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Chat Reel: John St. Clair

Being front and center would fulfill a life-long dream

Posted: Friday April 14, 2000 12:05 AM

CNNSI Host: Welcome to today's NFL Draft chat with John St. Clair. Hi John. Thanks for joining us.
John St. Clair: Thank you.

From William In Va.: Which team would you most like to join, and how would you feel if you got drafted to the same team as say Virginia teammate Thomas Jones?
John St. Clair: It doesn't matter which team drafts me, I just want the opportunity. It'd be great to play with Thomas, we've talked about it already. I think we can both help each other.

From Guest: With the Vikings desperately looking to improve their o-line in the draft, what would be your thoughts if you were drafted by Minnesota?
John St. Clair: It'd be great to be drafted by them. I'd fit in well with the team. I'm just looking for the chance to come in and play.

From Guest: John, what's this week been like for you leading up to the draft? How have you been dealing with the nerves?
John St. Clair: I try to stay active. I've been working out all and trying to keep my mind off it. I've gone to the movies and talking to my family. I saw "The Skulls" and "Final Destination."

From Guest: What players did you grow up watching and why?
John St. Clair: Believe it or not, I grew up watching Tony Dorsett. There are a lot of Cowboys fans in my family.

From Guest: How do you see yourself helping a sub- .500 team?
John St. Clair: I think I can bring intensity and toughness and a willingness to cooperate with my other teammates, working together to achieve a common goal to make it to the playoffs.

From Guest: What is the most difficult challenge do you think there is going from a NCAA standout to the NFL?
John St. Clair: I guess basically the lifestyle. No more classes, this is a job. Getting used to city life and not having anyone watching what you do like you do in college. You have to do the job or they'll cut you.

Pete from Boston: Being a former offensive lineman in college, I was just wondering what you think the hardest part about being on offensive linemen is.
John St. Clair: Probably the physical aspect. You get hit every play. It's like a three-hour fight. You're pushing someone every play. People really don't look at lineman like that.

From Guest: John, you hear a lot about team chemistry. How important do you think it is to get along with your teammates?
John St. Clair: Definitely, it's very important. You don't want anything flaring up between teammates, because it'll translate onto the field and you could end up losing games.

From James in Va.: John -- at William Fleming High School you were one of the biggest players on the team if not the biggest, but you managed to be a fast tight end, How, and Why did your coaches at UVA decide to move you to center?
John St. Clair: At the time I was backing up a senior guy and I was used as a blocking TE and they needed someone to play center. They asked me to move and I said I would. It all just went from there.

From Tom in N.Y.: Is there any one center in the NFL that you pattern yourself after?
John St. Clair: I don't pattern myself after any one center. I look at Jeff Christie, he has great technique. Dermontti Dawson - he's one of the best I've ever seen. He uses his strength and quickness to overpower the D-lineman and I take qualities from each center and try to build on them.

CNNSI Host: From Mark from California: What advice, if any, have you received from other Virginia alums about playing at the NFL level?
John St. Clair: I talk to Robert Hunt often. And Anthony Poindexter when he's in town. And Terrence Wilkins, too. We speak whenever I see them.

From Guest: John -- the Eagles seem to be interested in taking you in the second round, what is your perception of the Eagles?
John St. Clair: That would be great also. Coach Castillo, the O-line coach, worked me out. He seems like he'd be a great guy to play for. He wants to win, just like I do.

From Guest: What are your plans for this weekend as far as watching the draft?
John St. Clair: I'm going to stay in Charlottesville and I've got a couple of suites at a hotel. My family is going to come down and watch it with me.

From Guest: Besides the money, what are you looking forward to most about playing in the NFL?
John St. Clair: Just being on the field and wearing an NFL helmet and knowing it's an NFL helmet. I've dreamed about that. That's very exciting to me.

From Bruce in San Diego: Did the St. Louis Rams give you a workout? They only have one center on their roster. You'd be great. What do you think about going to the Rams?
John St. Clair: They worked me out. That would also be a great team to go. They just went to the Super Bowl and may again next year. It'd be great to learn from the guys who've already experienced what it's like to be a championship team.

CNNSI Host: That's all the time we have for today. Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, John. And good luck in the draft.
John St. Clair: Thank you, I appreciate it.

CNNSI Host: Thanks for all the great questions. Sorry we couldn't get to all of them.

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