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Under the Helmet: Q&A with Jared Crick

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When you were making your free-agency decision, was the collection of coaches in Denver enough to convince you to sign here?**

Yeah. I knew when [Head Coach Gary Kubiak] Kubs left Houston, wherever he ended up, that's where I'd want to go play. I had such a good time playing for him my first two years, so I knew wherever he would be would be a good fit. And when that time came, they gave me a call and asked if I wanted a spot, and I said, "Yeah." And being close to home — I'm from Nebraska — I'm probably about four and a half hours away from my hometown, and that made a pretty big factor in my decision, also.

Growing up that close, were a lot of family members and friends Broncos fans?

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Oh yeah. If you had basic cable, which we had, the Broncos game was the only NFL game on that we could see. Every Sunday, the Broncos were always on in my hometown. Most of the town is Broncos fans, but when it's the only game on TV, a lot of people can't help but watch.

What is your hometown of Cozad, Nebraska, like?

It was about 5,000 [people] when I was there, but the main factory there closed down, so it's probably about a little less than 3,000 now.

What was it like growing up there?

It was cool. I mean, there wasn't anything to do but just kind of roam the town, try to get into trouble, one way or another. It was a lot of fun. Everybody knew everybody; everybody's parents always watched out for everybody else's kids. It was a good environment. But like I said, it got boring at times.

Growing up in that small town, is it a dream to go to the University of Nebraska as a football player?

Yeah, absolutely. If you're from Nebraska, there's no other school to go to, so if you have an opportunity, you have to go, and if you don't, you're kind of thought less of. It's everybody's dream. Like I said, that's the only team, really, that's in town. It's every little kid's dream to go play there. So, it was fun.

We've seen you bat down passes, which is a fairly common sight in this defense for defensive linemen, but how difficult is it to go over the top to block field goals?

It's tough. If you can block a kick — there's so much stuff that goes into it. You've got to have great push, and a lot of times if you block a kick, it's not you. You might block it, but it's not you who sets it up. It's guys next to you getting enough push, and if you can get your hands up and get the right trajectory and get it. It's pretty rare, but if you can do it, it's awesome. We practice that every day, both batting balls and blocking field goals.

Of all the defensive linemen, who has the best vertical leap?

You know I do. It's not even close. I'm sure during the offseason we'll have and actual contest, but right now I'd definitely say number 93.

Was there any kind of transition for you coming from Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips' system in Houston and the one he runs now?

No, everything structurally was the same. It was just getting to know my teammates. It didn't take very long to do that and once I did that, I felt at home. But like I said, the schemes are the same, the coaches are the same — everything I was used to from before. The only thing I had to do was find a place to live and get to know my teammates.

What's it like going to a new city and trying to find a new place for you and your family to live?

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It was crazy, especially coming from Houston, where the housing market is a lot cheaper than what it is here. I kind of wanted the same price range as I wanted in Houston. It took some different areas way away from here. I wanted to be somewhat close to the facility and we were out there way west of Denver. So I was like, 'Nah, it's a little too far.' Once I found kind of the price range I wanted to be and the area, it wasn't too hard. It was a nice transition. It's a pretty area, there's lots to do out here. The scenery is a lot better than what it was in Houston.

What's your favorite part about living in Denver?

Man, the fans. You really cannot beat them. We had a good fan base in Houston, but nothing in the league, I think, compares to what we've got here. They're diehard. Midwest teams are pretty loyal, so to be here, and a lot of Nebraska fans are Denver fans, I get to connect with a lot of them. It's fun, but the fans definitely make it great.

If you have free time to read or go on the internet, what do you spend your time doing?

Lately [in late October], I've been checking out all the campaign stuff, the election. It's a big decision. But usually I stay away from the computer. I'm usually a video games kind of guy. That's kind of my way to decompress, as it is for a lot of guys on the team. I'll go and I'll go play video games for an hour, an hour and a half, just to get into my own little world. Everybody's got their own little thing. When you get away from here, you've got to do something to get away from football, and that's one of my things, anyway.

I saw you majored in history. Do you still read a lot about the genre?

Absolutely. After football, I don't know what I'm going to do with it, because I think the only thing you can do is teach, but obviously I keep up with current events, and like I said, the election this year. Anything that comes up. New movies that come out that have historical ties to it, I go see and critique them in my own way. I've just always been interested in history and stuff like that.* *

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