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NFL Draft '99

Claiborne: 'I will start right away'

Posted: Wednesday April 14, 1999 11:04 PM

  Chris Claiborne: "You just have to be cool. I don't worry about doing something I have not seen or done." Todd Warshaw/Allsport

Chris Claiborne visited the CNN/SI chat channel on April 14, 1999, three days before the 1999 NFL Draft. Chris Claiborne is a linebacker out of USC expected to go high in the first round. He fielded questions about where he might be drafted and what he expects to do once he reaches the NFL.

CNNSI_Host : Good evening and welcome to the CNN/SI Chat Channel. Our guest tonight Chris Claiborne, an expected top 10 NFL Draft Pick.

CNNSI_Host : What teams have you been talking to as serious contenders to draft you?
Chris Claiborne : Arizona, Indianapolis, Washington and Detroit.

CNNSI_Host : What team do you think you would fit in best with?
Chris Claiborne : Arizona has a great defensive line already and it would be easier to make plays there. Indianapolis would be nice because they just added more players on defense.

CNNSI_Host : How do you think you would fit into Arizona's or Indianapolis' defensive scheme?
Chris Claiborne : Probably middle linebacker in both places. They both need them.

CNNSI_Host : You are the number one LB on everyone's list. Why is that?
Chris Claiborne : Versatility. I can play all sides of the defense. It doesn't matter where you put me in the scheme.

CNNSI_Host : Do you see yourself as starter right away?
Chris Claiborne : Yeah. Where I go I will start right away.

CNNSI_Host : How do feel about taking the next step into the NFL?
Chris Claiborne : I love it. It is a new challenge. I look forward to getting better and getting with the coaching in the NFL.

CNNSI_Host : USC has a proud tradition of linebackers like Junior Seau. Where do you fit into that tradition?
Chris Claiborne : I'm a little bit of everybody. I'm just trying to grow. I have a lot to prove as I make the transition into the NFL. When it's said and done I can talk more.

CNNSI_Host : Agents play a big role in the draft -- What did you tell your agent to do to get picked in the best position?
Chris Claiborne : It's where you go. My agent looked at the numbers. There's a lot more money out there and teams will pay what you are worth.

CNNSI_Host : How has your family fared throughout the draft process? How has their support helped you?
Chris Claiborne : We are having a good time with this. You just have to take your time and have fun. You only get to do this once.

CNNSI_Host : How have you been spending your time waiting for the draft?
Chris Claiborne : Just training for the season more than anything -- not just waiting for the draft.

CNNSI_Host : Which NFL LBs do you admire?
Chris Claiborne : Junior Seau, Ray Lewis; guys who are every down linebackers.

CNNSI_Host : While growing up, who were you favorite NFL players? Who would you consider to be your best role model?
Chris Claiborne : Lawrence Taylor, Marshall Faulk, and Steve Young. He's (Steve Young) a great role model -- you never hear anything bad about him.

CNNSI_Host : From USCFAN: What did you learn at USC that will prepare you for the pros?
Chris Claiborne : Coach Hackett was great. And so was LB coach Slocumb. Living in a big market like L.A. teaches you how to deal.

CNNSI_Host : From Guest92297: Although you reportedly have professed that the Colts are your favorite team, how would you feel about playing in Motown?
Chris Claiborne : It would be nice. The LB coach there is great. He would teach me a lot. It doesn't matter where I go -- it will be great to be in the NFL.

CNNSI_Host : From Jerry-: With the huge step-up from the collegiate ranks to the NFL, what is your approach to taking this challenge head on both mentally and physically?
Chris Claiborne : You just have to be cool. I don't worry about doing something I have not seen or done.

CNNSI_Host : Was it a tough decision to leave school early?
Chris Claiborne : It was tough because I wanted to win a Rose Bowl while at USC. I will miss my teammates too. Hopefully I will be playing with some of them soon.

CNNSI_Host : From Guest16770: If you couldn't be a pro football player, what would you be?
Chris Claiborne : I'd be a politician -- on a small scale. It's the quickest way to get things done.

CNNSI_Host : Would you rather be a starter on a bad team or backup on a contender?
Chris Claiborne : Starter on a bad team. That's the best -- when you can get the chance to turn something around.

CNNSI_Host : Do you feel that salaries are getting out of hand for rookies?
Chris Claiborne : Never.

CNNSI_Host : From Guest34465: Did you consult any former USC players now in the NFL before coming out? What was their advice about preparing for the NFL?
Chris Claiborne : I talked to Darryl Russell and Ryan Kelly. They said it was business and you need to bo what you need to do.

CNNSI_Host : From Guest04720: #CNNSI -> Chris, since you've faced him in practice, just how good is quarterback, Carson Palmer?
Chris Claiborne : He's awesome. He's so good they (NFL) will want him to come out soon.

CNNSI_Host : Thanks for joining us.

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