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Uche Nwaneri conference call


The following is a transcript of a conference call with Uche Nwaneri (Guard, Purdue) following his selection in the fifth round of the 2007 NFL Draft.

(on your expectations of your draft status) "I'm really thrilled that I got picked in the fifth round. I got a vibe that I would be going around the fourth or fifth area. I worked out with Coach (Andy) Heck at Purdue and had a good time and really enjoyed it. I felt that Jacksonville was a really good fit for me. I got to watch the draft and saw that Jacksonville was making a lot of trades to get more picks so I thought that there was a good chance that I could get picked up. I kept my eye on Jacksonville all throughout the draft. I am glad to be with the Jacksonville organization and am looking forward to coming out there and being a good contributor on the team."

(did you visit Jacksonville?) "No I didn't come on a visit."

(were you invited to the Combine?) "Yes I was at the Combine."

(on the year out of football in 2005) "I didn't play my junior year. There was a situation that happened where I got into an altercation with another teammate. I felt like it was something, in the long run, helped me mature and was something that became more of a positive than a negative. The circumstances surrounding the situation were a bit different than what were portrayed out in Indiana where Purdue is located. The guy was a troublemaker on the team and had been in numerous fights on the team. It was a case where the coaches were behind me 100 percent. My offensive line coach actually testified for me at the administrative hearing at Purdue about my character and that I was a good guy. This was an incident that was more provoked than anything, but I learned that it's a privilege to play this sport and I can't take it for granted."

(on the NFL's new stand on character issues, did you think that would affect your draft status?) "Not really, because I have never been a person who has problems on or off the field other than this isolated incident. I don't have a police record, I have never been arrested. I have never even had charges placed against me by the University police in the incident that I got suspended. I feel that I am a really good guy and a lot of people can attest to that."

(on your background) "I was actually born in Dallas. My parents are Nigerian. They came over to the U.S. around 1973. My cousin, Ike Diogu, plays for the Indiana Pacers. I have had a bunch of other cousins play sports."

(on playing high school football in Texas) "I was looking to get out of Texas in college and was being recruited by some Texas schools. A lot of schools in the Big Ten were recruiting me. Coach (Joe) Tiller has a history of recruiting players out of Texas, so I thought it was a good fit. I was actually a defensive end at the time and I got into Purdue and they decided to move me to offensive guard."

(on your playing history) "I started when I was a sophomore and my senior year. My goal is to start in the NFL. I think it would be a lie if someone got drafted and said their goal wasn't to start. I feel like I am capable of being a starter for Jacksonville and capable of being a starter in the NFL. That will be my goal to work from there – from being a starter to being a Pro Bowler or something like that. I am going to set a lot of goals for myself at this next level and I will try to get to those."

(on your strengths) "I feel like I am a very aggressive player. My run blocking skills are really good. I feel like I play with a lot of attitude which I attribute back to playing defense my whole career before coming to Purdue. I just try to go out and attack when I get out on the field. I feel that that is a strength for me that I can develop even more with the Jaguars."

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