Ed Thompson: How would you characterize your experience this week?
Tracy Porter: Most guys have their experiences, but I'd say my experience has been fun and exciting. Though it's a job interview — you're interviewing for different teams, you're going out there and playing to your best ability — the whole point in achieving all of those things, in my eyes, is you have to have fun. If you don't relax and have fun, if you're tense in front of the scouts, or coaches or GMs, how are you going to play for them on Sundays? So I just go out here and relax, listen to what the coach tells me. But I just try to relax and have a good time and let everything take care of itself. In my eyes, either a team wants you and they know they want you, or they don't. So what's the worst that can happen? They don't draft you.
Thompson: It sounds like you're keeping everything in perspective...
Porter: Oh yeah, I just use the concepts we used at Indiana. You're playing in front of 55,000 to 80,000 people. If you don't relax and have fun, you're going to be tense during the whole game and won't be able to perform the way you know you can perform. I just come out here each and every day with a smile on my face, talking "yes sir, no sir" to the coaches and try to relax and have fun.
Thompson: To be successful at the pro level, what skills do you think you already have? And what skills do you need to work on?
Porter: The things I have now are the hard work that I put in to becoming a good player. I have good speed to keep up with those quicker guys and I have the ball skills as well to catch the ball away from my body and guard defenders. The little things I may need to brush up on, maybe getting off a block in time enough to make a tackle. But that's definitely something I'm improving on and something I know I'll do better by the time I report to training camp.
Tracy Porter breaks up a pass intended for Oklahoma State's Adarius Bowman in the Insight Bowl.
AP Photo/Paul Connors
Thompson: What are you going to be doing between the Senior Bowl and Combine to prepare for that?
Porter: Aside from being enrolled in 18 credit-hours and going to school, I'm also training at St. Vincent's Sporting Performance in Indianapolis.
Thompson: What is it you want teams to know about you as a person?
Porter: First off that I'm all about finishing what I start. They say most guys, by now, have either dropped out or are taking online courses. For one, I'm still enrolled, still going to classes on campus each and every day. So right off the bat they should know that I'm always going to finish everything that I start. Another thing they should know is that I'm a coachable kid and there's nothing in my background history, no arrests or anything. Another thing is I'm all about winning. But at the same time I want to have fun when I win. I know it's a business and you have to take things seriously, but at the same time it's football so you should relax and have fun and the wins will come.
Thompson: With you going to school in Indiana, would the Colts be a team that you think would be a lot of fun to play for?
Porter: Any team in the National Football League would be a good team to play for, but the Colts, they have a winning history with coach Tony Dungy and those guys. He does a great job in preparing his players. But any team in the National Football League that calls my name on draft day, I'll be more than happy to play for them.
Thompson: Who are some of the teams you've talked to already?
Porter: The Seahawks, the Vikings. I talked to the Broncos, Green Bay Packers, the Saints in my hometown. The Jets ... I've talked to quite a few teams.
Thompson: Is it really settling in that your dream of playing in the NFL is really going to happen now that you're here in Mobile?
Porter: It's like a dream come true for me. I'm sitting here — who would expect a kid with two years of high school football, thinking he was a basketball player, would be sitting at the Senior Bowl talking to an NFL team and auditioning for potential employment with those guys? It's all a dream come true and it's all a fun experience for me.
Thompson: Is there anything you'd like to say to the Indiana fans who will be watching you play on Saturday?
Porter: For one thing, it's all about putting Indiana football back on the map. I definitely think, as a team, that we've done it. And individually, by me coming to the Senior Bowl, putting Indiana football back on the map is something huge that we've wanted to do for a long time. We made it to our bowl game, we're excited about that, and here I am. I told the guys on NFL Network today when they were watching me stretch, that there are in fact football players in Indiana. The Hoosiers are back on the map, and just like every Hoosier says at the end of what they're saying ... Go Hoosiers!