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Q&A with Heyward-Bey

Q: Coach has talked about him wanted you to take more of a leadership role. You are more of an elder statesman now. You personality is through the first few years has been that of a guy that kind of let things roll of your back, you didn't seem to be totally bothered by when you struggled early. You didn't seem very different when you played well last year. Is that a roll you embrace to be a leader, to get out front, to hold other guys accountable?

Heyward-Bey: Last year I was a leader in that room, in the meeting room. Just being on top of things and then out on the field. I don't say much, but I just try to go out there and lead by example. You know, run hard. Anytime we have anything going on the guys look towards me and I have no problem with that.

Q: It seems every time we talk to some of the younger receivers and you ask them who really came to you and offered instruction, they always mention you first. Has your role in that changed at all since Dennis Allen came in?

Heyward-Bey: No. Anytime the younger players come up to me and ask me a question I am there to help. I am trying to win the AFC west, and I am trying to win championships here. So if any of the younger guys want any advice I am out there to give it to them. It helps me out and keeps me on my toes and makes me want to do better.

Q: Do you go to them? Or do you wait for them to come to you?

Heyward-Bey: Sometimes you have got to tell the guy, hey you could do this better, do that better off the line. Sometimes they just come to me. [Juron] Criner came up to me after practice two days ago and we talked about a couple of things for five minutes after practice. That is what I am there for.

Q: How much different are you from the guy that first came into the league?

Heyward-Bey: I think I am the same guy. I am hungry, I want to do well, I want to be that guy on this team that helps bring wins. Since day one when Al Davis brought me in, I have been the same guy. Results have been different, but the mindset has been the same.

Q: Why were the results different?

Heyward-Bey: Things just went my way. I caught the ball better, ran better routes, we won games. So things just went my way.

Q: Are you a more physical receiver than you were?

Heyward-Bey: I will put it like this, I am playing better.

Q: First full off-season with Carson Palmer and some new guys in the receiving corps. How are things gelling for you guys as an offense and as a receiving corps?

Heyward-Bey: It is coming along, but we could definitely be better. It is still the first week of camp. We still have got to get things going. It is work and we are willing to put it in and it is going to get right.

Q: Last year you had some chances to make game-changing plays, in Houston, against Kansas City. Do you see yourself making more plays like that?

Heyward-Bey: I see myself making more plays. You build off of last year's momentum. But you can't look back and be satisfied with last year's stats or whatever plays you made. You just have to build off of that. 

Q: How did you like having the fans out there today?

Heyward-Bey: It was cool. People scream names and stuff, but I don't look. I just focus on my job.

Q: The last couple of years they talk about not having a number one receiver here kind of it just being by committee. But do you still say to yourself, I want to be that guy when things are going to trouble, go to me?

Heyward-Bey: I think every receiver tells himself, I want to be that guy that gets this first down or make that play. I think if we all had that mindset and we play together, we can do it by committee. There is always going to be that guy that has more catches than the others. But if we do it and work as a team, the sky is the limit.

Q: After last season you had quite a few catches and yards. Do you think you are going to get more attention this year? Do you go into it bracing for that? Or do you expect it?

Heyward-Bey: You are going to have to ask the other teams. I don't know what they are expecting. I don't know what they are going to do. I just know I have got to play football. If that means beating one guy, cool. If that means beating three guys, then that is what we have to do.

Q: Can the departure of Louis Murphy make the receiving corps stronger because of the fact that you will be leaning on each other more? Or does it weaken the group?

Heyward-Bey: It is always tough losing a guy. Especially one like Louis [Murphy] we came in together. That was my brother right there. The team decided to make a move, and I guess for them it is to always get better. So we are a group that is close and we will go out there and work. I can't tell you if it is better or worse for us but we are definitely the same group. We are going to go out there and work.

Q: Do you think that teammates you get are surprised at your size and physicality. From a distance you see that Darrius Heyward-Bey has this sprinter's speed. You have a mental image of a someone that is not quite as big as you. Do you think that when new guys come to you they go wow, I thought you were going to be this big?

Heyward-Bey: I don't think it is just me. I think guys who come from other teams they are just surprised at how fast we are in general. You have Jacoby [Ford] who is short and fast, you got me and I am tall and fast. You have Denarius [Moore], you got Eddie McGee who has good speed. So I think a lot of guys that come over they are just like, wow these guys can run.

Q: What are your impressions of Rod Streater so far?

Heyward-Bey: He is good. He is a good rookie. He's still learning. He is making plays out there so I just tell him keep doing what you are doing and the coaches will see.

Q: You and DeMarcus Van Dyke seem to be having some heated battles out there, a little rivalry beginning?

Heyward-Bey: No, DVD is playing great right now. You can tell he has been working, he has got my number a few times. I got him a few times that is just what camp for.

Q: You said you heard the fans but didn't listen to what they were saying, but when you look at the difference in the years past with there not being many fans out here. What was the energy difference?

Heyward-Bey: Yeah, I don't know. I really wasn't paying attention to them. For me I have to do my job. I can't be out there looking at the fans, waving and everything else like that. I pretend like they are not there. But I am glad they came out though, let's put that in there.

Q: How would you assess how this camp has been compared to the previous ones you have had? Where do you think you are right now?

Heyward-Bey: There are no two-a-days like there was my first two years. That is a grind. It is still early, camp so far has been fine. My legs feel good, I feel fast, I feel explosive. As a team, we are doing a lot of different things. We have two special teams periods. We are going out there, we have 20 minutes on individual periods. So we really get to work on some things that we haven't on things in the past.

Q: Is it hard to put that off-field incident behind you? Or was it easy to pick up and go on?

Heyward-Bey: Football is my job and my life. It is what I focus on 100-percent of the time.

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