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May 27, 2011


Jets OLB, Jamaal Westerman Interview

by Max Strauss

Jamaal Westerman played college football at Rutgers from 2005 through 2008. He was known a pass rusher and totaled 141 tackles, 45 tackles for loss, and 26 sacks throughout his time at Rutgers. He finished college third all-time with sacks. He entered the 2009 NFL Draft, but actually went undrafted. He signed a UDFA contract with the New York Jets. In 2011, he had 32 tackles and 3.5 sacks and forced 2 fumbles. This interview was conducted before the 2012 NFL season.

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Download audio with Jamaal Westerman, right-click this.
To feel what it was like to meet Westerman at JetsCamp, read this article here.

Announcement : My name is Max Strauss with, and I’d like to welcome you to the interview with Jamaal Westerman. Westerman attended the Rutgers University from 2005 through 2008. He was 2nd Team All-Big East two times in his collegiate career. He finished his career with 26 sacks, 3rd all time in Rutgers’ school history. He entered the 2009 NFL Draft but went undrafted. He quickly signed with the New York Jets. He has accumulated 13 tackles and 1 sack in his two-year NFL career so far. Here is the interview with Jamaal Westerman, and I hope you enjoy the collages also. Please check out below to read answers to the personal questions.

Strauss : How do you connect to the fans?

Westerman : [I connect with the fans] through twitter and Facebook. I also meet people out in the stands throughout the spring and stuff like that. You meet people and see them at different events, do appearances, and things of that nature.

Strauss : What was your high school football experience like?

Westerman : I enjoyed it. I started out in Florida at St. Thomas Aquinas. Then, when I moved to Canada, football wasn’t as competitive as it was in Florida, but I enjoyed it. We had a good team. We won a couple of championships. We had a couple of other guys to play at the college level, so that was good.

Strauss : What was the transition like from high school to Rutgers?

Westerman : I think like everything else time management. Of course the guys were a lot bigger and a lot better. Everybody up there was one of the top guys in their high schools, so that transition was a little difficult. For me, coming back to New Jersey, coming back to America that was different. But, you have to be able to learn how to manage your time a little bit better because besides football, classes, there are a lot of different things going on.

Strauss : Did you have a best friend at Rutgers?

Westerman : I think that we were so close as a team, that I got along with a lot of guys. A lot of guys play in the NFL now, and even just guys who didn’t end up going to the next level. I think we were so close as a team that whenever guys get back in town, we all try to hang out. Just this weekend, we had a spring game, we might have thirty or forty extra players, players that played in the NFL, and players that went on to do different things. We all try to hang out and different things like that. I had a lot of friends at school. We kind of help build the program together a little bit, from the bottom up.

Strauss : Do you have a favorite memory from Rutgers?

Westerman : I think the first bowl win was great at the Texas Bowl. That was the first bowl game win in Rutgers’ history. We came off a great season and went out there, and just knowing that we won the first bowl in Rutgers’ history. I had a good game, I had two sacks. I took that experience with me, and so did the older guys that were there, as well as some of the newer guys coming in. That was fun.

Strauss : What was the most important thing you learned at Rutgers?

Westerman : Everyone was not a highly rated guy when I first got there, so it was all about working hard and overcoming kind of everything. No matter what anybody said, and nobody what team you’re playing with, who’s ranked higher, who has this many stars, that many stars. Just overcoming that, and people in place to help us achieve greatness not only coaches, but weight-room people, the academic people. We had a lot of good people around that. I think that would help you just grow up and become a man. It would help you develop as an individual and as a good person. I think that was one of the biggest things, that you were surrounded by good people. Not everyone is 100% perfect, but they were all good people when it came to coaching, weight-room, academic advisors, tutors, and just guys on the team.

Strauss : What was it like to end your career at Rutgers third highest in the school’s history for career sacks?

Westerman : It was a great honor while I was there. I really wish I would have gotten a little bit more, maybe if I wouldn’t have been injured my last year, but you never look back on things like that. It was fun to end it, third out of everybody that’s been there. It was an honor for me, and kind of a testament to not only myself, but the coaching staff, and the guys that I played with. Every time you get a sack, there’s another guy covering someone else on the line that’s helping you get the sack. It’s just an honor to everybody. It was just fun. You don’t realize what you’re doing until you step back and look at it. I finished 3rd all time at Rutgers in sacks.

Strauss : Even though you were undrafted, what was your draft day experience like?

Westerman : I watched the draft. It was my year, so I decided to watch the draft. I was excited for Kenny, he got drafted early. I was excited for the other Rutgers guys that got drafted. I was really hoping that my name would be called while watching to see who the other teams pick. I was kind of scouting the other teams seeing who they pick, and maybe see that the teams that might have been interested in you pick somebody else. I was just trying to find the right fit, the right coaching staff, and the right scheme that would help you to the best of your abilities. I was able to line up with the Jets and Rex, and that was pretty cool.

Strauss : What’s it like to play for Rex Ryan?

