Retired NFL DT, Jason Ferguson Interview
Jason Ferguson played college football at the University of Georgia. He entered the 1997 NFL Draft, and was selected in the 7th round. He played for the Jets for seven years, the Cowboys for three years, and the Dolphins for two years. He was a great defensive lineman for all of the teams he played on. At the end of his career, he served as a mentor to Paul Soliai. This interview was conducted after the 2010 NFL season. He is currently no longer in the NFL.
Announcement : Hello, my name is Max Strauss with http://prointerviews.org/, http://facebook.com/ProInterviews/ and http://twitter.com/ProInterviews/. I’d like to welcome you to the interview with Jason Ferguson. Ozzie attended the University of Georgia in 1996 and 1997. He then entered the 1997 NFL Draft and was drafted in the seventh round, 229th overall by the New York Jets. He played with the New York Jets for the first 8 years of his career. He then signed with the Dallas Cowboys playing with them for three years. Afterwards, he played for the Miami Dolphins for the last two years of his career before retiring in the summer of 2010. Anyways, here is the interview with Jason Ferguson and I hope you enjoy the collages also.
Strauss : Why do you use twitter?
Ferguson : I use twitter to connect with my fans. Keep them up to date with what I’m doing, show them what’s going on, and sending them updates to keep up with me. That was pretty much idea.
Strauss : What are your plans now that you’re not in the NFL?
Ferguson : The best job I know how to do. I’m going to be a father and a husband. Other than that, I’m not interested in making a decision to do something else. But a the same time, I might be looking to coach later on, trying to help the youth, and trying to help kids get better.
Strauss : Speaking of younger kids, when you were growing up, who was your idol in the NFL?
Ferguson : Walter Payton. I had to root for the specific guy. He always the guy in my house that I was watching. It was him and Reggie White. Everybody loved him too.
Strauss : You played your collegiate career at Georgia. How hard was it to choose Georgia? Were there any factors on why you chose Georgia?
Ferguson : You know… I just wanted to get out of the state I was in. I was in Mississippi my whole life, and so, I wanted to get out. Actually, Georgia had the best opportunity for me to play, so I look at it that way too. How it happened was funny because Georgia wouldn’t even take me, and then I went to junior college, and came out from there. I was like… Georgia!! If it didn’t work out, I would have gone to Ole Miss or Alabama, but I would have stayed around in the southeast area.
Strauss : At Georgia, did you have any best friends?
Ferguson : I would say probably Jermaine Smith, our defensive tackle. We were probably best friends. He was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the fourth round.
Strauss : What was the most important thing you learned at Georgia that helped you in the NFL?
Ferguson : It allowed me to work on my body more. I wasn’t the most athletic in junior college or in high school, it’s just who I am… I’m bigger than some, but I started to work on my body more and started to build more muscle, and started using your hands. That’s when I started using my hands more and I learned to become more efficient as a defensive lineman. I was playing with better techniques that I didn’t know existed until I came to Georgia.
Strauss : Do you have a favorite memory from Georgia?
Ferguson : I have two favorite memories. When I had two sacks against Florida, I blew both plays up. Two sacks. Back to back. Then, when I was a sophomore I picked up a fumble and ran it for fifteen, maybe ten yards (haha). Those were probably my greatest two memories.
Strauss : What was your draft day experience like?
Ferguson : It was terrible Max. It was terrible… My draft day experience was one of the worst. My college football experience and my friend choice and that’s what I had done. When I was coming out, I thought I was higher rated. But I was hanging out with guys that I should not be hanging out with, guys that got my draft status pushed down. After that, I realized that that was my fault. I was hanging with the wrong crowd. After that, it kind of helped me out, and it kind of made me realize the chance I had. It kind of lit a fire under me. I had to punish everybody. I wanted to be the best defensive lineman ever… I wanted people to know my name, and as long as they give me my chance. They gave me a chance, and I proved to them and stuck with football.
Strauss : With the Jets, do you have a favorite memory?
Ferguson : There was a game against the Tennessee Titans in 1998. It was close enough, where I could get my family there and I had a huge crowd at the game. It was a pretty good game, and I had 1.5 sacks. It was something special to do it in front of my family and everything.
