DeMeco Ryans Press Conference

Houston Texans linebacker DeMeco Ryans was named Defensive Rookie of the Year this week. Here's what he had to say to the media after learning that he had received the award.

(opening statement)
"Thank you all for being here. I would just like to say that I'm very proud of this award and this is a huge accomplishment this being my first year in the NFL. This is an outstanding award and I'm very proud of it. This is not only an individual award, but this is a team award. Without my teammates I wouldn't be sitting here in front of you today.  And those guys, they helped me out a lot, they took hold of my leadership out there on the field and they made my transition to the NFL a lot easier. This is just a little step that we're taking as an organization, as the Houston Texans, is moving forward toward being a great team. I'm happy to start this off by being the Defensive Rookie of the Year. It should be a lot more to come in the following years. and this is going to jump us off into next season with a great team that were going to build. We're planning to be a playoff team, and this is the start of our championship run here for the Houston Texans. I'm just proud to be here, proud to be a Houston Texan and I'm proud to have this award."

(on why things clicked so quickly for him)
"I think it's a credit to the coaches. I ended up in a good system. From Alabama, coming to here, we sort of had the same defensive scheme and everything just rolled around fine for me. The only thing I had a problem with at first was the terminology and communicating everything with the defense. Like I said, the guys weren't hard on me, they embraced me and they took me in and they helped me make the transition real smooth. And that's a credit to my teammates and my coaches for that."

(on what LB Johnny Holland has been like as a coach)
"Johnny's been great throughout first meeting Johnny from the Combine and coming here on Draft Day meeting Johnny. He started coaching me right then on Draft Day. He's coaching me about what position I need, what position I was going to be at, the calls that I was going to have to make. And he's just been an excellent coach. I haven't had too many coaches like Johnny. He's always himself, and he's a great coach; he's a great linebackers coach."

(Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
(on whether this is vindicating after being selected in the second round of the 2006 Draft)
"It does because now you look back at it and you say who was the best defensive rookie of the 2006 class -- and you'll see DeMeco Ryans there."

(on whether he was surprised)
"I wouldn't say I was surprised because my motto coming into the league was being the best. When you go out and you play so hard and you do things the right way, good things come your way. And that's what I did. I just stayed focused and just kept plugging, kept fighting to try and get the team better, and good things happened for me."

(on whether there is a bonus in his contract for being Rookie of the Year)
"I have to go back and look at it."

(on how this ranks in his football career)
"Right now, this is the top moment. Right now I'm in the highest level of football, the NFL, which everyone's drive is to get to the NFL and play with the best. And now that I'm here, and to be touted as being the top defensive rookie of the year is a huge honor for me."

(on his first thought when he found out)
"I was asleep in bed this morning, and (Texans Media Relation Director Kevin) Coop(er) called me. I woke up pretty quick when he said that I won Defensive Rookie of the Year. I started getting ready to come over today. I was happy."

(on whether he went back to sleep)
"Oh no, I had to get up and get my suit together."

(on what he needs to do to take him game to the next level)
"I think it's just a matter of me going out and getting better, building off of what I had this year, working with Coach Holland and Coach (Richard) Smith and just building off of what we have. Its going to be, for me, it's going to be being consistent week-in and week-out and becoming the leader of this team, not just the defensive unit but stepping up and being a real leader for our team."

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