Laken Tomlinson’s Quotes Following His Draft Selection by Detroit Lions


Apr 30, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Laken Tomlinson (Duke) is selected as the number twenty-eight overall pick to the Detroit Lions in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Guard Laken Tomlinson, who was selected by the Detroit Lions with the 28th overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft, spoke with media members by phone last night. Take a look at what he had to say, as provided by the Detroit Lions.

On modeling his game after Lions G Larry Warford: “I’m excited to play with him. Obviously, I’ve done my research on him. There’s similarities in our games with the physicality and our technique and our feet, I think those are the most similar in our game. Just the opportunity to practice with a player that you’ve researched and I’ve looked up so much to, it’s just amazing.”

On how far he had to travel to his high school growing up: “So, my high school is in the inner city and I lived up north, north of Chicago in Rogers Park. I had to wake up in the morning and take a 10-minute walk to the train, take the red line to Addison, Addison stop and then take the Addison bus to school. That would be like an hour, hour-thirty minute trip to school and then an hour-thirty back every day. I did it because I tested to get into Lane Tech and I really like the school. It was the school I wanted to go to, so that’s what I did.”

On hearing his name called tonight and having his moment across the stage: “You know, in that moment to hear my name being called, it’s just amazing. It’s like a dream come true, really. Walking across that stage has deeply impacted my life and not only my life, but my family’s life and everyone that I’ve been connected to since I’ve been here in the United States and everyone back home in Jamaica. So, it’s really been a tremendous night and I’m just so happy.”

On what he thought the chances were that he would hear his name called tonight: “I don’t know. I had no idea. I didn’t know. I came in with a clear mind and just waiting to see which team would be my next team.”

On how much interest the Lions showed in him: “I mean, I had contact with them at the Senior Bowl. I met with Jeremiah Washburn at the Senior Bowl and talked with him. You know, honestly, I had no idea that they were so interested in me. I’m just so happy that they saw me as their guy and I’m just so blessed and happy to have them call my name.”

On who from the Lions called him tonight: “Coach Caldwell called me. Having him on the phone is just amazing. They all did call me. I mean, I spoke with a lot of people in the room and I honestly don’t remember all of them by name, but it’s just really amazing. I was speechless for a good minute. I couldn’t really say much but, ‘Yes sir’ and ‘No sir’ and ‘Yes mam’ and ‘No mam.’”

On the role the Lions set out for him: “I mean, they’re going to expect me to come in and work. I’m excited about that. I want to get started, I wanted to get to work with great people, so I’m really excited about that.”

On joining the Lions offense: “It’s going to be awesome playing with (Matthew) Stafford and all the other guys. I’m really excited to start working with them and seeing what kind of teammates I’m coming into. Just really excited and stoked to work with these guys and making the team better. I’m just really happy to be in an organization that’s going to be under one common goal and that is to win.”

On his memories of the Lions growing up: “I had no knowledge of football at all coming to the United States, so I wasn’t a fan of the game. You know, I came to the United States and I was a soccer guy. That’s all we had in Jamaica. I got a little too big to play soccer and my mom ushered me to be more active because I was getting large. So, my uncle at the time recommended that I play American football. That’s how I got into the game and just over the years my knowledge of the game has just been increasing as my experience in the game increases.”

On how good of a soccer player he was: “I was pretty good at soccer. I have a leg, I can still kick, just can’t do all the running.”

On how much his soccer skills transfer to football: “I will say a lot. In Jamaica, I was a really active guy. We played a lot of soccer in Jamaica. I would say I was a pretty athletic guy coming to the United States. It has affected my work ethic. Just playing those pick-up games with my cousins and being competitive with my cousins and older brother in Jamaica just molded the mentality that I bring to my game today.”

On how old he was when he came to the United States: “I was 11 years old. It was March of 2003.”

On if he has kicked a football before: “Yeah. Just playing around.”

On his academics and if he wants to be a neurosurgeon: “When my football career is over, and I don’t think that is anytime soon, I want go to medical school. My end goal would be to be a neurosurgeon. That is my interest right now.”

On what it means to the program at Duke to be the first first-round draft pick from Duke since 1987: “It will mean a lot for the program. Just being able to represent my school is truly amazing. With this happening tonight and everything that’s going on for Duke, it’s a tremendous thing for the program. I am sure my teammates are stoked about everything.”

On what he remembers from his meetings with the Lions: “I got asked by every team what my interest is after football. They asked about my hobbies and what I like to do. They are trying to pick my brain and I told them that I was pre-med, doubled major, that’s what I did. They asked me why I didn’t pursue my career in academics and I told them, that I love football. It is what I see myself doing and what I want to do for a long time. I feel like I can always come back to academics because I will always have my brain but my body will not be at this level for too long. I want to maximize the opportunity I have right now. “

On how he describes his game: “My strengths are that I play with great physical fundamentals, I play with good pad leverage and I get a good push on our defensive linemen. I play real wide on my feet and I am one hell of a player. I work at 125-percent and I am going to wear my guys out. That’s just kind of my game.”

On if he ever thought of not playing football due to threat of a head injury: “At the time when I got into Duke, the thought never crossed my mind. After going down the path I did at Duke, going through the psychology and gaining the knowledge I did over the years and learning about the brain and concussions just provided me knowledge of everything that’s going on in concussion research. I never really thought about that. I am still in love with the game even with the knowledge I have now.”

Next: Lions Select G Laken Tomlinson 28th Overall

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