Mock Interview with Cincinatti Bengals' Chinedum Ndukwe

Doug TifftContributor IMay 13, 2009

CINCINNATI - DECEMBER 28:  Chinedum Ndukwe #41 of the Cincinnati Bengals walks on the field during the NFL game against the Kansas City Chiefs on December 28, 2008 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Chinedum Ndukwe

Your parents came to Nigeria when you were five years old. Do you remember much of that trip? Can you expand a little bit on their motivation for coming to America?

You took a trip to Nigeria after your rookie season. What did you do on the trip, and what lessons were you able to learn from an experience like that?

Your brother Ike is in the NFL, as well. How has he helped guide you through the early stages of an NFL career?

Beyond the NFL guidance, how much have Ike and your older brother Kelechi—an Iraq veteran—served as role models for you?

How much does that relationship stem back to your childhood in Dublin, when you first moved there in junior high school and started to get acclimated to the social culture and athletic scene?

Once you did get your feet wet, you played your high school career in a football-rich area of central Ohio. What would you say to someone who has never experienced the football scene there?

How has that helped you become that player that you are today?

As has been widely publicized, you were a teammate of Brady Quinn from junior high school through college. How has that relationship developed over the years, and what were your thoughts watching Brady get his opportunity last season?

Once you got to Notre Dame you made the position switch to the defensive side of the ball to get more playing time in your sophomore season. Now here you are in the NFL faced with a similar logjam at your position. Are you feeling comparable emotions to what you felt after your freshman year at Notre Dame?

That position switch in college proved to be successful in getting you drafted, but as the third to last player in 2007. Looking back, can you describe what your emotions were during Day two of the draft?

If you could do it over again would you have done anything differently?... How has that experience affected you as a player?

You were initially drafted for your expected contributions on special teams, but have gotten some time at safety due to injuries. How much of a different mindset was the special teams role after having been a regular starter in college?

You were among the first players to contact Mike Zimmer after he took over as defensive coordinator in January of 2008. How excited were you to play in his version of the 4-3 defense, and how has it been playing under him as a coordinator?

Your nagging aches and pains that come with an NFL season were a recurring theme for you all of last year. How troublesome was it, and how much do you think it held you back from your potential?  What physical changes do you expect this year, being able to play a season at full strength?

You are a part of a young and developing secondary. How important is it to your maturation that you have a group of peers that you have called “the future of the defense” to work with, and what do you see as the potential for the secondary?

Having said that, what were your first thoughts when the Bengals signed Roy Williams?

The Bengals’ defense was quietly among the better units in the league in 2008—12th in total defense. You have added some talent on that side of the ball in the offseason in Roy, Rey Maualuga and Tank Johnson. What are your expectations for this season?

What is the greatest strength of the defensive unit?... What is the greatest weakness?

For you personally, what do you hold in your mind as your best attribute?... What is the area where you have been focusing on improving?

And finally, I know that you are still coming into your own here with the Bengals, but you have talked a lot about how you want to build a career after football. You have attended programs at some of the top business schools in the country at Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania in the past two years. Can we take that as a hint of your big plans for post-football life?

Do you have anything specific in mind that you would like to get into upon retirement?

Beyond simply the business aspect, how much do the charitable aspects of the position that you have gained through football factor into your eventual life plans?


Special Teams coach Darrin Simmons

Can you talk a little bit about what Chinedum meant to your unit when he came in from Notre Dame?

How valuable is it to have a guy like Chinedum that is willing to step out and execute any job that you ask?

What is the one differentiating factor that you see in Chinedum that makes him a special player?


To Head coach Marvin Lewis

Can you talk about Chinedum’s maturation over the past two seasons, and what is expected of him this year?

You have a very talented secondary, with some young players around the same age in Ndukwe, Marvin White, Jonathan Joseph and Leon Hall. How do you think having so many peers in the secondary has helped the development of the unit?

How do you see the dynamic of that unit changing with the addition of Roy Williams?

What is the one differentiating factor that you see in Chinedum that makes him a special player?


To Defensive Coordinator Mike Zimmer

When you came over to Cincinnati you installed some new variations to the 4-3. How did you see Chinedum reacting to those changes, and how have they benefited him specifically?

You have a talented secondary this season. What do you see Chinedum’s role being, and what is the potential for a player like him?

What is the one differentiating factor that you see in Chinedum that makes him a special player?