Rookie defensive tackle John Jenkins, a.k.a. the “Big Dog” to his teammates, talks about an earlier visit to New Orleans, getting his weight down, and playing football for a living now.
The Advocate: Before being drafted this spring, had you ever visited New Orleans?
John Jenkins: I came down a few times. I had a chance to come for Mardi Gras. Then, one of my teammates in junior college (in Mississippi) was from Slidell, so we came down for the parade when the Saints won the Super Bowl.
TA: What was the parade like?
JJ: It was a lot of fun. We don’t really have stuff like that (back home) in Connecticut, so that was fun to see.
TA: Did you at the time envision yourself one day being an NFL player and riding in a parade after winning a Super Bowl?
JJ: To be honest, I wasn’t even looking that far ahead. I was t\just trying to figure out which college I was going to. In junior college, I never thought about the NFL … just going to a D-I school.
TA: Did you always want to play at Georgia?
JJ: My dream was to play somewhere in Florida, in particular Miami, but it didn’t work out.
TA: Did you really weigh 370 at Georgia?
JJ: Yeah, but people didn’t think I was 370. They would say, “No way.”
TA: You were 359 pounds at the NFL Combine, but weighed 347 early on in training camp. Have you lost any more weight?
JJ: I’m 343 and my playing weight is between 335 and 345, so we’re good. You know, I feel good. But do I look good? That’s up to you guys (media) to tell me if I look good.
TA: Well, you look good. Have you been staying away from New Orleans food?
JJ: You can dabble, but it’s all about management. That’s all it is.
TA: How did training camp go for you?
JJ: Everything’s been positive, but it’s a lot of work. It’s always, “Get better … get better.” It’s like, “You’re doing OK, you’re doing good. But how can you get better?”