*Originally slated to get early work just as a punt returner, Jamison Crowder has also earned a spot as the Redskins' slot receiver in his rookie season out of Duke.
Has the adjustment to the NFL been easier or more difficult than you thought?
"I think the transition has been a challenge just because you're going to the next level playing games against the top guys and the top athletes in the world. I feel like to this point, I've adapted well and I think Duke [University] really prepared me a lot for off-the-field and on-the-field situations, so I credit Duke for that. It's been a challenge. My mindset now is [to] try to grow and be better each week, each day. That's pretty much how I see it."
How crucial was your Senior Bowl experience?**
"It meant a lot to me. Playing in the ACC, one of the top conferences in America, but me going to a school like Duke that is just now coming around as far as football wise, I really needed that exposure. I got a lot of exposure throughout my college career, but I needed that exposure going against a lot of the top guys that play for Alabama and all of the bigger schools and the top schools in the country. I feel it really helped me out a lot. It let coaches and GMs and the scouts to see the talent level I really have. I just tried to take advantage of that Senior Bowl experience. I feel like I did really well down there."
You are about 5-foot-9 – how did you become so tough and why do you seemingly have no fear?
"It developed growing up. I just felt like in high school we had a really good football team and a basketball team but it was a mentality that kind of formed. We always knew that we were a good team, and I just don't have any kind of fear. I've always trusted in my abilities and the things I can do on the field. If it is a pass going across the middle, you have that mentality whether I get hit or not, you want to make the play. From a young age, that mentality started to grow. It's definitely something I take pride in. I'd like to be a guy who is smaller, but goes and gives it his all and plays with heart."
Do you have a chip on your shoulder to prove that you can be a great receiver when most thought you would just be a great punt returner?
"I just knew coming here when I got drafted by the Redskins that at the time, my opportunity would have came a little more at punt returner, being that we had some veteran guys at receiver. I thought I would have to wait my turn and grow to get experience. The way things shaked out was that I played early and got that experience. I didn't really use it as motivation. I always had the mindset when I came here that whatever it was that got me on the field that I would do the best I could to help out the team.
It's kind of opened up now where I am playing slot receiver and also doing the punt return duties; I didn't really look at it as motivation."
Check out images of rookie wide receiver Jamison Crowder during his first few months with the Washington Redskins.
What was life like as a kid? Who motivated you to work hard?**
"The main thing was my family. My parents – my mom, my dad – they really motivated me a lot. Even when I was a young kid, I had a lot of support from aunts, uncles and cousins at my rec league games. That continued even throughout high school and college, they continued to come.
I just found motivation. I was one of the top athletes in any sport that I participated in. I just wanted to get better. I've always been very competitive. It really helped me in college and helped me get to this level."
How do you get away from football?
"Any time I get some free time, I want to be with my family or maybe go down to Duke and be with my friends and talk about stuff other than football. I really don't do too much – nothing too extravagant. I really like to relax, chill out and watch a movie. Other than that, my life is football. Any time I get away from it, I like to relax and do and watch something a little different."
Favorite meal – and who is cooking it?
"Fried pork chops that my mom cooks, with the collard greens, cornbread. All of that good cooking stuff."
What's a movie that makes you laugh?
"I have a lot of movies but my go-to if I want to laugh, I'll probably watch "Life" with Martin Lawrence, Eddie Murphy, Bernie Mac and all of those guys. That's probably one of my all-time favorite movies."
Who inspired you as a young man? Who was your idol?
"I wouldn't necessarily say I had an idol. There was a lot of guys who really inspired me. I was a big Kobe Bryant fan. I was a big Jerry Rice fan. I would say my Dad, but as far as guys who played in the league – it was Jerry Rice. I had like two or three Jerry Rice jerseys, it was crazy. Overall, I would have to say my Dad is probably the guy who inspired me the most to continue grind and be the best I can be."
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