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Mike Sainristil | 'This is a once in a lifetime opportunity'

Michigan defensive back Mike Sainristil plays during an NCAA college football intra-squad spring game, Saturday, April 1, 2023, in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Michigan defensive back Mike Sainristil plays during an NCAA college football intra-squad spring game, Saturday, April 1, 2023, in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

On if he expected to be picked by Washington:

"I'll say this, it was definitely a dream come true. Growing up, you know, dreaming, wish and pray to be in this position. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I was not expecting it to be the Commanders. I thought I was going to the Steelers at 51. But I felt my phone vibrating, I looked down, there was a Virginia number. I'm like, 'man who the heck from Virginia's calling me right now.' I pick up the phone and right away my heart was just, I felt at ease. I felt at peace. My mind was finally at peace. When I met with [Head] Coach [Dan] Quinn here in Michigan, the meeting we had, everything about it was good. The vibes were great. I could just tell how every coach that was in there was speaking. They had a genuine love and appreciation for myself, and it was definitely reciprocated. I felt that that was a meeting that I felt leaving very, very comfortable. And, I appreciated the conversation that the coaches had with me. And I'm just very excited to get to Washington to get the ball rolling."

On why he expected to be drafted by Pittsburgh at 51:

"My agent was just telling me for a while that if I fall at 51, that the Steelers had a chance of getting me. The [Pittsburgh Steelers] GM [Omar Khan] really liked me at 51. Once we got to pick 48, I was like, all right, I'm probably getting into my wheelhouse. So, I was just thinking that, all right, it might fall to Pittsburgh. So, I'm just, I'm excited. I got the call from Washington and I'm already very comfortable with the whole staff, so I'm just, I'm super excited. I can't wait."

On what he can add to the defense:

"I'm definitely just the complete package. I grew up watching football a certain way, and that's, that's the brand of football I still play to this day, very, very instinctual. I'm a complete football player. Whatever's asked of me, I'm going to do. Whatever the coaches need me to do, I will do to my best ability. I'm a guy that's looking to make an impact on the field, wherever that is. Doesn't matter to me whether it's special teams, defense and even offense. So, wherever I'm needed, whatever the coaches need me to do, I'm going to do it. I'm bringing leadership and I'm bringing a winning mindset."

On what his view was of Washington's turn around:

"Just a program looking to rebuild and chase greatness. I know what it takes to be a part of a program that's looking to rebuild. While I was here at Michigan, I was on a 2-4 squad that we changed some things around that were pivotal for the program and it ultimately led us to win a national championship. So being a guy coming into a program like the Commanders, where they're definitely in a rebuild, or we are in a rebuild state, I'm ready to do whatever. I'm ready to be all hands on deck to get this thing going. And I'm bringing the mindset. I want to win a Super Bowl, so I'm ready to do whatever that takes to take the steps towards that. It's going to be a process, but you have to fall in love with the process to get to where you want to be. So, I'm just ready for whatever."

On if he knows if he will play inside or outside:

"Yeah, I want to play inside. That's where I make my money. That's where I'm very comfortable. I have the flexibility to play anywhere on the field, outside corner. And I have the knowledge to play safety as well. So again, whatever the coaches need me to do, I'm going to do. But, put me in that slot, put me in that slot corner, let me go cause havoc."

On if Defensive Coordinator Joe Whitt Jr. and Quinn's reputation of developing corners makes him excited to play here:

"100 percent. I'm ready to be coached up very well. Ready to take all the coaching, all the gems, all the constructive criticism. I'm ready for the hard days as well. It's not going to be easy every single day. And I'm just ready to be coached by a great group of guys and ultimately have success with this group. So, I'm super excited."

On how much better he can get at the position:

"I would say the future's very bright. I've only been playing the position for two years, so to me there's a lot of upside. There's a lot of excitement knowing that I've only been doing this for two years. I'm only going to continue to get better, continue to reach new goals. And that's what excites me the most. And knowing I'm going into an organization with these coaches who are going to be able to help develop my skills and get me more knowledge at the position. It makes me feel really good. I'm ready to be developed as a complete football player."

On his impression of QB Jayden Daniels and how excited he is to practice against him:

"Man, we got a baller at a quarterback. He already sent me a DM. He said, 'let's go.' Like, I'm excited, I'm excited. Me and JD actually, we did build a little friendship over the past couple, I'd say month and a half, two months, just through the draft process and the combine process. So, I'm super excited. I know that that's a gun slinger, that's a quarterback that's going to sacrifice his body for his team. He's a winner. He has a chip on his shoulder to prove that he wants to be the best quarterback in this class. So, I'm excited and I can't wait to compete against him in practice and all offseason. And I'll even catch for him. So, let's do it."

On what turns a struggling locker room into a championship team:

"It takes 100 percent from everybody. It has to take everybody to be bought in. Everybody has to have the same mindset, the same goal, and we all have to buy into that every single day. And we have to hold each other accountable, whatever that looks like. We all have to just be gelled as one, and it starts with the little things. So, I'm ready to bring that aspect to the program and I'm going to do whatever's asked of me. I have to come in and prove myself of course, but that doesn't mean I can't lead. So, I'm just going to go in there and be myself and do the things I know that I can do."

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