B.J. Raji Press Conference Transcript - Aug. 14

I want to start off and say first of all I am happy to be back in Green Bay, and give special thanks to Russ Ball and Ted Thompson for getting my deal done and being very generous and working with my agency. I really appreciate that.

(Did you kind of feel like a hostage between Eugene Monroe and Michael Crabtree?)

You know I got a lot of different views on that, but what I was told by people close to me was that obviously it put me in a tough situation where unfortunately the draft has to do with slotting, especially when you talk about the top 10. So it was just tough. I'm kind of glad that's over with and I'm glad to be back in Green Bay.

(What kind of a role did you play in the talks?)

It's not like I was talking to Russ or Ted or anything like that. I kind of just got the feedback of what was going on on a day-to-day basis. That's pretty much it. That's pretty much what my role was.

(When you left town a few days ago, did you go to Boston?)

Yeah, I went back to my college.

(What was going through your mind when you left? Were you thinking it was going to be a while?)

Actually my agent wanted me to go to California to get away, and I was kind of like, 'Nah, I think it's better for me to go to Boston and go train with my college coach.' He told me specifically, 'B.J., you're not going to be there very long, maybe two or three days so don't get comfortable there.' I kind of laughed but he was right. I'm happy he was right, so this is where I am right now.

(How much banging around do you think you need to go to get ready?)

Now I am working close with the strength and conditioning people. They worked me out today. I'm in good shape but they kind of want to make sure I'm in football shape because it doesn't really do us much good as a team to throw me out there and something was to happen my first day being out there. So they are kind of going to work me back into things so when I actually do hit it I am hitting it full speed and I'm looking good.

(How much conditioning have you done?)

I tried to go about four or five days a week. In Boston I kind of picked it up a little bit, just getting back on my old regimen. Here I went to a middle school out in Howard where I am staying and kind of going to the gym, just working on technique things and kind of doing a little more long-distance running for my endurance.

(Were you working out by yourself?)

Yeah, I was working out by myself.

(What did you do?)

Running some gassers and some striders out on the track, laps, just working on drills and foot things.

(Any of the people in the neighborhood stop by and watch?)

Driving around, I got a few honks, but nothing crazy. They kind of let me do my thing.

(What school was it?)

Bayport or Bay View, something like that.

(Do you know if it was Bay Port High School or Bay View Middle School?)

I was told a middle school. I'm not familiar with the area. I just moved there. All of the technical stuff I am not familiar.

(Did you ever drive by practice to check out training camp?)

I did not. I did not drive by.

(What was your level of frustration?)

I tried to stay calm. To be honest with you, it was tough. A person like myself, I love football and I love being around my teammates and everything like that. Just being away from them for a period of time, the length it was, it was just tough. I kind of learned to deal with it and I kind of was optimistic about getting back as quickly as I could.

(What does financial security feel like?)

The business side of it, obviously it feels great for me. The best thing about it is being able to support my family and kind of give back to my immediate family that have been there for me. But from a football aspect of it, it doesn't really do much. I still have to prove myself just like other rookies. I don't get no special treatment or anything like that. Financially, obviously the money is good but football-wise it doesn't mean too much.

(When did you start to think that this might take a while?)

Talking to my, ... correct me if I'm wrong, we had to report I think two Fridays ago, if I'm not mistaken, and I had a conversation with my agent like Tuesday, and I was kind of like, I don't want to be a holdout, but then when Clay, he signed the day we had to report, so after that I kind of knew it might take some time. Didn't think it would take this long, but it's over now and it is what it is.

(Were you getting disappointed with the team and their stance?)

No. I kind of realized that it really was no one's fault. It's not like it was Ted or Russ's fault. It wasn't my agency's fault. It's just this draft was a little crazy with that. At one point I believe it was still six top 10 picks not signed at one point. So it wasn't anyone's fault.

(They had extensive plans for you this year; do you think the time missed has hurt that?)

I really can't say. I really can't say because right now I'm working close with Coach Trgo and Coach Capers to try to get myself back scheme-wise. So I can't say it really hurt me because I don't know yet. I haven't practiced yet, but I don't think it will.

{sportsad300}(Did Coach Trgovac say you will be playing left end?)

Honestly speaking, I haven't even seen Coach Trgo since I've been here, since I've been back here. I've been kind of busy doing physicals and things like that, so I haven't seen Coach Trgo. We haven't spoken on that, anything like that yet. I'll see what he has to say. Obviously, I respect the guy a great deal, so what he has to say I'll definitely take to heart.

(Did you pass the conditioning test?)

Yes, I did.

(Did you put on much weight during this?)

Actually, no. I didn't put on any weight. I actually lost a bit. Kind of tried to eat more lean things, just kind of watching what I ate. I really wasn't doing much besides working out, so I really tried to keen in on that to make sure it didn't get out of control.

(Were you talking to Clay or any of your teammates?)

Yeah, actually I got words of encouragement from Ryan Grant, because from what I've been told he went through it last year. So he was kind of giving me encouragement. I was talking to a lot of the rookies. Clay, I talked to Jarius a bit, Jamon, T.J. Just guys encouraging me and letting me know just to hang in there, try to keep a level head with things, with the situation.

(Do you think you have hurt your chances to have a great year, make the all-rookie team?)

Definitely not. I don't think I hurt any chances. I'm an optimistic person. I've still got a little less than a month to get ready for our opening game. Obviously we have some preseason games intertwined within that time period. I've got a great deal of respect for our coaching staff. They're going to have me ready. At this point, anything they want me to do, I'm willing to do that. I believe their goal is to try to get me ready to play. To start, that's not up to me, but as far as getting in the mix, I think they'll do a good job of that.

(Will you take part in team drills on Monday or do work on the side?)

I spoke with Coach McCarthy briefly about that. Like I said before, they want to make sure that once I'm thrown in the fryer, let's say, that I'm not kind of overwhelmed and I don't have a major setback because of that. Like I said, we'll take it day by day, and whatever he feels is best for me, that's what I'm going to do, because he's the head coach, and I'm the player.

(Obviously you won't play tomorrow, but is your goal to play next week against Buffalo?)

Definitely, definitely. I know to play tomorrow is a little far-fetched, but as far as next preseason game, hopefully I'll be able to play in that game and get a number of reps. But like I said, again, it's not up to me, it's up to the coaches, so we'll see about that.

(Will you be in uniform tomorrow night?)

Like I said, I talked to Coach McCarthy briefly. I saw Coach Capers in the hallway coming from lunch, I said hey, we talked for like two minutes. I haven't see Coach Trgo yet, so I really don't know to that extent.

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