Gardocki talks about signing with the Steelers

<b>Question: </b>Were you surprised how this all came about? <br><b>Gardocki: </b>I wouldn't say surprised, maybe at the beginning. But I've played against the Steelers for 13 years and I've played against coach Cowher for a long, long time. I'm real excited to be here and glad it all worked out.

Question: Were you surprised there were so many teams interested in a 34-year-old punter?
Gardocki: Sean Landeta is a little older than I am, so I feel relatively young. I know what I can do. I've been doing it for a long time and I have a lot of confidence in my ability and I've stayed healthy and stayed in shape and that's part of it.

Question: Were you surprised it was the Steelers? Cornerback and running back and offensive tackle were considered needs, but punter never came up.
Gardocki: I wasn't really concerned what their other needs were. Obviously they called me up and after I talked to coach Cowher, I was really excited to come here.

Question: Do you do something special in you technique that helps you to keep from getting punts blocked. It's almost 1,000 now.
Gardocki: I don't know if I do anything special, I just try to get the ball off as quickly as I can. The protection is what counts. If somebody comes up the middle, it's how fast you get it off.

Question: Tell us about the dynamics of going from one side of the rivalry to another and what you expect from that.
Gardocki: The NFL's the NFL. There's a rivalry every week. That's the fun part about it. When I was in Chicago, it was Green Bay. In Indianapolis, every time we went to Baltimore, it was nasty. That's just part of it. I'm on the right side of this now because I've been in three playoff games here and lost eveyr one of them.

Question: Are you going to have any hand gestures for Butch Davis when you play them?
Gardocki: You never know.

Question: Your agent seemed to think that incident helped land you here that it inspired Cowher to sign you.
Gardocki: When you're out there, you don't have any friends, I don't care who you're playing. You're trying to beat them and beat them good. That's football. In between the lines, people change personalities and you want to win. I'm a competitor and if you're not in this game to compete and win, you shouldn't be playing.

Question: Are you going to say anything to Joey Porter when you see him?
Gardocki: I'm going to hide from him. I think he got the best of me.

Question: Chris, we heard that you hold and also kick off. When did you hold and when did you kick off?
Gardocki: I've held for 13 years, my whole career. Kicking off was probably five years ago. I think Jeff is a real strong kid, so I don't expect to kick off.

Question: Anybody ever come close to blocking one?
Gardocki: Oh sure, every year.

Question: The specter or aura of kicking in Heinz Field kind of dissappeared last year. Did punters used to hate kicking at Heinz Field?
Gardocki: I kicked at Soldier Field for four years and there couldn't have been a worse place than that. I kicked here in the playoffs two years ago and it was pretty torn up, but that's part of it, playing in nasty weather in places like Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Chicago, New England. That should be to the home team's advantage.

Question: I don't remember you punting a whole lot in that game.
Gardocki: No. But I've had my share of punting in nasty weather.

Question: You have some ties to some Steelers coaches. Was that a factor in getting you here?
Gardocki: Coach Spencer was my special teams coach in Indianapolis and I talked to him and I talked to coach Whisenhunt as well. He was my special teams coach in Cleveland when I first got to Cleveland. That played in my mind. And obviously, the call from coach Cowher made a big influence.

Question: Are they going to want you to be the holder here?
Gardocki: I'm pretty sure, yes. Tommy's been really good, but knowing all the quarterbacks in the past who have been backup holders, they always hated to do it. Jeff and I are together in practice, so we can work during practice instead of just five or six during practice.

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