This week, we talked with Seahawks defensive back Jordan Babineaux on his football experiences in Texas, his secrets to staying in the NFL, and what it will be like to see his brother, Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux, on the other sideline when the Falcons come to Qwest Field this Sunday.
Can you try to put into words what high school football means to the state of Texas?
Have you seen Friday Night Lights (laughs)? Its really big, man. In most of the smaller country towns, theyll shut the city down because everyones going to the game. And Ill tell you what Ive never seen (anywhere else where) a city will run a coach out of town if theyre not impressed with the job hes been doing. Its that tough almost like an NFL franchise, except theyre not getting paid.
So, its like in the TV show, where they talk at length about high school ball?
Oh, yeah. And I want to say that there are even networks that even televise the games. Ive played in high school games where the crowds were a big as 19-20,000 people, and the team isnt even in the playoffs. When it is the playoffs, heck then it was the Astrodome, now its Cowboys Stadium. Youre playing in front of 50,000, easy.
What kind of advantage does that give you as you move up the ladder its not the big, big time, but youve seen the elephant to a degree.
Its all football its not really the size of the crowd that dictates how one should feel when playing the game. Its great to have that support and that atmosphere, especially as a 15 or 16-year old player. Its a good feeling Ill say that but I dont know. Its just something that cant be described unless you experience it.
Do you think the high percentage of players per capita gives a fishbowl effect where the scrutiny leads to higher competition and people rise up at a higher level?
Well, we talk about this, and its an argument thats gone on for years what state has the most players in the NFL? (Cornerback Kelly Jennings breaks ion with Florida!) Florida, California, Texas, But everyone knows the best athletes come from Texas (Jennings again: Florida!) Everyone knows that.
Now, you and your brother Jonathan arent the only NFL notables from Port Arthur former Cowboys and Dolphins head coach Jimmy Johnson is from there, as is Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles. Have you ever talked to Jimmy?
You know what? Next time you see Jimmy, tell him Im looking for him. Ive never met him, but it definitely would be an honor. I mean, he was the face of the Cowboys, and its Cowboys country down there. We had a lot of Oilers fans as well I think Chris Dishman and Earl Campbell were my favorite players growing up but Jimmy Johnson is definitely the legend down there. The guy had a street named after him! Im still working on building my street down there, too.
Who else from down there made it in the NFL?
Eric Alexander played for the Patriots when they had their Super Bowl runs, but if you want to go back Joe Washington, Tim McKyer, Jamaal Charles what we called the Golden Triangle of Port Arthur, Beaumont, and Orange did really have at one point, the highest per-capita ratio of NFL players.
Your brother is one of the more underrated defenders in the league. How would you describe his play in one word?
And your own?
Great versatility two words.
Do you think thats been the key to your longevity?
Thats exactly why Im still here. Aside from me dressing well and looking as good as I do (laughs), I made myself valuable in the sense that I can play special teams, safety, corner, nickel defender, dime defender. I started out as a corner, than my first snaps came as a dime defender, I moved to the nickel, started at corner, started at safety. And Im still trucking.
Will you and your brother do anything before or after the game?
Hell probably come to the house; well definitely eat. Ill speak with him today and see what his schedules like. Ill be working all week this week to see if I can get some information on what Matt Ryan and Michael Turner are doing on offense this week (laughs).