I promised it, you asked for it, and thanks to a mid-week energy boost courtesy of the Hornets, here it is. Below is “part deux” of my interview with Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma. It’s all the delicious goodness of a real sports interview, without all the trans fatty f-bombs of a Chris Berman temper tantrum.
Being a football player is cool. Being a football player who seems to be over the whole “Willy Beamon” ego trip of playing in the NFL is even cooler. That’s what made talking to Jonathan Vilma feel like I was talking to the Jake Ryan of football. (That’s right, an Any Given Sunday and a Sixteen Candles reference in the same post. Deal with it.) Unlike the T.O.s, Chad Johnsons, and Jeremy Shockeys of the world, Jon Vilma knows he’s not bigger than the game.
A good 20 minutes worth of peak-time cell phone chatting with the Saints’ new linebacker left me breathing a sigh of relief about what’s to come in 2008 for my team. You see regardless of whether he’s willing to admit it, Jonathan Vilma will be an impact player in the Saints’ defense; if not on the field, than certainly in the locker room. Maybe it’s because he’s got a sense of purpose that goes beyond just winning games. Jonathan Vilma’s got something to prove.
We’ll get to the stuff he said about helping people in the community, knocking players on their asses and drinking in a moment, but first: the football talk. Here’s what’s clear; Jonathan Vilma is ready to make you believe that he’s the same guy who went 12th in the draft in 2004 to the Jets, won NFL defensive player of the year, and went to the 2006 Pro Bowl. His career was flying high until Jets Coach Eric Mangini made changes on the defense, shifting from Vilma’s favorable 4-3 to a 3-4 formation.
Things went from bad to worse in 2007 when Vilma suffered a season ending knee injury in week 7. That means this guy hasn’t played football since October. To say that he’s a “little bit anxious” to get back on the field again would be like saying you get just a “little bit anxious” when Olindo Mare takes the field. This dude is so hungry to silence his critics and overcome his injury he’s almost salivating at the mouth.
“I know what I was able to do the first two years in the NFL and I hope to get back to that level of playing. I want to get back to that level,” Vilma says.
When asked about his injury, his words reminded me of another resiliant player, Deuce McAllister.
“So far so good. I haven’t had any setbacks. I’m not 100% but I hope to be close to it by the start of the season.”
When asked about whether he’s ready to take a leadership role in the Saints defense, Vilma played it coy.
“I’m the new guy. I just want to find my way. I don’t want to get there and mess up anything.
(They’re ranked 26th in the NFL Jon. You can’t mess anything up.)
Alright, enough of my football banter. Time for your questions.
Filed under: chick chat, Jonathan Vilma, Saints Football, Saints NFL News | Tagged: chick chattin with vilma, Jonathan Vilma, Jonathan Vilma Saints, saints linebackers, The Jake Ryan of Football, vilma linebacker | 10 Comments »
Nothing whets a chick’s appetite more than fresh meat! Just don’t tell that to the Saints’ newest defensive stud-muffin Jonathan Vilma. Without even having to show off any “T&A”, Vilma has guaranteed the chicks some qualtity “Q&A”. And since we know we’re not the only ones who want to know a lil sumphin-sumphin, we’re giving you a chance to get all up in Vilma’s grill. (Sorry, when to sleep with MTV on.)
Just email the Chicks your questions for Vilma or leave them in the comments section. We’ll post the answers to the best questions on the site once the interview takes place. Be sure to include your name in the e-mail so we can give you credit for your oh-so-insightful query. You can make your questions as professional or profane as you please. (Chef Who Dat, put your thinkin’ cap on…)