For the longest time, the Indianapolis Colts had a great pass rushing duo with Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. But Freeney left this offseason leaving Indy a man short. They needed to find someone to replace him. They did just that on draft night with Bjoern Werner. The German-born defensive end was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year at Florida State this past season and should have a chance to come in and make a difference right away for the Colts.
Bjoern Werner joined 1070 the Fan in Indianapolis with JMV to talk about where the Colts were in terms of level of interest in him, on learning about the NFL by playing Madden, how it felt to finally hear his name called and how big of a deal him getting drafted into the NFL was for his family.
On where the Colts were in terms of level of interest:
“I knew they were really, really interested. Talked to my agent, they were talking to my D-Line coach at Florida State a lot. So I knew if I fell to the 24th pick then they had a good chance to take me. I was hoping they would take me because it’s a great organization and a great football team. They picked me. I can’t complain. I’m so happy.”
On learning about the NFL by playing the video game Madden:
“That is so correct. I knew every NFL star probably when I was 12, 13 or 14. I learned every team, every player in the game and I always created my little All-Star games, All-Star teams. I was just telling a few people when I was 12, 13, 14, I played with Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney. They were like the dynamic duo for years. Now I’m going to play with Robert Mathis. He’s going to be my veteran. I can ask questions, I can look up to him. This is just so amazing and so unbelievable.”
How it felt to finally hear his name called:
“It was the craziest moment. I was so relieved. So much pressure was building and when they called me, I could just let everything out. I knew I made it to the NFL. now I’m looking forward to getting some respect and trying to compete for a job. Now the fun begins. I don’t have school anymore and I’m just going to play football.”
How big of a deal was this for you family?
“It’s so big for an American family. But then for a German family, they never even thought it was possible. They were really excited. I’ve never seen my whole family crying at the same time. That never happened before. Really happy for me.”
What did Coach Pagano say to you when you first met?
“When he was on the phone, he just said ‘I knew we had a connection when we had an individual workout.’ And he’s right. I like him. Not only as the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts but as a person he is amazing. What he has gone through and what he has brought his team, I’m so happy he is my head coach and I can’t wait to get started.”