Philadelphia Eagles News

Guard Danny Watkins

On what it's been like since being drafted: "I mean, I can't even describe how excited I am. I'm pretty thrilled. It's been a heckuva 24 hours that's for sure. It's been nothing but a great experience being here and it's an honor and a privilege to be an Eagle."

On what it's like coming in and being able to experience the facilities firsthand: "I mean, we pulled up this morning and went and met with the coach and [QB Michael] Vick was in there and just got to meet him and I think that just speaks to the character that he is. I spoke with him and I was really excited to meet him. And we were talking and I think we're ready to get some work done."

On whether Vick had anything to say to him: "We talked about getting some work done."

On what kind of work is ahead to make the transition to the NFL because there could be some time before he gets on the practice field: "I don't know too much about what's going to happen in the future, here. All I know is that when the conditions are right and I can come in here I'm going to bring my work boots and hard hat and come in and be working trying to come in and contribute right away and make this team win some games."

On his plans to begin training for the season: "I'm going to go back to Waco [Texas] and just continue training to stay physically in shape and stay in touch with these guys as much as I can, if possible."

On whether he was star-struck to a certain extent coming in and meeting some of the players: "Yeah, I mean, to tell you the truth we weren't even really planning on going to New York. My draft party was going to consist of sitting around, hanging out with the family, pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt. And now I'm sitting here today so I kind of feel like Tom Cruise a little bit [laughing]. But I'm definitely not used to this but like I said before it's been an honor and a privilege."

On how he ended up going to New York since he wasn't planning on it: "Well I grew up at a fire station, and there was an opportunity to go to FDNY firehouse, and that was definitely really appealing to myself. And I spoke to some of the guys at the firehouse and we all came to the conclusion that would be something really interesting to do. And the family and myself have never been on the eastern seaboard before so we decided to make the trip down here."

On his experience at the firehouse: "You know, today we had the opportunity to go and meet some of the members from the Philadelphia fire department and it was exactly the same in New York, they embraced you with open arms and it was like you knew the guys 10 [or] 20 years. No matter where you go you're going to be a brother fireman somewhere and being able to travel through the city today and just meet some of the fan base I'm really excited to be here. It's a beautiful city."

On how tough a decision it was for him to switch to football after his coach suggested it: "It wasn't a very difficult decision at all. I've played team sports all the way growing up through high school. I wasn't going to be doing anything with fire service when I was going to college at Butte. I've always been in a team setting and I needed something to do and I figured I'd give football a try."

On how big he was at that point in time: "I was a lot skinnier. I was about 275 pounds."

On what his first organized football practice was like: "You know, the first game was more interesting than the first practice. It actually wasn't bad. I came in there and I met with the coaches. They were really good and they kind of took me under their wing. They taught me the schemes and the plays and just the fundamentals and I took it from there."

On what happened in that first game: "There is some of the stuff that you just couldn't cover in such a short amount of time. I'm sure there were a few times that quarterback was scrambling."

On whether he got discouraged early on: "No, it's a game. You're having fun."

On how much time there was between the first practice and first game: "Two weeks."

On whether there was a moment in that first game when he wondered what he was doing out there: "No, I mean I was having a lot of fun with it. I grew up playing hockey and rugby. It's a team environment so you're going to be having a good time no matter what you're doing."

On whether he was recruited to play football in high school: "No, in British Columbia when I was growing up, you played hockey during the winter months and in the offseason you played rugby. There really wasn't much of a sports club football team."

On whether he was a defenseman in hockey: "I was a defenseman and then in the latter half of my career I was the – I don't know what the word is – [jokingly] the designated goon I suppose you could say."

On what his impression was upon meeting offensive line coach Howard Mudd: "[He's] very knowledgeable. I'm really excited to be working with him."

On why he thinks he took to football so easily: "You know, a lot of people have asked me that and I think a lot of it has to do with hockey. Just the fundamentals of skating backwards and the knee bend involved and just the athleticism of rugby."

On whether his interest of firefighting started as a kid: "No, to tell you the truth, it was an excuse to get out of class and go hang out at the fire station. So I figured, 'Hey, I can't top this. Skipping out of math class to go hang out at the fire hall.' I met those guys and I'll never forget the first day going there. It was a great bunch of guys and I remember I came home that night and told the folks, 'Listen, I'm going to be a fireman.' And they said, 'Okay.'

On how old he was then: "I was 16. I started the junior program for a year and then it just kind of took off after that."

On looking back and thinking "is this really happening?": "Yeah, it's funny. Last night was definitely a reality check. I was lying in bed last night and kind of looking back at it all and I'm really glad that I made the decision that I did."

On what he did after the NFL Draft last night: "I hung out with the family, hung out with some of the members of the FDNY. We just hung out and were talking about things to come."

On how his age and life experiences will help with the transition to the NFL: "I've been in the real world. This is a business, this is a job. I can approach it like that and hope to do well in it."

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