Q&A with Gary Baxter

Editor's note: Gary Baxter is the Ravens' new starting cornerback after being drafted in the second round by the club with the 62nd overall selection of the 2001 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-2, 204-pounder from Baylor is shifting to cornerback as the replacement for departed starter Duane Starks.

Baxter is making the transition back to his college position after having a limited season as a rookie safety due to injuries.

He collected eight special teams tackles after being inactive for the first eight games because of a sprained knee suffered in training camp.

In college, Baxter finished with 204 career tackles, six interceptions and a school-record 50 pass deflections. He was named All-Big 12 Conference three times and was a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award.

As a senior, Baxter led the Bears with 96 tackles, including three tackles for losses, 11 pass deflections and two forced fumbles. Baxter blocked four kicks in college.

In high school, Baxter was a blue-chip recruit who was offered a scholarship by Florida State and several other football powers.

Baxter used to sing in his church choir and studied fashion design at Baylor. Here is a transcript of the interview:

Ravens Insider: "Do you feel like you've returned home with this position shift?"

Baxter: "I feel more comfortable back at corner because that's where I played all four years of college. I never got used to the transition of playing safety in the NFL. It was a tough transition for me to make."

Ravens Insider: "How would you describe your style of play?"

Baxter: "I'm all about press coverage, being physical with the receivers. In this defense, I get to do a whole lot of things that I think are to our advantage. With me and Chris McAlister being such big cornerbacks, we're going to be rough with receivers and press that advantage."

Ravens Insider: "Do you feel a lot of pressure on you as a new starter to produce?"

 Baxter: "I feel pretty comfortable with it. This is what I've been looking forward to my whole life. I've always wanted to be a starter in the NFL.

"As long as I can do my thing and be a key player, there's no pressure. I feel like this is a great opportunity to be a starter and contribute to this team."

Ravens Insider: "I understand you did some different things as far as speed training during the off-season by running with a parachute attached to your waist and with the use of bungee cords for resistance. How much faster are you?"

Baxter: "I'm running a whole lot faster, about a 4.3, 4.4. I'm in great shape being 206-207 pounds. I can carry my weight a whole lot better in my pads.

"I did everything I could. I did some really tough training, and it's paying off. I'm not tired, physically or mentally."

Ravens Insider: "How much do you expect quarterbacks and receivers to test you out as the new kid out on that island and see what you've got?"

Baxter: "It will be challenging. I expect that. I have something in mind that they're going to come after me.

"They're going to catch a ball or two on me, but they're not going to have a field day."

Ravens Insider: "Anything new with your singing in the choir or the clothing line you mentioned wanting to start last year?"

Baxter: "I don't sing in the choir much anymore. With this voice, if I have to go back and sing in the choir then I'm in the wrong profession.

"I haven't done anything with the fashion design stuff, probably in two more years. Right now, I'm just trying to establish myself as an NFL cornerback."

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