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Sitting down with Clint Ingram


Referred to as 'Country' by several of his teammates, Jaguars linebacker Clint Ingram is truly at home when he is nestled in the 'woods' of Hallsville, Texas. With a population around 3,000, Hallsville is usually well-represented each year at Reliant Stadium when the Jaguars play the Texans. Ingram sat down with to explain why that won't be the case this year.

He gives his thoughts on the injury to his alma mater's starting quarterback and if he is surprised by the success of a former teammate in the NFL. With four rookies in the lineup for the Jaguars, his expectations for success have not been lowered.

You're heading back to your home state on Sunday. How far is your hometown of Hallsville from Reliant Stadium?
It's probably about three and a half hours.

How many people do you have coming to the game?
We normally play the Texans in December at Houston so a lot of people haven't been calling about tickets because they think it's around December. I'm getting out of that. Everybody in my immediate family for the most part knows about it and they're coming. But I won't be getting thirty or forty tickets again this year.

I know you were a Cowboys fan growing up since your uncle Robert Newhouse played for them. What do you think about the new stadium?
It's sweet. I haven't had a chance to see it personally inside but I went down to Dallas this summer to visit my dad. I rode by it and went through the parking lot just looking at it. From hearing about it and seeing it on TV, it's incredible.

Are you the most famous person in Hallsville?
No. I would have to say my uncle (Robert Newhouse) is. He played for the Cowboys and if you play for the Cowboys in Texas then you are pretty much the man. I went to high school with Josh Scobee. We have another guy, Malcolm Kelly, who plays for the Washington Redskins. There are a couple other guys. There are a few guys in the woods.

I need some more details when you say in the woods.
That means no service on your cell phone. It means you have to walk outside and drive into town. We call going to Wal-Mart going to town. We have two Wal-Marts now and a few good restaurants. We're coming up.

I know you're still an avid follower of Oklahoma football. What was your reaction to the Sam Bradford injury?
That was big-time, but I know how it is around there when something like that happens. The guy behind him is stepping up and playing really well. Of course, you have the Heisman Trophy winner coming back whenever his shoulder gets well. They will plug him back in but it's good to have a guy behind him like that who you have confidence in and know that Bradford is going to be gone after this year. I don't think he's going to stick around too much longer. I feel like he probably should have left last year.

You have a former teammate at Oklahoma that has been all over the highlights this year in Adrian Peterson. Are you surprised at all at his success?
From the first day he stepped on the campus at Oklahoma, he was saying that he didn't even know if he should go to college. A lot of guys thought he was being cocky, but when he started running around and running through guys people thought he might be a man amongst boys. Every time he touches the ball, that is what I have seen him do since I first saw him play. It's nothing new to me. For how much you see him on TV, he's even that much better if he had more opportunities. He's the best football player I have ever been around.

He appears to be pretty level-headed as well.
He's a regular ol' country boy like me. If he isn't playing football then he would probably just sleep. If he's not working out then he's probably somewhere eating some honey buns, oatmeal crème pies and ice cream. You would think he has a million things going on but other than his appearances and commercials, you probably can't get him out of his room and his bed.

This group of starting linebackers is a pretty tight group with Daryl Smith, Justin Durant and yourself. Are you as comfortable with each other as it appears from the outside?
Yes. We have full trust in each other. We communicate well with each other so a lot of the situations we are in we feel the same way about them. We sit down and watch film together and talk through things. We talk about how we would play a certain situation or how we would approach a certain play. When you do that year-round and just being with someone for a long period of time then you start to think like them. It's something that just came with time.

Justin Durant told me that Daryl Smith was one of the smartest players he has been around. Give me a quick scouting report on Daryl.
I agree with Justin. He is one of those guys that if he sees something about how a play should be played, a lot of times he's right. He can make that adjustment on the run. He's a guy that has played all three positions, every linebacker position that we have in this defense. He has been effective at it, just a complete linebacker when it comes to blitzing, running and covering.

People joke that when they see Daryl then you are not far behind. You actually have pretty different personalities to be such good friends.
Daryl has some real good jokes. Once he gets comfortable with you and sees that you're a good person, he just doesn't open up to anybody. He just isn't joking with everybody that walks by like me. I might just crack a joke and play with everybody that walks by. He is the type of guy that if he is your friend then he is all the way down with you.

What about Justin?
Justin is a good ballplayer, very tough. Some people might say he s undersized, but I can't see any situations where his size has been a crutch to him. He can strike the biggest lineman. I have seen him run through linemen, running backs, quarterbacks and receivers. He's really fast and can change directions really well. He's smart on the field. It's good when you're around a bunch of guys like that. It makes you play harder.

There are 26 new players on the roster that weren't here last year. You have had four rookies starting the first two weeks. It seems the arrow is going up for this team as the players get more experience.
If you look at things now you might think this is the worst it can get. We can't worry about how we are perceived and how everybody in the outside world looks at us. We just have to trust in each other. The guys they have plugged in are doing a really good job and they are picking it up on the run. We are depending on them and counting on them. It's not like they're rookies anymore. They are NFL players just like everybody else. Once they strap the helmet on and get on the field, they aren't treated any differently. It's not like a guy is going to say, 'Hey that's a rookie so let's take it easy on them.' They're probably going to turn it up even more. They're getting after it and doing their jobs. We're learning and forming a bond more and more.

This is the third straight week these young players will face a pretty explosive offense.
But that's what we do. That's what they signed up for and what they get paid for. It isn't like they are going to ease you into it. You have to go get it and go with it.

I know you spend a lot of time off the field with former Jaguar Richard Collier. How cool was it to see him in the locker room prior to last week's game against Arizona?
I spend time with him and talk to him on the phone. It was good to let guys see him smiling after everything he has been through. They see that he is going through his life just like a normal person and I think that should let guys know that football is football. It's a part of life but it's not our complete life. Things might be going down in football, but you shouldn't put it so high on a pedestal to where if it's not going right for you then it crushes your whole life. Seeing Rich around let guys know that no matter how bad it gets, you might mess up a play, it could always get worse. Life can always be a lot worse than what you think it is so you should just be happy and blessed with the situation you are in.

Was last year one of the toughest in your life?
Yes. There was a lot going on. I had to go over with myself about putting football so high and then when it didn't turn out so well, everything just comes crumbling down. Not winning just added to it. I'm passionate about football and I love playing the game. Not winning games and everything else accumulating, it felt like a tornado every day.

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