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Helmets Off: Eric Decker

Posted Feb 3, 2011

Eric Decker sits down with DenverBroncos.com to discuss his rookie season and offseason plans in this week's edition of 'Helmets Off.'

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Eric Decker didn't catch his first NFL pass until Week 12 this season, but the rookie wide receiver was a steady contributor throughout the year.

Decker saw significant action on several special-teams units, including a stint as the team's primary kick returner. The 2010 third-round pick came on strong late as an offensive contributor with six catches for 106 yards. He capped off his rookie season in style, catching his first career touchdown pass in the Broncos' season-ending loss to San Diego.

As Decker began his first NFL offseason, he sat down with DenverBroncos.com to reflect on his rookie campaign and look toward the future.

How would you assess your rookie season?
"I think I grew every week. I think special-teams-wise it was tough for me right away, but I learned how to play it and have success with it. Offensively, my role grew as my season progressed. I was happy with the progression I made. Hopefully, it's the start to many things in the future?"

What do you have to do to carry that progression into next season?
"I just need to be prepared. It starts with conditioning and then just being ready mentally the whole way through. I'll keep watching film, taking care of my body and go through the offseason program. I just have to be dedicated to what I do."

What's the most important lesson you've picked up about how to be an NFL player?
"I think it was how to prepare day in, day out. The days get long. Physically, it's long. They talk about the rookie wall. I definitely felt like I hit it at a certain point. It's about getting your needed rest and taking care of yourself mentally. The season is so long that you need to be prepared every day."

What's your best memory from your rookie season?
"It started on draft day. That was a special moment for me and my family. Then it was just going through the roller coaster. You move to a new city with other rookies, learn the offense, have good times, bad times. I think I learned a lot through a season like this. You take a lot of things away that you can work, that you can improve on. At the same time, it tests your character and tells you something about yourself."

How are you approaching your first NFL offseason?
"It's exciting for me to know I have some time off to do what I want -- recover physically and mentally. I'm going to take some trips, get away. I'm going to go to the mountains, then go somewhere warm for a couple of weeks. I'll go home and see the family. I'm just going to do things I didn't get a chance to do in the fall and a lot of the summer time. I'm looking forward to it."

Will you explore around here?
"Definitely. It will be nice to get some free time to check out Colorado and really see what it offers. I'll go up to Breckenridge and Vail. It will be a lot of fun."

Have you talked to any veterans about what to expect from a pro offseason?
"I definitely have. I think this year is going to be a unique one because of the CBA agreement and everything. I think the biggest thing is to kind of recharge the batteries, physically and mentally -- just shut down for a month after and recover. Once March rolls around and it's time to get back into it, you'll be ready to go for minicamps and OTAs."

What areas do you hope to improve in the offseason?
"I think it starts with conditioning level. With my injury last year, I wasn't able to really get to where I wanted to in the offseason because I was doing a lot of therapy. The biggest thing is to make sure that physically I feel great, and then I think I want to keep learning how to study film. Little details are really what makes a difference at this level. I want to watch film, hit the weight room, take care of my body -- because that is my investment -- and just have fun, enjoy it."

After the grind of the season, what will it be like to wake up in the morning and know you don't have to think about football?
"Man, I get to sleep in. That will be fantastic. Being able to plan your day around whatever you want to do is going to be pretty nice, too. It's going to be pretty weird because I've never had an offseason so to speak. I'm looking forward to seeing what it brings."