Why Vernon Chose Giants

The Giants signed Olivier Vernon to a five-year, $85 million contract, with $52.5 million guaranteed, the richest contract ever for a defensive end in NFL history.

On Thursday, Vernon said of what made the Giants be that team a few days ago, “Well, you know as far as talking to players that played for the Giants, they spoke to me and told me a whole bunch about how the organization is first class. You know, watching the games of football and watching, how the Giants have played in the past, they’ve been known for great defense… having great defensive players especially on the defensive line, you know… and just hearing all those good, great things and especially being in New York and also being on the big show playing the best of the best, I couldn’t turn it down.”

Vernon addressed these questions in a conference call:

Q: With the deal that you signed with the $17 million in annual salary that being the highest for a defensive end in the entire NFL, are you embracing those expectations that are now placed upon you not only with that deal but also being in New York?

A: I mean there’s always going to be expectations right? So, you know, when I got my opportunity with the Dolphins staying home in Miami there was always expectations, but I’m the type of person that, you know, I know what work that I have to put in to get where I want to get to and it’s all about having patience and working hard and you know being myself and not have any type of outside influence phase me in any type of way.

Q: How do you feel about what the Giants have done on the free agent market and [the] new group that you’re now a part of?

A: I’m glad to be a part of this new organization, man – glad to be a Giant, part of the G-Men. I think the Giants they’re trying to win. They’re trying to win and you know get the defense back right. And I remember last year it wasn’t all what was expected to be, and that’s not the standards of the Giants defense, and that’s not the Giants way, so pretty much I can’t wait to take the field.

Q: Are you aware that they were 32nd in the league, dead last, and what do you think of that when you hear that?

A: Yeah, that’s not Giants standards right there. You know from what I remember, they’ve always been stout on defense.

Q: Have you had the opportunity to meet with any players to kind of get your foot in the door, like specifically Jason Pierre Paul, any of the defensive guys. Are you close with any of those guys off the field?

A: I spoke to JPP a few days ago and I just pretty much asked him.. just asked him brief questions about if he liked it, if he enjoyed it over there, man. And all he did was just praise the organization and pretty much say how he’s trying to win and get back to being relevant. So I could just tell by how he spoke that he was a man that’s wiling to get there and I’m trying to be a part of that.

Q: Who else did you speak to or did you speak to anybody you said you spoke to a bunch of guys or was it just JPP?

A: I spoke to Antrel Rolle – Antrel Rolle he spoke with me. We work out in the same place, so he spoke with me and he told me about the organization and how it’s first class all the way and how they take care of their players and he loved every, every last bit of it when he was here and played for the Giants and he just kept saying good things, great things all the time.

Q: Olivier, you go back to last off-season the Dolphins defensive line had a lot of high hopes and looked like it was going to be a dominant unit. Why do you think things didn’t work out with that group, and how different do you think it can be throwing a new group together here in New York?

A: Well, you know, as far as when it comes down to it, man, you know people, there’s injuries that happen, you know. You can never say… You can never say that a team is going to win a Super Bowl when it comes down in March. It’s about the team jamming together and playing together and being familiar with each other and having that carry on into the season, so pretty much I don’t know what to expect right now. All I know is that I want to meet my new teammates, and I already met the coaches and everything like that, and I’m ready to get back to work – ready to get back to work and gel with everybody on the team.

Q: Was there any point you thought you’d be back in Miami?

A: I honestly thought I’d be in Miami for a little while longer. Everybody talks about how you’re not going to be on a team for your whole career, and I guess I was a little naïve about it, but you know reality sunk in and at the end of the day it’s a business. They gave me a good opportunity to play for the organization over there and get a foot in the door and you know now it’s just about taking that next step and you know playing elsewhere.

Q: What about when they put the transition tag on you? Did you think that [you] still had a chance [to re-sign with the Dolphins]?

A: Man, I had no idea. I mean at first I didn’t even know what a transition tag was… For me it’s just about letting everything just pan out on its own. You know, ain’t no point in over thinking things – just let everything play out on its own and at the end of the days the results gone come. 

Q: How familiar are you with Steve Spagnuolo and his scheme and do you expect it to be a smooth transition into that system?

A: I mean as far as they run a 4-3, you know that’s something I’m most definitely used to.  As far as the ins-and-outs of it, obviously I have to go start studying a little bit and watching some game film and getting used to the playbook.

Q: How would you describe your game? What do you consider your strengths and weaknesses?

A: Honestly, I would say watch the film, man. You know I think anybody who can watch the film can describe what I do best and what I don’t do. And I feel like as far as being an overall player, I like stopping the run and I like rushing the passer if I have to drop back, I’ll drop but you know my main goal is go after the quarterback.

Q: Olivier, you talked a lot about not the Giants way and the fact that they hadn’t met Giants standards last season. Did you grow up a Giants fan or just follow their defensive ends or something like that?

A: Yeah, I followed their defensive ends pretty much. I have friends that are from New York. They were big Giants fans growing up. But overall just paying attention to those guys on their front on their defensive line, that was a big thing as far as just being a staple as part of their defense back then. That’s something that as far as all defensive ends that were young … me being a kid watching that that’s all everybody looked up to.

Q: I’m wondering when you think of lining up with Damon Harrison and Jonathan Hankins in the middle and JPP a bookend with you on the edge, what do you think the possibilities are for that front four?

A: I mean the possibilities are what we make it, so we haven’t even been on the same field together yet. So I feel like we’ll just take it from there.

Q: Obviously you were watching from a far last year, but with the Jason Pierre Paul’s situation, was that somehow a source of inspiration or were you in awe as to how he was able to come back so quickly from such a severe injury?

A: I mean, yeah. That right there, you know … you never want to see anybody, especially at your position, go through that or anybody at all. But just seeing his dedication to prove a lot of people wrong about him that’s – I respect that a whole lot and I know that I was in the same situation I’d be doing the same thing so you know I can’t wait to play with the guy.

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