Over the weekend, Terence Newman was the most sought after interview partner on the practice field in San Antonio.
Yesterday he finally relented and answered media questions in a lengthy interview in which he touched on many topics, ranging from the Nnamdi sweepstakes, what went wrong in 2010, playing through injuries, the space shuttle and Ryan's "hella swag". But when you look at most of the articles quoting from that interview, it's "Nnamdi this, Nnamdi that" everywhere.
To quote Terence Newman: "Can we talk about the team a little bit?"
After the break, you'll find a full transcript of Newman's interview (including the Nnamdi stuff, just to get it out of the way). You can also watch the whole thing at dallascowboys.com if you prefer. Either way, it's worth your time.
Terence Newman starts out the interview by explaining what he's focusing on this year:
Newman: The No. 1 focus we have right now is to try to get better as a team, as a secondary and as defense. That's what my focus has been since day one since I got here. I'm not a prophet and I can't tell you what's going to happen in the future. All I know is what I can do and what I can control. I'm just out here trying to get better.
Q: Do you pay attention all the questions whether you're going to be here, whether they're going to bring somebody else in?
All I can do is control what I can control. If they'd brought somebody else in, so be it.
When I was a little kid, I always wanted to play in the NFL. It didn't matter what team I got to, I wanted to play. I'm here, and I'm not going anywhere. I'm going to work. I'm going to stay here. That's just the way I take it, day by day.
Q: Have they talked to you about what they were trying to do with Nnamdi or anything like that? Or do they need to?
No, this is a business. I'm just focused on trying to get better and trying to make this team better. That's why I waited until today [to talk to the press]. I figured this would die down a little bit, but, obviously, it didn't. It backfired [smiles].
Q: Did you know a lot of it was taking place Friday afternoon? Were you aware of those phone calls?
I was focused on practicing and learning this defense. Again, my focus is not on them bringing somebody in here. It's focused on the guys who are here and trying to get better. That's the honest-to-God truth
Q: It is a business, and you've been a professional. But any hurt feelings involved in this going forward?
As far as what? Like having 60 new defenses come in in four days? My feelings are hurt about that! My head is spinning.
It's a business. Say Nnamdi did come. Does that necessarily mean I'd be gone? It doesn't. Right now, the questions about the whole situation are speculation. You can talk about "OK, if this happens and so and so is gone or whatnot", but that never came from the owner or from any of my coaches. To me, that's just speculation. It doesn't matter.
Like I said, I'm here and he's in Philly. That's what I'm focused on right now, moving forward.
Q: Some guys take these things as motivation though.
Can we talk about the team a little bit [smiles]?
Q: What went wrong last year? Particularly in the secondary?
You want me to give you the layman's terms?
We did not play good at all. The case in point is we didn't do things well technically... [waves at a buzzing fly] This fly is kicking my ass ... We didn't execute well. You talk about the secondary, but the secondary also is a part of the things that happened in front of us. As a defense, we didn't play up to our standards.
You can point out the secondary, you can point out what you have, but my focus is the defense.
The secondary didn't play well, but there are a lot of different areas we could have improved on besides the secondary. I think it was a team effort. When the secondary doesn't play well, they always talk about other guys trying to step up and take pressure off guys ...
Yeah, we didn't play well in the secondary, but I don't think we played well as a unit.
Q: How much was your play affected by the rib injury? I know you didn't talk much about it, but it certainly affected you throughout much of the season.
I don't make excuses for anything. If you go out and play, I figure that if you are well enough to play, then you should compete. I took injections to play, yeah, but I was out there. So that's not an excuse for me.
I'm not going to make an excuse and say that I was hurt. That's just not me. I have never done that since I was a kid.
Q: Do you start camp excited that you're healthy or do you know that that's part of it and that at some point in the season you may have to play through something again?
That's part of football. Romo breaks his collarbone: you don't ever think that's going to happen. But it just happened.
You go into a season and say, "Hey, you've got to make the most out of every day and seize the opportunity." I think that's pretty much what everybody is doing. Because you can't comprehend when injuries are going to happen. They just come at the craziest times. And sometimes, they're freak accidents, so ...
Q: Witten and Bradie James told me that they were both "humbled" by what happened last season. Same sentiment for you?
For sure. A lot of guys have never been through [a situation like 2010]. Bradie went to LSU, he's never been through anything like that. Witten went to Tennessee, I went to Kansas State. A lot of us are not used to those types of situations because we've been to programs that have never witnessed the true downs.
Last year was one of the true downs. That was the worst thing I have ever been through. And it hurt.
But my whole focus this offseason was to get better as a person. I worked out pretty much by myself, and now that we're here, you can tell that when we get on this field, it's business. Everyone takes that to heart.
Q: At the first press conference, Jason said the theme is "Shut up and play." Are you guys buying into that more after going through that adversity?
For sure. You guys are trying to talk to a lot of guys out here, but they don't want to talk. That's just what it is. They want to just play and get on with it.
Q: I know you went to California. Did you need to get away? You said you worked out by yourself ...
I didn't work out "by myself" by myself. There was just a trainer out there that was supposed to be pretty good.
Q: I thought you just wanted to get away from Dallas and go out there and recharge ...
No. I've got a space shuttle at NASA. If I'd wanted to get away, I would've just jumped on that and went to Mars. But the gas is expensive right now, so I decided California was probably the second best option.
Q: What do you see in Rob Ryan's scheme already that you feel will put you and Jenk in a better position to succeed?
Rob is like Houdini with hella swag.
Yes I said that. I put Houdini and Rob Ryan and swag in the same sentence. His demeanor and his attitude makes you want to be the best you can be. And he makes football fun.
As far as his defense, there's no riddles to it. You know the whole Ryan family and what they bring to defenses. If you look at any tape where you've got Rex and Rob and their father, then you know exactly what they bring to the table. This is no different.
Q: How crazy is it that you and Jenkins were Pro Bowlers one year and then part of the worst pass defense in Cowboys history the next year?
I've got one better. How crazy is it that Minnesota went to the NFC championship and then next year they were just bad like we were?
Touché. Touché, I can't get a touché?
I gotta go work out.