Giants’ Reggie Ragland on Jalen Hurts, friend’s tragic death

Forward of Sunday’s clash with the rival Eagles, Giants linebacker Reggie Ragland tackles some Q&A with Publish columnist Steve Serby.

Q: Describe fellow former Alabama Crimson Tide participant Jalen Hurts.

A: That’s small bro. My senior yr we’re in the bowl sport, and the early enrollees can come and exercise with you. Everyone was like, “Who is this child with these dreads taking part in quarterback?” He was acting like Deshaun [Watson], I child you not. He had held it, and he was running, and he did a lifeless leg on me — I was like, “Who the hell is this dude right here y’all?” (chuckle). And everybody’s like, “Hell, he’s fast and can go.” His lifeless leg’s able to quit at any time and make the deal with move you, so he has a helluva lifeless leg. And at any time due to the fact then, guy, I have been proud of him, experiencing all the adversity he’s faced, and then putting himself in the situation that he’s in now to maintain becoming effective. He’s a great dude, way too.

Q: What variety of difficulty does he present on Sunday?

A: He can toss and he can operate, and he’s good, so he’s gonna set his men in situation, and he makes plays, which is the largest matter in this league, you gotta make plays, and which is what he does. So we gotta do a wonderful occupation of halting him, and maintain him inside the pocket. We cannot allow him get out of the pocket, gotta maintain him in the pocket.

Q: Describe your late higher faculty teammate Dez Dennis.

A: A true brother, a true good friend. He always held me out of things. He always made sure to notify most people if any one acquired a prospect at becoming effective at taking part in athletics, I acquired a prospect. So ain’t no one gonna allow him do absolutely nothing around us. He made sure that I was safeguarded as a good friend.

Q: You understood him due to the fact your freshman yr of higher faculty.

A: I had just moved to Bob Jones [Large University in Madison, Ala.], and the humorous matter about it like when I very first satisfied Dez (chuckle), he appeared me up and down and stated, “Man, you ain’t genuinely that damn big.” At any time due to the fact then, me and him have been locked on to the hip, like his mom is like my mom and his small sister’s like my small sister.

Q: Describe how devastating it was for you when you discovered for the duration of your sophomore yr at Alabama that he had died in a automobile wreck.

A: I damn around broke my hand when I located out ’cause I punched the wall so damn challenging in my dorm the working day right before we played Tennessee. And I had a test, so I even now went and took the test, but I did not treatment if I handed or unsuccessful the test. Each individual time I went back house to Alabama, that was the very first individual I known as. … Realizing I couldn’t get in touch with him, and then seeing him in that casket … it hurt me to my soul. I couldn’t even go to the viewing. We just saw him at the funeral the next working day, but guy, most people was just devastated, ’cause Dez meant so considerably to most people. You know you acquired that one particular individual that most people gravitates to? Dez was that individual, for all of us. I assume about him just about just about every working day. I assume about him all the time. … His most loved matter to do was play football. Proper right before he acquired in the automobile wreck, he was gonna get a second prospect to play football with Colorado Condition. I had just talked to him for like a pair of days right before then, and he was so thrilled, you’d listen to it in his voice and every little thing.

Reggie Ragland will facial area former Alabama teammate Jalen Hurts on Sunday.

Q: He was a linebacker, way too.

A: He was not as big as me, but he had heart. He led our group in tackles ’cause most people employed to operate away from me so every little thing would funnel towards him and he would go make just about every play.

Q: Do you assume he could have been a professional?

A: He had a shot. … He was not afraid of absolutely nothing.

Q: Robbie Clark.

A: Robbie was autistic. Developing up I was always taught to never see a individual for having disabilities or absolutely nothing like that. One working day we have been in kindergarten, and I really do not bear in mind this, but like his mom tells me this story all the time. His mom known as my mom one particular working day just after faculty, and young children have been finding on Robbie, and no one picked on Robbie the relaxation of the time I understood Robbie mainly because they understood I was gonna get on their ass. Robbie’s a wonderful individual, he loves Disney. He could notify you about Walt Disney, and the heritage of every little thing about Disney. Still to this working day I even now remain in get hold of with him.

Q: Describe your on-field mentality.

A: Regardless of what it takes to get it performed. Make just about every deal with — rather or unsightly.

Q: You feel like you’re way too sensitive and way too nice a dude to play inside linebacker in the NFL.

A: I’m the youngest of seven. Trust me, ain’t absolutely nothing sensitive about me (chuckle). Even however most people loves to get in touch with me like a teddy bear … most people loves to get in touch with me “Unc” ’cause I like more mature new music. It’s just some thing about this sport for me. Off the field? I want to be known as the nicest dude, but when I convert on that film … it’s just some thing about me that clicks ’cause I just love taking part in the sport. I guess that comes from receiving defeat up around my more mature brothers. I have 5 brothers and one particular sister. I guess that comes from them.