Strauss : After you played with the Jets, you went to the Cowboys. Do you have a favorite memory with the Cowboys?
Ferguson : I guess it was when we played the Giants. I guess it was my first year, I was there in 2005. They took me in, and it was my first game starting, playing the Giants and I had a great game. It was one of my best moments. Let’s talk about the 2nd half, that was what was good.
Strauss : Do you have a favorite memory with the Dolphins?
Ferguson : I don’t know. Let’s see… my first year against the Patriots. We smashed them with the wildcat. That was a fun game.
Strauss : What was that like to game-plan against that in practice?
Ferguson : It’s tough. You don’t know exactly what they’re going to do. After a while, they are running it on their own. Planning for that was like, well thanks. We got a guy like Ronnie who can run tough and then he can also throw the ball. We had two great running backs and Ronnie was left-handed and could throw the ball. That was so we could surprise you sometimes.
Strauss : You were with Bill Parcells a lot of your career, how much impact did he have?
Ferguson : The man is amazing. I couldn’t be where I was at, without him. He brought me to Dallas. He came and also brought me to Miami. It was a blessing that he would put me on his team no matter what. To this day, I’m still in touch with him and talking to him, saying what’s up and all. He’s making sure I’m good, I’m making sure he’s good. It’s a good deal.
Strauss : We just talked about Parcells and the impact he had on your career… Paul Soliai said that you were his mentor, what is that like?
Ferguson : (Laughs). That’s Paul. It wasn’t me helping him, it was just him and I talking and such. Not making plays hard for him. It’s hard to play when you don’t know what to do. I was helping him understand the game more. That’s what I did. I made it simpler for him. I would stand on the side, tell him what I was thinking, and he would understand what I’m saying. He wouldn’t be guessing all the time, about where to go. You know you can get this team on another play, don’t even worry about it. You are going to get another chance. I was helping him learn all the ways you can attack the line. You got to improve it. In an even up defense, you got to attack and get better at that. He better understands that too. He understands the game better. When I got there, I would help him and get him more active, if he wanted to become better.
Strauss : Did you have a nickname in your playing days?
Ferguson : Nah… (Laughs). “Big J” or “Big Ferg”. That’s all they called me. No one gave me a specific nickname.
Strauss : Do you have a foundation or charity that you support?
Ferguson : I did. It was the Jason Ferguson Diabetes Foundation I had while I was in Dallas. I tried a special event one time, and the sponsors and everything went bad. That was a bad experience. I got to find people I can trust. You can’t trust everybody.
Strauss : What is your favorite quote?
Ferguson : “Put your face in the fan.” That means, don’t ever be scared of what is going to happen right now. You’re going to want to step up first. Don’t try to cheat the water… Jump in! That’s one of the sayings from my former coach that I really didn’t like, but I understand the meaning even more… “Put your face in the fan!” The fan is twirling…you don’t want to put your face in the fan. Ahh wait… You got to put your face in the fan. And, we understood that. I like that saying.
Strauss : If you could describe yourself as any ice cream flavor, what would you be and why?
Ferguson : (Laughs) Oh man! (Laughs) Let’s see… Definitely some chocolate. Everybody likes chocolate. A little mix of vanilla, because I’m cool like that. I think I’ll be a swirl. Maybe with some caramel on it. Man… I think I’m going to go fix that up right now. (Laughs)
Strauss : For someone who wants to play in the NFL, what’s the best advice you can give them?
Ferguson : Always work at it man! Work at it. You can achieve, but you got to work on your craft. Whatever position you are in, you got to get the work in, and you got to work in the offseason. You got to work in the season. You got to do all the right things and work hard. It’s a life commitment. If you make division one, your chances got greater. You got to keep pushing yourself. Don’t run with the wrong crowd.
Strauss : Is there anything you want to tell your fans that we have not talked about?
Ferguson : Look, it’s just a game. Guys… It’s a game! I wish I could get myself to pop up, and give one more year, but that’s not for me.
Strauss : Thank you for your time, Jason, I really appreciate it.
Ferguson : No problem Max. Thanks for having me!
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