The Detroit Lions announced today that they have re-signed DT Cory Redding to a multi-year contract. Redding, along with Head Coach Rod Marinelli, spoke with several media via conference call following the announcement.

The following are transcripts from their media session this afternoon:

LIONS DT CORY REDDING
On re-signing with the Lions for a multi year deal: “I feel good that the conclusion of the contract was great. It’s been a long seven months and with a long negotiation, but I’m very pleased with how everything was worked out. With giving all the credit to Martin Mayhew for putting in his hard work in getting this thing done and I really want to appreciate him for that. It all went very smoothly, but I’m looking forward to just going on in my career and looking to do big things.”

On negotiating the contract with Assistant General Manager Martin Mayhew: “(There) was a little hiccup so, to speak I guess, in the beginning. Then Martin Mayhew took over and when he took over, it was just a smooth transition. From what he did, I’m very pleased as to how everything went and it’s just been great.”

On missing the Lions offseason program while negotiating his contract: “I feel like I’m right on board. The only thing I didn’t have was the on-the-field time. But as I went to school and did all that, I was reading the playbook, so I stayed on top of all the plays we ran last year and all the new plays that were implemented. I’ve had conversations with Joe Barry; I had Joe Cullen fly down and we had like a two hour seminar so to speak on all the stuff that’s talked about in practice. I’ve got the mental part down. I worked out down here with (the weight staff at Texas); I’ve been running with the team (Texas Longhorns); I’ve lost 16 to 17 pounds. I feel lean, I feel healthy; all my injuries have healed, so I feel great. The only thing I didn’t get was the on-field time, but it shouldn’t take me that long to get back.”

On the hiccup he refers to in his early contract negotiations: “Well, I don’t mess with upper management, but you know as far as who was going to do the contract, that’s what I’m talking about. So when Martin Mayhew said finally he would do the contract, then everything was smooth sailing from there.”

On he was frustrated with the negotiating process at the beginning: “A little bit, a little bit. For everything, I don’t take anything personal. When you get on this level, everything is business and I understood that coming into it. So I don’t hold anything personal, no personal feelings toward anybody; everything is all business. Once I got that aspect of it, then everything was smooth sailing, but everything worked out in the end.”

On feeling pressure to perform under such a large contract: “I’ve always had pressure man, and I see it as good pressure. I don’t feel like I have any added weight on my shoulder than I ever had last year, or when I first entered my rookie year, or when I started playing in college. You know, I don’t see it as bad. It’s good pressure for me; I welcome it and that’s how I play. I manifest in it and I don’t even dwell on everything that’s going on. I play the game and that’s what it’s all about. I’m glad we got these numbers and all that stuff out of the way, so I can focus on football and do what I love to do and what my passion is; and that’s playing.

On persuasion from Head Coach Rod Marinelli to re-sign: “Rod was very straight to the point. His conversation was very crisp and short and sweet, but the man got his point across. His relationship to me is second to none – by far the best teaching coach, the best player’s type coach, the best everything that I’ve been around. I’ve wanted to try in my career to be around a guy like Rod Marinelli, who loves the game. I’m talking about when he looks you in your eyes, you know you’re talking to a man of character, a man that you know whatever he says he’s going to do. He told me from the beginning: ‘I’m going to stay on top of this until it’s done’ and I heard him say those words. I told him you hold up your end of the bargain and I will come into camp under my weight and I will tell you right now that I’m dedicating my time, my effort, and everything and Rod Marinelli knows that he’s getting out of me 100%.”

On being compensated for the way he played last year: “I think so for the most part, but it’s not just about one year. I don’t read the press; I don’t watch the TV all the time. I stay away from that stuff. When I’m away from work I’m away from work. But people were starting to say just because it’s my contract year that I’m trying to do all these big things just to get a contract. No! I play the game. If you look at my career, I play the game to the fullest no matter what. I could care less about all that other stuff. I go out and play the game, keep the integrity of the game. As long as guys do that, regardless of if they are in their contract year or they just signed a seven-year deal, you go out and play every year like its your last and every play like its your last and as long as you do that good things will happen.”

On losing 15 pounds: “I started off around March at about 306 or 307, and mind you towards the end of the year I played in the Dallas Cowboys game at about 289, 290 so my weight that the Lions want me to come in at was about 295. So I gauged that. I need to come in under 295. I started with 305, 306 and my goal weight was to get under 295 so now I’m right at 291 or 292 give or take. And when I get in training camp its even more weight lost because once I get in my routine of running and chasing the ball and working out there in that heat then you cut the weight down. So I will be back at my fighting weight, in the mid 280′s, by the time the season comes around – no doubt about it.”

