Ed Thompson: What was going through your head as you reported for work for the New Orleans Saints?
Chip Vaughn: My first day on the job, I knew I would come into the whole situation blind. So I was trying to figure out how do I approach this whole business. We had rookie camp that started in May, and it was pretty tough. They pushed us real hard, but the coaches teach here, they don't just tell you what your assignment is. They coach you up to be a good football player. So I'm in a great situation.
Thompson: What's it like being a rookie around the veterans on this team?
Vaughn: I'm definitely getting the whole rookie treatment from all the older players. Being a rookie is like being a freshman in college, trying to fit in all over again. You know, they definitely try to reiterate as much as possible that you are a rookie. Anytime they got a chance they'll do it -- from making little sidebar comments, or having you go get water and Gatorade for the whole room, or picking up somebody's helmet or jersey and stuff like that. So they definitely let you know your place.
Chip Vaughn playing for Wake Forest.
Doug Benc/Getty Images
Thompson: (laughs) Well I know you're a good-natured guy, so I 'm sure they appreciate that about you.
Vaughn: Yeah, I hope so.
Thompson: How's the Saints' defensive playbook and scheme compared to what you had at Wake Forest?
Vaughn: You know, it's a lot of the same concepts, so adjusting to the playbook has been very easy for me.
Thompson: During the first practice of rookie minicamp, linebacker Stanley Arnoux ruptured his left Achilles tendon and was lost for the year. Since you and Stanley were both drafted this year out of Wake Forest, that had to be a devastating blow for you as well.
Vaughn: Stanley is a great friend, so when Stanley got hurt it was kind of like I got hurt, too. Now for this whole season, I have to play for me and Stan. But Stan's doing real good in his rehab, he's almost off of his crutches. So he's definitely progressing well so far. He's still down here with us, and it seems like the only thing he doesn't do is practice. He's in there watching film, meetings, rehab, all that stuff.
Thompson: I've heard that the team has you initially slotted to play free safety. If that sticks, tell the fans how your skill set is going to help you be effective from that position in the Saints defense.
Vaughn: It's going to help me and help the team utilize my speed. I'm very fast and quick, so playing free safety lets me showcase that. It doesn't put me inside a box where I'm constrained to only tackle people. So the team can see the range that I have that will help me get more interceptions and to be a force back there.
Thompson: You're in the safety mix with guys like Roman Harper, Darren Sharper, and Usama Young. Any of them in particular reaching out to you to help you adjust to the pro game?
Vaughn: All of them are. We just kind of clicked all at once. Roman is a very cool guy, Darren Sharper is extremely knowledgeable of the game. Usama and me are very close in age, so we talk about getting adjusted to life in the league and things like that. So, I'm very blessed to be in the situation that I'm in now.
Thompson: I know you like to play video games. Have you found some guys on the team that you've started playing against on a regular basis?
Vaughn: Oh yeah, me and the rest of the rookies, anytime we have some down time, we usually stay in the hotel and play Playstation all day.
Thompson: What are you playing?
Vaughn: NBA 2K9. That's the game that a lot of people are playing right now. We're about to go get Fight Night 4 when that comes out.
Thompson: So are you cleaning up? Or are they pretty competitive guys?
Vaughn: No, they're pretty competitive. Trash-talking started to pick up the past few days, so it's been very competitive. These guys hate to lose.
Thompson: (laughs) I noticed an account on Twitter named Chip Vaughn. Is that really you?
Vaughn: Yeah, that's me.
Thompson: And I saw you had a website up at chipvaughn.com...
Vaughn: Yep, its up there. As soon as I get some more pictures and stuff like that, its going to be updated more.
Thompson: Has anything about your rookie experience so far surprised you?
Vaughn: Right now the only thing that surprises me is just the level of commitment and dedication that a lot of these players have. This is a very serious business. The NFL is a man's league. It's not like college, guys got families to support, wives and kids. Everybody's got bills to pay. So, they take it very seriously.
Thompson: I know it's hard work and a job, but is this as much fun as you expected it be?
Vaughn: Oh yeah, it's all fun. You know, everyday I go to work I just have a blast.
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