Ed Thompson: How have things been going in camp?
T.J. Rushing: Well, camp’s been going well. The heat was a little ridiculous the first couple days, but the weather’s been nice to us since and everything has been going well.
ET: How’s the transition been going as you try to learn the cornerback position at the NFL level?
T.J.: Its been a little rocky at times, but I really like it because they’ve been paying more attention to my details and not just letting me get away with things just because I’m more athletic than some of the other guys I’ve been going up against. Because in this league, it’s all about little details -- that’s what separates great players from just good players.
ET: Now when you’re out there practicing as a cornerback, which team do they have you working with?
T.J.: It just depends, it has been varying between the second and third team.
ET: Who are some of the wide receivers that you’re usually seeing lining up against you when you’re on the second versus the third team?
TJ: Just about all of them. The receivers rotate at a different pace, than the corners rotate. So I’ve seen everybody from Marvin, Reggie, Stokley to Hinkel, Ashlan Davis -- there’s just no telling who we’re going to line up against out there at corner.
ET: Obviously the three starters -- Harrison, Wayne and Stokley -- are so polished, I’m sure they present the biggest challenge to you. But who out of some of the other guys that you’re facing are making you say “Wow, this guys pretty good.”
TJ: Oh yeah, a lot of the receivers here. John Standeford, he runs pretty good routes. Aaron Moorehead, he also does a good job running routes. You know they’re all technicians, they all do a good job.
ET: During the special teams practices are you seeing a lot of activity at both kickoff return and punt return?
TJ: Yes sir, I’ve been doing double-duty doing both kickoff return and punt return, so hopefully I can polish both of those up and be ready for the season.
ET: Who are some of the players that are competing against you for kickoff returns?
TJ: Ashlan Davis, Dan Sheldon, Terrence Wilkins, Tanard Davis, Ed Hinkel -- there’s a bunch of guys that we have back there competing for the job.
ET: Now are those same guys all competing with you for punt return or is there anybody different in the mix for punt return?
TJ: No, it’s pretty much the same guys.
ET: Well everything I’ve been hearing so far indicates that you’ve looked really good, but that on the very first day of practice you looked like you were still just settling in. But as of day two of training camp, you really started to turn it on and really stand out. Would you agree that’s a fair assessment?
TJ: Yeah, I’d say so. The first day I was trying to get acclimated and was a little nervous about everything. But I think ever since then I’ve been making the transition fairly well.
ET: I know you missed a few days with a groin strain, what was going through your mind during that stretch when you had to stay on the sidelines?
TJ: I was aggravated because you want to be out there and to be able to show the coaches exactly what you can do. But at the same time, you don’t want to be out there at half-speed is finally what they had to tell me. I figure if I can walk, I can play. So I wanted to be out there. It was a learning experience for me. They’re still trying to teach me how to practice without hurting myself, because your body’s your job. It’s still aggravating at times, it bugs me a little bit, but we’re trying to get it back to 100 percent and everything will be all right.
T.J. takes you onto the field with him, talking about what he saw during his big return, his first impressions of live NFL action and more. ColtPower Insiders can read the rest of this interview by clicking here!