The Buffalo Bills signed quarterback AJ McCarron on Wednesday. Thursday, he had the chance to meet with the media at One Bills Drive. Here’s a transcript of the exchange and we needed to add this tweet to show you McCarron’s suit since he was asked about it.
Q: They didn’t give you any Bills gear yet, you had to wear a suit?
A: Yeah, I figured I’d put the suit on. I got a pin though.
Q: When you looked at your best opportunities, why did this one seem to be the most appealing to you, besides the contract?
A: I thought it was just a great opportunity for myself to come up here and be able to compete for a starting job and that’s all you can ask for in this league. That was the main thing I was saying while I was in Cincinnati. It wasn’t about the money, it wasn’t about anything. My background, I come from absolutely nothing, so I’ve always just known ball. I just wanted a chance to compete and play and it felt like I had that opportunity here.
Q: Is it your expectation to compete for a starting job?
A: Yeah, I think just being in a situation and seeing the situation, whether they’re going to draft somebody or not, like I said it’s just a great opportunity to be able to compete and really showcase day in and day out what you’re able to do and have a chance to achieve the ultimate goal and that’s to start.
Q: What are your thoughts on the possibility of the team maybe drafting a quarterback in the first round?
A: I try not to waste any mental thought on it because it’s something I can’t control and there’s no reason for me to really put any thought in to it. Just to be honest with you just because it creates mental clutter for my process that I need to do day in and day out to be the best player that I need to be, so whatever they feel is best for the organization, I’m just going to come out and work my tail off for them and for this city. Just be the best player that I can.
Q: How does it feel that people have immediately put the label on you of being the bridge quarterback?
A: Well, I think a lot of people have labels. You can either let it affect you and how you go about your work and let that define you or you everybody’s thought process on you. That’s always been my mindset, to change everybody that has any doubt or anything and just come in and work my tail off. Really just show this organization, from everybody from the top to the bottom, that I’m here to work and be a team guy and try to help this team win in any way possible.
Q: How frustrating was it spending four years in Cincinnati without a real opportunity to play?
A: It’s always tough as a competitor, but I also knew the situation I was going in to. AD [Andy Dalton] had been an established starter and had done a great job for them in the Cincy organization. So I knew the situation I was coming in to. My thought process was push AD to be the best player he can be, push us both and then learn to really almost be a servant again rather than a leader and then figure out the best way to help the team by another role and that’s what I tried to do.
Q: What did you learn over the past six months after almost being traded and having to go through arbitration, to now getting to pick your own team?
A: I think it’s a little bit of a roller coaster for sure. Just from the trade and everything and how it happened and how it all went about, but one thing my wife always says and people in my family, us as humans want things and want our plan to happen on our time. Really, it’s on God’s time. He has a plan and things, we get impatient and you want things quick, fast and easy, but it’s not always that way. So, I think it adds another chapter to the story in the end and it’s just part of the process. It’s awesome to be here in this situation and I’m truly blessed to be part of the Bills Mafia. I just can’t wait, I really can’t.
Q: What were you thinking the past couple days when you saw other quarterbacks getting deals with teams before you?
A: It’s always tough just because you’re a competitor, but at the same time like I said, I think it goes to the thought that you just have to trust God’s plan. You really do. It’s easier said than done, but we prayed and we put the faith in Him and everything works out for a reason. Like I said, we’re just super excited to be here and to be a part of this organization and help this team win.
Q: Have you talked to Coach Daboll yet?
A: We talked for a couple minutes. I have literally been nonstop all day. We flew out at, I had to wake up at 4, 4:30 this morning. First flight out of Mobile. As soon as I landed we went straight to the doc, multiple doctors so we have just been nonstop. I got to sit down with him for a couple minutes and I have also talked to him while he was at ‘Bama last season. I think Coach is an unbelievable offensive mind. Super smart. I can’t wait to get back up here and start learning the offense, figuring this thing out.
Q: Are you aware of his Alabama offense and did you compare national championship rings with Coach Daboll?
A: We did not compare. [Laugh] I do not know if he has gotten his yet. Mine, I give them to my family. My uncle has one, my dad has one and my grandpa has one. I don’t ever wear one. I play just because I love playing the game. I let them enjoy all that. From an offensive mind, it is hard to speak on that. Truly because I know he is playing to what players he has there. He is suiting the offense for them. I guess we will find out in a month and go from there.
Q: What do you know about this Bills offense you are stepping into?
A: I know nothing from a X and O’s standpoint. I know you have some unbelievable players around you with Shady and [Kelvin Benjamin]. Guys on the O-line and now you have Chris Ivory who is part of it. Zay Jones, he text me earlier. I think it is just an awesome situation to be in. I cannot wait. I am super pumped.
Q: How much were you aware of the Andy Dalton play to Tyler Boyd and the meaning it had to the Bills?
A: I knew at that time if we won, Buffalo got in and Baltimore was out. From an organizational standpoint, I do not know a whole lot about the history. Still learning and learning fast. I think as soon as we landed, we had Bills fans come up and talk to us, tell us stories. So we are super excited. It is an awesome situation to be in. Even when we stepped off, me and my wife were talking about it kind of feels like ‘Bama again. It is that type of atmosphere. We had spent so much time there, it is just exciting to be here and be a part of this.
Q: How do you transition from being the young guy to the old guy in a quarterback room?
A: I think you always help a younger guy along. I have never been the type to not do that. I think karma is a son-of-a-gun and it can come back to bite you. If I am better than the other guy, then I just trust in my talents and go out and play my game. If it doesn’t work out, then you learn to be a great teammate, be a part of the team. I have been a part of a enough teams and won enough to realize when you have a team that is going to win, that plays as a team, that cares. It is a culture. I have been a part of some that are not as much. You just learn to roll with it. It is going to be a learning experience for them. It is going to be a learning experience for me too. It is going to be fun.
Q: How do you handle being a veteran, but only having seen limited action?
A: I think even though I played four games, they were critical games at the same time. We were trying to clinch a playoff berth in our division at the time. Being brought into the first game against San Fran; San Fran that year wasn’t playing the best but at home had not allowed a team over 21 points all season long. We had 21 I think in the first half. Played well as a team. The next game you go to Denver and they have the number one rated defense in every category there. Six degrees at kickoff. Felt like I was on a different planet for me at that time. I think like I am saying, not to ramble on, but I think it is critical getting the games I have been a part of. It has helped me grow a lot. Any time you are able to start a playoff game, that is big in the league. We had a chance to win it and came up short, but those experiences go a long way. I think it will help.
Q: How much can you gain from being a part of the team even when you are not playing?
A: For sure, you can learn just as much. You want reps, but you can learn a lot not playing also. It is how you prepare yourself. What you take from the starter. Andy [Dalton] and me were close. I kind of learned how he learned best for him. I took what I did best from college, what he does and you just keep trying to grow in that way. How does he take each rep in practice? What is he thinking as a part of each process? You just try to pick from all the great ones you are around. The mental reps side of it is huge too.