Western Michigan's Jamarko Simmons, left, catches a pass in front of Iowa defender Bradley Fletcher during the second half of their college football game, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2007, in Iowa City, Iowa. Western Michigan won 28-19.

By Eric Woodyard | The Flint Journal

FLINT, Michigan — The odds of earning a spot on a pro football roster seemed to be slim and none for JaMarko Simmons.

For four months, he worked tirelessly at the Security Packaging company on South Dort Highway trying to pay his bills as well as provide for his two-year-old son, Jaylen.

Simmons’ days as a All-American wide receiver starring on Western Michigan University’s football team were a distant memory. Instead of catching passes he “provided exceptional packaging products” to the company’s valued customers.

“I was seeing how this 9-5 thing was and it wasn’t for me,” Simmons said. “It was definitely a wake up call.”

Things quickly changed with one conversation in mid-October. The Jacksonville Sharks of the Arena Football League needed a physical wideout and offered Simmons a spot on the team. Without thinking, Simmons accepted.

“I was real excited about it,” Simmons said. “I got a second chance at it (and) a second chance at everything as injury free and really being able to show my talents.”

At WMU, Simmons was a four-year starter and became the first receiver in the program’s history to catch more than 100 passes in a season. He also broke the record for career receptions (260), passing Green Bay Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings in the process.

After graduating in 2008, Simmons signed with the Packers as an undrafted free agent but was hampered by a herniated disc in his back and didn’t make the final cut. The New Orleans Saints granted him another tryout but this would fall through. He then had plans on playing in the UFL but a fracture in his foot put his career at a standstill.

For a player who had never dealt with any major injuries all throughout his college tenure, Simmons often found himself frustrated and emotionally damaged. Being injured reminded him just how much he loved the game. When things seemed to be falling apart, he decided to rededicate himself to the sport.

He reached out to his former high school track coach at Flint Central, Carlos Benton, to help get back to the basics.

Simmons trained with Benton at Grand Blanc high school for close to two months before heading off to Jacksonville for the start of training camp with the Sharks last weekend. They met up for four sessions per week, which lasted nearly three hours to work on his flexibility, quickness, speed, cardio and agility. Simmons also participated in his own weight lifting regimen on top of their encounters.

Benton was highly impressed with the drive of his young protege.

“When we first started working out he wasn’t in shape but had the work ethics of it but as we’ve been working out he’s been getting very comfortable,” said Benton, who is now the girls cross country coach at Grand Blanc. “I can see the maturity from high school to college and I would be very shocked if he didn’t make it.”

Before he can make it back to the NFL, Simmons believes he has to crawl before he walks and this opportunity may be a stepping stone for the next level.

“I’m going to give it all I got. I still got a whole lot in the tank, a whole lot to give and it’s just one day at a time,” Simmons said. “My ultimate goal is to make it back to the league in 2011-2012 (and) hopefully it’s not a lockout and I can show what I got.”

While his sights may be set on the NFL, Simmons has to emerge as a star in the AFL first.

The rookie will get his chance when the Sharks take on the Arizona Rattlers on March 12 to kick off their five-month season.

“He better be very serious because if he’s not then he’s not going to make it,” Jacksonville Sharks head coach, Les Moss said. “These guys in this league are very good football players and he’s gonna be challenged every bit as much as he’s been challenged anywhere he’s been.”

Advertisements

Jamarko Simmons stands at a ramp that leads into the seating at Waldo Stadium at Western Michigan.

By Eric Woodyard | The Flint Journal

FLINT, Michigan — One sign changed everything.

It overlooks West 12th Street, underneath the Southwestern Academy logo,  and represents a historiic mark. Mark Ingram that is.

The sign reads: “Home of Mark Ingram II 2009 Heisman Trophy winner.”

This set the bar for all aspiring football players attending Southwestern.
Senior wide receiver, Kendrick Roberts was no exception. When Roberts inked his name on the dotted line last week to attend Western Michigan University on a football scholarship this fall, of course Ingram came to mind.

What Roberts didn’t realize is that he’s also following the footsteps of another great wide receiver from Flint who had a great career sporting the Brown & Gold in Kalamazoo as well, JaMarko Simmons.

