Once again, if you didn’t get the memo, Kyle Juszczyk’s name is pronounced YOUs-check. We’ll be reminding everyone of this a few more times before it’s on your shoulders to pronounce the dude’s name right.
And once again, in case you didn’t hear: He signed a huge check. (Huge check, Juszczyk, get it?!) The shiny new San Francisco 49ers fullback will be having a very large role in Kyle Shanahan’s offense which will be interesting to see just how heavily he’s involved. Interestingly enough, this makes his fifth offensive coordinator in just as many years as Juszczyk’s been in the league.
Where did those other four come from? The Baltimore Ravens. Juszcyk was on Jason La Canfora and Jerry Coleman’s B-more opinionated podcast. A show focusing more on Baltimore sports, Juszcyk gave a sort of ‘farewell’ interview of sorts. You can listen to the whole show here. His interview starts at the 36 minute mark. I’ve transcribed the entire 16 minute interview, but I left anything that goes deep into the Raven’s locker room out and focused more on his answers pertaining to the NFL and the 49ers.
On if it was difficult or easy to leave the Ravens:
It’s never easy to leave a team you’ve been with for four years and one that you’re familiar with and one that you’ve built so many relationships with. As far as offers on the table, it was easy to accept San Francisco’s just because it was such a great offer. The things they offered outside of just the money, as far as the new coaching staff with coach Shanahan, and the location out there. Living in California is not such a bad thing.
On the scheme fit and working in Gary Kubiak’s offense and now Kyle’s who is of the same tree:
Absolutely. Every player wants to be utilized to their full potential. I feel like when I was with Coach Kubiak that was something I got to experience. I thought maybe one more time before I retired I’d get a shot to play with Kubiak again. When he retired, that kind of seemed like it was all up in the air and wasn’t going to happen, but then this opportunity rolled around with Coach Shanahan. It’s kind of the same thing; a very similar offense and I think this is my opportunity again to be fully utilized.
On how he may not just be a fullback but would play a larger role in the 49ers’ offense:
During our press conference, John Lynch referred to me as an offensive weapon. Said what you just said, not a typical fullback. Honestly, that was music to my ears. That’s everything I wanted to hear these last couple years. I feel like that label as a fullback, it almost holds you back a little bit, it pins you into a certain type of player. At some degree people kind of look down on it. The whole, ‘Fullbacks are extinct’, ‘how many teams in the NFL even use a fullback nowadays?’ But it’s not necessarily the only position I play on offense. To kind of get rid of that label really means a lot and plays into my game.
On if the Ravens only perceived him as a fullback and if he had a conversation with the coaching staff on a larger role
You know, I’ve had that conversation many times in Baltimore. I had four different offensive coordinators, sat down with each of them. Sat down with Coach [John] Harbaugh. They all said the same thing that they agreed I could contribute in more ways than just as a fullback. At times I did. I got to do 3rd down protections as a halfback. I was all over on special teams. There were times I got to split out or line up in the wing, but it never really came to full fruition that being something I was consistently doing in every game. It was different games here and there.
On what it’s like with 49ers general manager John Lynch recognizing his value:
It’s really flattering. I was really excited when I heard John Lynch had gotten hired as the GM. I think all the players in the NFL are excited about that. He’s been in our shoes, he’s done what we’ve done. He respects and he understands what we go through on that day-to-day basis. To have his respect and have him want you on his team really means a lot. As such a great player, he’s got a good eye for what it takes to be successful in this league.
On the adjustments with four different offensive coordinators in Baltimore:
You know the adjustments weren’t all that tough, because we tried to keep parts of one offense as we tried to transition to another one. But some things aren’t going to be exactly the same, you have to adjust. Even when you keep the same coordinator, I’m sure there’s a little bit of change from one season to the next, so that’s something you deal with as an NFL player. As far as Joe, he’s an incredibly smart guy and he can take a lot on his plate. I don’t think the coordinator changes had a huge effect on him. I think when Joe’s confident and he’s not second guessing himself, he’s one of the best guys you can put out at the quarterback position and I’ve seen Joe play a lot of really good football.
On if the knee injury had a hand in Flacco second guessing himself:
I don’t think the knee injury really affected him too much. At least, in talking to him he never really said anything about it. I really didn’t get that sense playing with him. I think it was a multitude of different things that hurt our offense last year. We had a lot of shuffling on the offensive line. A little bit of the change of scheme, we had some injuries, you could point to a million different things, but I wouldn't’ put it all on Joe’s shoulders.
On if he’s had a chance to take a step back and reflect on his career so far:
It’s been really surreal. I’m thankful for where I’m at today and I’m just happy I never let up. I continue to work hard through everything and really thankful I have this opportunity and I get to strap it up and do what I love to do.
On the gamble of playing out his rookie contract and entering the market
My agent and I joke about that all the time now. You’re right, had I gotten a two or three million dollar extension before this past season, I don’t know for sure if I would have taken it. I like when players bet on themselves and believe in their potential of what they can do. I can’t say for sure I wouldn’t have taken it, that’s a lot of money and at the time, the fullback market is not much more than that. I didn’t know what I was going to get when I did hit free agency. Good thing I did let it play out, because things worked out for the best.
What he’ll miss about Baltimore:
I think the biggest thing will be the relationships I formed with my teammates and my coaches. I have a lot of, I would say lifetime friends here that I’m really going to miss. It’s going to be tough lining up against them, but that is kind of nature of the business. Same thing goes with the coaching staff. We didn’t have a ton of stability at the offensive coordinator position, but I had the same position coach for three years and a lot of the same assistant coaches on the offensive staff. Same head coach. Those were familiar faces to me and now I’m walking into a new environment where I really don’t know too many people. I think that’s going to be the biggest adjustment and what I’ll miss most about Baltimore.
On his relationship with Brian Hoyer
Yeah, Brian and I met a couple years ago at Joe Lint’s [Juszczyk’s agent] function in New Haven. We were out in San Francisco last week when we were signing our contracts. Got to spend a good amount time with him there, shooting texts back and forth with each other. Love Brian as a person, love him as a player as well. Really excited to play with him. He’s done a lot of good things in this league. I think this is going to be a good fit for him and a good opportunity for him to show he’s a consistent starter.
On how the difficulty the media has spelling and pronouncing his name:
Honestly I’ve heard so many bad mispronunciations it’s hard for even one to stand out. And spellings as well. I haven’t seen any official misspellings on my name yet, I’m sure there’s been one and they’ve gone out and corrected it. That will be a new fun task for the media in San Francisco—figuring out how to spell that each and every week.
On if anyone has referred to him as Kyle “huge-check” Juszczyk:
As much as my agent wants people to, it went across my group of friends in an email chain and that was the subject line for one of them. As far as that that’s the only mention of the “huge-check”
On being a Harvard grad and being near Silicon Valley would help for life after football:
Very little [thought about it]. I’ve never been too involved in the tech industry, I was an economics major. My thought process right now is I’d like to get into coaching after football. But who knows who I’ll meet out there, maybe I’ll make a few good connections and find myself a future job.
On [Baltimore Ravens Guard]John Urschel’s reputation for being a math genius and if he’s ever challenged him for anything math-related:
Absolutely not. I was there when we brought in Urschel and he took the pressure off me as the ‘smart guy’ in the locker room. I let him take that and he deserves that. He’s probably the most brilliant person I’ve ever spoken to.
On when people stopped messing with his Harvard background:
I don’t think a single day went by my whole 4-year career where mentioning me going to Harvard didn’t come up. I guess it’s an easy joke to go to. Caught a lot of heat for it, but I’m sure I will wherever I go.