How would you describe your first season as a pro?
Up and down.
Was there ever a point when you became discouraged?
What got you through it?
Just coming in the next day, or bouncing back the next play. That's the biggest thing — you get down, you get back up.
Do you think Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine's defensive system will help you excel?
Yes, it should.
This year, you have the opportunity to participate in some of those off-season activities you were forced to miss last year. How much has it helped to be around for that?
It's been huge, just my growth as a player and within this defense, because you're actually able to go through the installs, be a part of the OTAs and, kind of, grasp all the things you missed from the first year?
When in your life did you begin weightlifting?
I started around the age of 13, just at home, and then 14 I kind of started in high school lifting serious weights.
What motivated you to start?
I used to see the magazines and even wrestlers and seeing how big and strong they were. You know, I kind of had inspiration to, kind of, be like that. Then, at the same time, I was getting kind of chubby, so I kind of had to trim up a little bit.
Who was your favorite wrestler back then?
Probably Stone Cold Steve Austin or Ultimate Warrior.
Why did you want to wear the number 50 again?
It was the number I had in high school and college, so it was just more so trying to stick with the same number. When it became available once Eric Barton was gone, it was something I had to jump on.
What do you miss most about college?
Definitely not getting up and going to class. If anything, I would say just a lot of friends that I made there. Obviously, you get close to those guys. It was great playing for Ohio State and you watch the games on TV and you kind of reminisce about being there. And that's about it.
Last year you got asked a lot about your meeting with Lawrence Taylor. Was that overblown or did you take away some useful information from that?
I'd say it was kind of overblown in the sense that it was just a situation where I knew somebody that knew somebody, and it was kind of like he was going to be in the city, so we got together and talked a little bit, just about him coming into the NFL and him playing back in the day and things that kind of helped him learn. And that was pretty much the end of it.
Let's play over/under. Five sacks this season?
Hopefully, over [laughs].
You were the sixth overall pick in last year's draft and Mark Sanchez was the fifth pick this year. What would your advice be to him?
Just continue to do what he did to get here, work hard, kind of put everything out of ear, out of mind and really focus on what he needs to do to become the player that he wants to be, and that's it.
Is there any team you're extra-eager to play on the upcoming schedule?
No. Gotta go through 'em all.
Any location you're looking forward to going that you haven't been to?
That I haven't been to? I guess the first game, playing down in Texas. Houston, I heard, is a pretty nice stadium, so I'm anxious to see that.