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Gameday Online: Decker Q&A

Posted Sep 15, 2011

From Monday night's Gameday program -- wide receiver Eric Decker talks about being drafted to play baseball, his relationship with Ed McCaffrey and chemistry with Kyle Orton.

Wide receiver Eric Decker was drafted by the Broncos in 2010, but that wasn't the first time he was selected by a professional organization. The former Minnesota Golden Gopher, who also played baseball in college, was drafted by two MLB teams, including his hometown Twins. He turned them down to play the game he loves.

How did you choose between a football and baseball career?

"I love both sports. I'd say I was a lot more developed and experienced in football. I was pretty raw in baseball. My bat was very weak. But I'll admit every time spring training comes around, I do miss it, I get the itch. But I know that I picked the right sport. I love football. I love that I'm here in Denver, that I'm with great teammates, great coaches, a great owner and front office. I'm really blessed to play football."

What advice did Twins catcher Joe Mauer (the No. 1 pick in the 2001 MLB Draft) give you about choosing between the two sports?

"He had to deal with the same decision in high school, whether he would go to Florida State to play football or choose baseball. If I was the No. 1 pick overall, I think it would be pretty easy to decide that too. But he said that you've got to follow your heart and know what makes you happier and where you have more success. But really, it's a game, so go where you have more fun."

Why did you choose No. 87?

"There are a couple of reasons. I was born in 1987. I was the 87th pick overall, and probably the most apparent is Ed McCaffrey used to be 87, and he was a guy I grew up idolizing his game. He was so physical, very similar in stature to me and he played tough. He wasn't afraid to go across the middle, wasn't afraid to block and those are the things I look up to him about, and try to emulate myself and my game after."

Was he your favorite receiver growing up?

"I'd say Jerry Rice was my favorite receiver, but I soon realized I couldn't be Jerry Rice because Jerry Rice is Jerry Rice. But watching the Broncos back in the day winning the championships when he and John Elway were here, it was really just fun to see him play the game. I remember the crack-back block and just how he played the game; he always seemed to give everything he had. I thought that was cool because that's how I played. I'm the guy that maybe isn't the most talented, but I try to outwork people."

Has he reached out to you about the number?

"Yeah. I got drafted and when I got here (an autographed jersey from him) was hung up in my locker with a note that said, 'Make this number your own.' So that was real neat and I was pretty thrown by it. It was such an honor."

How is your chemistry with Kyle Orton?

"The work Kyle and I did in the offseason I think really helped in training camp. There are still things that I screw up on and improve upon every day. I think Kyle understands I'm learning, growing as a wide receiver and I think he trusts me because he knows that I want to be successful and I want to help him be successful. He's a great quarterback and it's not too hard to get open because he's going to put it on you."

How is it working with Brandon Lloyd, who led the league in receiving yards last season?

"There's no question he's one of the best in the NFL. He's very smooth. He's a savvy veteran who knows how to get off the line, knows how to understand reads and understand the defense. Even just understanding each individual quarterback, getting out of his routes, the footwork, how to set certain things up and be different - not make everything look the same. He's been very vocal on the field and even in the meeting rooms. I'll tell you what, he's also very lighthearted so he's fun to be around because he's always joking and laughing, so that's good to have."

What is it like having your former college teammate and quarterback Adam Weber on the practice squad?

"It's been great. When he got picked up here in Denver, I was excited for him because I knew if he got an opportunity, he'd be able to showcase his talent. This is a great organization. We've got a lot of great quarterbacks here he can learn from and coaches he can learn from. It seems like throughout camp he did a good job building his repertoire, getting a lot of skills sets and showing them off. Every day he seems more confident throwing the ball and hopefully that just continues."

Are you more comfortable entering your second season?

"There's no question. It's been night and day for me. Being healthy physically has helped me mentally too. I feel like I'm back in shape, I can run like I used to, I'm confident in my body and foot. So mentally, that really helps me just go out there and play, not think too much. Last year I was really thinking about what I had to do, thinking about my foot and all that going on, it really made things fast for me. It's slowed down a lot and it's really just playing the game of football I grew up loving."

What are your goals and aspirations this year?

"I don't really set anything out in terms of numbers. I just want to come in here every day and give everything I've got. I got a great opportunity to play the game I love, and a lot of people wish they had this opportunity. I think if I come in and do my part and help this team succeed, I hope as a whole, we can conquer what we want and that's a championship. All I can do is my part, try to be a leader whether it's in the locker room or on the field and give everything I got every day."

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