Sports Interviews With Morgan Adsit: Ravens Draft Pick Matt ElamPosted on May 14, 2013
The week before the NFL Draft, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome told members of the media his team would select a safety. The Ravens wasted no time and used their first-round pick to select Florida's Matt Elam 32nd overall. Elam was a projected first-rounder because of his hard hitting and playmaking ability.
Elam also refused to let personal tragedy define his life. Elam's sister was murdered when he was 8. Nine years later, his brother was shot and killed. Elam was determined to better his future, as well as the future of his family, through his favorite outlet, football. He's now made that dream come true as he joins the Ravens.
Morgan Adsit: You find out you get drafted, then you're here looking at everything that is about to be yours. What's this been like for you?
Matt Elam: It's a very exciting moment and a great opportunity I'm looking forward to. I can't wait to get back here [to the Under Armour Performance Center] and go to work.
MA: When you think Ravens as a fan, you think defense. You obviously think with your position, Ed Reed. What does it mean to you to be a Raven with the history of how this organization is and how you can step in as a player?
ME: It's a great opportunity a lot of people don't have, and I will take advantage of it. I'm going to go out and work every day. Like I said, I'm a family guy, so I'm going to go out there every day to make my family happy. I'm coming in there expecting great things. Day one I'm coming in to work to earn a spot, to do great things, and win ball games and championships for the Ravens.
MA: You don't get where you are without having that confidence in your play, and you said before the draft happened you felt you were the best safety. You had to wait. You were the third safety called. [Was it] a blessing in disguise, though, to where it landed you?
ME: A blessing, yes it was blessing, an opportunity with these great guys that I already knew. Having the opportunity to work with [Ravens secondary coach and former Florida defensive coordinator Teryl Austin] again and then with [Ravens head coach John] Harbaugh, a great guy, I heard a lot of great things about him. [It's] just an opportunity to play for the world champs. I have a chip on my shoulder. I was the third safety taken. I feel like I worked my tail off and I went out and I performed well enough to be that first guy taken off the board. It's a big chip on my shoulder, and I'm going to go out and give people a reason why I should have been that first safety. But, I mean, I'm not mad about it, because I'm in a great spot.
MA: You're listed as 5-foot-10. ... So many people are fixated on the height. This isn't the NBA, and with your position and what you're doing at safety, it's a lot about how you can get up to the ball, make a tackle, but your instincts and coverage. Why was height such a big factor, and has that been something that in the back of your mind you knew, "Maybe I have to elevate in other ways"?
ME: It gave me a chip on my shoulder, because people called me small and said I'm not big enough. But I feel like the way I work and the energy and passion I play with, and you can turn on the film and tell my size really didn't matter. I feel like the way I work and the way I compete and my passion for the game and my determination, I feel like a size really doesn't matter, because I'm going to go out there and play hard regardless.
MA: You leave Florida -- obviously everyone knows the skill sets and players that are in the [Southeastern Conference]. There are a lot of NFL-ready guys. You left early after your junior year and now you're here, with two starters from last season gone. Michael Huff was brought in [at safety from the Raiders]. Do you anticipate on being the starter and having a legit shot at it?
ME: I know I'm going to get a chance, and I will take advantage of it. I know it's not going to be given. I know it's going to be earned. I'm going to come out. I'm going to improve every day. I'm going to make sure that I'm that starting safety. I'm going to work every day and make sure that happens.
MA: Congratulations and welcome.
ME: All right, thank you so much.
Watch Morgan Adsit on "Sports Unlimited" on Fox 45 Baltimore, at 5:30 p.m., 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. weekdays and at 10 p.m. weekends. Follow Morgan on Twitter: @MorganAdsit.
Issue 185: May 2013