W_MICHIGAN_FLORIDA_ST_F(2).jpg

Simmons was a graduate of Central High School in 2004 and a four-year starter at WMU. Simmons left in 2008 as the university’s career leader in receptions (260) and the single season record holder in receptions (104) and receiving yards (1,267).

His no. 27 jersey still hangs in the rafters of Waldo Stadium next to all of the other All-Americans that have have battled on the field for the Broncos.

“Everytime I go up there they show me all the banners with all the All-Americans up there so they always tell me I got big shoes to fill,” Roberts said. “Pretty much going up there I just want to be able to fulfill their shoes, do better than they did, and break their records.”

Simmons, 24, is humbled that he is now mentioned with the greats from his university.
“It’s an honor and hopefully Kendrick can go down there and keep that legacy going,” Simmons added.

In October, Simmons signed a contract to play for the Jacksonville Sharks of the Arena Football League (AFL). The Sharks start training camp this weekend with their first game on Feb. 28 against the Tampa Bay Storm.

If Roberts wants to replace Simmons’ name in the record books it will be no easy task.
The 6-foot-2, 245-pound Simmons was twice named to the First Team All-Mid-American Conference squad and received All-American nods from both Sports Illustrated and Phil Steele’s College Football. Nonetheless, the staff at WMU likes Roberts’ chances of surpassing the former standout.

“He’s probably a little faster than JaMarko (but) if he has the career JaMarko had we would all be happy,” WMU head coach Bill Cubit said. “I thought JaMarko was a great player here and we’re really excited about Kendrick here. I think he has all the attributes to be a great one.”

KENDRICK ROBERTS_04.JPG

In high school, Roberts usually dominated his peers effortlessly. As a junior, he amassed over 1,000 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns. Despite hitting the injury bug in his senior year after breaking his hand, Roberts still hauled in 736 yards while scoring eight touchdowns. As Roberts makes the transition to the next level, he will have to raise his play to meet the standards of stiffer competition. Nobody can break down the journey better than Simmons.

“It’s going to be a good experience for him. I talked to coach and he was like he’s a real good player,” Simmons confirmed. “He said he reminded him of me coming out of Flint and we was joking along and he was like, ‘You can only handle only a couple of them from Flint.’ But he was saying he’s a real good kid and he looks forward to putting him on the field real soon.”

Roberts will have to take care of business in the classroom as well as adapt to plays rather quickly if he plans to carry on the tradition of Flint athletes succeeding at WMU. The Broncos have no doubt that Roberts will prevail.

“He’s big, he’s fierce, he can catch and he’s a great kid. He’s got all the intangibles and we love him here,” Cubit said. “He’s an outstanding kid with unlimited potential.”


By Eric Woodyard
Western Herald

No matter how good or bad his performance may be, Western Michigan University junior Flenard Whitfield knows one thing will stay consistent at every home basketball game.

He can always count on seeing the familiar face of his mother in the audience serving as his biggest supporter.

She clears her schedule and makes the two-hour trip from Detroit to Kalamazoo for every WMU home game in University Arena to see her son participate in his favorite activity.

“I think it’s very important. I’ve been with Flen from day one. I was his first coach and I think it keeps his spirit up when he sees his family there to help support him,” Flen’s mother, Jackie Whitfield, said. “Then also, when he’s down, I always give him a thumbs up to let him know that ‘You’re ok,’ so I think it’s very important for a parent to support their children because it’s nothing like having family.”

Whitfield needs that support now more than ever as he enters his junior year as the clear-cut leader of the men’s hoops squad.

In his first two seasons, he had the luxury of playing under veterans Donald Lawson, David Kool and Martelle McLemore, who all embraced that leadership role quite comfortably. They made it easy for Whitfield because he was able to focus strictly on improving himself and adjusting to college basketball after four stellar seasons at Detroit’s Martin Luther King High School in both football and basketball.

In football, he was named as “Most Outstanding Wide Receiver” after his senior year and passed on a big-time Division I football scholarship offers from programs like Louisiana State University, University of Michigan, and University of Florida to play basketball for WMU.

Although Whitfield wasn’t in the chief position like the older players initially, he knew it wouldn’t be long before he was.