Q: Off the field you’re a teddy bear, on the field you’re a what?

A: I say a gorilla (giggle).

Q: What is it like taking part in for the New York Giants?

A: There is absolutely nothing like having that N and that Y on your helmet, and going out there in front of them enthusiasts.

Q: What do you assume of Sunday’s Michael Strahan’s jersey retirement?

A: The beast. I was a big lover of Michael Strahan growing up seeing him come off the edge and make plays and observing him becoming vicious and becoming a leader, and then you listen to some of the tales about him, how he always held men accountable. I’m thrilled for him and all that he’s attained.

Q: Describe defensive coordinator Patrick Graham.

A: Sensible as hell, wonderful dude. He loves old-faculty rap.

Q: Coach Joe Judge.

A: Great dude. All the things you listen to about Coach Judge, guy, it’s genuinely not true, he loves men that work challenging and want to be effective.

Q: Kenny Golladay.

A: A silent killer. He really do not speak considerably, but all you gotta do is toss that ball in his way, he’s gonna go get it.

Q: Shaq Lawson.

A: Sensible and outrageous.

Q: Nuts how?

A: You gotta know Shaq.

Q: How did profitable two countrywide championships at Alabama review with profitable Tremendous Bowl LIV with the Chiefs?

A: I’ll in all probability say my most loved moment was profitable the countrywide championship my senior yr ’cause I actually acquired to play the full yr and I was up for all the accolades and every little thing like that, so it made it considerably sweeter becoming it my final yr at Alabama with my men. As a freshman, profitable the countrywide championship, all I did was play kickoff, so I was just becoming delighted to be in the moment. Profitable a Tremendous Bowl, I’m not gonna sit right here and lie — it even now genuinely hasn’t hit me yet that I won a Tremendous Bowl. Currently being around most people that I grew up around, like, “Man, wow, you won a Tremendous Bowl?” And like my dad even cried on the field. I was genuinely extra thrilled for my family members to get the expertise of coming down and observe me acquire a Tremendous Bowl. Nuts as it appears.

Reggie Ragland tackles Ezekiel Elliott.
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Q: Describe Patrick Mahomes as a teammate.

A: Patrick’s a wonderful dude. He’s Superman on the field, but just receiving to know him as a individual, he’s even a greater individual. He’s always looking out for his men. If I needed some thing, I know I can get in touch with him. Still to this working day, me and Patrick speak off and on just about every now and then.

Q: Andy Reid.

A: I love Andy Reid. He’s truly a player’s mentor. You can always go and speak to him about just about anything that you acquired going on in lifestyle.

Q: Steve Spagnuolo.

A: He genuinely challenged me mentally, and he also made me a greater individual, way too. He always requested you queries about your individual lifestyle.

Q: Describe your third-and-target of Tom Brady at the one-garden line in the AFC Championship sport adhering to the 2018 year.

A: I understood we needed a play, ’cause they’re about to go 14-zero on us if I really do not capture that. My only regret in that moment is not bringing the football out of the end zone. I had area to operate, and most people was telling me to get down. But shedding that sport … it hurts to be so shut to your target, and then you just eliminate. We had ’em up towards the ropes towards the end of the sport, we had just about every prospect and just about every moment, but we just did not capitalize on it. That’s why you gotta have some form of inspiration, and so the next yr, that was our full target is to get back and acquire the full matter.

Q: If you could can decide the mind of any linebacker in NFL heritage, who would it be?

A: Developing up my most loved linebacker was Ray Lewis. But I’ll in all probability have to say Dick Butkus, for the reality that if bear in mind accurately, I assume his group was like the worst group in the league, and he even now was the MVP of the league as a linebacker. … My most loved participant was Rolando McClain mainly because me and Rolando stay in all probability like 15, 20 minutes away from each and every other … then he went to ’Bama, way too.

Q: If you could go one particular-on-one particular with any running back in NFL heritage to test your capabilities, who would it be?

A: Likely “Sweetness,” Walter Payton. He was just that dude. Anything about him was sleek, most people liked him.

Q: What are your feelings on former Bills mentor Rex Ryan, who obtained you in a 2016 trade right before you tore your ACL?

A: I wish I’da truly acquired to play for Rex. Rex is a great dude, guy, despite what a large amount of persons say about him. That defense of his was truly made for like my human body form and the participant that I am. Prior to I acquired hurt, he was truly seeking to put into action me into the defense and make it easier on me, and I regard him a large amount for that.

Q: What was it like assembly President Obama at the White Home?

A: It was wonderful. The very first black president in The usa, for me to shake his hand is a truly surreal moment for me. I informed most people I made a assure to my mom that I get my diploma, and he was like, “Just mainly because he’s big does not imply he’s not afraid of his mama.” It’s on YouTube somewhere.

