I had the fortunate privilege to interview Saints’ rookie and 7th round draft choice: linebacker Nate Bussey out of Illinois and I’m thrilled to be able to share it with you. Thanks again to Nate for taking the time out of his busy schedule and I hope you enjoy it. Cannot wait to see this kid in black & gold!
You can listen to the phone interview by CLICKING HERE
OR you can read the interview transcript below:
(on playing softball for the Heath Evans game and his softball skills)
Haha. Well growing up I did play baseball so it’s a little different than softball. So I’ve never actually tried it but yeah I will definitely be in attendance. I didn’t know I was scheduled to play or anything like that but I’ll definitely go out and play a little. I’m pretty good and hitting the ball and finding the ball.
(on being a 7th round pick and the process of being drafted)
It was definitely an overwhelming process sitting there waiting to see if my phone was going to ring. Hopefully a team telling me they were going to pick me. The 3 day process was the longest process I’ve ever been in. I didn’t get any phone calls any day but the third day. Just kind watching the guys from my college and the guys that I knew that were in the draft. Watching them go, and calling them/congratulating them after they got picked. Sat around watching the tv all day, you know, leaving my phone on the table. Hopefully it would ring. I knew my chance was coming, I knew I had a great opportunity to be on someone’s team between the 5th and the 7th round. That was the day I really sat down and really watched every pick. Like I said it was an overwhelming process and when I finally got the call for the New Orleans Saints with that 7th round pick and I saw that 504 number calling I just knew it was my time. So it was an overwhelming process but I stayed called and I stayed focused. My cousin told me “don’t worry it’s gonna happen”.
(on watching the entire draft)
Yeah I watched the entire draft. Because I’m used to watching it every year, even through high school and things like that. I watch the draft every year. It was just funny how I was watching it this year and considered being a draft pick. It was kind of different from the other years seeing who got picked and seeing where they came from. Then this year. Watching guys get drafted from schools like I came from like the Big 10 and things like that… it was kind of devastating but once that phone call came through from the New Orleans Saints I was just very excited.
(on the uncertainty of destination)
Yeah everything happened really fast. Once I got the phone call and finally, after watching the whole process go by, it was just like everything was a big rush. Even though I knew I had to be in a different city or state within the next couple of days because of the lockout I just knew it was time for me to take this journey and approach this new life I’m about to live which is an NFL athlete. Once it happened I knew I had to pack my stuff up. I had packed coming from Illinois going to DC cause I was just hoping and praying that my name would get called that way I would have been out of there in the next day or so. All my stuff was packed up and once I called my agent, well he called me actually to congratulate me and things like that, cause he didn’t know anything about it either. It was just a shock to me and my family and a blessing as well.
(on if there was added stress/pressure to get drafted in 7th round due to the lockout)
Yeah it was definitely added pressure because I knew once the 6th ended and the 7th round was coming, knowing that there wasn’t any free agency at the current moment, it was definitely crucial to getting drafted in somebody’s war room during that time. I’m not saying say it’s unfair, but like the saying is “it’s better to go undrafted than go in the 7th round” but with the lockout it was better to get drafted this year like you said cause you couldn’t pick any team you wanted to go to. But I had a real strong possibility/confidence that I was coming to New Orleans no matter what/how the process ended for me.
(even if the Saints didn’t draft him he’d still end up with the team)
Yeah I did my background research on the Saints and the coaching staff, their schemes on defense and things like that. I sat down with my agent and cousin and we felt the New Orleans Saints would be the best program for me because of the different types of schemes and how they use their linebackers. I was coming here no matter what happened in the draft process. It’s just that I wouldn’t be here as early as now if I hadn’t been drafted.
(on his place on the team and his role with the Saints)
My vision right now is definitely to get out there and produce on special teams for coach Payton. That was one of the main reasons I came here, because I like the special teams coach McMahon. I like the way he schemes and does things on special teams. I probably see myself as a will linebacker in the Saints’ scheme. But if they need me to switch to safety or another position, I’m all for anything the coaches need. I’m gonna do what I’m asked to do, if they need me to switch positions or anything like that. I have no problems with that. Anything to help us win and get us to where we need to be.
(on working with Gregg Williams)
it’s gonna be an honor when I get to meet him and go under his coaching. It’s gonna be an honor for me to even be playing underneath Gregg Williams.
(on if he’s “all heart”, like Amer Delic said he is)
You can say that. I have a mentality when I’m on the field that I want to destroy my opponent. So if I’m going up against a receiver, or an o-lineman or hitting a quarterback or checking a running back out of the backfield anything I have to do with anyone I encounter – is to destroy them! I love the game and I’ve loved playing it since I was 5 years old. I’m a student of the game. I do a lot of studying, do a lot of film work. I’m just learning from the people ahead of me right now. They’re willing to help and teach me the things I need to know since it’s the offseason and we’re all together right now. We can’t be with the coaches so… yeah, I would say I’m all heart because my heart’s with football and I would do anything to be on the field and you know, like I said, help us achieve our goal as a team.
(please destroy the Falcons)
that’s the rivalry team for the Saints!
(on Martez Wilson)
It makes things easier because I consider Tez like a brother to me. We’ve been together since 2006, we went to college together & played at Illinois. It’s not going to be as hard trying to find new people or new friends because I already have one for sure. We know each other pretty well. Being around him and knowing the things he does, just being around him at the NFL level is going to be a blessing. Along with Jonathan Vilma, Shanle, and especially Danny Clark another Illini alumni!
(on the Illini on the team)
This is a fine Illini destination!
(on New Orleans)
I’m loving the city so far. I don’t have a favorite restaurant yet but the PR lady keeps telling to try, what’s it called – peignets?
(beignets at cafe du monde!)
Yeah! yeah! I haven’t gotten one yet. I wanted to get one yesterday and me and Martez Wilson. We ended up not getting it, I don’t remember why, but I want to try.
Thanks for all the love and support so far. Even though I haven’t been on the field yet, when I do get on the field I know I’ll make the Saints Nation & Who Dat Nation proud of them picking me up in the 7th round. Just show them that I’m the type of player that needs to be here with the Saints!