Chicago Sun-Times

All the Tank you will need

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The newest Cowboy Tank Johnson participated in a conference call Wednesday from Arizona with members of the Dallas media.

Here's the whole thing for those wanting insight from the former Bear, who is suspended for six more games by the league for violation of the personal conduct policy.

On the challenge of playing in the 3-4 defense:
“The 3-4 scheme is obviously one that is different than the one I ran in Chicago, but I think it’s conducive of a player with my ability to get up the field and rush the passer. I’ve played nose (tackle) before, and I’ve actually had success at it. I’m pretty excited about the opportunity mainly because the guys around me are so skilled.”

On if the Cowboys were able to give him a playbook to study while he is away from the team:
“Definitely. I’ll be in that playbook religiously just trying to learn the base fronts and things of that nature. But yes, I do have the playbook to learn.”

On how he views this opportunity and if he sees it as his last chance:
“I view this opportunity as a great one with an organization as storied as the Dallas Cowboys with the great infrastructure and the great management with Jerry Jones and all the great people that they have systematically placed inside the organization to help the athletes. As far as it being a last chance, I’m so focused on making this a great experience and being a Dallas Cowboy that I’m not really too wrapped up in what chance it is.”

On how he thinks things will be different here:
“I think you have to live and learn from experiences. I’ve dealt with a lot of tragedy and heartache in the last seven months. Going through experiences like that and having to deal with those feelings, those feelings are feelings that you do not want to re-surface and you don’t want to go through things like that again. Obviously as a man, you mature and you learn from the things you go through. So essentially I’ve given myself a blue book of things to steer clear of based on my past experiences.”

On what some of those things he’s learned during this time are:
“It’s just that you’ve got to be careful with who you associate yourself with. You’ve got to be responsible and knowledgeable of all the things around you. Most importantly right now is just to understand that you’re representing a great franchise, a great group of people, who have faith in you. To have that type of environment where you know that you have people pushing for you to succeed – you don’t want to let those people down. I’ve been through that and it’s not a feeling that I wish upon anyone because it’s frustrating, but that’s pretty much how I look at it.”

On if the Cowboys asked him some tough questions:
“I think that over the last seven months I’ve endured the toughest of tough questions, and I think those are questions that I had to answer to myself in the mirror. The Cowboys are obviously looking to help me in the future, and so I think that’s what I really liked about the Cowboys and why I chose to play in Dallas is because they’re focused on my future and not as much of my past and that really means a lot to me because to come into a Coach (Wade) Phillips family environment is a situation that I’m looking very much forward to.”

On if he’ll leave his guns at home:
“I actually don’t own guns anymore. That’s a chapter in my life that is closed in respects to having them while I’m playing. I would be lying to you if I didn’t say that sure, I’m a guy who grew up in Arizona and I did audition weapons for sport. I have never been involved in a situation where I had a gun and tried to harm a person or have ever brandished a weapon in public. I grew up in a state in Arizona where we look at guns a little different. So I would be lying if I said that I still don’t enjoy the sport.”

On if he was surprised that he was signed by a team during his suspension and how much interest he garnered during the process:
“Definitely not. I know that guys give me a lot of ability; I’m a very talented defensive lineman. I knew that as long as I stayed focus on myself and continued to work out and work hard and hold up my end of the bargain that there was going to be interest. There was interest from other ball clubs and I’m thankful for that because it shows that it’s not always what people say about you, but sometimes if you go to the root of it and some of my teammates and people that I have been around know that I’m a good guy and a great teammate. I love the success of a team. So I’m not surprised at all.”

On if he feels that he’s a risk to a team:
“No, I don’t because for me to say that about myself would not be smart. I know that I’m not a risk in respects to anything like that. I’m an intelligent person – a highly intelligent person – and I take pride in a lot of things I do in life. Just like any other human being, I’m going to make mistakes and I’ve made mistakes. As far as the risk goes, I come to Dallas to be a productive defensive lineman and to solidify what Jerry Jones thinks of me and that of the organization.”

On how much the Cowboys having been known as a team that gives players second chances played a role in coming to Dallas:
“It definitely played a part, but it’s more personal than that. It’s kind of like Jerry Jones and those guys really let me come in with open arms. It wasn’t really about my background – they didn’t talk about my background much – they just talked about me moving forward as a Cowboy and to me that was pretty important.”

On signing with a team that took them off their draft board originally when he entered the NFL due to off the field concerns and if that surprised him and why he thinks they changed:
“Honestly, during the draft they’re very thorough searching through people’s background and all of that, so it doesn’t surprise me. I went to a great situation, I played with a great organization and I had great teammates. That’s water under the bridge as far as I’m concerned, as far as the draft. Today is obviously a new day and it’s years later and my main concern is moving forward as being a positive person and the best person that I can be.”

On how thick-skinned he’s going to be when the negative criticism comes his way and may never go away:
“I’ve had to endure a lot of that over the last seven months or so, so criticism and naysayers are always going to be there. That’s not what my focus is. I’ve heard it all, let’s just put it that way. Mostly to me, it affects my family. So they can say whatever they want to say, but my focus is going to be on making a positive move forward and being a productive defensive lineman.”

On him saying that though he is an intelligent man and a good teammate, but why it’s been so difficult for him to hold up his end of the bargain as a football player:
“I don’t think that those two things are in question. I’ve made some tough decisions off the field and I don’t blame anyone for that. I definitely am a very intelligent person, but some of the things we do in life we regret at the end of the day and it’s frustrating as a person. But if you truly have faith in God and His plan for you, then you just continue to move forward and look at each day as a blessing.”

On what’s been the most difficult thing about his entire situation:
“Being away from the game. The entire ordeal – you can go back to my friend being murdered and a lot of stuff being difficult. Losing the Super Bowl was difficult. It’s all been difficult. It’s all been upsetting and frustrating, but from a personal standpoint that’s something I have to put on my shoulders and charge forward with and I’m not bitter about that – I can definitely go through that.”

On what guarantee he’s given Jerry Jones that he won’t make another misstep:
“I don’t think it’s about guarantees at this point. I don’t think words, per say, can really help this matter. I think it’s more so my actions and living my life on a day-by-day basis with a great deal of pride with the Cowboys and trying to be the best player and person that I can be.”

On if the league has told him when he can play again yet:
“I look to speak to Commissioner Goodell fairly quickly here and get his take on what the effects and stipulations of my suspension are. Whatever he says is what I’ll abide by and I’ll do as much as I can in Dallas to be around the guys. But as of right now, I’m just training here in Tempe (Ariz.) at API just getting my body acclimated to the routine of waking up, going to practice and meetings.”

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on September 19, 2007 9:18 PM.

Practice update, part II was the previous entry in this blog.

Be a man; Kick it to Hester is the next entry in this blog.

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