“Coming in as a freshman, I knew it was coming one of these days where I had to take over and be a leader but I just took a lot of examples and paid attention a little more than anybody else did,” Whitfield said. “I worked on a lot of leading by example. I think I’ve been a vocal guy before even coming in as a freshman but I’ve been leading more by example this year.”

Prior to training camp, the team was unsure of who would take on that challenge. They looked like a completely revamped roster compared to last season and the new players had to get adjusted to one another.

By the end of the summer, it was clear that the torch had been passed to Whitfield based on his hard work, determination and willingness to step into that role.

His teammates also believe in his ability which sets him up in an even better position.

“Flen’s a great leader. He does lead by example very well and he’s really vocal but this year, more than anything, we’ve learned how to be vocal without talking down to somebody and that’s something we’ve had to work on,” WMU forward Nate Hutcheson said. “During the summer, we didn’t know who the leader was and Flen grasped that role and took it so he’s our leader.”

Since his freshman year, Whitfield has been determined to succeed by making huge strides every off-season.

In the 2008-09 season, he only averaged 5.5 points per game and 4.1 rebounds but came back in the 2009-10 season and upped his average to 10.1 points and 5.2 rebounds on 50.6 percent shooting.

He was even named WMU’s “Most Improved Player.”

The odds are in his favor that this season will be an even better year. He showed glimpses of what he’s capable of in the Broncos’ second exhibition contest against Kalamazoo College where he scored 18 points and snatched seven rebounds.

After watching Whitfield’s tremendous growth, those close to him can’t help but to be proud.

“It’s very rewarding to finally see his hard work pay off,” Flen’s mother Jackie said. “I’ve watched this kid grow and develop to the young man he is through hard work and not just because he’s my son but I’ve watched him literally work his butt off to get here. He would do anything to get here so it’s very rewarding to see him take over as the leader because hard work does pay off.”

While the 6-foot-7-inch, 230 pound Detroit native may be a ferocious competitor on the court, off the court he’s a cream puff when it comes to his mother.

“He’s always gonna be ‘Momma’s Boy,’ that’s a given! That’s my only son of four children and I love him to death and he knows I love him to death, that’s my baby,” Jackie said. “So yeah, he’s a ‘Momma’s Boy,’ but that’s a good thing because I teach him how to be a man too he’s not spoiled because I will get in his butt.”

Flenard’s first real leadership test will come against Xavier University when they host the Broncos on their home court to kick off the season on Friday, Nov. 12, in Cincinnati, Ohio.


By Eric Woodyard (Western Herald)

Kalamazoo College did lead at one point in their basketball game against Western Michigan University on Saturday, Nov. 6 in University Arena.

They literally led by one point in the first half at the 17:09 mark and by the 2:39 mark of the second half, they trailed by 60 points.

WMU defeated K-College, 93-35, in their final exhibition contest in front of 2,018 loyal fans in Kalamazoo. While the last game was a bit competitive against Spring Arbor University on Tuesday, which they trailed most of the first the half before eventually winning 64-53, this match-up was one sided from the jump.

By halftime, WMU led 51-14.

“I thought that it was so much better today than it was Tuesday night and what I was looking for today happened and that was a mark of improvement and organization,” Bronco head coach Steve Hawkins said. “What I look for is not what the general fan might look for, what I’m looking for is to actually play better, not individually but as a team and we were much more organized.”

The Broncos were led by the aggressive play of Flenard Whitfield and Nate Hutcheson. Whitfield chipped in 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds while Hutcheson scored 19 points and picked up nine rebounds.

Freshman center Matt Stainbrook scored 13 points and snatched eoght rebounds in 20 minutes of action as well.

Whitfield relishes his new role as the team’s leader with the departure of last year’s seniors, Donald Lawson, David Kool and Martelle McLemore.

“Coming in as a freshman, I knew it was coming one of these days where I had to take over and be a leader but I just took a lot of examples and paid attention a little more than anybody else did,” Whitfield said. “I worked on a lot of leading by example. I think I’ve been a vocal guy before even coming in as a freshman but I’ve been leading more by example this year.”

The bench of the Broncos played a huge role in the victory as they produced 45 points.

WMU also connected on 54.3 percent of their field goal attempts for the entire game opposed to K-College’s 21.6 percent.

