This is the second and final part of my interview with former Ohio State player and Oakland Raiders' fourth round 2011 NFL Draft selection, Chimdi Chekwa. You can find the first installment here. In the second half we get more into his expectations, a few things about the controversy surrounding Ohio State and Jim Tressel, his dominance over Stefen Wisniewski in college, and other things you will find out for yourselves after the jump....
It is a bit of bad timing that you are coming into the league during a lockout, and you have to wait to start playing and get that first contract. Is the lockout something you are following?
Chekwa: I'm following. I want to get a sense for what's going on and what are the issues and familiarize myself with. You know, I am not too concerned with it. A lot of people are concerned; I am not really concerned. I am just going to try and keep getting better, and once the lockout ends I'll be ready to play football.
Yeah, I am sure you are excited to get your career started and also get that first contract signed. Have you given any thought to what the first thing you'll buy when you sign that contract?
Chekwa: I have. I don't think anything big at all. I don't think I've done anything to reward myself yet. Other than take care of my parents and make sure everything is smooth with what they are trying to do, and from there I am just going to try and get on that 60 man roster and compete for a spot this year. And then if I can do that then I can reward myself with something.
Sounds good to me. Okay, now if I have this right after the Combine you didn't have any workouts or visits with the Raiders, but you just spoke with them at the combine, right?
Who did you speak with from the Raiders?
Chekwa: Everybody. Mostly coach Woodson. And then we had a formal meeting, a 60-minute meeting, at the combine, and just about everybody is in the room.
Is that a nerve wracking interview, or are you pretty relaxed in those settings?
Chekwa: I'm pretty relaxed. At the first meeting it was a little nerve wracking, but after that it wasn't that nerve wracking at all.
Are you a big fan of the NFL? Have you spent a lot of time watching the games?
Chekwa: Yes. Growing up I watched a lot of football. I didn't get to watch as much in college as we always had stuff going on on Sundays.
Is there one player, past or present, in the NFL that you have patterned your game after or you'd say you're similar to?
Chekwa: Not necessarily. Growing up, I loved Joe Horn. I used to like Mike McKenzie and watching him in Green Bay. I have never really thought of patterning my game after any corners. I spent a couple of years where I was a real big fan of Asante Samuel with Phili. But I don't know if I've really looked at an specific D-backs to pattern my games after.
So, last year must have been a little bit interesting. Ohio State had some issue come up with the rules violations. Was that something that everyone on the team was conscious that it was happening, or was it more behind the scenes?
Chekwa: Oh yeah. We knew nothing about it. When I found out about it I was on Christmas break getting ready for the bowl game.
I can't imagine the stress that must have been for some of the guys that knew about it. So you guys couldn't really tell with coach Tressel that there was anything going on or anything wrong?
Chekwa: No, not at all. It was business as usual. When it came out they called the guys. They basically explained everything and how they couldn't talk about it, and everything that happened.
Yeah, well you were definitely a product of a very successful team in college, and one of your new teammates, Stefen Wisniewski, was a victim of your success. If I got this right you guys were 3-1 against him in your playing days. You think that might be something you mention to him?
Chekwa: [Chuckles] Uh...I'm going to have some fun with that. You know I trained at Miami with DeMarcus, DVD. You know we just beat Miami this past year. So, we talked about that a whole lot, and I asked him about it, but you know...[pause for me laughing]. But who knows? Big-10 guys we tend to stick together. I think it will be more of us being on the same side when it comes to talking college football.
Okay cool. Just one more question about Mr. Wisniewski. His uncle was of course a famous Raider and he left quite a legacy there. And he also left quite a legacy throughout the league that he would block not only until the whistle, but sometimes a little after, and he managed to piss off some of the other players in the NFL. Stefen seems like he might be of the same mindset as his uncle. Did any of your teammates complain about Stefen's extra-curricular blocking?
Chekwa: No, not at all. There were a few teams, different schools, who had guys on the team that we didn't really appreciate playing against, but his name never came up in that.
Okay, one last question. Has anyone talked to you or if you have any thoughts of what it will be like to play for Al Davis?
Chekwa: One of those guys who coached that came around a bit, whose name I forget, but he works for the Chiefs, and he used to coach for the Raiders. And he told me about Al Davis, and he is a football guy. And that on Sundays he will be watching all of the games at the same time, and things of that nature. But I have had stories told to me about Al and how thinks and how he really knows football. So I am really a little bit excited to see what is going to happen.
End of interview.
I came away very impressed with Chekwa's maturity. He seems focused on the task at hand, and hungry to find success. I didn't really doubt it before, and I am certain now, if Chekwa does not make it in the NFL it will not be for lack of preparation or effort.