Lionbacker Interview with Lojack
Drafted in the first-round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks, Lawrence Jackson left USC with a career 30.5 sacks. After two years, a coaching and system change, he was traded to the Detroit Lions for their sixth-round pick in 2011. He played in 11 games last season, and tallied six sacks, almost equaling his production during his two seasons in Seattle (6.5).
I caught up with Lojack on twitter (lojackson94) and he graciously agreed to answer a few questions for us.
You were drafted in the first round, but didn’t make a big splash your first two seasons. Pete Carroll, your old coach at USC, then took over in Seattle and then traded you to Detroit. How did that decision make you feel personally?
Lojack: I was miserable in Seattle, I never liked the situation I was in. Being on that team began to grind away my love for the game. When Pete came in he brought in a defense that I was not fond of. Knowing that, a trade was the most important thing for me. I'm not a huge superstar so to demand a trade would've been ridiculous. I tried my best to be a productive player despite my dissatisfaction with how I was being used, perceived as well making the most out of a very very limited opportunity to be successful.
What was your initial reaction to finding out you were being traded to Detroit?
Lojack: I remember being in my locker in Seattle, watching the highlights from the Detroit/Pittsburgh preseason game and I told myself, man I would give anything to play football like those guys. So to know the defense they played, who came from it etc...then to be able to play next to Suh and learn from Vanden Bosch.
What was your first thought when meeting the Detroit Coaching staff? And what was your first thought on meeting Gunther?
Lojack: I was very impressed at their desire to be great. No egos, no agendas, just an undying thirst to be prosperous as an organization. Not just the here and now, but a great understanding of the future. Gun is by far my favorite defensive coach I've been around. He understands the game and understands its about putting the players in the best positions to be successful. I'm blessed to be able to talk with him about football, so I'm soaking every moment in.
Did they do anything specific to help you pretty much equal your career total in the 11 games you played in last season? Or was there another reason?
Lojack: The reason was they let me play. In the scheme we play the D-Line is allowed go hunt. I feel like this opportunity allows me to utilize my full athletic potential. With the traditional defenses that Ii've played the prior seven years, I played the six-technique which is head up over the tight end. I lost two steps before the ball was snapped just because of alignment. Prior to this past season I would say, that I only used up to 50% of my athletic ability.
How do you get along with the rest of the D-Line? Anything you’d like to share about any of them that they might not want you too? Who’s the clown? Who’s nothing like you expected them to be?
Lojack: I love the D-Line, they were very welcoming. When I got to Seattle as the first-round pick there was a lot of natural animosity towards me. I wouldn't be happy as a D-End if we drafted one in the first-round. That was a very tough hill to climb, but in Detroit we are all relatively young except for Corey and Kyle, and we all knew of each other or played together (Senior Bowl). I love all the guys but I've gotten close to both Turk and Suh. Willie Young is the biggest eater and old soul that you can meet, he's like the garbage disposer from the Flintstones. And Kyle was nothing like I thought he would be, he has no ego and no pride issues. He's willing to say hey show me this part of that move you did, he's very complimentary and appreciative of the art of pass rushing and loves to help young players realize their potential.
Was coming to Detroit worse, better or about what you expected it to be? And why?
Lojack: Coming to Detroit provided me a great opportunity to understand myself better. Before I got there I put a lot of faith in external things to make me happy. People and football mainly, I knew that Ii could circumvent my happiness by creating happiness in others. I was blinding myself to real living. When I got to detroit, I learned how to be with myself and be happy. It took me about 90 days to finally take a deep breath and say, "ok, I'm in Detroit now"
How have the fans treated you?
Lojack: The fans are amazing, through twitter we have good dialogue. They are real people and I'm a real guy. I know I play pro sports, but I'm a blue collar worker. I want to break down that fictitious boundary between me and the fans. I'm totally down to relax and have dinner with a fan, because I love the grind of supporting a team through ups and downs.
What’s your outlook for the 2011 season for the Lions? What, from a player’s perspective, do you feel the teams strengths and weaknesses are?
Lojack: I see us being very very competitive in every game. The front office does a great job of building the team, adding key players at key positions. I love the draft picks we had and can't wait to see live how their presence adds to what we have. I don't want to classify anything as a weakness, we will go as far as we want to and trust me the guys on the team all want to go far.
You’ve been quoting a lot of inspiring thoughts on twitter, as well as quoting Deepak Chopra. As a philosophy and sociology major, what is your outlook on things? And if you had one message you wanted to convey to everyone, what would it be?
Lojack: The thoughts that I put down without a name or that isn't a retweet are original thoughts by me. My outlook on life is that our existence only exist in the moment in which we are present. The most important thing is to first, find the self. Without an understanding of who you are, you are walking in this world blindly. After you find self, understand that the key to happiness is a synchronization of the mind body and spirit. If the heart desires to go east and the mind decides to go west, the body will be stuck in that turmoil. Our body is our vehicle in which we operate in this tangible world of ideas and information, to many people operate cars that are not safe for the road of life.
The message would be to first seek to become informed about the principles of existence, live from a holistic place of self care. Also, we need to recreate a sense of community that was lost with the introduction of the industrialization period. To many people don't even know their neighbors. We walk by each other without acknowledging their existence.
There was a recent poll on DLine nicknames on Lionbacker.com . Here’s the list : Silver Rush, Disassembly Line, Blue Crush, Blue & Silver Wave, D'Nasty, N'DomiNation The Wrecking Crew, DEFCON 4, and Mean Machine. Which one do you like the best? Or do you have your own nickname you’d like the D-:ine to be called?
Lojack: Love the Silver Rush as well as Detroit Sack Exchange.
I'd like to thank Lawrence for agreeing to this. He's extremely interactive with the fans on his twitter page. He also talked with me about a few book projects he's working on, including a two-part project that will cover his journey through the NFL, and his goal of becoming a Hall of Fame player. If he reaches that final goal, it will mean big things for the city of Detroit, so I personally hope he reaches it. For a sixth-round pick, it could end up being one of the biggest steals in Detroit Lion's history.
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