Q: What is one particular motivational or inspirational quote you like very best?

A: Tim Duncan: Excellent, greater, very best, never allow it relaxation until finally your great is greater and your greater is very best.

Q: What drives you?

A: My mother and father, and I couldn’t see myself not becoming effective.

Q: Fear of failure?

A: Yeah, concern of failure. Like as a child growing up, most people had me pegged to be this and be that. I couldn’t picture becoming in my hometown becoming this form of dude growing up and then failing, and then the only matter you listen to is when you wander previous persons: “Aw guy, which is Reggie. He coulda been this, he coulda been that.” That always drove me, even when I was in faculty. I always notify persons I was not the smartest, but my effort and hard work acquired me through every little thing.

Q: Describe your mother.

A: Sweetest woman in the planet. My dad was the iron fist, and my mom was the pillow. … If it was not for my dad always persistently pushing me and always reminding me of cases of what he went through growing up, and cases of other persons to always maintain me level-headed, I wouldn’t be the place I’m at now, and which is the place I genuinely acquired my mental toughness from. Looking at my mom and my dad get up at 5 or six o’clock in the morning, my mom going to clean up warehouses and things like that appropriate right before she goes to be a cook. Anything adjusted for me was the working day my dad took me to paint with him when I was like seven or 8 many years old. My dad saw some thing in me that I did not see at an early age. He was like, “Do you want to be out right here all working day with me portray?” … And I acquired small tears coming down my facial area. And he was like, “OK then, always make sure you get your grades and always work your tail off.” Have you observed the motion picture “King Richard” with Serena Williams and Venus of how their dad Richard introduced them up and like him having a strategy? And like my dad always stated he had a eyesight, had a strategy for me to play athletics. That motion picture genuinely hit house with me ’cause like my dad genuinely pushed me to be some thing that he observed right before any one else observed in me.

Reggie Ragland makes a deal with.
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Q: Describe your late grandfather.

A: Him and my dad are the exact persons. My grandad did not play. One matter about my grandad, he always had his scorching puppies, and he always had his Pepsi. That was my canine, that was my dude. I skip that guy so considerably. At least he acquired to see me graduate higher education. That’s in all probability my largest achievement, seeing him get to see me graduate at least.

Q: Your mother’s diabetes.

A: My brothers informed me, like my mom appreciated to maintain things away ’cause she appreciates I’m gonna stress about ’em. A thirty day period or two months later on I located out my dad ended up having a stroke. That’s a further explanation I genuinely buckled down when I was at Alabama, like seeing them two go through that, I understood I had to genuinely get my s –t with each other and go play and give myself the very best opportunity. … I was about to go back and test on them, primarily when I located out my dad had a stroke. And my mom known as me halfway on the way house, it was like: “Baby, me and your daddy are gonna be all appropriate. You get your butt back down there and you concentrate on faculty, and you concentrate on your football.” And which is all I needed to listen to.

Q: A few meal friends?

A: Martin Luther King [Jr.] Jennifer Lopez, she was my very first movie star woman crush at any time Muhammad Ali.

Q: Preferred motion picture?

A: “Life.”

Q: Preferred actor?

A: Denzel Washington.

Q: Preferred actress?

A: Angela Bassett.

Q: Preferred singers/entertainers?

A: Luther Vandross, Mary J. Blige.

Q: Preferred meal?

A: Seafood.

Q: An Instagram quote from you beneath a photo of you in a Chiefs jersey: “I really do not look like what I been through.”

A: It genuinely suggests like going through all the bumps and the bruises, and tearing my ACL my rookie yr, just going through a full bunch of things family members-smart, shedding close friends and matters like that, just to even now come out on major.

Q: What is the solitary largest obstacle or adversity you had to defeat?

A: I’ll in all probability say when I was at ’Bama, and most people was telling me right before I went to ’Bama, “You shouldn’t have went to ’Bama, you’re not gonna get to play, there’s way too quite a few superstars, there’s way too quite a few 5-stars,” which include myself. And then in the back of my head most people telling me that I’m not gonna play — I’m gonna play. And then when I acquired my opportunity, I ran with it. That’s how it’s supposed to be.

Q: Do you experience like the very best is yet to come for you?

A: Normally. There is so considerably that I even now want to carry out. I’m 28, but I even now have way extra lifestyle to stay. If it’s in football, it’s in football, but if it’s not, I was made to be effective, and which is what I’m gonna be.

Q: Any message for Giants enthusiasts?

A: Retain hanging with us. We’re gonna convert the corner. We acquired a wonderful strategy in area, we just gotta go out there and do it. It’s easier stated than performed, I know this metropolis is all about generating. And I know one particular matter about me: I’m never gonna give up and I’m never gonna give up.