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10 March 2016

Transcript: Guard J.R. Sweezy Free Agency Media Availability (3/10/16)

(On the process of free agency)
“It’s been a little stressful, honestly. Just the whole process in general, figuring out where my next home was going to be, where I could pursue my career, begin another championship team somewhere, and my journey has led here and this is where I’m supposed to be. I’m excited to get started.”
(On reason for leaving Seattle to come to Tampa Bay)
“Again, I feel like God had a plan for me and the plan led me here and it just feels right and I’m excited to work with everyone here in the organization. Things are heading the right way here and it’s just fun to become part of it. Everyone I’ve talked to says we are on the brink of something special here. When you have multiple guys talking about it, it’s real, something’s going on here. It’s something I want to be a part of and I’m just ready to get started.”
(On if talking to any particular person on Tampa Bay’s roster helped to sell the team)
“I’ve talked to a couple of guys. I’ve talked to Mike Glennon, I texted with Jameis a few times, and Joe [Hawley], I’ve texted Joe a few times, and it’s just the same message. Everybody loves it here, everybody is excited to come to work and that’s exactly what I want to be a part of.”
(On what his priorities were entering free agency)
“I wanted to go somewhere to be valued and to be a part of something special. Again, it keeps coming to that, but it’s true. The way that I felt and the way that I was pulled – this is where I feel like I’m supposed to be and I’m excited to start. I’m excited to be a Buc.”
(On what he has heard about the position he will play)
“As far as I know, I will be playing left guard which I’m OK with. In my younger days, I may have not been able to do it. Switching from D-line to O-line was enough. Being right-hand dominant, it was easier to start with the right, but now after playing it for four years and finally understanding and being comfortable with the position, I feel fully comfortable in being able to play left.”
(On Seattle offensive line coach and assistant head coach Tom Cable’s positive comments about him)
“I have a lot of respect for Tom Cable. I respect everything he’s done for me in giving me the opportunity to become an offensive lineman, to be able to put myself in the situation I’m in today. For him to be able to say those things, he really doesn’t beat around the bush. When he says things he means them and I take it to heart. I enjoyed my time with him. We talked and we parted ways on good terms and we’re still friends, we’ll still be in contact and I appreciate everything he’s done for me I really do.”
(On how the transition from right to left guard will compare to the transition from offensive to defensive line)
“I don’t think it will be as hard as switching from D-line to O-line, but there will be some nuances and what-not. I’ve already been kind of working on it – mental reps and what not in my head. Again, I’m just excited to be here in this opportunity, to be a part of something special and to help this team win any way I can.”
(On if he watched recently retired Tampa Bay guard  Logan Mankins)
“For sure. He’s a guy I’ve always kind of had my eye on. When I got switched over, trying to learn things, [Marshal] Yonda, [Josh] Sitton, – those guys just watching them and learning from them – they’re so special. I have a lot of respect for that guy. He went out on his terms, he did it right. He set an example for other guys to follow and I respect him fully.”
(On his reputation as a finisher)
“That’s who I am. That’s who I am as a player: I’m going to play whistle to whistle. The high-effort thing, that’s just me playing ball and doing everything I can to block an extra second, to make a hole a little bigger, to make an opportunity for someone to gain an extra yard. I’m going to go hit a pile when they’re standing up, just to gain those extra yards. Those are just the thigs I do, the things I believe in and the way I believe the game should be played. I will continue to play like that my entire career.”
(On whether he spoke to former Seattle teammates Clinton McDonald and Tony McDaniel, both of whom have played for Tampa Bay, about adjusting to the move across the country)
“You know, I haven’t actually talked to them, but I was born and raised in North Carolina, so I got shipped off to a coast and now I’m back to this coast. So I’ve done it before. I just have to get a little used to the heat again, but I’m excited and I’m ready for the challenge.”
(On the responsibility of being a leader and veteran on Tampa Bay’s young offensive line)
“I’m not a big vocal guy. I’m not a big interview guy, media guy. I choose to lead by example, lead by just doing right over and over until the job’s done and that’s how I’ll continue to lead. That’s how I feel I should lead and that’s what I’ll continue to do.”
(On his run blocking skills)
“I love run blocking. That’s what I live for. I take a lot of pride in it and I want to run the football; that’s what I’m about.”
(On his pass protection skills)
“If there’s any facet in my game that I can improve on – which you can always improve in every facet, but I believe I can improve the most as a pass blocker. I feel like I’m kind of still on the brink of becoming who I am as an offensive lineman. I still feel like there’s room to grow and I feel like I still am (growing). I just want to know knowledge, I want (Offensive Line Coach) George (Warhop) to talk to me and I want to hear what he says. I just want to get all the information I can to become the best player that I can be.”
(On his support for Alzheimer’s-related charities and whether he plans to bring that passion to Tampa)
“Yes, sir. My grandfather suffers from Alzheimer’s and it’s been tough on my entire family. It’s a disease that I wish on no one, obviously, but it not only affects that person, but it affects their whole family. It’s tough to deal with and I just want to bring it to the public and kind of get it out there, because there are more people suffering from it than ever before. It’s just something we need to figure out and hopefully you find enough research to where we can get rid of it one day, because it’s not fun, it’s not what you want to deal with. It’s not how you want to see your grandfather. It’s tough, it is. I just feel as though the more information that I get, the more awareness I can bring up and the more donations and the more helpful I can be for the cause.”
(On what makes him feel that Tampa Bay is on the brink of something special)
“It’s the feeling I get. It’s the way the guys talk about it. I haven’t looked at records; I haven’t looked at anything like that. It’s not about that. It’s about being the best that you can every day, competing every day and us bettering ourselves to prepare for Sundays so that when they do arrive, it’s almost easy, because we’ve gone at each other so hard that (the game) is not even comparable. That’s what I want to do here and I feel like we’re fully capable of that here.”
(On being part of an offensive line that he can grow with)
“I love to be part of a group that maybe we can stick together and grow as a unit. I think that would be really special and something I haven’t personally done in my career and that I would really enjoy doing. The better cohesion you have as an offensive line, really, honestly, the better you are. In my opinion, the longer they can keep us together, the better. I’m just excited to get with the guys, get in the trenches and do what we do.”
(On whether he expects there to be ‘growing pains’ with his transition to left guard)
“Of course. And that’s with everything. I don’t expect to show up and be spot on. That’s what these OTAs are for, that’s what these practices are for. It’s a learning process – it kind of slows the game down. We’re not going to be grinding on each other too hard. It’s more of a learning process and, for me, it’s going to be learning the offense and seeing where I fit in the system and, again, doing as much as I can to help this team win.”
(On whether he knows what jersey number he will wear in Tampa Bay)
“I do not. I’d like to wear 64, but I don’t know. We’ll see.”

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