On how important DT Shaun Rodgers focusing on football and not off-field issues is to the team: “I’ve played with Shaun long enough at Texas and in Detroit to know when it’s his good days and when it’s his bad days. When he turns it on, when he’s really smoking, I know the type of level he can get on and once he’s there I know I can match that same energy and intensity and we can get things going. It would be critical for Shaun Rodgers,whenever he comes into camp that he is comfortable enough to get through camp and lose his weight and stay healthy and be smart so we can get this thing going because I want nothing but to be with him on that field for all 16 games and into the playoffs and into the Super Bowl later on down the year from now and that would be just great.”

On whether being the highest paid defensive tackle means anything to him: “Yes, it means something to me because I have come a long way, through trials and tribulations; I’ve come a long way and I feel like as long as I do everything the best way I can than everything will work itself out. I feel like it’s my time and I’ve been blessed and I give credit to God and I’m very thankful and blessed for what he did for me and my family. To be honored as the highest paid tackle in history and all that kind of stuff, that’s great. It sets it for other guys later on in the years when I’m older and next year and the next year for other guys to shoot for. I know I’m the highest paid now, but in a year or two somebody else will be the highest paid. It’s always giving someone else a goal to shoot for and I’m just glad I’m just sitting there on that milestone right now.”

On those who think the Lions reached and his contract is too big: “There will be criticism regardless of whether I had a bad deal or a good deal, and that’s why I say I don’t watch TV, I don’t read the press – I stay away from all that stuff. With that being said, frankly I could care less about what somebody says because I live my life the way I live it and I’m happy with it. People are going to say what they want to say; they are going to speculate. You know that makes good papers, which makes good media. I understand the game. That’s just the circle of this whole organization, this whole business. I understand that. So if people want to say what they want to say to get good papers that’s great, but I’m in the mindset of playing football and that’s all I care about. I could care less about anything else but X’s and O’s. As long as I keep that attitude and my mindset focused on that then everything else will be fine.”

On where this defense is right now: “I think this defense is right where we need to be right now. Put the pedal to the medal in training camp. I’ve been keeping tabs on everything up there. Like I said, I had Joe Cullen fly down and we had a two hour seminar. I’ve talked to Joe Berry; I’ve talk to Rod Marinelli, and I’ve called the guys in the locker room that I know of as of last season. I haven’t talked to the new guys yet but sensing their attitudes and talking about how things have changed with attitudes in the locker room, the attitudes on the field, the chemistry, I’m very eager and happy to get back and get around everybody so they can get a feel for me and I can get a feel for them so I can join into that chemistry and get this thing going. It’s been a long 7 months fellas, and I’m getting the itch to hit somebody. I can’t wait to get back.”

LIONS HEAD COACH ROD MARINELLI
On how excited he is to have DT Cory Redding signed: “Oh, it’s great. You know, you guys know that. I’ve explained myself very thoroughly for the last six, seven months and towards the end of the season. So it’s a big plus for us and it’s not just the player, it’s what else he brings to the table.”

On if he took a more aggressive approach in this negotiation: “I don’t know. Not working numbers or anything, but I wanted to make sure I stated it well that I wanted this player in our program. It was very, very important to me.”

On how often he talked to Redding: “A lot. I guess earlier, as the thing went on, before we tagged him, what I was trying to do and I wanted to do is recruit him. That was important to me; to use the tag at the very, very end. I wanted to give as much effort as I could, and (show him) why he should be here. I’ve coached him basically; I work with the front line, so he knows what I want. He knows exactly what I want and he’s done it. So I worked very hard, very diligently at that. And [his agent, Kennard McGuire,] gave him the space at the same time. Then, once we tagged him, I continued. So he understood why and that I was going to keep working at this until we get it done. And this is something that we’re going to do; we’re going to get this thing done.”

On if Redding ever talked about not returning: “You know, I think initially, when we first started talking, that that was in his mind. So that’s just part of the recruiting process. We just sit down, ‘why,’ ‘if,’ ‘ands,’ ‘what can we do better,’ ‘how could I have handled this better.’ And to get this contract done.”

On why Redding deserves this contract and what kind of player he can be: “You guys saw him play last year. So you know that as well as I do, what he brings, the energy. That position is vital. The under tackle position is a key position in this defense. And one, he brings one of the hardest things to find, is a motor. And as you guys know that, as you watch through the league, finding a guy who will play every snap full speed, all-out, every snap, sideline to sideline, vertical player, the things we want. He learned that position very quick, he’d never played in there, and he ended up getting eight sacks. In the last 12 games of the year he led the league in sacks. He’s got a feel for it and the energy and the toughness that I’m looking for. He’s disciplined; he loves football. So if you’ve got a guy, and he’s young, he’s still going to go in as a fifth year player, so he’s got a lot of years ahead of him, with a great motor. If you guys could have heard the other people that were interested in him throughout the league, a lot of tapes, and they saw everything we saw. He was going to be a highly pursued guy.”

