PATRICK BAILEY JOE GREENE GREAT PERFORMANCE AWARD PRESS CONFERENCE STEELERS ROOKIE OF THE YEAR 12/17/2008
Ed Bouchette:It's called the Joe Greene Great Performance Award and we give it out annually. As everybody knows, a couple of top picks were knocked out or were hurt; Rashard Mendenhall and Limas (Sweed) didn't play for a while. For the first half of the season, we all searched and wondered who is going to be the rookie of the year this year. But a guy from Duke with an engineering degree who hurt his knee in college just kept coming back. They would cut him and he would come back; they would cut him and he would come back. Even though he has missed four of the 14 games, Patrick (Bailey) is third on the team in special teams tackles. Everybody remembers how dreadful the coverage teams were here last year. They have turned that right around, and Patrick Bailey is one of the reasons. That is why he is our rookie of the year this year.
Patrick Bailey:First off, I would like to thank the Pro Football Writers for giving me this award. I am honored to receive it. I am definitely honored to receive this award; the Joe Greene Award. There have been so many great players here and I am just happy to be a part of it. I just want to say thank you to the Pittsburgh Steelers for giving me an opportunity because there weren't that many that were going to give me it, and they gave me a shot.
Other teams were bidding for you, right?
When it came down to that day, there were only like two that were talking to me. It was here and Miami.
You seem to have a knack for succeeding on special teams:
I have always been kind of a wild kid; I love running down the field. Just to go out and to sprint, that is just me being me. My coaches saw that in high school and they said that they were going to move me over to defense; and we are going to try you in pole vault. They saw it in me, and it is me.
Did you intend on pursuing that engineering degree or was football always number one for you?
My dad really believed in education. He is an electrical engineer. Growing up, he always made sure that I took care of academics. Football was always like 'well you did good in school, so I am going to let you play football.' I have always said that I love playing football, but I am glad that I got that degree.
What is it like running down there on kicks for you?
It is fun. You are running down there and you have tunnel vision to see the ball. You are just trying to get there as fast as you can; move those legs as fast as you can.
What is your favorite play from the season?
It would have to be that hit last Sunday in Baltimore. That is the cleanest hit that I have ever had on somebody.
Did you hear the groans from the crowd?
I heard that and his face was just priceless.
Can you talk about the special teams as a unit?
I believe that as a unit here, we have stepped it up. I really like playing with these guys.
James Harrison was cut three times; you have only been cut twice:
He is a resilient guy; a really hard worker. He is a guy who has been in my position and has succeeded.
How important are special teams?
They are really important, especially in terms of field position. To get an extra 10 yards, that matters a lot.
What do you think the difference has been this year in the improvement in the coverage units?
What we like to say is that we like to go eat; we want to go and hit somebody. We have a group of guys; (Keyaron) Fox, (Anthony) Madison, (Andre) Frazier, Harrison; a bunch of great guys covering kicks. We just want to go down and level who is in front of us.
Can you talk about being an undrafted free agent and being accepted by these linebackers?
They are a great bunch; I love them. I believe that we are all hard workers and we all acknowledge hard work. That is why I think that we all fit in together.
They took to you from the beginning?
I think so; even with my brace and everything.
Have you played any snaps on defense?
I played one snap versus Baltimore during that first Monday night game.
Do you guys have any competitions between the special teams guys?
No side bets, but we are all hungry. We are all glad whenever one of us gets a big hit. It's been fun.
How many games did you win at Duke?
Four in four years.
Can you compare college to the NFL?
It has been great; especially the morale. It is a lot better here. It's nice going week-to-week winning.