On location interview with Iowa product Mitch King in New York with Daniel Mogollon. Click to Listen.
So how’s it going? New York City, the Big Apple and my hometown. How do you like it so far?
King: It’s nice. A lot of tall buildings and a lot of drivers going crazy. I’m not used to it, but it’s nice.
Is this your first trip into the big city?
King: It is. I’ve never been to New York.
When did you get in and how long have you been here?
King: I’ve been here about 24 hours. A little over 24 hours and I leave tomorrow morning.
There’s not much you can see during that time. What have you had a chance to see so far?
King: We went the Brooklyn Bridge. Obviously the Statue of Liberty is out my window. I have a great view here. You know we've been going to different venues and doing photo shoots and things like that. So I’ve got to see the little knick knacks of New York and things like that. So it's pretty nice.
When you walk outside on the street, is it shocking at all? I remember last year I spoke with Jay Lehman, a former Illinois linebacker, and he said, “I’ve seen more fur coats and high heeled boots in the last hour than I’ve seen in my life”. What stands out to you?
King: Obviously the congestion of everything. You know, I’m from Iowa. It's not real urban...not so many tall buildings like we see out here. So that’s the biggest difference I see. I like this and it’s something that would fit my style, the big city kind of thing. So it’s not to shocking to me but the buildings and the congestion is the big difference.
Now if you make it back to the Big Apple, which I'm sure one day you will, what is something you would like to see?
King: Obviously, the Statue of Liberty. I’d like to go on top of that and see everything and I’ve heard big things about that. More knick knacks. I’m not that into sightseeing, but I love the things like we went to the River Café today and Franks Chop Shop today and saw little things like that. So it was nice just seeing things like that and seeing the regular people and not just the big showcase sightseeing things.
Actually, it’s funny because the typical New Yorker probably hasn’t been to the Statue of Liberty. I’ve only been there once myself. I do think it is something that people from out of town check out more. But it’s something to check and see once. It’s a cool experience. What’s the best thing you had to eat here?
King: Room service, actually.
(Laughs) Ah, no, don’t say that.
King: (Laughs) I’ve been under the weather so I haven’t ventured out and seen the culture of New York at night. So I’ve ordered room service a couple times. Salmon and things. Being under the weather has kind of hampered my experience.
Before you go, try to grab a piece of pizza or something. Something on the street, maybe like a hot dog on the street...but I would recommend the New York City pizza. I would give it a try before you leave.
King: Is that where it’s at, the vendors on the street?
They got the people on the street selling the hot dogs. They got hog dogs, pretzels. But you pretty much can’t go two or three blocks without there being a pizzeria somewhere in Manhattan. Try to grab a slice and check that out. I’m sure you will like it. I’ve spoke with Ian Johnson from Boise State and Jarrett Dillard, the Rice wide receiver. They are trying on all these different clothes. What are your plans for tomorrow?
King: I have an early flight and I’m going back to Iowa. Going to start training when I get back. Continuing my training obviously. Just being back in Iowa with family and friends and things like that. It’s probably going to be a low key month with a lot of training, getting into football shape instead of Combine and Pro Day shape.
I hear that. I was asking the guys how they compared the Combine to the days where you have to fly somewhere for a photo shoot and do that kind of stuff. What would you rather do—the Combine again, or this photo shoot?
King: Obviously, I would love to do the photo shoot thing any day over the Combine. That’s pretty nerve racking to go on top of everything that goes into the Combine. Your evaluation is tough and this is pretty low key and we just had fun. We joked around all day long and I had a good time with the guys that were here (Johnson, Dillard, Graham Harrell and Marcus Freeman) and just experienced New York. At the Combine, you're pretty much scheduled for things and don’t see a lot.
Now this is something that we the media debate all the time—what's the value of the Combine? How much stock do you put into these types of numbers? You mentioned you can’t wait to get back to "football training" as opposed to "Combine training", is that something you guys even wonder about? Like, “Hey, am I training for a Olympic event...I wonder what the scouts are getting out of this?” Thinking, “Haven’t these scouts seen me play the game?”
King: Yeah. I think they want you to see what kind of athlete you are, obviously. And in a pressure situation like that, they want to see your attributes. But they say they don’t put a lot of stock in it. But they do, and that’s what kind of sucks. For me, I consider myself a football player. I’ve started for four years and a lot of things can get overlooked when a guy jumps higher, benches more, or runs faster than you, but he might not be a football player.
I definitely agree with that. People downplay the Combine, but teams count on that. They count on those numbers, there’s no doubt about that. Let’s talk a little pop culture.
When you're not playing football and not training for the Combine or flying to some city getting ready for some photo shoot, what do you like to do during your down time?
King: I’m a pretty low key guy. I know that’s not the answer you're looking for but I love just hanging out with my friends and family. We go to the casino, often we go out to eat and watch movies. During this time it’s pretty low key for me. I'm just trying to get in the best shape I can for the Draft and mini-camp and OTA’s, things like that. I don’t do too much strenuous activity or anything that could hurt me. But I’m about family and friends first and I spend the majority of my time with them.
I’m a family man myself. What kind of movies do you like to watch?
King: I’m more of a government agent, prison type movie guy.
Bourne Identity, stuff like that?
King: Not so much. More like Casino. I don’t know. I could throw out all these movies. You know I love watching movies and it’s all different genres. From chick flicks all the way to the hard core James Bond movies.
What’s your favorite chick flick?
King: PS, I Love You.
PS, I Love You? I don’t even know what that is. (Laughs) That went right over my head.
King: (Laughs) I got suckered into seeing that one, but it turned out to be pretty good.
