Ryan Grant National Conference Call Transcript - Jan. 16


(Being a running back in Packers' postseason history, has that sunk in yet?)

I don't think it has, to be honest with you. It probably won't until after all this is said and done.

Really I'm trying to focus on the next step, which is definitely this game this weekend. I can't really focus on what happened in the past.

(Can you talk about the emotions of playing the Giants, and in particular your friendship with Justin Tuck and how much of a friend he was when you spent that year not in football?)

Well, I think it's a good opportunity, and it's definitely the stage you want. You definitely can't ask for anything better to be playing in this type of game, number one, and then to be playing against New York and being from New York and being close to a lot of the guys, again, Justin being one of my best friends.

It's a great opportunity, and Justin, from a support level, was great for me. He really helped out a lot to support me and just keep me on track. Being around that was good for me. But I'm excited across the board, and I'm looking forward to it.

(You've been kind of a star in the second half of this season. What has that sudden change been like for you?)

It really hasn't done anything personally for me in the sense of how I am. It makes me have a little less time, but really from a focus level, it really hasn't changed anything. My focus level, if anything, is more detailed, but it really hasn't changed that much from what I'm trying to do. I keep myself grounded by knowing why I play and what I'm trying to accomplish on the field.

(Brandon Jacobs said you two were close, also. Did he say anything the day you got traded, any advice at all?)

Not advice. A lot of guys called me. I don't remember whether or not I called him or whether or not he called me. I think he might have called me, and I told him I got traded because the guys didn't know. When they found out, they were disappointed but were happy for me just because it was an opportunity and they knew the type of person I am, and I was looking at it that way, in the sense that it was an opportunity. They were very supportive of me and what I do because I am close with them.

I spoke with Brandon right after the game. I don't even know if he had taken a shower yet after he played. Guys were congratulating me before I could congratulate them on their win. It's been big and they've been supportive of me the whole time.

(Your recent success has been a great example of seizing an opportunity. Was there a time when you wondered if you would get that opportunity?)

I never wondered because I didn't have control over that. I try not to let myself focus and look at things I really don't have control over. The only thing I wanted to make sure of is I was physically and mentally prepared for whatever comes my way, whatever that is.

I had to make sure from a work level I was putting in the work and felt like preparing myself. Anything else that came my way I was just going to try and take advantage of. I don't have control over certain things. I do have control over how hard I work and stuff like that, so those are things that I was trying to make sure I had a handle on.

(Has this helped you set up for next season? I know you're not looking ahead past this weekend's game, but going into next season, how do you now establish yourself as a good quality running back in this league?)

Work harder. It's pretty simple, just working harder. Just looking at things I can work on and just get better.

(When you're in the huddle with Brett Favre or he hands off to you or throws the ball to you, have you ever thought in terms of living legend, or is he just another teammate?)

Well, in the middle of the game I'm not thinking that. There have been some times when people really bring it to my attention.

But after the fact, after the game, maybe after a pass, I am thinking, wow, I am playing with Brett Favre, and that's something special, and I'm definitely honored to be a part of it. But when we're playing, he's another quarterback. He's a great leader for us and we just take advantage of it.

(Can you talk about that offensive line you're running behind this season?)

They've been great. I think we've done a good job across the board. Not just the line, but everybody making strides and getting back to fundamentals of what we're trying to accomplish. Guys have been doing a great job making it real easy, covering up guys, giving me lanes and being very decisive on what we're trying to do, and that comes back to the fundamentals of work and the technique of what we're doing.

(Is there anybody in Nyack, and what's your sense of how excited that town is that you're making it this far?)

To be honest with you, maybe just from a few friends that I had growing up there. My mother, I usually hear it from my mother. She'll stop somewhere or maybe somebody will recognize her, but just the fact that they'll hear her last name and they'll ask her. But I've always had a lot of support in the whole county and just in that area, the tri-state area, especially in Jersey, also.

