NFL

Which Players are Best at Dealing with the Media?

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Most people do not appreciate how much time NFL players commit to the media. There are open locker rooms after every game; press conferences two to three times per week; requests from independent media outlets; plus community outreach events. In short, if a player plans on having a long, successful career, he should get comfortable in front of a microphone.

Talking to the media is an art. Those who are good at it come across as genuine, avoiding cliches and “coach speak.” They deflect praise, accept criticism and maintain a positive outlook no matter the circumstances. So who are the best when it comes to dealing with the media? Here are some players who stand above their peers.

QB Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys

The quarterback always has more media obligations than anyone else. Romo handles all those responsibilities with a smile on his face, despite the inherent criticism that comes along with playing quarterback for “America’s Team.” He always provides thoughtful answers and gives legitimate insight into the ongoings in Dallas.

RB Darren Sproles, Philadelphia Eagles

For those who haven’t heard Sproles speak much, it should be noted that he deals with a significant stutter. That should give him plenty of reason to minimize his contact with the media, yet he still makes himself available at all times. He doesn’t cut his answers short, either, and is happy to talk football until the interviewer is ready to call it a day.

FB Mike Tolbert, Carolina Panthers

Everything about Tolbert is entertaining, from his bowling-ball running style to his touchdown celebrations to his interactions with the media. The guy is generally grateful for every day he spends in the NFL and that joy is evident in every interview. He is always in a great mood and is happy to share his positive outlook on the Panthers with anyone who cares to ask him about it.

WR Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers

Brown is incredibly elusive on the field, but he’s easy to locate away from it. The rising star has not let his success go to his head, remaining humble and helpful in his interactions with the media. Even earlier this offseason, when he started dropping hints he was displeased with his contract, Brown maintained his positive and approachable demeanor.

WR Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jackson has dealt with some difficult situations throughout his career, from a DUI to a messy contract dispute in 2010 to the trade rumors that have followed him for the last year. Through it all, he has remained available and honest with the media. He is a stand-up guy, which is how he emerged as a leader for this young Buccaneers squad.

WR Malcom Floyd, San Diego Chargers

Floyd, a former undrafted free agent from Wyoming, has been an underdog his entire career. That has always motivated him on the field and humbled him off of it. That approach makes him terrific with the media, as he never feels his time is too valuable to share with others. He greets media members by first name and quickly learns as much about them as they do about him. Players with such high character are extremely rare.

DE Chris Long, St. Louis Rams

Long, the son of Hall of Famer and broadcasting mainstay Howie Long, was brought up in the NFL’s media circus. He is used to all the attention that comes with being an NFL star and it shows. He understands the media has a job to do and is willing to make himself available to help them do it. He also gives articulate, well reasoned responses that help make for excellent copy.

DE Jared Odrick, Jacksonville Jaguars

Odrick is entering his sixth season in the league, but he has been handling the media like a veteran ever since he took part in the Senior Bowl back in January 2010. He greets everybody with a firm handshake, looks them in the eye and is willing to talk about topics that make others players uncomfortable, such as finances.

DT Terrance Knighton, Washington Redskins

You expect an affable personality from a guy nicknamed “Pot Roast” and that’s exactly what you get with Knighton. The loquacious big man is now heading to his third team and the media in Washington is sure to enjoy him as much as the folks in Jacksonville and Denver did. Knighton’s confidence is key to his quotability, as well; after landing with the Redskins on a one-year, $4 million deal, he quickly dubbed himself “the biggest steal in free agency.”

DL Cam Thomas, Pittsburgh Steelers

I first met Thomas at the Senior Bowl in 2010. He agreed to do an interview series for us in which we chatted every two weeks, each time for at least 20 minutes. He ended up being drafted by a team I covered (the Chargers), so I was able to follow him closely during each of his first four seasons. Even after he left for Pittsburgh in free agency, he was still granting us exclusive interviews here at Football Insiders.

DT Carl Davis, Baltimore Ravens

I have only interviewed Davis twice, but they were good enough encounters to make the rookie the youngest player on this list. The first time was at this year’s Senior Bowl, when he was being called away by an event manager but still stuck around to give me a solid interview. One month later, he gave us a telling interview about monitoring free agency through the eyes of a rookie. He is well spoken, intelligent and considerate … and he landed in a great spot with the Ravens.

LB Sean Weatherspoon, Arizona Cardinals

Simply put, Weatherspoon loves to talk. Whether he’s on the field or in front of a microphone, his mouth is always moving. Those communication skills make him a standout linebacker and a media darling, as his passion for the game is obvious in every quote.

LB Wesley Woodyard, Tennessee Titans

Every NFL player has media obligations, but the Woodyard never treats his interviews as “obligations.” He is extremely generous with his time and gives specific, detailed answers. Need proof? Check out this awesome interview he conducted with Football Insiders early last season.

Which NFL players give the best quotes? Talk about it with Michael Lombardo during his weekly NFL Chat on Friday at 2pm EST. But you don’t have to wait until then … you can ask your question now


About Michael Lombardo

Michael Lombardo

Michael Lombardo has spent more than 10 years as a team expert at Scout.com, primarily covering the Chargers, Cardinals and Panthers. He has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and other venues.