Westerman : It’s a joy. I guess people call him, ‘a player’s coach’, I think he’s more one of the guys. He is very emotional, and I think that’s how we accept him. I think that everything he says is not pre-written or pre-scripted, and it just comes from within. It’s good to have a coach who is just real, and knows when he makes mistakes too. All the guys love to play for him. I haven’t played for another head coach in the NFL, but what the guys have told me, that it’s great to have such a straight-shooter. He knows what’s going on. He makes everyone on the team feel like their part of the team. He talks to everybody from the star players to the any player on the practice squad. He treats everybody the same which is also a good relief.

Strauss : Mike Pettine has a somewhat different philosophy for coaching then Rex Ryan. What’s it like to play for Mike Pettine?

Westerman : I don’t think he has a different philosophy. Rex is the head coach, so it’s a little different, but they’re both defensive-minded. Mike’s been with him for the longest. I don’t think they have a different philosophy, of course they are two different people, but I mean it’s great to play for both of them. With Pettine, it’s very in-your-face, very be where you’re supposed to be and good things will happen, and it’s all about smash-mouth, hard-nose football, running to the ball, swarming, and to be accountable. They both really preach that, I don’t think they’re too different. I mean they’re different people, but they have the same philosophy for coaching.

Strauss : Your rookie debut, you had two tackles and a sack, what was it like to get your first NFL sack?

Westerman : It was a great feeling. I thought it would go a lot easier. It was great to go out there and produce during the first game, and to win that first game with Rex as a coach. It was my first game playing in the NFL. It’s a great feeling and I want to get even more.

Strauss : Do you have a favorite memory from the Jets?

Westerman : I think there are many good memories. Making it to the playoffs,  and making the runs that we have made. I think like anything, I’m looking forward to wining that Super Bowl, holding up that trophy, that’s what I’m looking forward to. That’s everybody’s dream, everybody wants that. We can taste it. Every year you have to start back from the preseason, from camp, and things like that. I think the playoff win against the Patriots was huge, that was a playoff game against our rivals, and I played well. That was a good memory also. I still think everything won’t compare once we hold up that trophy.

Strauss : Do you have a favorite quote?

Westerman : ‘If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.’ I think that’s a good one.

Strauss : You have a brother Jawann [Rutgers], and then you have another brother, Jabar [Eastern Michigan]. How often do you talk to them and what advice do you really give them?

Westerman : I talk to them a lot, maybe a couple times a week. I help them learn from success itself, and I tell them to not look back, because they don’t want to regret anything. The biggest thing for them is to be successful. No matter what you’re doing, if 100% into what you’re doing, and put all you can into it, you’re a success. If you don’t play football or if you play forever, if you put everything you got into it, you’re going to be a success. That’s what I preach to them. Be your own person. Try to do the right things.

Strauss : For someone who wants to make it in the NFL, what’s the best advice you can give them?

Westerman : Go out there and compete everyday! Work hard! Stay late. Do what you have to do to just compete. Never count yourself out. That’s basically it. Some guys try to get out of it, before they even know where their spot is. Just go out there everyday and compete. 

Strauss : Is there anything else you want to tell Jets’ fans that we haven’t really talked about?

Westerman : Hm. They are the best fans out there. They are very passionate and good fans. Follow me on twitter []. (laughs). I’m just playing. I think we have some good fans out there. We all want that Super Bowl, and we won’t stop fighting until we get it.

Strauss : Thank you so much for calling and doing the interview!

Westerman : No problem man! Enjoy your day!

Announcement : Thank you for listening to the interview with Jamaal Westerman. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you leave your comments below as well! Please check out my website for other interviews, “LIKE” the Facebook page at, and follow me on twitter at Please subscribe to me on YouTube at Thanks again for listening! Stay tuned for more, and feel free to contact me!

->Here are the personal questions that Jamaal Westerman answered.<-

Strauss : If you could meet anyone, who would it be and why?

Westerman : Barrack Obama. I have never met him before, but he’s the first African-American President of this great country. To be an African-American and the first one in history, it would be a moment I would always remember. You have to win a Super Bowl to meet him, and hopefully I’ll get the chance.

Strauss : If you weren’t playing in the NFL, what would you want to do?

Westerman : I’m not sure, but something with sports. I’m not really into coaching, but something with sports and business. I’m not quite sure. I would pick something with sports, I love sports so much. I would love working with a bunch of different sports, and I love working with athletes and young adults.

Strauss : What is your favorite movie of all time?

Westerman : Of all time, either Bad Boys or Remember the Titans. I love a little comedy. I love a little action. Inception was pretty good. I don’t like to see things too many times.

Strauss : What is your favorite TV Show? Why?

Westerman : I’m an ESPN guy. I’m getting into these different HBO shows like Dexter, True Blood, Game of Thrones, and House.

Strauss : What is your favorite type of pie? 

Westerman : No. I’m not a pie guy. I wouldn’t have a favorite type of pie.

Strauss : What type of dessert do you like? 

Westerman : Just a regular cheesecake.

Strauss : Do you have a nickname?

Westerman : Everyone calls me West, that’s about it.

Strauss : What would your last meal on Earth be?

Westerman : My last meal on Earth would have to be big if it’s my last one. Maybe a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Most likely a little bit of everything if it were to be my last meal.


2 Comments Post a comment
  1. klecko
    May 28 2011

    Nice job. I really liked the interview and know a lot more about Westerman now.


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