interview with David Veikune

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SC Note: “As David Veikune sauntered off the practice field after another arduous practice, helmet in hand, long Polynesian locks pinned up, one automatically thinks back to NFL draft day 2009. Many fans see this young linebacking prospect as the lynchpin of the Mark Sanchez trade, since it was the Hawaiian product who was eventually selected with the highest additional pick acquired by the Browns. Praise has already been heaped on this young player by his coaches during the rookie minicamps. Early training camp returns have been overwhelmingly positive as well, as fans saw this newly minted linebacker play with a reckless abandon and a physicality not seen on the unit for quite some time.”

Asked which position his coaches plan to use him at, David Veikune said:
“They have me as being versatile, so, I’ve been everything: hand on the ground, inside, outside. I think they [the coaching staff] are just trying to get a feel for what I do best. Definitely a lot of special teams as well. Every single thing I’ve already been on, so I really don’t know where they see me yet. It’s really up in the air until season time and preseason games.” (SC)

Asked if it is difficult to change positions on each play, Veikune said:
“Definitely, but in Rob Ryan’s system, as long as you are physical you can play anything. That is a big part of all the positions. Outside foot back, straight up stance, hand in the dirt; it’s all very different. You just have to get good at each and every one. It’s a very hard task but it’s something you have to do.” (SC)

Asked what is the biggest transition he’s made so far to the NFL going from from a DE in college to inside LB with Cleveland, Veikune said:
“Pass coverage. It’s way different. We’ve done a lot already here in practice, but I only did a little bit at Hawaii. Really not that much at all.” (SC)

Asked if opening his hips in coverage was a brand new experience because he didn’t drop into zone coverage for the Warriors, Veikune said:
“I only did a little bit, not too much at all. And yeah it’s definitely a new thing.” (SC)

Asked if he was happy with the hitting they have been doing lately in practice, Veikune said:
“Name a football player on defense that doesn’t love to hit. I love to hit and its good to be physical on the field.” (SC)

Asked if he was worried about missing any time in training camp due to his contract negotiations, Veikune said:
“I was here the whole time, I was just waiting and ready to report. My agent got it done quickly to make sure I was able to practice.” (SC)

Asked how the veterans have embraced him and the other rookies, especially inside LBs D’Qwell Jackon and Eric Barton, Veikune said:
“They’re great leaders, including David Bowens as well. Every single one of the linebackers here have helped me a little bit on my game. They’ve all been very helpful, proven leaders, and it’s a great thing to learn from them and watch tape of them especially last year when Eric was with the Jets.” (SC)

Asked where he projects himself ending up after playing so many different positions for Cleveland, Veikune said:
“I don’t have a crystal ball, so I really have no idea. I’m playing everything now and we’ll see. By the end of the season, we’ll know more but I simply cannot predict that right now.” (SC)


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