Putting out the flames
From the very first pick in this year’s NFL draft, the Atlanta Falcons showed they were dedicated to improving a defense which finished 21st in the league last season. Instead of trading the 19th pick, an idea that the organization had toyed with, the Falcons selected Missouri outside linebacker Sean Weatherspoon. Falcons coach Mike Smith said, “We have a very urgent and passionate football player that can play both the Sam (strongside) and Will (weakside) linebacker in our scheme.” On Wednesday, Weatherspoon spoke with Times sports reporter James Wolfe to discuss how his first series of activities with the Falcons are going, the differences between Georgia and his native Texas and who he thinks will win the NBA Finals.
Question: You grew up and played high school football in Texas, have you noticed any differences between Georgia and Texas since you’ve been here?
Answer: I don’t know. I haven’t seen that many differences. You know, it’s still hot. But it is a lot different than Missouri. I’ve been up there for the last three years and it’s a lot different.
Q: How long did it take for you to adjust to being in Columbia (Mo.)?
A: It took a little time to adjust to being up there after growing up in Jasper (Texas). It’s colder and it rains more and snows, so that took a little time. I feel a little bit like I’m back at home since I’ve been in Georgia.
Q: Atlanta has about five times the population that Columbia does, not to mention it is a lot larger than Jasper, do you like the big city atmosphere?
A: Honestly, I haven’t had a chance to get out into the city that much. I haven’t seen that much of it, but I hear its a pretty exciting city so I look forward to that. It’s been fun so far being out here.
Q: Have you had much interaction with Falcons fans since you’ve been in town?
A: Oh yeah. Throughout the whole draft process they were tweeting me and telling me they wanted me to be a Falcon. That’s one of the first things I did when I got the call; put it on Twitter. The fans have been good to me so far.
Q: How have your first series of professional practices been going?
A: Pretty good. What we’ve been doing so far is just working, it’s like I’m in my own little football world. I love being out here.
Q: Do you think you’ll get a chance to compete and get on the field this coming season?
A: I hope so. First I’ve gotta learn a lot more. You’ve got to learn it before you can do it, so that’s what I’ve been focusing on.
Q: How did you feel when you heard your name on draft day?
A: I had a big smile on my face when the phone rang. My family wouldn’t be quiet so I had to step into another room. There was like 20 members of my family and my friends and they were just as excited as I was.
Q: Speaking of family, you’ve had three years in college to get used to it, but do you ever get homesick?
A: No, not at all. It’s always fun to get home and see my mom and dad and all my brothers and sisters and have a good time with my family, but there’s nothing like being away, doing what you love to do. For me that’s playing football.
Q: You were an all-district basketball player in high school, do you still follow the game?
A: I definitely get on the Internet and keep up with how things are going and I try and catch events when they come on TV. Playing ball in high school was an exciting time for me in my life and I miss that so I’ve gotta check on it every now and then.
Q: Have you been able to catch any of the NBA Finals?
A: Definitely. I wouldn’t miss that.
Q: So who are you rooting for?
A: Boston. I hope they pull through and win the title.