The Heyward-Bey Interview That Breaks the Rules

Jason HerresCorrespondent IMay 9, 2009

ALAMEDA, CA - MAY 08:  Darrius Heyward-Bey #12 of the Oakland Raiders runs drills during the Raiders minicamp at the team's permanent training facility on May 8, 2009 in Alameda, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)


As everyone knows, the Raiders shocked the world with their choice of Darrius Heyward-Bey with the seventh pick in the draft.  Dozens of media experts began asking questions about the Raiders' logic, evaluations, and even their sanity.  

I’ve chosen to put all of that aside and imagine sitting down with Darrius Heyward-Bey, and just ask him a few questions.  The below questions are my approach to breaking the ice and getting an interview that breaks from the norm.

Who’s your favorite comic book superhero, and you can’t say “Flash?" 

The idea here is to get him off-balance right out of the gate, and see who he relates himself to.  Occasionally, I get a peek into someone’s childhood with this question.

What is your biggest challenge in moving up to the NFL, and how do you plan to address it?

This tests some actual football knowledge and also tests his self-assessment skills.  He might disclose which articles he reads online in the weakness he outlines

Growing up, who picked on you the most, and what would you say to them now?

This is another question to peek behind the curtain, and find out more about Darrius the person, not the player.  This also gives him the chance to be vindictive—let’s see what he does with it.

How will you establish trust with your quarterback?   

This is a key question.  In any relationship, trust plays a huge part.  Short of doing the falling backward exercise, Darrius and JaMarcus have to learn to trust each other, while winning football games.  How they do this in a short few months will be key to the Raiders' success this year.

Tell me a story of a time when you faced a difficult challenge and explain what your thought process was and how you got through it?

This is adapted from a job interview question, and gives Darrius a chance to choose the topic, and then provide a window into his world for us.  This question can be very revealing in gauging what he considers “difficult” in his past, as well as how he describes it. 

Lastly, what question do you wish we had asked?

This question gives the control back to the interview subject, and gives them a green field to choose a topic.  It also makes a good closing question, as it leaves things on a good note.  The intent is to take the hot out of the interview hot seat. 

Granted, the odds of me getting an interview with DHB are low, but if given the chance, the above questions would help it be a rewarding interview for him, the interviewer, and the readers who are tired of reading “how fast are you?” and the other questions.