Aaron Brooks Q&A

Aaron Brooks was the Raiders biggest free agent acquisition this past offseason and is expected to be Oakland's starting quarterback to open the year. Brooks suffered through arguably his toughest NFL season in 2005, losing his starting job while also enduring the wrath of Hurricane Katrina while playing for New Orleans. He recently spoke about both situations and about joining the Raiders:

What are your initial thoughts about playing in Oakland? Aaron Brooks: I'm very excited to be here. I'm very excited to be working with Art Shell (and) very excited to have an opportunity to throw the ball to arguably the best receiver in the game today and the guys around him who are so good also. It's almost like a dream come true. It's a perfect situation. I wouldn't trade it for the world. I'm just very happy to be a Raider right now. I don't know if you realize what it's like for a player to come in from another organization and be part of the Raider Nation. It's just a wonderful feeling, man, being here. I'm just soaking it in. I don't want to get too excited about it. There's a lot of work to be done.

How tough was that last year with Katrina and not having a home stadium?

Aaron Brooks: Yeah, it was tough. It was extremely difficult, frustrating, even at times irritable. It's something we all went through. We got through it. It's a new year. Hopefully nothing like that happens again in the city, or in the country anyway. I wouldn't wish that on nobody. It's a thing of the past now and we're just moving on.

What is the best asset you bring to the offense?

Aaron Brooks: I bring a lot of energy. I bring a lot of mobility. My leadership qualities carryover. I'm good with hands-on communication. My skills speak for themselves. The communication factor from player to player and player to coach is probably one of my best attributes. A team like this needs that.

What happened last season in New Orleans when you were benched?

Aaron Brooks: I didn't feel as if things were going in the best direction for me as a quarterback who had been leading the team for over six years. The things I've been able to accomplish with the organization, I felt like the team wasn't trying to make moves to further our ability or further our advancement in regular season play or to get into the postseason. Once I felt that I started to realize and started putting two and two together that maybe I'm not going to be here and this is not the team I'm going to be with for the rest of my career. I accepted that and wanted to wish the best to Todd Bauman and move on.

It wasn't about things you said about the owner and commissioner?

Aaron Brooks: I don't know. I don't know. It's over with. We had three games left. If that's their decision, I'm fine with it. They did what they felt was best for the organization. I'm moving on. I'm glad to be a Raider. New Orleans is New Orleans and it's back there in the past. The only thing I've got left there is a lot of memories, a lot of friends, teammates and a house that I'm trying to sell.

Do you feel the quarterback job is yours to lose?

Aaron Brooks: I come in thinking I'm going to have to compete anyway. Nothing is given. With that mindset I'm going to continue go out there and work this hard and let the coaches make that decision.

Do you remember playing against Randy Moss in Minnesota?

Aaron Brooks: I actually thought about that. I said 'Man, I remember the games we played against Minnesota almost every year and Randy torched us.' Being a quarterback and being on the same team and in the same offense as he is, it just brings a smile to your face because he can make the weakest quarterback the best. To have an opportunity to play with a receiver who's as talented as he is, you've just got to embrace it and try to do everything you can to get him the ball but not try to overdo it.

Do you have anything to prove?

Aaron Brooks: You know how it is: 'What have you done for me lately type thing.' I can't worry about that. I feel like the league and the media have been trying to wash me away for years. The more I do and the more I try to be successful, which I'm already successful, the more I get tied back down. That's part of the game. I don't have anything else to prove. I'm a polished vet. I've thrown for 20,000 yards passing and over 100 touchdowns. Come on, I'm a vet. I understand what's going on. I'm in a new place, a new opportunity, a great system, great coaches. I don't have to prove anything. I've got to play football the way Aaron Brooks knows how.


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