Sometimes the ladies get it right.
King: Tell me about it.
Now you talked about going to the casino too. What's your game?
King: I play poker. I think that the odds are more in your favor. Obviously the casino doesn’t have any odds at poker because you're playing against another person. I feel like it’s more under my control rather than the casino’s humongous odds against you in the table games and roulette and playing craps and things like that. I’m low key and don’t spend much money at the casino. I just like having some fun with my friends and going down there and joking around.
You're definitely right. If you're playing against the casino, if you have a good chance at winning, they aren’t going to play that game. You know what I mean. But you're right. At poker, you're playing against other people and it’s like an American pastime. I think everybody likes to play a little poker now and then. How about sports? You a big sports fan?
King: Growing up I swam and played baseball and ran track. When I got to this level and the competition, I had to sacrifice. I kind of fell out of watching too many sports. I kind of got drained out of sports. It’s not that I don’t watch the Final Four and the Tournaments and the National Championship Game if I’m not in it. Things like that, I enjoy that stuff. I just wouldn’t sit down and do that once I get home from practice. I’m going to flip on the basketball game and watch it because I’m drained from the sports aspect.
I know that’s something people on the outside don’t realize. Once you get into it and even though you love it, it still becomes a little like a job, whether you’re a player or in the media. Sometimes it's like I’ve been doing sports all day and it’s all I do. How about growing up, who were some of your favorite athletes?
King: In football there was Dan Marino, Zach Thomas, Jason Taylor and I was obviously a huge Miami Dolphins fan. Still am. Just growing up and seeing those type of players. You know, Brett Favre, the icons of the game, the tough people. They say Dan Marino isn’t the best quarterback but he is, by the way. Ever.
You don’t by into the Super Bowl ring thing?
Why not? Because this is something we talk about a lot. Even within our company we always have these debates and discussions that this guy is better, no that guy is better but he never won. Tell me from a football player's perspective, why not? Would that be too much emphasis on winning, even for a quarterback?
King: Okay, you look at your quarterback. He is supposed to lead and he can win games. Take Troy Aikman, for instance. How many offensive linemen are going to be in the Hall of Fame with those three Super Bowls? The running back, the wide receivers, and how many players on defense? Dan Marino had some players around him, some pretty good players, but he didn’t have those all stars that most of these guys did. You talk Patriots and Tom Brady. He didn’t have an all-star cast like that and he is a great quarterback and some people might say he’s the best ever with all those Super Bowl rings. But he had the best situation ever. He had everyone working for each other. In a lot of experiences you have a lot of individuals play for themselves and not the team. Tom Brady fell into a situation where everybody played collectively for each other. And that’s how I feel about it. I’m not taking anything away from any other quarterbacks or Tom Brady or anything like that because they are amazing football players and I’m a little bias. Dan Marino is the man.
I must say I’m a New York Jets fan so I don’t know how much love I have for Dan Marino over the years, throwing for 300 yards against my team. There's that fake spike game against Pete Carroll where we got embarrassed as Jet fans yet again...but hey, I've got to give the man his due. That man could throw the rock. I actually had one player tell me that Dan Marino was his favorite player because of Ace Ventura. (Laughs) Not even because of his playing days.
King: (Laughs) He made as much as he could out of the little that he had. You know he never really had a superstar running back his whole career. You look at the majority of great quarterbacks, they had a great running game. He didn’t have really an all star running back to help him.
And he had good receivers, but like you said, not Hall of Famers. Not like Jerry Rice, Randy Moss or Michael Irvin. He had nobody at that level. Fair enough. Sticking with this theme a little bit, I asked the other guys—if you had the first pick in this draft, who would you take? You’re a pass rushing guy, right?
So would you take the quarterback or that left tackle to stop guys like you from getting to the quarterback?
King: You know I’m not the best guy to ask. I don’t know because I haven’t played against all those guys, or watched film. I’m just going off of guys like you hyping these guys up and seeing the highlights on SportsCenter. So I don’t know the down and gritty things about these players that would change or solidify my pick at that number one. So that’s a tough question but ah, I think you have to be a lineman or something like that in my opinion. I think drafting a quarterback or a wide receiver or DB, it's kind of risky. Because it could be make or break on a position like that, that’s just my opinion.
So you would go with a guy like Jake Long last year who you played against.
King: Yeah, or Joe Thomas.
Another guy you played against.
King: But you also had guys that haven’t had that great of success coming from the line. The guys that everyone thought were going to be solid players that turned out to be busts. You wonder how those little details slip through the cracks even though they are number one picks.
Alright Mitch, before we let you go we like to close things out with a segment we call three-and-out. I came into the room and Dancing With the Stars was on. Which show would you go further in, Dancing With the Stars or American Idol?
King: I don’t watch either. That’s strange it happened to be on. I would have to say American Idol because it’s more funny.
What’s something on your iPod that you might be embarrassed to admit you have on there?
King: Hmm. Maybe Fergie. Maybe a little bit of Fergie.
A little bit of Fergie. Fair enough. Who would you say is the toughest player you went up against in your college career?
King: You know, I started for four years so I played against Ohio State my freshman year and Nick Mangold. He’s okay. (Laughs) I’m kidding. But I was just a little kid back then. So he did a number on me. So I would have to say him.
Alright, Nick Mangold. I’m happy with that choice.
King: Yeah, he was tough and maybe I’m a little biased because I was younger and a little smaller. But it might be a different story today. I don’t know.
Photo Credit: Iowa Sports Information
Saturday, April 11, 2009
On location interview with Iowa product Mitch King in New York with Daniel Mogollon. Click to Listen.