By Steve Corkran
Friday, April 27th, 2012 at 9:48 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Offensive lineman Tony Bergstrom, the newest Raider, spoke with the Bay Area media a short while after being selected at No. 95, in the third round, of the NFL draft.
Here is the entire transcript:
Did you have any inkling that it would be the Raiders?
“Not really. It’s one of those things where it’s just sort of a crapshoot, and you never know what’s going to happen. I was told to expect the unexpected in the draft, and that’s kind of what happened. I was excited. I’d interviewed with some of the coaches. When I got the phone call, I couldn’t have been more excited.”
Were you getting worried that you might have to wait another day?
“Yeah. You always kind of have that worry. You have your family over at the house. It’s always a little awkward when you have to tell them, ‘Come back tomorrow.’ I was just extremely lucky and fortunate to be called tonight.”
Did you have any contact with the Raiders over this entire process?
“Oh, yeah, absolutely. I had interviewed with them at the Senior Bowl and again at the combine. They saw me at all of those things. There was contact, there were interviews, there was plenty of that.”
Who did you talk to and what do you remember from those interviews?
“I talked to coach (Steve) Wisniewski, I believe, the assistant O-line coach. … It was mostly just trying to get in my head a little bit, have me draw some plays up, kind of get to know me more than anything. He kind of instilled in my mind we’re starting a new era with the Oakland Raiders and they’ve got a whole new thing going, and they’re honoring the past and coming into the new system and a new time. I’m excited to be a part of that.”
Do you see yourself as a zone-blocking type of offensive lineman?
“Absolutely. I’ve come from Utah. That’s the scheme we ran. Zone was always our bread and butter. That’s the first play you’ve got to establish. It keeps the defense honest. You can run it against any look they throw at you. You can run it into any blitz. I’m a big believer in it and I feel I can block it.”
Q: What is the transition to guard going to be like?
A: “It’s something I got to do; I got to have a taste of it at the Senior Bowl. I played all right tackle through most of my college career, a little bit of left tackle, and went to the Senior Bowl and played only left guard. I’ve already had a bit of a taste for it. There’s a little growing pains, I’m sure there will be, coming into this new league and switching positions. But, it’s something that came pretty naturally to me. It was fun. I’m not going to lie to you. You get inside, it’s not so much finesse anymore, it’s a little more gritty. I feel like I’m capable of making that transition.”
Q: Did you know all along that you would convert to guard?
A: “Yeah, most likely. There were some teams that I talked to that saw me as somebody who could play tackle. Even talking to the Raiders, they said maybe I could play tackle but I would probably move into guard first. I’m not sure. I kind of knew all along that I was going to be a guard first and maybe be able to play that backup tackle in the future, or right away. But guard’s my position. I’ve already changed my mind-set to guard. So, that’s what I’m thinking right now.”
Q: Can your advanced age and the life path you chose be an advantage?
A: “Yeah, absolutely. There’s been a lot of advantages, not just for the path but to the style. As far as the life path goes, I was fortunate enough; I actually served in the Sacramento area, right above you guys, and became pretty familiar with the area. I was really fortunate to be able to have a weight set. I trained every morning, so I came back probably 50 pounds and in much better shape than when I left. So, that gave me a good head start in college. As far as the lifestyle goes, I’m not one of those guys who goes out and parties. I take recovery very seriously. If you come to my house, I’m usually sitting on a foam roller or something. I have a wife; she won’t let me get into any trouble. Physically, I feel like my body is as in as good a shape as any 20- or 21-year-old, and it will last just as long because I take care of it.”
Q: In that same vein about physically feeling better, do you feel like the time off from the wear and tear and the hits of playing football has sort of gotten you physically, health-wise ahead of where most players are your age?
A: Yeah, I mean, high school’s a little different. High school is not quite as bad as college. Obviously the time that I’ve had just training for the Combine and pro days and afterward has been nice, to kind of take a break from the hitting, not having any spring ball. That definitely helps. Giving your body some recovery time always helps.
Q: Are you a mechanical engineer or electrical engineer?
Q: Do you have any particular areas of interest or areas of study within that?
A: I did, it was more I kind of was looking more into the petroleum area. If you make big oil you can make great money, right? But I don’t know, as I got into it further and further I was more interested in the research side of things, nanotechnology kind of stuff, but I’m not sure yet. There’s a broad spectrum of things you can go into.
Q: Have you talked to brother-in-law Paul yet?
A: That was the first thing we looked at was when are we playing each other? I think we’re playing in November, in Baltimore I believe, if I can remember. That was something that was right quick. I was able to talk to Paul. He’s always been kind of an Oakland fan so he was pretty excited for me to go there.
Q: Where and for how long were you in the Sacramento area?
A: I was there for two years, mostly in the South Sac area and then down in Stockton area.
Q: Were you told you would need to move to guard or was that your decision?
A: A little bit of both. I felt like I did well at tackle. I like to get my hand in the ground. I can do a two-point stance. But who wants to be in a two-point stance. There’s no fun in that. I like the idea of moving into guard. I was told by a lot of NFL coaches they saw me doing that as well and me being a swing player who can do both.
Q: Did going on a mission make you more ready?
A: Absolutely. I think that always helps, having a little bit more maturity. I’m a guy that … I’m no stranger to coming home and studying all day and spending time with the family instead of going out at night. As soon as I get my playbook I’m going back to that lifestyle of just studying every day and doing my workouts. I think having that schedule that you get used to that’s kind of a big part of maturity.
Q: How did you think interview with Raiders went?
A: I felt like I did pretty well. I answered all the questions fairly well. I felt like I was confident but not arrogant, all those things they tell you at the combine prep things. I felt like I did well. I came out of every interview thinking I did well and then going back over my head going I have no idea. You have no idea what the coaches are thinking. They give you almost no feedback the whole time. You hope you do well but you never know.
Q: How much has Paul helped you in this process?
A: he was a great help. Not just throughout this process. Even in my senior year I talked to him and he’d kind of fill me in a lot on what it was about my game that needed to change and what NFL coaches were really looking for out of college linemen. That was probably the biggest help from him just every week telling me what it is that I need to do to be more recognizable to NFL coaches.