No player scored in double-figures for the Hornets as Eric Fishman led the team with eight points and six rebounds. Harold Hermanson chipped in seven points on 2-for-10 shooting.

Prior to this game, Hawkins had been experimenting with different starting line ups to see which one would work the best.

With no set roster, the players needed to build their confidence in some way and K-College served as the perfect building block.

“Confidence is a big deal going into the season especially when you’re opening up with Xavier like we are,” Hutcheson said. “They’re a big tough team and we’re gonna need the confidence and also today was really good for going through plays and all that kind of stuff just to go against somebody else besides ourself.”

WMU will kick off the season on Friday, Nov. 12, at 7 p.m. when they travel to Cincinnati, Ohio to take on Xavier University on their home court.

Xavier has made it to the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet Sixteen the past two seasons.

 

By Eric Woodyard
Western Herald

Most women’s tennis programs would have been satisfied with compiling 15 combined victories in both singles and doubles over a three-day period while facing stiff competition on the road.

For the Western Michigan University women’s tennis team, this was just another day in the office.

“We trying to just improve right now, we don’t feel like beating those people was anything special,” Bronco head coach Betsy Kuhle said.

“We belong with the Minnesota’s and the Michigan State’s and the Iowa’s.

We like competing well with them and the last time we played Michigan State we beat them and the last time we played Minnesota we beat them so it’s not like we’re using that as some great stepping stone, we’re more concerned with how we’re playing and not necessarily who we’re playing.”

The Broncos earned their victories by travelling to Northwestern University last weekend for the Wildcat Invitational at the Vandy Christie Tennis Center.

There were teams from DePaul University, University of Iowa, University of Minnesota, University of Wisconsin, University of Oklahoma, Michigan State University, Louisiana State University, University of South Carolina and University of Illinois-Chicago all participating in the tournament.

The Broncos began their onslaught on Friday when they attained seven combined wins. In doubles, two teams (Rachel Denny/April Kerr and Maria Nivia/Jill Pastunink) advanced to the championship rounds of their flights.

They also picked up three singles wins when Nini Sujashvili, Miloslava Shustova, and Jill Pastunink all opened with victories.

On Saturday, the team won the Flight B doubles championship when Nivia and Pastunink defeated Anya Morgina and Katherina Popova of South Carolina, 8-5.

Senior Amanda Moccia and sophomore Maggie Remynse also won a doubles consolation over Michigan State, 8-3.

The Broncos wrapped up the tournament on Sunday with the team earning three more wins in singles.

Sujashvili defeated Peta Lancaster of Oklahoma, 6-2 and 6-4.

Nivia won 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 over Katarina Lingl of Michigan State.

Pastunink defeated Cali Gustafson of DePaul 3-6, 6-1, 6-1.

The leaders for the Brown and Gold for the weekend were Nivia, Pastunink and Sujashvili who all had 2-2 singles records.

“We’re competing extremely hard and getting better every weekend and I was particularly happy with their level of competition and how hard we competed,” Kuhle said.

“This weekend I would say that everybody was really good [but] I think Maria Nivia and Jill Pastunink really showed some promise in their doubles.”

Nivia is a junior from Cali, Colombia who attended La Arboleia School prior to joining the Broncos.

Pastunink is a sophomore from Zeeland, Mich. who attended Zeeland West High School before coming to WMU.

The team will pick back up action on Oct. 21 when they take a trip to Ann Arbor for the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Midwest Regional with hopes of moving one step closer to their ultimate goal.

“We’re making a lot of progress and we do everything in hopes for trying to bring home a MAC Championship, that’s our goal,” Kuhle said.

“So I think we’re making the right moves and we’re doing all we need to do.”

By Eric Woodyard
Western Herald

The scholarships for the women’s tennis team had already been awarded when Amanda Moccia enrolled in Western Michigan University during the fall of 2007.

Equipped with two seniors and two juniors, including Moccia’s older sister, Ashley, the roster seemed to be set.

This was until the younger Moccia showcased her skills to the head coach, Betsy Kuhle and the rest was history.

The Livonia, Mich. native was allowed to compete for the Broncos as a walk-on and exceeded all expectations for the 2007-2008 season.

