Former North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn put on a show Thursday in what will undoubtedly be his final appearance working out on the UNC practice fields.
Quinn ran a very impressive 4.59 40-yard dash, among several excellent individual performances in the various workouts. He got 33 inches on his vertical jump, 4.26 seconds in the 'three cone' drills, 24 reps on the bench press, and a 10 feet, 5 1/2 inch broad jump.
Every NFL team had representatives on hand---many of them specifically to watch Quinn, who will almost certainly go in the first round.
The various teams were working him out at both defensive end and linebacker.
Have you had a lot of questions from NFL teams that you've talked to about what happened last year?
Yeah, about every team I talked to, they brought it up. But like I told you, you've got to just put it in the past and you've got to move on and you've got to mature from it and learn from your mistakes. You've really just got to keep it moving.
Dick Baddour said that you guys approached the football staff about wanting to come here for the training day. What kind of things did you tell the team and the school to kind of be allowed to come back here and do this?
For me personally, I've just really got to really apologize for the selfish mistakes. You've really just got to put it behind you. What's done is done in the past. All you can do is live from it and learn and just keep on moving.
Robert, how did those mistakes happen? What happened to put you in position to make those mistakes?
I just surrounded myself by people I usually don't surround myself with, and one thing led to another. And the final decision (was made) in midseason.
Do you look at mock drafts and newspapers and all that stuff to see where you're going or are you not concerned?
I'll be honest---I've looked at it a couple of times here and there. It's a once in a lifetime experience. You only get drafted once, so I'm curious what people say. It's kind of a motivating factor when I see something negative, and it kind of puts a smile on my face when I see some positive. I guess it's a slight motivator for me.
What was it like to be doing drills with Marvin (Austin), your line mate on the line, along side of you since you guys didn't get to play together last year?
It felt good. I saw that drive in his (Austin's) eyes. And you're just trying to push each other and try to compete as best as possible out here and have fun. But it felt pretty good being beside Marvin, even though we're not in pads. It felt pretty good.
Do you have a list of teams you'll go out and visit or you've already visited yet?
Well, I talked with the 49ers yesterday (Wednesday). I've got 12 to 14 teams. I've got to go about three weeks straight flying in and out of town. So from being the No. 2 team to the No. 28 team (in the first round) or whatever---all different teams---so I have a busy three weeks coming up ahead of me.
Have you heard from the Carolina Panthers too?
A little. I've talked to them a little bit, but just about every (NFL) team has thrown a little bit of interest out there. But I'm just going to go with the flow and not try to get overwhelmed and just have fun.
What has been the biggest challenge in this whole process?
I don't think anything is real challenging. I kind of expect it. I knew the question was coming (about the NCAA violations). And I didn't know what the deal was going to be like. I was just trying to work hard off the field and to prepare myself totally. If I did hard enough work off the field and just put it on the field hopefully it'll be all right.
Is there a sense of relief about today?
Oh, I'm not done. I've got some linebacker drills to do, so I'm still going.
At what point was rock bottom for you?
I guess once I got the final verdict. After that day or so I just tried to put it behind me and make better of the situation---make a positive out of a bad situation.
Was there a particular game that was just really tough?
LSU. When I went down there I was almost in tears seeing my guys out there on the field where I should have been out there with them. And that was the first one that hit me the hardest I guess.
Did it make it worse that UNC came so close to winning and you guys weren't there?
Yeah. I mean, I know if we were there I'm pretty sure it would have been a different outcome. But like I said, it's in the past. There's nothing we can do except just keep it moving.
How soon after you have a final verdict do you start shifting your focus to the draft and training for that?
I was really focusing on schools and doing some training on my own and taking some things slow at the time and just trying to get through the whole situation and I didn't really start looking towards the draft and stuff until about the end of the semester, once school was about done.
What would you say to your teammates about what happened to you?
We're all human. We make mistakes. Mine was at a crucial time and it was a mistake. If you don't learn from your mistake it's kind of pointless, but I've learned from my mistake and I'm keeping it moving. But it was one young, immature mistake and it kind of made me grow up at the time.
Robert, some people compare you to Shawn Merriman. How do you take those comments? I mean, he was explosive with his size and speed right away
I guess that's a pretty good comparison. I mean, he was a real dominant player for numerous years. He did his thing while he was there (in San Diego). I think that's a pretty good comparison.