Time now for Part Two of my conversation with Saints rookie linebacker Nate Bussey. In case you somehow missed Part One, you can catch up by reading it here. In this second half, we learn about Nate's experiences in his short time here in New Orleans so far.
Thanks again to Nate Bussey for taking the time to speak with the fans. Good luck to him this season (I'm still looking at you, NFL).
Dave: Have you been following the lockout closely at all?
Nate: I have a little bit but I haven't been trying to focus too much on it. I've just been down here working out with my teammates, just trying to wait and see what the labor decision is going to be. I'm sure Drew Brees is going to let us know when everything is official and final. I'm just waiting for him to give us the say so.
Dave: Do you feel slighted because you don't really get the normal rookie experience. Normally, you'd be going to the facility and meeting all the coaches. This year you haven't gotten to do any of that. Are you upset by any of that?
Nate: I'm not upset about it but I would like to be around the coaches and be able to get my playbook and be around them as much as possible, watching film and learning what I need to do. But it's also a blessing, because of the lockout there's no free agency so this is one of the years you want to be drafted because of the labor situation. It's a blessing being drafted because I can now be in New Orleans, working out with the team. But if I had to go the free agency route, I'd still be at home working out on my own and still wouldn't be in contact with the coaches. But when the labor situation is final, I will definitely be around the coaches as much as possible just trying to get a feel for what they like, trying to learn the playbook and be ready to go for the season.
Dave: So you haven't even received a playbook yet?
Dave: Have any of the players given you their old playbook? Or you've got nothing?
Nate: We just watched film with the defensive captains, Jonathan Vilma. We just watched film and we had his playbook from last year. We just skimmed through it while we're at the workouts. That's the only way we're trying to learn it, through him and through the old playbook.
Dave: Have you been welcomed by your fellow Illini like Danny Clark and Pierre Thomas yet?
Nate: I've been around Danny Clark the last two weeks now. His birthday was on Monday so we had a great birthday celebration. But Pierre Thomas is not in town at the moment but I know Pierre from Illinois, coming to some of the games. But I know he's going to welcome me with open arms as fellow alumni.
Dave: Any rookie hazing yet?
Nate: Nah. Nothing like that.
Dave: Wait until training camp starts.
Nate: Yeah, I know it's coming.
Dave: What are your first impressions of the city?
Nate: I love the city. I love the people in the city. They welcomed me with open arms when I first got drafted. On my Twitter page everyone was congratulating me from the Who Dat Nation and I tried to get back to everyone I possibly could. I love the city. I haven't been around much yet but the places I have been have been really nice. They're really caring people down here and that's the type of environment I like to be around.
Dave: Who is you favorite player growing up?
Nate: A lot of people, especially the players from the 90's like Troy Aikman. I watched a lot of people play so I don't really have a favorite.
Dave: What is it about football that you love so much that keeps you coming back day in and day out?
Nate: It gives me the opportunity to go out and showcase a skill set that God has blessed me with. It's just a blessing to show that God has gifted me with a talent that I can produce every week.
Dave: Do you have a pre-game ritual?
Nate: I wouldn't say it's a pre-game ritual but I usually take a half a lap around the field and do some stretching. I think I'm gonna keep that ritual now that I'm in the NFL because that's what I did in high school and college.
Dave: Xbox or PS3?
Nate: I'm not really a gamer but if I did, I would prefer the PS3.
Dave: What's your favorite food?
Nate: Definitely being in New Orleans my favorite food would have to be Popeye's chicken. Definitely, definitely, definitely that would be my main thing. I'm a seafood and chicken lover. Being in New Orleans, they've got the best seafood and the best chicken so I'm in the right place.
Dave: Favorite movie of all time?
Nate: We just talked about this the other day. I've got two. I'll say Harlem Nights and Rocky IV.
Dave: Favorite TV show?
Nate: That would have to be Martin.
Dave: What have you been listening to recently in the way of music? What would we find on you iPod if we looked right now?
Nate: I'm a slow dance kinda guy. I listen to hardcore sometimes but the last thing on my iPod right now is probably Miguel's "Sure Thing."
Dave: Do you have any tattoos?
Nate: Yes, I have four. My very first one I got when I was a freshman in college. It's a cross with a Jesus face and hands praying on top of a football field. My second is my favorite one. It's the serenity prayer on my left arm. It symbolizes a prayer that I grew up saying and my daughter's name, because my daughter's name is Serenity. The other two are on my biceps that say, "God's/Gift" because I'm a child of God.
Dave: Finally, if you weren't playing football what would you want to be doing?
Nate: That's a good question. If sports weren't in my life I don't know what I'd be doing right now. I'd probably be tending to my daughter, working a nine to five. I'd probably be a police officer, though I'm not sure.