By the end of the year, she was named to the All-MAC Tournament team after going 6-0 in singles, went a perfect 10-0 in MAC regular season and conference tournament singles, and ranked third on the team with 21 overall singles wins. “My first year it felt awesome [because] when you come in, you really don’t know what college tennis is all about and what being a college athlete is all about and how much work you have to put in,” Moccia said.

“It felt great because it’s kind of like you’re reaping all rewards for all your hard work at the end of the year and I think I’m definitely ready to get back to that this year.”

Three years have passed since her freshman year and Moccia is now a senior and the captain of her squad.

She has had a successful career but she hasn’t been able to win another MAC title since that first time.

As her days begin to dwindle down as a student-athlete for the Broncos, her sights are set on matching this achievement.

“For this year, I think the biggest goal for myself always comes in the spring season, which is winning the MAC,” Amanda Moccia said.

“I haven’t done that since I’ve been a freshman so I think it’s about time we do that this year and then that way I go out with a winning year.”

Not only is Moccia content on becoming a champion in her conference, but she also focused on making her teammates better.

Moccia understands that every person learns in a different way.

“It depends on the person how she’s been able to lead,” Kuhle said.

“Some of the younger players she’s really had to befriend a little and some of them I think she’s had to put the hammer down on them so it’s just an individual thing but she’s able to do both.”

Under Moccia’s leadership, WMU has been able to excel. Last weekend at Northwestern University in the Wildcat Invitational, the Broncos compiled 15 combined victories in both singles and doubles.

On the second day, Moccia and sophomore Maggie Remynse won a doubles consolation, 8-3, over Michigan State University.

While her intensity is in full throttle while in competition, she’s able to differentiate the two in her free time.

“I’m a pretty outgoing person. On the tennis court, I’m usually trying to stay level-headed and not be too loud but I think outside of the court I’m pretty outgoing and loud,” Moccia said.

“I kind of take on two different roles as an athlete and as a person so it’s kind of like my alter ego.”

Mastering the ability to differentiate her playtime from when it’s time to be serious is why Moccia has been so successful at WMU.

As Moccia gets prepared to “walk on” away from Kalamazoo, she leaves a mark behind her in Bronco athletics that is rarely accomplished from a “walk-on” who wasn’t even given a scholarship as a freshman at the university.

There’s a reason Cincinnati Bengals’ wide receiver, Chad Ochocinco, thinks so highly of a certain Detroit Lions player entering his second season in the NFL.

There’s a reason he described him as a “safety who will be one of the best hands down with hella swagg.” There’s also a reason he posted this on his Twitter page in mid-August:

“#Onmymoma I guarantee Louis Delmas will be one of the best to play the game at safety, he brings a different style to the position.”

The reason is Louis Delmas. When the Lions took on the Bengals in week 13 last season, although Ochocinco hauled in nine catches for a season-high 137 yards and a touchdown, Delmas impressed him.

“All week (Ochocinco) was ripping and raving, telling me I gotta sit down because I’m a rookie and telling me that I need to be in my place and putting out these little jokes about Detroit Lions football,” Delmas said.

“So I was just ready to get out there and play against him and I told myself ‘the minute he put his hands out there and try to catch that ball and I’m in his area? I’m gonna try my hardest to lay him out!’ So when he caught the ball and started running, I just seen my opportunity and I was like ‘I’m taking this one.’ So that was the most fulfilling hit,” Delmas added.

In his rookie season, the former Western Michigan University Bronco gave Lions fans big plays all year.

Delmas became the first rookie in league history and second player ever to score on an interception return, fumble return and a safety in one season.

He also registered 79 tackles (54 solo) and scored more defensive points than any rookie in 2009.

Still, his only individual accolade would come early in the season when he won September’s Rookie Defensive Player of the Month Award.

Despite all Delmas’ amazing efforts, the Houston Texans’ linebacker, Brian Cushing, almost unanimously ran away the Defensive Rookie of the Year trophy with 39 votes.

Delmas received zero.

The runner-up was Buffalo’s safety Jairus Byrd who was second with six votes. Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews received three votes and Washington linebacker Brian Orakpo got two votes according to a nation-wide panel of 50 sports writers.

Delmas didn’t make the Pro-Bowl, even as an alternate. This lack of respect for his talents serves as motivation for him this season.

