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Transcript - Jerry Tillery Introductory Press Conference 


Friday, April 26, 2019 | Hoag Performance Center | Costa Mesa, Calif.


"Thank you all for coming today. The draft is, obviously, one of the most exciting times of the year. [It's] probably the most exciting time of the offseason. I know, for me, part of what makes it so exciting is knowing all the hard work that's gone in to preparing for the draft. We're talking about a lot of people have worked very hard for a very long time — really a year's worth of work. If you look at yesterday, all that work culminates in just 10 minutes. You're on the clock for 10 minutes. Really, every year, those 10 minutes are a little different. Obviously, picking 28th in the first round is very different. It brings some unique challenges compared to picking a lot earlier, but those are challenges that we certainly welcome and hope to have every year picking later. 

Some years when you're on the clock, there might be a cluster of magnets, a cluster of names up there that are all in a similar spot. Then some years, there's maybe one magnet that's a little bit above the rest of them. In those years, it can be a little nerve-wrecking as you get closer because you're looking at this magnet and you're just thinking, 'Okay, we just need to make it through a few more picks.' [General Manager] Tom [Telesco] gets a little superstitious. He doesn't like anyone talking about the magnet or pointing at the magnet. I think he got mad at someone one year for even looking at the magnet. It can be a little nerve-wrecking, but we have a saying that the board tells us where to go and the board tells us who to pick. This was a year, in particular, where there was no question when we were on the clock who the pick was going to be. 

We couldn't be more excited to have Jerry [Tillery] joining the Chargers and what he brings to this team — both off the field and on the field. We think he's going to be an awesome fit in our defense. God doesn't make many defensive linemen who are 6-7, 300 pounds and can run [a 40-yard dash] in the 4.9s. More than those physical attributes, we love the way Jerry plays. He gets after the quarterback. He can rush the passer. He is a tough player. He plays the run well, also. Again, we just couldn't be more excited overall. So, with all that said, let me officially introduce the newest member of the Chargers family, Jerry Tillery."


Opening statement:

"Thank you for that very nice introduction. I want to thank the Spanos family, [General Manager] Mr. [Tom] Telesco and [Head] Coach [Anthony Lynn] for believing in me and giving me this incredible opportunity — the opportunity of a lifetime. It's my first day on the job — my dream job. I'm very happy to be here. With that, I'll answer any questions."

On his past 15 hours:

"[They've been] a little hectic, a little crazy. I'm taking it one step at a time, literally by the hour. I'm taking it all in."

On how Notre Dame prepared him for today:

"How to work hard, how to pursue what you want to do in life. How to treat people, [Notre Dame] taught me relationship skills. Obviously, they play great football there. I learned the game, I fell in love with the game. These are all things that led me to this moment, standing at this podium."

On if he has gotten to speak to any of his future teammates:

"I have. I have a ton of respect for all of those players. They've made a lot of plays in this league playing this game. I can't wait to join them and make a lot of plays alongside them."

On joining an experienced defensive line group:

"It's great. I'm excited to get in and learn. I feel like I have a lot to learn about this game, to grow my game and my skillset as a player. I think this is a perfect situation and setup in order to make that happen."

On if he was able to sleep while traveling:

"Yeah, I've slept."

On being in Maui during the draft:

"Yeah, it was planned. I wanted to have my draft party in Hawaii. I was fortunate enough to have great connections with the place there to help us do that. It was really something special. It was a beautiful place to celebrate the biggest day of my life. It's just a place that I love. I associate it with happiness."

On his progression throughout college:

"Yeah, I'm fundamentally a different person than when I started at Notre Dame four years ago. I think every college graduate would tell you that. I've grown as a person, I've gotten to see new things, I have experienced a lot more — but also as a player. I've learned so much more about the game. I know so much more about football than I knew when I started at Notre Dame four years ago. All of that has led me to this moment."

On being under a microscope:

"You don't go to Notre Dame if you don't want to be noticed in the grocery store. I'm a tough one to miss, right? That's always been part of it. It's the life we chose. I wanted to play this game at a high level and that's what comes along with it. That's something that you deal with. I think I've been exposed to that since I started at Notre Dame so I don't think it will be anything new."

On playing with a shoulder injury as a senior:

"It was tough at times."

On his interactions with future Chargers:

"A lot of my new teammates have reached out to me on social media and just in the building. They're all busy today, obviously, but it's been good. I've definitely had some contact with my teammates already."

On his potential role with the team:

"I have [had the chance to talk a little about it]. It's going to be good."

On his versatility being a strength:

"I would agree with you."

On if he can continue his contributions on special teams:

"I think so, definitely. I love to play football. Any way I can get on the field, that's what I'm going to do."

On playing in Southern California as compared to a colder climate:

"I'm in favor of it."

On addressing the game against Southern California through the pre-draft process:

"That was a lapse of my judgment and was a frustrating moment. It's something that happened a long time ago. That's not the type of player that I am. I think I've shown that over and over. I've definitely moved past that moment in my career."

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