First question, why the San Francisco 49ers?
"For me, I had to end up leaving Baltimore and if you're going to go anywhere, you want to go to a winning organization and a team that has the chance to go all the way every year. I talked to [WR] Anquan [Boldin]. I watched from afar how the organization works and how the players are. I felt very comfortable being here and you know you have a chance, so I'm excited to be a part of something great."
Even with the turnover, every team has turnover, but to lose a running back like RB Frank Gore as well as you heard of LB Patrick Willis retiring. Just your thoughts on the turnover for this team?
"To me, it kind of reminds me of when I first came to the Ravens. They lost [former NFL WR] Derrick Mason, [former NFL RB] Willis McGahee, [former NFL TE] Todd Heap, a bunch of veteran players who were great within the organization, but we found a way to keep pressing on. And it's that ‘next man up' philosophy and that's everywhere on every team. So, I'm sure they've grown the right people to be ready for the opportunity. They had a lot of injuries last year, so clearly a lot of people were able to get some experience. So, I feel comfortable from the outside in and I have absolutely no clue the insides. You all might know a little more than me, but I'm sure they'll be ready."
On the field, how do you see your impact helping this offense, especially with your speed and what you can do?
"I feel like I can definitely make the big play. I can turn the simple play into a huge gain. I'm just trying to be an explosive playmaker for this team to help [QB Colin Kaepernick] Kap, [WR Anquan Boldin] Q, whoever's in there and be a spark and try to be as consistent as possible. That's my daily battle."
When you were researching where to go as a free agent, how much do you study the quarterback that you're going to be working with?
"You definitely study the quarterback, but Kap's a guy that I've known for years. If you want to be technical, since my redshirt freshman year when we played in a bowl game, we played against Nevada. He probably had his best game ever. I watched him since then and I knew he was a ballplayer. We, obviously, were the same draft year and able to watch how he works. We actually worked out together in Miami for a little while. So, he's a great player. I'm comfortable with him. He has a strong arm and I can run, so that's a good combination there. And I hope to help him out and take some pressure off of him and take some pressure off of Anquan and whoever else is out there, [TE] Vernon [Davis], whoever. That's my job to be the best player that I can be for the team."
On Sunday night there was a rumor that 49ers general manager Trent Baalke addressed about Colin Kaepernick being on the trade block. Did you catch wind of that and did that give you a reason for pause?
"Of course I did. That's social media. You all can get anything out there. But, I checked in on it and asked my agent, ‘Hey is there any truth to that?' and I also went straight to the source itself in terms of the player to see, ‘Hey man is everything good?' So, I've got my guy [Ravens QB] Tyrod [Taylor] to ask. He's down there with Kap right now. So, everything is good. I'm comfortable with what's going on. Kap's a great player."
Would that have been a deal breaker?
"I guess it kind of would have been close and I was already about to be on my way here. I still would have been here, but that's not going to happen. All that speculation stuff, if it doesn't have anything behind it, how much does it really mean?"
Do you have any plans to go to Arizona to join Colin or will you just wait?
"Yeah, I'll be down there at some point. Not the first wave because I'm in school down at the University of Miami working on my master's. The second wave, I'll be able to get down there. I'll have to make my East Coast trip real quick and see my family real quick and I'll be staying out West, go to Arizona and then head back up here to get ready to go."
What do you remember about facing this defense in the Super Bowl? Obviously there has been a lot of changes to that defense, but just what your impressions were of the 49ers back then?
"Very physical. Tough. They were there to make a lot of plays, and to be honest they were kind of built like we were. Matching teams almost. That's the way we felt about ourselves. It was a big-time game. I'm sorry for the fans that I was a part of that. We're trying to make things right and let's win one out here. I think it'll be a good thing."
Who do you see as the leaders of this team now that Patrick Willis has retired and Frank Gore has signed with the Colts?
"Like I said, I'm outside looking in. So, I know Vernon very well. I obviously know what type of leader Anquan is and Kap. You can't look past the quarterback. He works his tail off. I'm sure he leads by example. I hear a lot. I see it even when we work out together. He pushes it to the limit and he's a great leader leading by example. I don't know how he works in this environment, but I'm sure he's working out with a bunch of random guys, if you can push them, you're definitely going to be able to push your team and be a leader."
What contact did you have with 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula during the recruiting process and what are your impressions of him?
"I didn't get to see him or talk to him until I landed here. Actually a phone call afterwards. They followed the rules, don't try to say anything crazy, but I talked to him about 4:30 when they can call and said they were excited to meet me and all and picked me up at the airport. We had a great conversation. He has a lot of personality, I can tell. And he's very passionate about his job. I talked to Vernon about him as well. Vernon loves him and Anquan as well. Some of these guys, guys who I respect, they care for a guy and I'm happy I'm here."
When you guys had the joint training camp session last year, what was your impression on the team and did that impression play a factor into you coming here?
"They were very good, very talented. Obviously got hit with the injury bug, but I think that they have a chance in every year. There aren't a lot of teams that can say that. They can act like they believe it, but there really aren't that many teams that go on and are like, ‘Hey we can get it done this year.' This is one of those few places and I came from one as well. So, I'm glad to be here and get to working this offseason and hopefully get back to the big game."
What other teams were you considering?
What are you studying at Miami?
"Working on getting my MBA in business administration. I already graduated in criminal justice from the University of Maryland."
Did you pick Miami so you could work out in the offseasons and also do college work?
"It was the program they offered that's kind of tailored around our schedule. But, I actually worked out at [Pete] Bommarito's [Performance Facility] in Miami anyways, so it was a perfect storm for me."
So, you must know Frank Gore pretty well?
"Yeah I know Frank. I talked to Frank yesterday, was it yesterday or today? I talked to him yesterday and he had nothing but great things to say about the organization. He said that I was going to love it, he's happy for me and he thinks I'm going to do well. Frank's a guy that I look up to. Another guy that works very hard."
You seem to be, for a young guy, some guys it takes them a while in the league to get involved in the community and make that one of their passions. You seem to have been doing that almost since you entered the NFL. What's behind that community service and what's kind of that inspiration?
"For me, I've been giving back to the community since middle school. I actually won an award in middle school, the Martin Luther King Make a Difference Award. I've been giving back since day one, even when my family was the one receiving the help. I always felt like your time was just as important as your money. I've always given back to the community whether it's schools or shelters or whatever. My family growing up, my mother needed help. She was a single-parent household. I know what it's like. We've had tough times where we had to be in shelters and she worked her tail off to provide for us. I know what a lot of these families are going through and a lot of these kids are going through. I wanted to be that support system for them and that's why it's important for me to give back."
What was behind the middle school award? Do you remember?
"The middle school one? It was like a big leadership thing and giving extra. Whether it was cleaning up the streets or whatever, I was involved in community service since then."
Coming into the NFC West, everyone's going to ask the big matchup are between your receivers and the DBs. When you look at the Seahawks, who've been in back-to-back Super Bowls, do you kind of know that storm you're stepping into?
"I already know. I'm actually great friends with [Seahawks S] Kam Chancellor, so it's going to be fun. I haven't played against him since college. Actually we played one year, but it's a little bit different now, stepping into a fierce rivalry and I'm looking forward to it. Anytime you get to go against the best it has to bring out the best in you, the competitor in you. Now they actually have one of my former teammates, [Seahawks CB] Cary Williams. It's going to be fun. I'm just looking forward to it. Every game counts in this division and I'm looking forward to be a part of that."