Jerramy Stevens Press Conference Quotes

Jan. 10, 2002

Seattle - Jerramy StevensGeneral Remarks: 'I would like to thank you guys for coming out. I am going to be entering my name into the 2002 NFL draft and I will be foregoing my senior year. I leave here feeling that I had a full career and I will be finishing with my degree this spring. I would like to take this time to thank the University of Washington for the opportunities that I have had to play on a great football team and get my degree. I have had a bunch of wonderful experiences, but I feel that now is the time to move on.'

On which projected round he is to be selected: 'I sent in my information to the NFL player personnel offices and talked to Tom Roth, one of the eight panelists. The projection right now is late first to early second.'

On the off-field situations playing into his decision: 'I would be lying if I said that it didn't have any influence on my decision, but it wasn't a deciding factor. I have spent four years at the University of Washington and overall my experiences have been great, I couldn't be happier that I came here to play and go to school. But it is the point of my life to make the next step, and that is in the NFL. It was a process of maturity and coming along to try my luck at the next level.'

After the injury, how much he thought about staying: 'It was a long, long time before I made the decision to enter the draft, it wasn't until recently. I was devastated after I broke my foot because that is the first injury I sustained playing football. I was crushed and after that point, you feel like everything is ruined, for a long time there it wasn't reasonable to me that I was going to be able to recover and get myself into playing form for the next level. It was hard for me, but I feel like I went through full recovery and now it is that time for me.'

On his feelings after the Holiday Bowl: 'The Holiday Bowl made me come closer to my decision, but it wasn't the deciding factor, either. It was something that made me feel better inside and lighten the doubts of my ability to play at the level I played at before I was injured.'

On when the final decision was made: 'I guess I made the decision after the Holiday Bowl. I went home to spend some time with my family, people that are close to me who I feel like I can trust, that didn't haven any hidden interests or hidden agendas. It was probably around the second or third, when I went in to talk to Coach Neuheisel and Coach Gilbertson and told them I was making the decision to enter the draft.'

On the gains to be made by coming back for his senior season: 'I think that the biggest factor in that line is that you never do know what could happen. I feel like my body and my mind is ready to play at the next level and I didn't feel like it was necessary to take that risk, for a lack of better words. I could come back next season, I could have a great season, the team could do wonderful, we could win the national championship and I could go top-10 in the first round. But at the same time, I could come back and who knows what could happen. I felt like it wasn't worth the risk.'

Head Coach Rick Neuheisel

General Remarks:
'Jerramy has decided to forego his senior season and compete at the next level. We had tried to get him to prolong that adventure for another year, but I don't call this a recruiting loss. As much as Jerramy would have impacted us in a year from now, our mission statement as a football team is to get kids what they need as student-athletes, to go on and chase their dreams. Jerramy's dream is to play at the next level, he is certainly capable of that, and now is the time.

We feel like it is a success story for our program that he is at this point. He has promised me that he is going to work hard to graduate in June and is on target to do that. Hopefully this will have a very happy ending to a very productive year. I think we are all disappointed that we did not get to see him play all year long, but fate dealt him some difficult cards early in the season with the broken bone in his foot, but I can say I was very impressed with how he handled that adversity and the resiliency that he showed in rehab in getting back into playing condition. The only thing that I think he learned from this is that he can't try to make a whole season into one game, and he might've done that in those late season games. Given the amount of time that he got to get back into the swing of things for our bowl games, he was outstanding. He had nine catches and was certainly an impact player in our game against Texas.

On behalf of our program, I want to say thank you to Jerramy for his contributions. We wish him nothing but the best and even though he might go far away from Seattle, he will always be a Husky. We wish him nothing but the best and look forward to watching him play on Sundays.'

On the tight end position: 'We have to try to get another guy to play that position, we haven't ruled it out of our offense yet. We have some young players on the horizon. I think Jerramy will tell you that Joe Toledo's got a great future, Kevin Ware was kind of coming into his own as the season went on and he got some opportunities in Jerramy's absence, and Andy Heater also developed. Those three kids will be our tight ends and hopefully recruiting will bring another. There was a time when we were wondering what we were wondering what we were going to do at tight end and this young quarterback-turned-tight end that ended up answering the call. The names change, but Washington has a great tradition at tight end and hopefully that can continue.'

On Kevin Ware: 'He has got some issues pending, but I am hopeful that he will be back and have a great senior year.'

On moving Toledo to the offensive line: 'No, we would like to see what Joe can do in the spring season. Unfortunately, his fall got cut short because of a very similar injury to Jerramy. I am anxious to see what he can do before we make any final position decisions.'

On whether or not he tried to convince Stevens to stay: 'I did, but I always did it with the caveat that I want what's best for you. I think every time Jerramy and I discussed the subject, I started the conversation with that phrase because it was important that he realize he wasn't going to disappoint me if he didn't stay. In our business, we know guys are going to move on, Marques Tuiasosopo moved on, Hakim Akbar moved on. You'd love them to finish, but Jerramy is going to finish, he is going to get his degree in June. I also complement him on his diligence. He asked the appropriate people and got enough relevant information to determine whether this was a good move. He is comfortable with this, and if that is the case, so are we. But yes, I tried to get him to stay. You look at a guy like him and know what you have returning and know what could be, certainly we all would love to have it all go our way. It will be exciting to see him embark on this next chapter of his life.'

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