Butler, Karney Press Conference Transcript

The Rams introduced James Butler and Mike Karney to the media Wednesday afternoon. Butler talked about how much having Coach Steve Spagnuolo here affected his decision in choosing the Rams and if he thinks he can bring the winning mentality to the team, and Karney talked about what makes the Rams a good fit for him.

Press Conference:

S James Butler
FB Mike Karney

March 11, 2009

(Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo: Opening Remarks)
"I'm real excited about the two players that we're going to talk about today. As always though, none of this gets done else we have great support and commitment at the top, so I want to thank ownership. This really doesn't happen unless we have expertise and hard-working people behind the scenes and that's where (General Manager) Billy (Devaney) and (Executive Vice President of Football Operations/Chief Operating Officer) Kevin (Demoff) come into play and they were terrific, so I thank them as well. You all know my relationship with (S) James (Butler) goes way back and it's a special one and I'm delighted that he's a part of us. His knowledge of the scheme, his experience as a starter and his character in the locker room, in my opinion, will go a long ways, so we're excited about James and feel real fortunate that (FB) Mike (Karney) was available to us. He's exactly what we were looking for in a fullback. It only took me five minutes in meeting him to realize he was exactly the kind of guy that we wanted. He's a committed football player, classy and he's full of character and a team guy. Now, I have to thank Kim (Karney's wife) personally, for allowing Mike to come here and visit on basically his honeymoon. Mike and Kim were married on Friday and I just think that was terrific. So a special bonus, we get Kim in the family as well. I'm going to let you talk with these two guys. We're really excited about both of them."

(James Butler: On how much having Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo here affected his decision in choosing the Rams)
"I think it was the biggest part of the decision. Coach ‘Spags' gave me my first opportunity to be a starter in the league and he helped my career grow, so I felt that I wanted to go along with him with the Rams."

(On if this deal was close to happening for a while or was he talking to other teams)
"I was talking to other teams, but in the back of mind, I was going to be here. We just had to work things out. It just took a little longer than expected, but everything worked out for the best and I'm excited. I'm excited about the path about to be taken with the Rams."

(On if he told his agent this was were he wanted to end up)
"Oh definitely, from the beginning when Coach ‘Spags' gave me a call I knew that I wanted to be here. It's the best opportunity for me and I'm excited."

(On how much lobbying CB Tye Hill, S Oshiomogho Atogwe and CB Ron Bartell did during this process)
"I tell you what, I think Coach ‘Spags' had to text them or something to tell them to keep calling me because I got about 1,000 texts from Tye, O.J. and Ron saying, "Are you coming? Are you coming? Are you signed yet?" So, they definitely were texting me. I worked out with them a lot in Atlanta, so we have a little camaraderie together, so it should be fun."

(On if the other players lobbying for him made a difference in his decision)
"Definitely, it did a little bit, but Coach ‘Spags' and Mrs.‘Spags' were the biggest part of it."

(Mike Karney: On what makes the Rams a good fit for him)
"It's a great fit, just in meeting with Coach last night and the running backs coach and Billy Devaney, what they're going to bring here when it comes to not just using my position, but what they're going to do with the run game. That was a big part. I'm just really excited about it. I'm going to an opportunity to block for another great back in (RB) Steven Jackson."

(On him being excited about the prospect of playing for the Arizona Cardinals)
"That was all speculation. My first thought was to be here, to come here. Once I met Coach Spagnuolo I was ready to make the decision. He's a first-class guy. I'm really excited to play for him."

(On if it's true that the New Orleans Saints called him on the way to his rehearsal dinner)
"Yeah, unfortunately. That's the business, unfortunately, but here I am. It's all about getting another opportunity and one door closes and another one opens and I'm excited about this opportunity."

(On if the call from the Saints ruined the rehearsal dinner)
"Not at all. We had to just move on from that and focus on the wedding, which we did."

(On how quickly the Rams contacted him after his release)
"I believe it was Saturday that I got the call from my agent that they wanted to bring me in this week. So, I talked to my wife and she said let's do it, we have to do it. So here we are."

(James Butler: On if he thinks he can bring the winning mentality to the Rams)
"Well, I think it's a mindset and an attitude. It all starts from the top. Just being around Coach ‘Spags' the past two years, the four years I was with the Giants, those first few years the defense didn't do well, but Coach ‘Spags' came with a different mindset, an aggressive mindset and we bought into it. And that mindset is definitely going to come here and it's going to be a winning mindset."

(On Coach Spagnuolo from a player's perspective)
"I think he's a player's coach. He's not one of those guys that is going to holler at you. He's going to come to the side when you're not playing well and he's going to say, look we want you to get this done, we want you to get this done and he's not going to embarrass you. I think that's the biggest thing, being a player's coach and also being tight on the guys when he needs to be. I think those are his biggest assets."

(On what his role will be, given his previous experience in the defensive system)
"Being in the system for two years, I'm definitely going to make a lot of calls and make sure that all the DBs (defensive backs) are comfortable with the defense and just going to go out there and play. Once the call is made, I'm just going to go out there and play and have fun and that's what it's all about."

(James Butler: On what he sees in the potential of the secondary)
"Man, I am very excited. We have a lot of young players and they're fast. I might be the slowest one out of the bunch. I might have to start working on my 40s or something. It's very exciting. We have O.J., he's been having a lot of interceptions the past two years. Ron Bartell, his arrow is definitely going up. Even Tye Hill, his mindset. He's working hard coming off an injury, but he's excited. So, we're definitely going up."

(On his relationship with Tye Hill)
"We're definitely business partners. I hung out with him yesterday. We were just riding around seeing what's going on in St. Louis. It's a good relationship and we talk about a lot of things on the business side and off the field, so it's a good relationship. I think it's a good fit here with the Rams."

(On what type of business he is in with Hill)
"It's the Golden Corral, the one in (Centerville), Georgia. So, if you're ever in Georgia, give me a call and let me know. All-you-can-eat, good southern comfort food."

(On how he describes his playing style)
"My game, I'm definitely that guy that's going to get everybody lined up. Besides that, you have to be smart, you have to do all that to play in the league, but I think I play the game the right way. I approach practice the right way. I just try to roll those sleeves back and play hard."

(On if he enjoys playing in the box and covering the run)
"I like to do it all. In ‘Spags' system, you have cover, you have to be in box, you have to do it all. Both positions are interchangeable, so it's exciting."

(Mike Karney: On if he was surprised when the Saints released him or was he expecting it)
"Yes and no. It kind of hurt a little bit and we investigated it and eventually it came true, but it is what it is. I had a great five years in New Orleans and they wanted to go in a different direction and that allowed me to be where I'm at today. So, it's all about the next opportunity, the next chance. I'm happy that it's here in St. Louis."

(On how often he replays the game when he scored three touchdowns)
"Not so much in the last couple years. That was a freak deal, that's not what fullbacks are supposed to do, but that night I got the ball a little bit more than normal. But I know what my position is all about, I know what it stands for. I know what my approach is, my mindset is and I know I'm here to block and get it done for our offense in any way, shape or form. That's run blocking, that's picking up blitzes that's whatever that may be. That's what I'm here to do."

(James Butler: On the experience of leading the Giants with a team-high 10 tackles in Super Bowl XLII)
"I tell you what, that's one of the best experiences of my life to play at the highest level of professional football and just win. Just to win as a team, it really wasn't about the personal things, but just to win as a team and the way we won was the biggest thing and that's what I remember."

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