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Interview- Thomas Jones

Before I get started let me get a bunch of thanks out of the way.  First and obviously foremost is to Thomas Jones for taking the time to sit down with me.  I would also like to thank Colin Longwoth and Carla Oglesby, Thomas Jones' reps, who were both extremely nice and easy to work with.  Finally, to Sandy Everett, the owner of Tidewater Sports and Collectibles, who originally allowed use of his facilities for the interview and put me in contact with Mr. Longworth.

Now, let me also apologize for the length of time it took to get this up.  The interview actually took place in a pizzeria, after they had finished lunch, so my recording features a fair amount of plates and silverware clanking and what I believe is a Bonnie Tyler song in the background.

Two quick notes on the interview, first the questions you see here are the questions I asked, but not exactly the way I phrased them.  I had read them so many times, I more or less used them just as guidelines.  I believe I used two or the questions that you suggested.

Also, again due to the background noise, the answers might not be the exact verbage.  It is close enough, but I might have missed a few words here and there.  Now, on to the interview.

1) Aside from the end result, last year was a very successful year for the Bears.  Personally, how happy were you with the year you had?

I was pretty happy considering the fact we struggled throwing the ball most of the year.  Our line did a great job working together.  Our trainers did a good job, I had a couple of injuries, so our trainers did a good job getting me back on the field.

2) The Chicago Bears are known for two things, middle linebackers and running backs.  How much pride do you take in being on a team that has had names like Payton and Sayers?

Yeah, you definitley have to take pride in that position. They have had some great backs there.  Any back that plays there has some big shoes to fill.  The thing is they are always going to run the ball.  They are a running team, so any back is going to have the chance, so I take a lot of pride in that.

3) You came to Chicago after playing for a year in Tampa Bay.  Compare the difference in playing for Lovie Smith and playing for Jon Gruden.

They are like night and day.  You have one coach who makes facial expressions all day the other looks the same the whole game.  One is more laid back the other is more energetic, a little more enthusiastic.  Just more intense in the way he shows it. Lovie is intense, just in a quiet kind of way.  Gruden is intense in a crazy kind of way as far as his antics, yelling, but that is just the way he expresses his feelings.

4) A lot of players use bulletin board material, music or tell themselves that the other team doesn't respect them as a means to get pumped for a game.  Do you use outside stimuli or is the game itself enough to get you motivated?

Music, listening to music.  Just kind of relax your mind try to focus as much as you can.  As far as bulleting board things, depends on what the other team says I use it as motivation.

5) At times with an almost lack of a passing game the burden of the offense fell to you.  How much do you think the potential of having Rex Grossman back for a full season and now having Brain Griese as a backup will help your production?

I don't know.  I have been answering that same question the past two years.  We will see what happens.  Rex Grossman is the quarterback there for the past two years, but has had some injuries.  Griese, he had an injury, but was productive in Tampa Bay and Denver, so as far as the quarterback positions, hope for the best, but expect the worse.

6) Your brother plays for the Cowboys.  Do the two of you talk often after games?  Do you compare stats, maybe do some trash talking?

No we don't trash talk.  We talk before the game, after the game, just try to encourage each other.

7) The Bears pick 26 in this year's draft, do you follow the draft?  Any position or specific player you would like to see them take with that pick?

Not too much.  We need help on the offensive side of the ball.  Obviously, our defense was great last year, so there are a couple of spots we need to fill.  We need a couple of receivers, a couple of tight ends.  A blocking TE.  Those are the two major things we need on offense.

8) One of the big differences between this past year and the year prior is the injuries.  This past season the team was able to stay healthy for the most part.  What did the team and trainers do differently starting last year that helped keep guys healthy?

Just the way they let us rest.  Year before they were hard on us, we had a new coach.  New personnel, so they were kind of hard on us.  Last year they gave us rest during training camp, so a lot of guys were fresh going into the season.

9) Just some quick hits

Favorite movie-  Slingblade, I watch that movie like every other day.  

Favorite music- Rap. Jeezy, right now

Before game superstitions- I were the same shoes, I put my pants on the same way.  I go through the same ritual every game.

Favorite Jersey: Home, Away, All Blue, Alternate Orange- Orange, I like the orange.

Chicago fans world wide are going to have party when Brett Favre retires.  Can we count on seeing you there?

At the party?  Not after the year he had last year.  It really wouldn't matter.  Brett Favre's had a great career, he didn't have a really good  year last year, they  had a lot of injuries.  TE, RB, so you know that was a factor, but I don't know, I would lke to see Farve go out on a good note.  Right now he is in a postion where he can go out and be known as a great player.  If he stays for another year and has a bad year it kind of takes away from it.

10) Odds the Bears win the Super Bowl this year?

I don't know.  100%, everybody goes through the season with that mind set.

There it is, guys.  Hopefully, you enjoyed it and I hit on some topics of interest to you.