“I think it’s not my opinion that counts so I’m not the one throwing in votes and I’m not the one picking myself to go to the Pro-Bowl. It’s up to everybody else so obviously I didn’t prove to a lot of people that I could be a Pro-Bowl type Safety so of course that bugged me a little bit,” Delmas said.

“I thought I did OK, not great so this off-season I had one thing in mind. Actually a couple days after my last game, I had one thing in mind and that’s to be the best Safety in the NFL. That’s been my goal since day one and I’m gonna keep trying to achieve my goal.”

With his fearless hitting tactics and complete skill set, all signs point to stardom for the Florida native.

*This post can also be viewed on westernherald.com!

Nearly three million people were in need of emergency in Haiti, approximately 2 million were initially left homeless, and officials feared that death toll might have reached 100,000

These were just a few of the effects that came from one of the most devastating natural disasters of the millennium. It all happened on January 12, when an earthquake rocked the small nation of Haiti.

Amongst the millions of people that were affected from the tragedy was former Western Michigan University football All-American turned NFL star, Louis Delmas.

“A lot of my family was affected, starting off with my grandma and a couple of my cousins,” Delmas said.

“They [were] affected and we [weren’t] able to get a hold of them yet and I don’t wanna put a bug in anyone’s ear and say that they passed, but reality is reality. But that did affect me and that’s why I said that it’s so important for me to spread the word out there that Haiti needs help.”

In one of his first efforts to spread the word, Delmas will collaborate with his non-profit organization, We R Love, Inc. as well as the Athletic Department of WMU in order to host a barbecue event on Saturday, April 17.

The event will begin immediately after the annual Brown & Gold Spring Game and will raise funds to assist with the relief efforts in Haiti.

The event will last from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and the public will be able to eat barbecue, drink beverages and enjoy music. Tickets will be $15 with a WMU ID and $30 for all other attendees.

Individuals will also have the opportunity to meet Delmas and receive an autographed photo of the alumnus.

“We just want to set up a base, since Louis and I are both [alumni] of the university and we hope that as the organization grows, that we will be able to set up some type of scholarship for an underprivileged student – most likely an athlete since that’s where Louis really comes from,” said We R Love PR Director, Royda Urey.

“This is also a great way for Louis to give back to the college, which is also a very informal event where he just wants to come and hang out with all of the students from Western [Michigan] and show his support and hopefully as they come to the event they’re giving back to us as we’re giving back to them.”

According to Delmas, this event is a great steppingstone to further accomplishing his goals of helping the poorest in the Western Hemisphere.

“I just want everybody to know that this foundation is made for those lost in Haiti and still trying to support those in Haiti. It’s never going to be enough with the little bit that we’re doing and with the stuff that other people are doing to rebuild Haiti and get them back in school and all that there,” Delmas said.

“So I just want everybody to know that Haiti is not forgotten, even though the crisis happened a couple months ago. [There are] still people down there [that are] struggling and still need help so I just [want to] get their name out there and help out as much as possible.”

For additional information about the event and VIP tickets, please contact Urey at roydaurey@gmail.com.

*This post can also be viewed on the Western Herald’s website and in today’s paper!

Louis Delmas Interview!!

April 14, 2010

 

There was no question that the Detroit Lions’ safety, Louis Delmas had a successful rookie season!

He became the first rookie in league history and second player ever to score on an interception return, fumble return and a safety in one season. He also registered 79 tackles (54 solo) and scored more defensive points than any rookie in the NFL in 2009. He also won September’s rookie defensive player of the month award.

Despite all of his success on the field, Delmas still feels as though he has more to prove. He wants to help out the Haitian community. In an attempt to help out the country, Delmas will collaborate with his non-profit organization, We R Love, Inc. as well as the Athletic Department of WMU in order to host a BBQ event on Saturday, April 17, 2010. The event will begin immediately after the annual Brown & Gold Spring Game and will raise funds to assist with the relief efforts in Haiti.

As Delmas prepares to make his return back to Kalamazoo, Michigan this weekend, I had a word with him in an over-the-phone interview ranging on a host of different topics.

Eric Woodyard: What was the deciding factor that made you want to do an event like this?

