met the offensive staff and the defensive staff and it's a room full of all-stars. Every last one of those guys has been a head coach, or a defensive coordinator, or an offensive coordinator for some ball club before. I ran across each last one of them before, coaching on the other side. I don't see the reason why we shouldn't be pushing for a championship."
Take us through the interview process. Can you talk about the developments on Monday?
"I got a call from my agent. He was like, ‘They're thinking about flying in, in the morning.' And he called back and said, ‘OK, they are going to fly back in the morning.' I go to the hanger, they're flying into Mercury Airport and they said they were going to be there at nine o'clock. So, I get there at nine o'clock and I asked the little guy that was there waiting for the planes, ‘Has a plane came in? A small jet?' He was like, ‘No, a 737 came in.' I was like well, it's probably not them, because it's only two people.
"Coach Cam and Randy Mueller come off the plane. I was like, ‘Man.' I'd never seen a plane that big fly into a little airport. They came in, we talked football a little bit. We got a chance to meet each other, feel each other out, and I walked away from the interview feeling like it was a good interview. You know how you just walk away from situations and feel like it went good? I called my agent and I was like, ‘Man, it went good.' Obviously, it did go well. The next day (my agent) said we had something done, so now I'm here."
What do you say to those quarterbacks who are going to have sleepless nights thinking about JT on one side and you on the other?
"Oh man, we have a lot of time to get ready for that. Right now, I'm just trying to enjoy the weather, enjoy my first couple of days in Miami and try to get acquainted to this weather and everybody, meeting the whole staff and everything. Me and Jason will have time to get after those quarterbacks."
So, no trash talking yet?
"It's too early. I mean, I could do a lot of trash talking, but I'm not playing against nobody. I haven't even practiced yet. I have time. In due time, it will come."
Where did you meet Cameron and Mueller? Did you go back to your house?
"We met right there in the hangar. It was simple. They got off the plane, they had a little private room. We met for an hour. I got to go on the plane. I looked around and I was shocked by how it looked inside. I met Mr. Mueller's family. After that, I got off and they were leaving. I called my agent and like I said, a day later everything had happened."