DE Shilique Calhoun: "I'm happy that Oakland picked me"


Q: Did you have an idea you were headed to Oakland before the draft started?

Calhoun:"Not at all, honestly. I know that when I came out to visit Oakland, I came back home and talked to my family. When I got back, I kind of told them I kind of felt like it was the same as Michigan State. I felt like it was a place where I fit well and a place where I felt like I was at home. I'm happy that Oakland picked me up and I'm ready for this opportunity." 

Q: Where do you think you can fit in with the pass rushers on the team and learn from them?

Calhoun:"Yeah, definitely. I think they're all very experienced guys. Even Khalil [Mack], he's just grown a lot, I think, in his second year. He's definitely taken his talents to great heights, even from just playing at Buffalo. I watched Bruce Irvin back when I was in college. He was somebody that I definitely looked up to and the same with Aldon [Smith]. Three guys, three premier guys that have a lot of talent and also have a lot of knowledge. I look forward to coming in, learning from those guys, just trying to soak it all in like a sponge and definitely trying to go out there and compete. I definitely want to be on that field in any way that I can. So hopefully I can learn something from those guys, add it to my game and then attribute it onto the field and make plays and make it so our pass rushing corps is dominant."* *


Q: Do you feel comfortable playing multiple positions?**

Calhoun:"Definitely. I feel like I'm a very versatile player, I can play multiple positions. I definitely do believe that the SAM works for me. If you want to put my hands in the dirt, that also works. I think that I can play multiple roles and that I can contribute to the team in many different ways. If he wants to put me at tailback, I can also play a little tailback as well." (laughing) 

Q: Can you talk about your decision to stay at Michigan State for another year? What was it like to have the year that you did in 2015?

Calhoun:"Honestly, last year was a great year for us. I definitely thought about coming out, but the opportunity for me to gain my degree, I felt like that was very special for not only me, but for my family. You know it's a blessing to be able to play in the NFL, but it is not for long and that's kind what we call [it] on our defensive line, the not for long league. Nobody can ever take your degree away from you and that was a special moment for me. So, I decided to come back and take that up and definitely take a hold of that opportunity. To come out after such a great season… I mean, we didn't end it so well, but it's so many great memories that I had over that year, being at Michigan State. I think that it kind of helped me develop as a player as well, develop my knowledge, develop my skill and help me understand what I need to get better at. [It] gave the scouts an opportunity to see me once again and see that I can get better each and every year and that I can compete on a high level as well. I'm just thankful to have that opportunity. It was a great year, definitely, for the Michigan State Spartans." 


Q: What was your degree in?**

Calhoun:"I'm a C.J. major, criminal justice." 

Q: Do you think you can be a major contributor immediately like previous draft picks?

Calhoun:"Definitely, definitely. I'm a natural competitor, so coming in I'm definitely going to want to contribute in any way that I can. Yeah, I see myself as someone who can come in and play on Day 1. I definitely don't feel like I'm going to take any steps backwards. Like you guys said earlier, I have great guys ahead of me that can lead me, definitely show me the ropes and get me out there early so that I can perfect my play on the field." 

Q: Have you followed the Raiders' offseason?

Calhoun:"I haven't really followed the offseason much. This is definitely a team that can go far. I think that we have the opportunity to, and I think that we will. I look forward to the season, but the season has to come and we have to compete before I can really feel like we're making those steps forward." 

Q: Over the last few years, the Raiders have drafted a lot of guys that are "no drama" kind of guys. Is that how you would describe yourself?

Calhoun: "Definitely. I definitely think that I am one of those guys. I don't get into trouble. I think I am well-respected. I think I am a respectful young man. I think that I am all about my business. I definitely want to get after it. You can tell that from the degree I obtained at Michigan State. As a C.J. [criminal justice] major, you have to stay out of trouble. If you want a job in that field, you have to have a clean background and also I have been raised by two great parents who showed me the way. They're not saints at all, but they definitely showed me how to be a respectful young man and to get after business. My mom is definitely one of the hardest-working people I have ever seen, so she has instilled that in me since I was young. So, I am definitely someone who is going to come in there and get after it. You are not going to have to worry about off-the-field issues. The only thing you might have to worry about is maybe I'm making too many plays." 

Q: What would you do with your criminal justice degree if football wasn't in the picture?

Calhoun: "I got a job opportunity from one of my professors. She told me once I am done with football, she said, 'Come back and they pay for the police academy for me.' So, that would probably be the first thing, and then where I go from there, I am unsure. I might take my studies a little further and go back to school. I am not sure yet, buy I am going to take it slow and steady, but that is in the plans as well." 

Q: Tell us about you getting this big draft call. Did you have a big draft party, what was the environment like when your phone rang?

Calhoun:"I was actually with my younger brother and my family as well. We were just kind of relaxing and watching TV and watching the draft, and we were going through it and analyzing players that I played against. We were just talking about how they've been great players and we've played some really good teams and just the opportunity to have my name called would be special. When I saw the phone ring, I saw California and I thought, 'Hold on, I know this number.' So I just started smiling instantly because I was like, 'Maybe this is my opportunity here.' I told no one else to call me at this time, don't give me any calls right now. I'm waiting for a specific call, so once I got that call, I just couldn't stop smiling. I was so happy. My family was happy. My little brother was yelling in the background. I'm like, 'Calm down! I can't even hear them!' But it was definitely a special moment for me and my family and we look forward to making more great moments with the Raiders organization." 

Q: So you were actually studying tape and preparing when they called?

Calhoun:"Yeah, of course. Studying up early!"

Q: You're known as a pretty polished pass rusher. Can you surprise some people against the run as well? Or is that a part of the game where you do need some improvement?

Calhoun:"Honestly, I think I can do multiple things. I haven't been in a situation to do those other things and so people automatically assume that I can't do them, but I think once I get to the facility, people will see that I'm versatile and I'm able to do multiple things and I can contribute to the team in many different ways. I think that I can drop in coverage and also I can rush the passer very well. I can stop the run very well, so I look forward to definitely going out there and proving that on gamedays, but I think that I can honestly work at everything. I'm not perfect at anything that I consider my craft, and I'm always going to work on being technically sound and trying to improve at every part and area of my game, so I definitely need improvement in all phases, but I think that I'm versatile enough to do exactly what the Raiders want me to do."

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