Louis Delmas: First and foremost, once the crisis happened in Haiti I automatically thought in my head ‘I need to do something to support and just to give back.’ Being that I’m in the position that I’m in right now, I got a little bit of funds to where I can start a foundation just to get my name out there also. Once I heard the opportunity came up at Western being that they got a Spring game, I thought it would be a great idea just to get our name out there and just to let everybody know that the crisis that’s going on in Haiti is not over.

EW: I heard that you have a little Haitian background in you as well, was any of your own family affected from what was going on over there?

LD: Yeah and you know what man? A lot of my family was affected starting off with my grandma and a couple of my cousins. They was affected and we wasn’t able to get a hold of them yet and I don’t wanna put a bug in no one’s ear and say that they passed but reality is reality. But that did affect me and that’s why I said that it’s so important for me to spread the word out there that Haiti needs help.

EW: So obviously it’s a big difference from being a college student running around to now being in the NFL. What’s the biggest difference from transitioning from college to the NFL?

LD: To me the biggest difference was now instead of going to football practice and having to go straight from there to class and everything. Now it’s just straight football. So when I wake up in the morning, instead of going to class I go straight to football and when I’m done with football, I got straight to film. Then when I’m done with film, I go straight home and watch more film. So you eat and you use the rest room football. It’s all football all day and that was the biggest turnaround for me because I got to be a bit more focused now.

EW: So I don’t know if you remember last summer when I seen you down there on the practice facility when I was working with my intern.

LD: Aw yeah, Aw yeah. I appreciate that so much too man.

EW: I had ended up doing a story on you too about how you should have won the Defensive Rookie of the Year or at least got a few votes. So did that get to you at all to make you work even harder this off-season because you didn’t get the recognition that you deserved?

LD: Oh of course! I think it’s not my opinion that counts so I’m not the one throwing in votes and I’m not the one picking myself to go to the Pro-Bowl. It’s up to everybody else so obviously I didn’t prove to a lot of people that I could be a Pro-Bowl type Safety so of course that bugged me a little bit. I thought I did OK, not great so this off-season I had one thing in mind. Actually a couple days after my last game, I had one thing in mind and that’s to be the best Safety in the NFL. That’s been my goal since day one and I’m gonna keep trying to achieve my goal.

EW: Was it anything that shocked you like the speed of the game or anything in your first season?

LD: Man let me tell you; to be honest with you…people ask me that all the time. I tell people my transition from high school to college…high school was way faster than college!

EW: (laughs)

LD: Exactly! I guess playing football in Florida was just totally different. Then my transition from college to the NFL, college was way faster than the NFL. I guess being that people are bigger, faster, (and) stronger and once you get to that certain age than it’s not gonna be there anymore. It’s gonna be all about technique. Most of the guys that we play on this level are very old or not very old but got some numbers on them so they force their technique more than anything to be successful on the play so I think the transition from here to college is much slower but then again I have to be much more focused and not let anything slip past me. 

EW: Me and my boys used to watch all of the Detroit Lions games and we seen you lay out Chad Johnson and we seen you lay out Adrian Peterson. What was your favorite play or was there anything in general that was your favorite memory of your rookie season?

LD: I would have to say my hit on Chad. All week he was ripping and raving, telling me I gotta sit down because I’m a rookie and telling me that I need to be in my place and putting out these little jokes about Detroit Lions football. So I was just ready to get out there and play against him and I told myself ‘the minute he put his hands out there and try to catch that ball and I’m in his area? I’m gonna try my hardest to lay him out!’ So when he caught the ball and started running, I just seen my opportunity and I was like ‘I’m taking this one.’ So that was the most fulfilling hit.

EW: So getting back on the event, what’s the number one thing that you want the people to take from this event that you’re hosting this weekend?

LD: I just want everybody to know that this foundation is made for those lost in Haiti and still trying to support those in Haiti. It’s never gonna be enough with the little bit that we’re doing and with the stuff that other people are doing to rebuild Haiti and get them back in school and all that there. So I just want everybody to know that Haiti is not forgotten, even though the crisis happened a couple months ago. It’s still people down there that’s struggling and still need help so I just wanna get their name out there and help out as much as possible. Also, I just want the people out there to know that Louis Delmas is not only successful in football but also can be successful off the field. That’s involving media, helping people out, and holding camps…I wanna be as successful as possible.      

*This post can also be viewed on the Western Herald’s website!