And I definitely appreciate the support. It's always been great for me. I'm just going to try and live up to it and just keep that confidence going and earn the respect of everybody.

(Justin was quoted directly as having said, "I'm looking forward to it," when asked about the possibility you could be lining up and you could meet him on the line of scrimmage. How do you feel about that potential match-up?)

We're competitors. I'm looking forward to it, and even though they are my friends and we know it's nothing personal, we want to win and we're competitors, and I expect that out of them. They're professionals also, and I'm looking forward to the opportunity. I'm excited about it and I can't wait.

(Is that extra motivation for you?)

I don't think it's extra motivation. I think the approach I take is because I love the game and what I want to do in the game and the fact that I want to win, I'm willing to do whatever it takes to do that. It's just a matter of what I want to do, and I know my approach and I'm going to make sure I'm prepared, and that means doing whatever it takes.

(You said earlier that you had to remember why you play. That's how you keep grounded. Why do you play?)

I love the game. I love the ups and downs, I love the fight, I love the team aspect of it, and I love to win.

(There's been a long line of good Packers running backs. Can you talk about following in that legacy?)

I don't think I'm following in it yet because I don't feel like I personally have done that much. In the legacy of those types of backs, I think people should keep things in perspective. Those backs did it year in and year out, day in and day out. I haven't really done that much yet. I appreciate when people do make comparisons, but I'm just really trying to take one day at a time and keep this going.

But I definitely appreciate it, and it's an honor when people say that. And like I said, I will continue to try and earn the respect and confidence of the coaching staff and the players on the team.

(How would you describe last week for you with the atmosphere in Lambeau Field and the snow and everything and being a part of all that and the performance you put together?)

Really something special from a team aspect and just being in that atmosphere at Lambeau in January, snowing like a winter wonderland, and to play and to finish the way we finished as a team was really what we wanted and really something special for us. You can't ask for anything better from a football standpoint. You know, it's definitely big for us confidence-wise rolling into this week.

(What would have been a successful season going into this year? What would have been a mark of success for you?)

Winning the Super Bowl.

(On an individual level was it simply getting on the field?)

I don't look at it like that as a success. My goal is always to get on the field, but my goal is also to contribute and win, and I always felt like I was contributing on the team. I feel like everybody on the team is a contributor.

But I want to win, really. I'm a much nicer person when I win because I know what we put in. I want to do whatever it takes to win, so I'm willing to put in that work. I know especially in this league wins are hard to come by. When you have something special like this, you want to take advantage of it. That's what we're trying to do across the board, and I think as a team we have a lot of guys that are like that, a lot of unselfish young guys that just want to do whatever it takes to win.

(Have you taken the opportunity yet to think about where you were at this point last year and a couple of years ago, just kind of reflect on how far you've come?)

Every once in a while, and I'm definitely grateful. It's been a long year for me, but like I said, I'm definitely grateful and appreciative.

I really just want to take advantage. I don't want to take anything for granted, with situation that I'm in and the tradition that we're in as a team. Every day I count my blessings and just really go out there and work as hard as possible and get better each day. Every once in a while -- I try not to look at the past, I try to more forward, but every once in a while, I go, oh, it's been a long year for me.

(Does it give you more confidence just how you were able to come back from the fumbles last week, and did that show you anything in yourself, what you have in yourself?)

Not really. I've always known the type of person I am and how the confidence in myself is always going to be there. I've never gotten down on it. There's always going to be things in your life, not just football, that aren't going to work out. You correct them and then you move forward. I feel like some people might make it in the sense where they might feel like you get down and that might play into a part.

But for myself, I have the utmost confidence in myself and in my teammates and everything across the board, what we're going to do and how we can do it. We know in these types of games there are going to be ups and downs and things might be going good and then things get bad and things might be going bad and then get better. There's going to be ups and downs and you have to keep pushing in these type of games on this level. That's how you have to do it. That's being a professional.

