Raekwon McMillan – May 5, 2017 Download PDF version

Friday, May 5, 2017

Linebacker Raekwon McMillan

(Good thing you didn’t get drafted by a team with blue.) – “No, I wouldn’t have been wearing much of it. (laughter) No, I’m just playing.”

(Now that you’ve had a little time, can you go back to when you were picked? When we were on the phone with you, it was very emotional. Can you set that scene for us a little bit?) – “Yes, I was actually in my house, getting madder and madder about each pick that went by. As a competitor, you think you’re the best. So in my mind, I’m the best linebacker in the nation, coming out of college, in my mind. I was just in my room. My family was in the living room area in my apartment and I was in my room by myself just trying not to pay attention to the draft and just waiting on my phone and see what happens. I actually missed the first call by the Dolphins and my heart dropped because I thought I had just missed my chance to get drafted. (laughter) But they called me right back and it was a tremendous blessing. My mom walked into the room while I was getting drafted. Like you said, I was very emotional because I’ve been playing football all my life and all of my dreams came true, or are coming true. I have the opportunity to fulfill the rest of my dreams out in the NFL with the Dolphins.”

(How did you possibly miss the call that you’ve been waiting on for two days?) – “I was texting my little brother Richard LeCounte III, who plays for the University of Georgia. He had texted me prior and said, No. 54 to the Dolphins. He had texted me about two hours prior and predicted that I would go No. 54 to the Dolphins. And I was texting him like, ‘Yeah, we’ll see, we’ll see, we’ll see.’ I was mid-text and then the call popped up on my phone and I hit the red button on accident. (laughter)”

(So you didn’t miss the call, you hung up on them?) – “Yes, I kind of hung up on them. (laughter)”

(When your brother texted you No. 54 to the Dolphins, was that well received by you or were you angry that he was saying that late?) – “Yes, because it was Thursday when he was saying No. 54 to the Dolphins. I was like ‘Aw man, hopefully it is a little bit higher than that,’ But it would be a blessing if I got chosen by the Dolphins.”

(This team was No. 30 in the league last year in run defense. Can you talk about what you bring to the table in that area?) – “Yes, like everyone around here is talking about, wherever coach needs me to play, I’ll go out there at the linebacker position and do my job. They brought in some vets, (Lawrence) Timmons from the Steelers, Kiko (Alonso) and some of the other guys here. It’s a team effort. It’s not just one guy going out there and trying to make a big difference. It’s us all out there playing together and putting up a team effort to stop the run.”

(You talked about how mad you were getting as the picks kept going by. How much of a chip are you coming in with to prove that you should have gone higher?) – “Yes. Every day I think about why I should’ve been the No. 1 linebacker taken in the draft. I can’t do much talking about it. It’s about me going out on the field and showing you all what’s up.”

(Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer talks about how you are one of the favorite players he has ever coached. Have you heard that before, and what did you do at Ohio State, in your opinion, to give him that impression?) – “I was kind of a team leader out there. My freshman year, I kind of sat back a little bit because it wasn’t my place, it wasn’t my time. But my sophomore year, going into my sophomore year, I wasn’t a team captain but I was the leader of the defense. My junior year, I was a captain of the program. Everything that Ohio State stands for, you can see through me. As I walked around campus on and off the field, I presented myself to show good representation for The Ohio State University.”

(DE Charles Harris said that he’s going to pretty much follow DE Cam Wake everywhere that he goes. That’s the guy he’s going to try to emulate. Is there anyone on this team that you’re going to look at and say ‘I’m going to watch what that guy does?’) – “Not any one player, but there are guys that I’ll deal with more than others. I’ll have to deal with the linebackers more than others. I’m not saying anybody in particular because I can learn from everybody. I can learn from somebody who came in with me. Sometimes you have to sit back and watch to learn. That’s what I’m doing right now, sitting back and observing and finding my position to where I can help this organization out.”

(You’re regarded as a very good tackler. What makes you so effective, so efficient?)  – “It’s something that we practiced a lot at Ohio State. We practiced a different tackling style – the eyes through the thigh, wrap and roll, sweep the ankles tackle technique. We went over it every day in practice. Even though we weren’t allowed to have a bunch of contact, we always finished in football position, in tackling position. It helped us and it showed out there on the field, rarely missing tackles.”

(Tackling, is that more technique or more desire?) – “I’d say it’s a little bit of both. First, you have to get there. If you don’t have any desire or effort to get there, then you’re not going to make any tackles. So yes, you have to have some desire to get to the football, see ball, get ball, have some instincts. Then when you get there, you have to finish.”

(Is it true or is it an internet rumor that you were named after Raekwon from Wu-Tang Clan?) – “No, that’s true. That’s true.”

(Did you ever get a back story on that, on why?) – “My mom just liked the name, I guess. He’s tweeted me. We’ve tweeted back and forth every now and then. He DM’d (direct messaged) me when I declared for the draft. That’s as far as the relationship goes.”

(Your early impressions of Head Coach Adam Gase?) – “Charismatic. Real cool. (He) really cares about this organization. (He’s) passionate about winning and he’s going to lead this organization in the right direction.”

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