Pro Football Central Interview With Tampa Bay Bucs Jonathan Casillas

Pro Football Central recently had the unique opportunity to interview Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Jonathan Casillas and talk about many things including Hispanic Heritage Month, the slow start for the Bucs, the changing of teams this off-season and his place in NFL Super Bowl History.

PFC- How big is it for a player with Hispanic Heritage like yourself to take part in the NFL-wide salute to your heritage and share it with the kids in the local schools?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Jonathan Casillas. (Photo Twitter)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Jonathan Casillas. (Photo Twitter)

JC- “It was a great event, you know man, I’m a very prideful person so being Hispanic is something that I not only take pride in but was very happy that I was able to participate in that. The kids were very receptive, they participated very well and the school welcomed us with open arms and it was a real great event.”

PFC- Being a new player to the team and to the city of Tampa, have you been able to get out much and promote the charities for the league and the team?

JC- “Yeah, I do enjoy giving back and this was the third event I’ve been able to do since signing in Tampa. Now that our season has started, I’ll be able to participate more in events like this, getting into the community and being able to share my time with some kids.

PFC- You were an established member of the New Orleans Saints (4 years) and signing with a new team this off-season, how hard was it to be the new guy in the locker room?

JC- It is a new experience for me, this is the first time I changed teams, the last time I did that was in college. So I can say it was similar to the transition I had then. I kinda felt like a rookie all over again.”

“Nobody really knows my name, and I’m kind of walking around….not too many familiar faces in the locker room. Although I played against the Bucs for a while, not too many of them knew what I looked like with my helmet off.”

“I won’t say it was a difficult transition, but it was a new transition and frankly one that had to be done, for guys like myself. You play for different teams in the league and everybody has to go through it if you change teams.”

PFC- You were involved in one of the gutsiest plays in Super Bowl History and most fans may not realize that you were the player that recovered the onside kick to start the second half against the Colts. Can you take us back to that moment?

JC- “Yeah it was amazing man and that was a play that we practiced all year and we never knew when he (Saints HC Sean Payton) was going to run it.”

“We were practicing it all year and we were not knowing if we were ever going to run it. Now we’re in the Super Bowl and we’ve got one game left. ‘Are we going to run it?’ Then we went into half-time and we had all the momentum with us so and Coach Payton thought it was a good idea and it was a huge play.”

Underneath the pile, Casillas recovers the second half onside kick in the Super Bowl. (NFL photo)

Underneath the pile, Casillas recovers the second half onside kick in the Super Bowl. (NFL photo)

PFC- That may be understated….(laughs)

JC- “It was. It was a huge play and turned into a big transition in the game”

PFC- How difficult is it to come from Coach Payton who has a very different personality to Coach Schiano from a player’s perspective?

JC- “Yeah, he’s different but you know, you play the cards you’re dealt and I am fortunate that I was able to come to a different team and compete for a starting job.”

“Everything is new here, the positions, the coaches, the defense…everything is new here and it’s a whole new experience for me.”

“So I’m taking it all on 100 percent and doing the best I can here in Tampa Bay.”

PFC- So now you’re in a new defense, we here in New England got to watch you here for the joint practices and the pre-season game as well as on Sunday, how do you like playing in this defense?

JC- “You know, I really like playing in this defense, I think our defense and our scheme is a great scheme. I think Bill Sheridan (Tampa Bay Defensive Coordinator) does a great job and gets us ready every week. I think the level of talent here on our defense is incredible.”

“We have a lot of All-Pros and a lot of young guys without a lot of experience but I think we’re meshing really well.”

“I think we’ve played well enough in two of the three games well enough to win, but we just need to put together a collective effort, …better team football and hopefully get a win this week.”

PFC- Looking back at this game this week against the Patriots, was this a case of them doing something you didn’t expect or was it just the case of you not executing your best according to the game plan?

JC- No,no….New England is pretty much what you see is what you’re going to get. Tom Brady and (Bill) Belichick….they have their thing and do it well and that is the Patriots and that’s why their one of the top teams every year in the AFC.”

“They capitalize on opportunities that they had and we didn’t. I think we had a couple of opportunities on 4th down (four) and didn’t get it. They went for it on 4th down and they did it. That’s just how the game went. We can’t afford too many more games like that.”

“We’ve been coming up just short, we need to change that.”

PFC- This week you return home to take on the Cardinals and Coach Schiano changed quarterbacks and is the team still confident that you can turn things around?

JC- “Oh yeah, we’re confident every week. There’s not a week that we don’t believe we’re going in to win the game especially with this team (Tampa). We have a group of confident great guys and we’re all motivated for one thing and that is to win.”

“We’re not going in the stadium just to play a game….we’re going in to win the game and that’s the approach we always take.”

Fans can follow Jonathan Casillas on Twitter @jcasillas52 and be sure to check out his charity event on October 14, Monday Night Football viewing event hosted Casillas and some of his Bucs  teammates. Check out his Twitter page for details.

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