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27 October 2014

Transcript: Gerald McCoy Contract Extension Press Conference (10/27/14)

General Manager Jason Licht
Defensive Tackle Gerald McCoy
Head Coach Lovie Smith
 
(Opening statements)
Jason Licht “Thanks for being here. Obviously a disappointing day, but it’s not going to take away from the excitement that we have in the organization moving forward with the announcing the Gerald McCoy signed an extension with us through the year 2021. It’s very comforting to know that we have a player of Gerald’s caliber with us for that extended period while we rebuild and retool this roster and we look for better things starting this week. Gerald exemplifies the type of character and work ethic that we look for in our players that will extend moving forward and I can’t talk enough about how hard of a worker that he is and how amazed I am. Every day, last summer I would come to work and he would be in here at seven o’clock [in the morning] when we had time off and was running the hoops and doing pass rush drills by himself with his helmet on. He’s an amazing person and we’re happy to have him, like I said, through the year 2021 at the very least.”
 
Gerald McCoy “You guys know I’m always smiling, so I’m going to smile through this whole thing. First off, I would like to thank the Glazer family for even believing in me to give the go ahead to draft me, Mark Dominik, Raheem Morris and Brian Hudspeth. [Hudspeth]’s the one who scouted me and I think he should be around here for a little longer, too, because I think he’s pretty good. Just everybody who just saw something in me, I don’t know what it is they saw, but whatever it is they saw I’m glad they saw it and gave me the opportunity to do something I dreamed about my whole life, which is play in the NFL. I can’t really explain how happy I am that my opportunity to play in this league – I got to play on my favorite team growing up. I’ve gone on record saying that over and over again, but it’s true. On Madden I played with the Bucs, I was sneaking out of church getting into trouble to watch the Super Bowl game in the pastor’s office, I just grew up a real Bucs fan and this is truly an honor to be a part of this family in my NFL career.”
 
(On what has to change in order Tampa Bay to become a winning team)
GM: “We’ll just keep on fighting. We always remain optimistic and one thing that I’ve always said about our head coach is that he comes in every day optimistic, he’s never wavered and it trickles down and it starts with the top and it just kind of goes down the chain of command. You never ever see anybody at the top of our organization ever waver, they’re always smiling, they’re always happy, they’re always looking at the positives, you recognize that there are some negatives, but they’re always focusing on the positives and we just have to do that as a complete team, keep on pushing forward and just keep working until we get it right.”
 
(On if winning is to be his legacy in Tampa Bay)
GM: “That’s what I’m here for. It’s a blessing to be able to take care of my family, but I’m passionate about this sport and I love the team I’m on and I play for the guys around me and that’s the only reason I play. If you don’t play to win championships then I don’t know why you’re playing. There are some selfish players out there, but I’m not that guy. I do everything in my power to help my team out, I train as hard as I do, I prepare as hard as I do to be at my best so I can help my team out and that’s all I want to do is win. That’s what I’m here for, I just want to win.”
 
(On how helpful it has been to have McCoy during the transition)
Head Coach Lovie Smith: “It’s a must. It’s one thing to be the face of the franchise, guys kind of look at how you do things and Gerald is, as Jason said earlier, just everything you want a leader to do, work harder than everybody to be a great player, say the right things, be a great teammate and that’s exactly who he is. It’s easy to make a commitment the way we’ve made; these are the type of guys you make a commitment to and we couldn’t be happier to have Gerald here for many years to come and it is about winning championships and we realize where we are now, but there are better days ahead.”
 
(On if he feels added responsibility after this extension)
GM: “No, not really. I’m just going to do what I’ve continued to do and what I’ve been asked to do is just to lead and keep doing what it is I do. I’m not going to change, if anything I’m going to take it to another level, they might have to tell me to sit down a little bit because coach has asked me to lead, Mr. Licht has asked me to lead, the Glazer [family] has asked me to lead and that’s what I’m going to do. What I’m asked to do is what I’m going to do and if they say ‘Alright Gerald, we need you to take it to another level.’ ‘Ok, alright cool.’ It’s just as simple as that to me. This is what I do. It’s not a game to me, I live this. Of course I have a life outside of the game, but this is my profession and I live it. I don’t want to let anybody down. I’m going to do my best uphold my end of what I’m asked to do. I’m just going to show up to work every day and come ready to work.”
 
(On what he defines as successful leadership)
GM: “I believe it’s about setting the tone and holding everybody accountable. If practice is not going the way it should go, then it means the leaders should step up and get practice going the right way. Then if people are not doing it, then I think the leader should call them out and hold them accountable, but it’s not always about talking, it’s about action. You can’t go out there and say, ‘Hey we should be doing this,’ and then people look at you and you’re not doing it. If Coach is asking us to run to the ball, there should never be a time where people look at me and say, ‘Oh he’s not running to the ball, so I don’t have too. He’s not working on what Coach said and so I don’t have to.’ If Coach says do this, it means he says do that, if he says the rule is this or the rule is that, if I’m not doing it then I can’t say, ‘Ok, well then why is he not doing it?’ You have to show up every day and do things the right way. It’s not easy, it’s definitely not easy, there are days where I’m just not feeling it, but I also know there’s also guys watching me and looking at me and depending on me so I have to put that aside and do what I have to do in order to lead my team.”
 
