Less than a day after being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett proudly presented cornerback Morris Claiborne to the Dallas media corps at Valley Ranch. Before the actual press conference, Jerry Jones revealed that Claiborne would be wearing number 24, a number that has previously been worn by Everson Walls, Larry Brown and others.
Here's a transcript of Claiborne's first press conference as a Dallas Cowboy, in which Jerry Jones addressed the media first:
Jerry Jones: l'll have very little to say because I want Morris to do all the talking about Morris and his family. We did agree that we've had a lot happen that we might not have thought and expected to happen over the last few hours since you were sitting up there waiting to be drafted.
It's great to have you here.
I remember the first time I was in this room. It was just really impressive the kind of interest that there is in what the Dallas Cowboys are doing and you fit right in with what you've accomplished so far and what we expect of you. So with no further ado: Morris Claiborne.
Q: Has all this sunk in yet?
Morris Claiborne: It's getting there. It still feels like it isn't real, but I know it's real. I'm just so excited to get in, get to work and get around my teammates.
More after the break
Q: You were so emotional yesterday when you talked to Jason and Rob on the phone. Would you take us through that, and what was going through your head at that point?
MC: What was going through my head? I was just wondering, was it real? Just looking at my family, thinking about all the ... once I got that call everything came back to me: All the hard work I put into it; all the time that I put into it; and just looking at my family, knowing that they are the biggest Cowboys fans ever; just looking at their faces, it just made me tear up.
Q: Can you talk about getting to know your teammates? Are there guys that you already?
MC: Not quite. That's why I'm so anxious just to get in and get to know those guys and get to earn those guys' trust and let them know, "Hey, I'm going to be in those trenches with you and I'm going to have your back no matter what."
Q: Last year the number one pick Tyron Smith sat there and talked about having Hall Of fame aspirations. Is your ceiling that high or are your goals that high?
MC: I set my goals pretty high for myself. But I know you've got to take it one goal at a time, and you can't just settle for when you reach one goal. I mean, this is a goal of mine right here, getting into the NFL. And I made it!
So I have to set my goal another step higher and that's to get with my teammates and win ballgames. And hopefully a Super Bowl after that. And then who knows what happens, hopefully the hall Of Fame.
Q: What did Coach Miles tell you about the guys you're sitting next to?
MC: "A good group of guys." He talked so highly of everyone, I know everybody is familiar with him, he's familiar with those guys. He just told me I can't lose right now.
Q: You mentioned last night your confidence in yourself and your abilities. What does it mean to start hearing your name in the same sentence as Deion and what Deion meant to this whole organization?
MC: That's awesome! When you hear your name in the same sentence as Deion, you've got to be doing something right. Deion is a great player and he has left a mark here on the Dallas Cowboys. He's moved on and I'm one of the players coming up now, and I'm gong to try to leave my mark.
Q: Do you see that as extra pressure or more as a motivation?
MC: Motivation. There's pressure on you as is as a football player. So I try not to put any undue pressure on myself. I try to just go out and get my job done.
Q: Can you update us on the status of your wrist and your recovery?
MC: Right now, I have to have the hard cast on for two more weeks, then I get my pins taken out, and then a soft cast for like two weeks.
Q: When you realize that football could be a way of life for you?
MC: I thought about that when I was in high school: "This is something I'm always doing, and I'm pretty good at it. So why don't I try to push myself even harder and see where it can get me." And after that it was just working out, taking it seriously and not letting anything stop me; going out and giving it my all.
That's what I'm trying to teach my son right now: If you're going to do it, you're going to do it, and you're going to go all the way with it. You're not going to half-do it. And that's one of the things that I have done. I didn't settle for anything, any of that. I keep working, and I work hard.
Q: Is there more pressure being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys? Is that something you've thought about?
MC: No. Like I said, I don't see any pressure whatsoever. Football is football. You've just got to go out and get it done. You've got to put the work into it.
Q: How did Patrick Peterson help you in your development?
MC: He's helped me a lot, on and off the field. He helped me when I first stepped foot on campus. He was my host, and he was trying to get me to come to the defensive side of the ball and I was like, "Naw man, I'm an offensive guy. I'm a receiver. I want the ball."
I didn't know what position I was going to play, I was back-and-forth, and I ended up liking DB. And I was making plays and making plays and Coach Miles said "You stay over there."
Q: Have any of the other players on the team been in contact with you, and if so, what was their reaction to the Cowboys moving up to get you?
MC: From what I heard today [they think] it's pretty awesome. Everybody's excited, everybody's waiting for me to get in and I'm excited myself, ready to get around everyone.
Q: What do you know about Rob Ryan's style of defense and how does that fit with how you want to play?
MC: I know he's going to go get after it. He's going to send them up front and press them up outside. I've come from a defense where we pretty much did the same thing: "Hey everybody, you've got your man, he's got his man, we're going trying to get to the quarterback and make him do something he doesn't want to do with the ball."
Q: Since the combine, you've had to deal with a couple of things that came out, that affected public perception of you, how did you deal with that?
MC: Just believing in God. And sticking with the people who have been with me since day one. A lot of people don't have you best interest at heart. They may act like they do, but they really don't. I just try to keep my circle tight. Not letting a lot of people get into my circle. And with those situations, I just take it one day at a time. f you think that was going to get me down, you've got a long way to go.
Q: How embarrassing was the whole Wonderlic story to you?
MC: I know what type of person I am. I know that [the Wonderlic] doesn't define the type of person that I am. My family knows what type of person I am. I knew it wasn't going to stop me from getting drafted, as you can obviously see. I wasn't embarrassed by it at all.
Q: Did you regret not taking the Wonderlic more serious?
MC: If I knew there would have been this much heat about it, yeah!