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I want to start with a story.

You all know Clelin Ferrell. Well, Clelin and my buddy from school Denzel Johnson, we all came in to Clemson together. And basically, we love to fish. Fishin', fishin', fishin'. We went fishing all the time.

And Denzel thought of this great celebration to do after a big play: He casts an imaginary line, catches a fish and reels it in, then grabs it by the mouth and holds it up. And we were all like, yeah! That's incredible! We love it.

The problem was, Denzel and I weren't playing much at the time. We were doing a lot of special teams and things like that, but we weren't making a lot of huge plays. But you know who was? Cle.

So that next week when Cle gets a sack… and he does the celebration.

And it just destroyed Denzel. That's our running joke now, every time we see each other — that he swiped Denzel's idea.

That celebration is Cle's; there's no going back now. Plus, if you ask him, he'll be like, nah, that was my idea. He'll always deny it 'til he dies.

But we know the truth.

I like to tease Cle, but the truth is I love playing with him. I love all of these guys.

I like to tease Cle, but the truth is I love playing with him. I love all of these guys. The level of competition is as advertised. In college, they're always worried about making sure you're at the right place at the right time. It's a little like babysitting. Some guys need it, and some guys don't. But here, people are doing their own things and handling their own business. That's much more what I'm about.

I get asked the same questions a lot. How's it going? How are you picking up the defense? How are you feeling?

I always tell them the speed at the pro level is similar, but the physicality is different. Guys are a lot stronger. Obviously you've got a lot of grown men out there, and there are no weak links. I mean, there aren't exactly a lot of 18-year-olds running around. You've always gotta bring it.

A couple of weeks ago, we were going into practice one day, and my positions coach [Coach Lippencott] says to me, 'Hey, get ready for 1-on-1 drills. You might be going today.'

Now that's a big deal, especially for a rookie. You're getting called out in front of the team, and there's a lot of emotions flooding your head. Anxiety. Nervousness. The spotlight is on you and the guy in front of you.

It's important to mention something about these 1-on-1 drills. Picture the linemen. Those drills are kind of made for the defensive linemen to win because offensive linemen will use their progressions and their help on Sundays.

Then there's the receivers and defenders. Those are the opposite. They're really always set up for the receivers to win because on defense, you don't have help, you don't have a scheme, and you don't really have the leverage you're supposed to have.

So that's going through my head too when they call me up at the end of the day to go 1-on-1 with Lynn Bowden Jr. — the two rookies.

Lynn's great. He's agile, and he's fast. He's really talented. And I'm out there running with him, both of us grinding. I'm waiting for his hands to flash. When they do, I just attack his hands and try to keep his arms apart so he can't make the catch. We fall in the end zone, and I look up and…?

The ball is out.

That moment, man. I look up, and I see my teammates running down to congratulate me, and I'm just JUICED up. Coach Gruden, Coach Lippencott, all the linebackers are there celebrating with me, and it's just… an unreal feeling when you can perform in front of high-tier players and prove you belong.

I've had a lot of Welcome to the NFL moments, but that's up there at the top. No doubt.

I look up, and I see my teammates running down to congratulate me, and I’m just JUICED up.

That's the kind of player I want Raider Nation to know me as. I love to have fun; I love to go to the beach and travel. But I live to work, and I live to grind. I want to be the best version of myself. Coach Gruden keeps expecting me to bring the juice every single day. So that's what I'm gonna do.

If you see me out in Vegas, don't be afraid to say hi. Some people think pro athletes aren't approachable; it was sort of the same thing in Clemson with it being a small town. But most of these guys love interacting with fans and getting to know who's cheering for us. I know I do.

If there's one thing I've already learned, it's that Raider Nation is a family.



Until next time…

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