Hondo: First of all Steve, you gotta feel good. I mean, theyâ€™ve got you penciled in as a starter. This is everything youâ€™ve worked for. Your work ethic is really shining though.
Stephen: Itâ€™s good, man. I think a lot of people helped me get back. I had a knee injury in Dallas and Coach Marinelli and Matt Millen gave me a shot to come here last year and gave me a shot to play, and I did well. Iâ€™ve been working hard and finally my dream is coming true to start in the NFL.
Hondo: A lot of teams you would have went to wouldnâ€™t have given you that shot, either, or you get drafted, or because of your situation. Here they donâ€™t care. The best 11 get on the field. How refreshing is it to be part of a team like that?
Stephen: Itâ€™s good, man. Coach Marinelli is building something special here. A lot of guys are buying into his program. Guys are working hard and everybody is coming together. Like you said, we are a brotherhood and thatâ€™s what it is. I was on a national championship team at LSU and it feels like that now. Guys are working together, guys are helping each other out, pushing each other in the weight room and drills and stuff, so it feels good.
Hondo: One of your teammates, and potentially captain, told me a few nights ago that this team would eat radioactive waste for him. They love Marinelli. Would you talk about that?
Stephen: Definitely. Heâ€™s just a good guy. Heâ€™s just a good olâ€™ boy. Heâ€™ll tell you like it is. Heâ€™s not gonna sugar-coat it. Heâ€™s not gonna have any grays. Heâ€™s gonna tell you, â€œHey, I want you to work hard. I want you to come out here and give your best effort because the coaches are gonna give their best effort.â€ All together weâ€™re gonna win a world championship, and thatâ€™s what our goals are and heâ€™s trying to help everybody out. As you can tell from practice it looks really good right now.
Hondo: Talk about this attitude. This is a different team.
Stephen: Definitely. Last year I got here, I think, about week 6, and you could tell things werenâ€™t going like everybody wanted them to and guys just kept fighting and fighting. That last game in Dallas when we pulled togetherâ€¦and they really did need that win. We went down there and beat them and hung in there. It was kind of the first step of building our team so we took that and ran with it into the off-season. Now out here at this mini-camp, getting all the rookies in and all the guys back together, itâ€™s building and looks really good right now.
Hondo: Last year, how pleasant was it for you because of the Dallas situation? The fact that you went down there when they needed to win? You kind of stuck it to them.
Stephen: It was good, man, because I got hurt and they basically told me they never thought Iâ€™d come back from it, and I worked really hard. I had a strength coach down there, Joe Jurassic, who took me and said, â€œHey, if you stick by me Iâ€™ll get you back on the field.â€ He got me back and they gave me a chance here and it worked out to where I was starting that game and we put it to them. It just felt good because it was proving people wrong who told me Iâ€™d never play this game again and I was playing really good.Â
Hondo: Marinelli talks about his kind of guys. He talks about attitude. But you love the game of football. One of the things that I like about you is, I love to practice, and you like that. You enjoy that. I think that sticks in how you play. Whereâ€™d that come from?
Stephen: Iâ€™ve just always been like that. My dad was really hard on me coming up as being a hard worker, being responsible, and this is out job. Itâ€™s definitely a game that we love. But we come out here every day. Mr. Ford and them, they pay us to be here. And thereâ€™s nothing we can do. We come out here and give our best effort and learn and get better. You can never get too good in this league. Everybody is always trying to get better. There is always someone behind you trying to get better, so I just come out here and give my best effort every day and try to get better.
Hondo: Your footwork is exceptional. Is that something that comes from LSC? Is it something youâ€™ve worked on with the coaches here? Because, I mean, I watched you pretty extensively because I do keep an eye on the offense line. I didnâ€™t see you mess up one time in your footwork this week.
Stephen: itâ€™s all because of my coaching, man. Iâ€™ve had some really good coaches. My whole years coming through high school, college, and now my coaches work with me on footwork. Theyâ€™ve gotten me to where I am today. I couldnâ€™t have done it without any of the guys. So, itâ€™s just taking it, watching it, learning it, bringing it to the field, and thatâ€™s what I try to do.
We apologize to the great Lions fans that canâ€™t watch this as a video which would be much better for the fans.Â The new recent stupid NFL rules prohibitÂ that.Â So even though you canâ€™t see it anywhere else since Hondo was the only reporter to do it, here is at least the transcript.Â Thanks Goodell.