Detroit Lions first-round pick Riley Reiff flew to Michigan today to be formally introduced. He visited Ford Field, got a look at his jersey and spoke to the media. Below is a transcript of today's press conference (via the Lions).
OT RILEY REIFF
On whether he's been to Detroit before: "No, I haven't. I've been to Ann Arbor and East Lansing. Obviously we played Michigan and Michigan St. - but I've never (been to) Detroit."
On how things have gone for him since being picked less than 24 hours ago: "It's gone by real fast. I'm still pretty nervous. It's a great process; I'm happy to be here. There's a lot of good days moving forward."
On his decision to not attend the draft in New York City: "I take pride from coming from South Dakota. I know the people there -- Parkston, South Dakota -- I decided to stay back and celebrate this moment with them, with my family. I had a blast. It was a great time last night. I'm very thankful the Detroit Lions drafted me."
On whether he watched any of the draft on television: "No, I never really watched the TV until I got that phone call."
On whether he followed any mock drafts and if he had any indication of where he would drafted: "You know, I don't put much stock into that stuff. I told myself: whatever happens, happens; make the best out of it and run."
On how many people were at his home last night: "There was about six or seven of us in the shed, but there was about 20 more people in the house."
On why he didn't want to watch the draft: "I was getting pretty nervous throughout the day and just wanted to relax a little bit."
On the tradition of offensive linemen from Iowa: "Coach (Kirk) Ferentz is a great coach. He personally works with offensive linemen. Reese Morgan was my offensive line coach; he did an excellent job. Even our strength coach, he does an excellent job working, building kids and getting them stronger and stuff. It's a great (program). I'm proud to be an alumni from there."
On his knowledge of the Detroit Lions: "I'm really excited to be a Detroit Lion; I've been following them the last few years; they've got a great team that's on the rise. I'm just here to contribute anyway I can. Come out and work hard."
On whether he feels it's important for him to play early: "I'm just going to come in and work as hard as I can and whatever happens, happens. You earn what you get and I'm looking forward to getting started."
On whether he was fan of a specific NFL team growing up: "Yeah, I was a Raiders fan actually, but I'm a Lions fan now."
On why he was a Raiders' fan: "The mailman was a Raiders fan and he liked to talk and he talked me into being a Raiders fan too."
On what his first thoughts were about the City of Detroit after he found out he had been drafted by the Lions: "I was just so excited. I don't know much about Detroit. I'm looking forward to learning a lot more about it and getting involved in the community here."
On the mailman who talked him into being a Raiders' fan: "He's a character. He likes to talk. Some days, I would come home and he would be hitting golf balls while he was on (his route) - because we lived right next to the golf course - he would be hitting golf balls on the par 3 there.
"He kept on telling me about all of the old players and stuff. He's a character."
On whether he has talked with former teammate and current Packers T Bryan Bulaga throughout this process: "Yeah, me and Bryan have been close friends dating back to Iowa. He's helped me out a lot, just with a little piece of information, what to look for and stuff; he's a great friend of mine - I appreciate all of his help."
On whether being in the same division will strain that friendship: "No, I mean he's a totally good guy."
On his interactions with the coaching staff and what they've told him about his expected role: "They just told me to come in here and work. I'm excited to be here; they said they're excited to have me. I'm pretty fired up about the days ahead."
On whether he met and interacted with T Jeff Backus: "Yeah, I got to say hi and talk to him a little bit. He seems like a really nice guy.
"He was a great guy; very welcoming. I'm looking forward to learning under him and taking some of his knowledge.
"We didn't get to talk for very long, but he just said, ‘We've got a great group of guys, welcome, and we're going to have some fun.'
On what he'll do between now and the start of rookie mini-camp: "I'm going to head back and train at Iowa for a while until I can start workouts here and I'm looking forward to those workouts."
HEAD COACH JIM SCHWARTZ
"Talked a little bit about Riley last night and I'll just reiterate some of the same things that we said then. This is a guy that's been highly productive in a major level of competition in a program that's produced a lot of really good offensive linemen. He has the skill set to fit not only the left tackle position, but be a multidimensional player. He was recruited as a tight end; he won a lot of state championships in wrestling.
"He's been a very, very productive football player. He's not just a good athlete, he's been productive. We don't see him as a developmental player, we see him as a guy that has a possibility of playing pretty soon for us.
"We stuck with an idea of drafting a player that's big, smart and tough and he certainly hit on every one of those."
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