On if he has talked to DT Shaun Rogers after his recent issues: “I’ve talked to Shaun a ton, and our whole staff has. I’m just staying in good contact with him all the way through this. The biggest thing is, we’ve got a chance to get this thing behind us, and now we just move forward. You know my feelings. I’ve told you that there are three really good defensive tackles here. I feel strong about that, probably as good a group as I’ve ever been around. Now I’ve just got to do everything I can do to work with him, get him better day by day, and remove ourselves from this past incident, and let’s just go forward.”

On Rogers’ weight and whether he’s going to start camp: “Well, I want to see him before I answer those questions. But the one thing I do feel good about, I know his weight is coming down, he’s working at it. I think he’s going to be very determined to be a heck of a player.”

On whether he is worried that Redding might be behind after missing offseason workouts: “I probably don’t worry about those types of things. It’s not one of my favorite words. But would I want him there every day? Oh, yeah, I want every guy, every second, of every day, if I could do that. I’d spend every day out there with these guys, and I would’ve loved to have had him more. And the one thing I feel strong about him, I know his work ethic is tremendous, and I know he’ll work out on his own, I know he’s doing all our drills, he’s got all our bag work, and I feel very good about his responsibility to be a heck of a player this year. I know he’s working, and I know he runs. That’s who he is.”

On how important it was for Redding to know how much the Lions wanted him back: “I think that’s part of a jump in leadership in my role – that’s part of my role. I’ve got to make sure that everything is communicated correctly, good dialogue. That was important to me. I was going to call even if he didn’t want to hear from me. I just kept working at it and kept an open line of communication as our front office did; his position coach did; the coordinator did. I just wanted to keep this thing moving because what happens is: things can be written, things can be said and if you don’t talk to somebody for two weeks, it can be false information and things fester. So my idea was, every other day or every third day, whatever that was, ‘has anything changed since the last time we talked? Is there anything on your mind? Here are my goals; here’s what I want to accomplish with you this year.’ So we were all on the same page every time we talked.”

On how things are shaping up with some of the injured players heading into camp: “The biggest thing is when we get to camp that everybody’s working and doing what they’re supposed to do – I feel good about that. Now, we’ll get to camp and see where we’re at; have the trainers look at them and so on and so forth. Then we’ll have a chance to make some decisions. I think we’re very conscious with some of these guys in the offseason. We make sure to get them individual work and some of those things; rehab work. As a staff, we’re very smart with these guys. They’re taught well; now we just have to get them to camp, hopefully feeling healthy enough. Then with some of these guys, you’ve got to be smart with them during two-a-days. Some guys have got to go maybe one-a-day just to keep them going and get them ready for the season.”

On whether he thinks they may have overpaid for Redding: “It’s where we are in the NFL. One thing I know, and I believe: you can never overpay for the attitude, the effort, the want. He’s a talented man; he’s a big physical man; he’s extremely tough; he’s a hitter. That other phase that he brings to the table is that want and that hunger. He’s an upfront man – he’s all man. He’ll work. So the biggest thing, especially when you play defense, I think a big part of this defense is attitude; wanting to be great, being disciplined, doing what you’re suppose to do, being smart. He fits that mold.”

On whether he’s heard some of the buzz and the expectations nationally surrounding this team: “Not really; I’m just aware of what I said to you guys: I feel very good about this team. I’ve said that all the way through our offseason. What I gauge that on is their work. Our attendance was unbelievable and not just the attendance but it was the effort and attitude that was a part of that. I just really liked that. I think in these last two drafts, we’ve really added talent. We’ve added speed and talent. We brought in some solid guys in through free agency. I feel good about that, but probably the most important thing, I think, is the chemistry of the team. I just felt they’re working hard together. That’s a big thing in this league. Not all of the time is it the best talent that wins, it’s the best team that wins. If you can get a bunch of men playing as a team – it’s a team sport. That’s my job; I’ve got to get these guys playing together and not as an offense, not as a defense, not as special teams but as a unit: the Detroit Lions. The type of people you have a chance to get on your side, get on your team, that believe in that, then you’ve got a chance to be good.”

On what he thought of QB Jon Kitna saying the Lions would win more than 10 games: “That’s how he feels. He’s on the field everyday with that team. He’s one of our leaders and that’s how Jon feels. I have expectations too (that are) very high.”



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