Before They Were Pros: LB Michael Mauti

Even at the NFL Scouting Combine, Michael Mauti was certain he would be ready for training camp. Mauti talked about his recovery then, trying to influence the decision makers, the Penn State scandal, his father's playing days and more.

On the results of tests on his surgically repaired knee at the combine …
"I actually don't know the results. I'll find out over the next several months."

On the recovery schedule …
"I've done this before. I know where I'm supposed to be at at certain times … There's no doubt in my mind I'll be able to play at the same level again."

On why he sent a hand-written letter to all 32 teams …
"I wanted them to kind of hear from the horse's mouth, where my mindset was and what I plan on doing. There's a lot of rumors flying around, a lot of misinformation. We just wanted them to hear from me, and where my mind is at about getting back … I was going to put myself in a situation to be healthy and play in the fall. … I got some good feedback."

On if he will be healthy for training camp …
"Yes."

On if he is positive …
"Positive."

On the surgery …
"It's just a matter of letting the process take its place … everybody can see it with their own eyes (here at the combine). That way, there's not all the speculation and things like that."

On which teams have interviewed him …
"Most of the teams. There's been a lot. I sat there for about six hours yesterday, just going from table to table. It's been a long process."

On how much they have inquired about the knee …
"I think people understand that I've responded to an injury like this. Last year I was coming off an ACL, I had an All-American season, so I've proven I can do that."

On coming through Penn State scandal …
"In one of the most unprecedented circumstances, we had a group of guys, our senior class in particular, who just bought into what we were saying and our message, that we can take it as opportunity, do something special with the season … A lot of guys bought into that. We had a great leader in Coach O'Brien."

On the combine experience being more difficult for guys who aren't self-promoters …
"It is a little out of my element, I'll admit that. Just like anything, you've got to get used to it. You've got to adapt or die, you know? It's one of those things. I'm always a humble person; (John Simon) is too. He's also rehabbing an injury. We've kind of shared that experience a little bit."

On whether the Penn State sanctions were fair …
"I don't think my opinion really matters on the subject, but it doesn't seem legal to me. I don't know if it's fair, but it doesn't seem legal."

On what he learned from Bill O'Brien …
"More than I could ever imagine … how things work in the NFL. How a brilliant pro offense works in different scenarios, different situations. How to play good defense in different games, stuff like that. Matchup issues. So much about football and just about organization and running a program, as well as being a great guy to be around in the locker room, just an awesome person."

On his "James Harrison" play …
"Oh, yeah. It's because I didn't score … you gotta score. There's no excuse. You go 99.5, you've gotta get it in the end zone. I didn't realize we were out of time. I thought OK, we'll punch it in. I was going to ask if I could go play running back if we had more time to punch it in, but we didn't have any time."

On the percentage of his left knee …
"I wouldn't try to put a number on it … in this equation, I don't want to put a number on it."

On Sean Lee being an inspiration …
"Absolutely. Me and Sean are close. We spent a lot of time together when he was playing (at Penn State), I learned a lot from him about football, and just the kind of leader he was. I talked to him this week about what to expect from the combine process and things like that."

On what Lee said about having to overcome the injury stigma …
"He talked about being yourself. That's what got you to this point, not making any changes now, trying to do something else. The medical eval, that's going to be what it is. You can't really change that. The rest is just selling what you are, and being who you are."

On the type of player his father was …
"He was just kamikaze. He was just flying around on special teams. He'd throw his body into people. That kind of mindset's what I learned from. You play this game like your hair's on fire. That's the way I always learned it."


Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

Viking Update Top Stories