{sportsad300}(What were some of the things that your teammates said to you at that point in the game?)

They all just said, stay with it, forget about it, let's go. Let's get back on track. They were very supportive across the board, and you just have to forget about it.

(Anybody in particular?)

Everybody, to be honest with you. Brett, my coach, everybody really. They weren't all coming over to me, but anybody that did come over to me said the same thing.

(Can you describe what it's like in your role? Have you been busier? Have there been more demands on your time just based on how well you played personally last week?)

Yeah, absolutely, and I feel like that comes with the territory of what I do. I'm an entertainer, and I have things that I do job-wise in the sense of media and everything like that, so I do have less time on my hands, but it definitely comes with what I do. It comes with the territory of my job, and I understand it.

I feel like if that's happening, I appreciate it because people appreciate my services on some level, whatever level that is. I won't take it for granted. I just try to maximize my time, and as long as nothing is compromising what I need to do on the field, whether that be watching film, taking care of my body or practicing, I'm okay with it.

(There's a really cold forecast for this weekend. Where do you see that having the biggest impact in the game?)

Hopefully with the other team, but I don't know to be honest with you. We're going to prepare and we'll be ready to go. I don't see it having an impact with us, from our standpoint, at all. It's the preparation level, and you have to be prepared. The preparation thing, you just have to prepare yourself. We are professionals, and it shouldn't be an issue.

(Does it mean that you're going to have a bigger load of the offense? That it's going to be so cold that you'll rely more on the running game?)

I don't know. You've got to leave that up to Coach. I have no idea. I'm going to prepare myself for each and every thing. I just don't see it being an issue.

(Do you have any memories of growing up in Nyack and playing pee-wee and Pop Warner football around there? Do you have anything specific that stands out when you think about your town?)

I did play Pop Warner over there actually. I didn't play for Nyack.

(Where did you play?)

I played for the New City Rams. Me and Keith Bulluck played in the same organization.

(Do you have anything that stands out in your mind, you know, any kind of anecdotes or anything?)

Not really. I scored a lot of touchdowns growing up, but I have to be honest with you, not really.

(I don't know how much you know about Timmy Smith and Lamar Smith, but they both had huge postseason games, and it's kind of all they're remembered for. Does that play into it, not letting this kind of be your signature game, that it's not the only thing you're remembered for?)

I'd hope so. There's a lot more playing that I can do, and I feel like I can improve a lot more. I definitely feel like each week I want to get better, each practice, each game. I'm young, and like I said, I haven't really done much. So the attention, I appreciate everything that people are saying, but I just want everything to be kept in perspective.

I know for myself I'm not satisfied with anything that we've done, and I continue to want to get better and to work and just improve on each day.

(It must be very rewarding for you to have this kind of year, this kind of breakout year.)

It would be rewarding if we take care of business.

(You know you've become one of the big steals of the year. How does that make you feel?)

That's what I've heard. I don't really get caught up in that. I'm just excited about the team that I'm on. I'm excited. It's really something special, and I just want everybody to not take it for granted and really just look at it and do everything we can to make sure we're prepared for this.

(Do you think the Giants made a mistake letting you go?)

They're in the NFC Championship, so I don't think so.

(Your high school coach was in a couple stories today saying how when you went back to public school you were going to play basketball. Was there a time where you thought about not sticking with football?)

Yeah, actually I didn't plan on playing football. When I went back to Bosco my junior year I wasn't going to play football, I was going to just focus on basketball.

(And what brought you back?)

Really, I always loved football. I would never say I didn't like the game anymore. I loved football to death. I've never been the type of person to pass on something. I didn't ever want to look back and say woulda, coulda, shoulda. I was like, well, might as well work as hard as possible on everything that I do. Maybe just work it off and just do it all. And then it worked out. I was All-state and All-American my senior year.

(Where did you go to school your sophomore year?)

Clarkstown South.

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