(On the importance of McCoy’s position in Smith’s defense)
LS: “It’s hard to put it, as you mention, in a few words. As we continue to get better and better defensively, it all starts up front with the primary, the most – the Will linebacker, safety, they’re some important positions, but nothing like the three technique, the under tackle. You need a special player there and it’s as simple as that. Gerald, most of the time he’ll get double teamed, we’re going to ask him to do an awful lot and you have to have a force there, a guy that is great against the run, a guy that can rush the passer, you would like him to do it with energy, to be vocal sometimes. I’m kind of describing Gerald right now is what I’m doing, and, again, he plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It doesn’t get any better than that.”
 
(On what character trait of McCoy’s other players should emulate)
JL: “We have a good group of guys, a good group of men, that are all fighting hard right now and we’re in a valley right now, but we’re going to hit some peaks too. Gerald is, like I said before, the hardest worker that I’ve seen at the level of player that he is. The stories are still legendary of Warren Sapp and how hard of a practice player he was and they still live here and Gerald knows those and I can imagine Gerald is very similar to Warren Sapp in terms of his practice and how hard he goes. If everybody worked and practiced as hard as Gerald, then we’ll be doing all right, not that they don’t practice hard already.”
 
(On the possibility of playing for one team his entire career)
GM: “Well I love it here. I told my wife that. Me and my wife, we sat down and we talked about it and we said, ‘You know what, we really, really enjoy it here.’ I really do love Tampa, man. I honestly – I grew up watching this team, so I’ve been blessed with certain gifts and I always felt like if I had an opportunity to play in that style of defense, I could be successful. So when Coach Smith was hired, I was extremely excited. Because knowing his history, you know the Tampa-2 is coming with it. It’s the defense that Warren Sapp thrived in. With him already being one of my mentors, now me and him speak the same language. So having an opportunity to not only be in Tampa playing with my favorite team growing up, but then to play in the defense that I’ve always dreamed of playing in with the leaders at the top of our organization set in place, I didn’t see a better situation. A lot of people you see run from situations like this. They feel like, ‘Oh, well they’re not winning right now,’ or it’s not going the way they planned – so what? The best feeling in the world is going to be when we turn this thing around and to know you were a part of it and you didn’t run from a challenge, you didn’t run from the fight. I love a fight. I don’t like fighting, but I love this fight. It’s going to be the greatest feeling in the world to be able to hold that [Super Bowl] trophy in the air and know that you went through all the hard times and you didn’t run from it – you stuck in there, you hung in there, and you fought together as an organization and got back to exactly where [Lovie Smith and Jason Licht] said we’ll be. And I believe them, I trust them and we’re going to do it together and that’s why I signed that paper.”
 
(On if he learned about hardships with his injuries earlier in his career)
GM: “It was tough. It definitely was tough. But I had to grow up quick. That’s something I’ve had to do all my life – more than once: having a child at an early age, my mom passing away when I was 19, and then my first two years in the NFL, I get injured – season-ending injuries. You have to mature quickly. But it’s turned me into the player and person that I am today. I told myself I’ll do everything in my power to make sure that doesn’t happen again. So I just kind of re-evaluated what I did in the past and tried to fix it. It also made me never ever, ever take another day in this league for granted. Because all that time I set out, it was the worst feeling ever just to sit back and not be able to play the game. At some point, I’m going to have to retire. But at that point, I didn’t have to retire. It was a horrible feeling not being able to play. I’ll never take another day in this league for granted.”
 
(On if he was thinking about how far he has come from early in his career as he signed his contract extension)
GM: “When people called me a bust? Yeah, I definitely thought about that. But like I always tell you guys, it’s about what happens inside this building. As long as everybody inside this building believes in me, I’ll be OK. I’ll be all right.”
 
(On if it would be nice for linebacker Lavonte David to want to stay with the organization as well)
GM: “Yeah. Yes it would.”
 
(On his relationship with David)
GM: “One thing Sapp told me is I need to get with Lavonte David – this was before last season. He said you need to get with him [and] he needs to become your best friend because Derrick Brooks is what made [Sapp] successful. That’s what he told me. It was almost like we were thinking the same thing. And I took his advice: I grabbed Lavonte in the offseason last year and I told him, ‘Sapp told me this, and if this thing is going to work, we’ve got to work together, and I have to know what you’re thinking and you have to know what I’m thinking.’ There is many a time, if you just pay attention on Sunday, you see me and Lavonte talking to each other on the field, on the sideline, in the locker room. We’re always talking. We text back and forth almost every day because in the past in this defense, those two positions really got the team going – not just the defense – the team going, those two positions. So we know how important those positions are and how we have to be on it every day.”

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