For this week's "How well does..." segment, I talked with Ravens third-year safety Haruki Nakamura, a guy who is loving life on the football field right now.
A year after suffering a gruesome leg injury which ended his 2009 season prematurely and threatened his NFL future, Nakamura is back healthy, and is making some major contributions to the Ravens both on special teams and on defense.
During a busy Friday afternoon following Ravens practice, Nakamura and I did a walk-and-talk down the hallways of The Castle and I quizzed him on his football career. How'd he do? Let's find out.
Dan Kolko: Your first tackle from scrimmage in the NFL came against what team?
Haruki Nakamura: Oh man. You know, I can't remember. I have no idea.
DK: It came against Pittsburgh, the third game of your rookie season.
HN: Was it? OK, I guess so. Oh, yeah, you're right. God, I don't know my own stats? That's terrible. Well, I guess it's a good thing too. It means I'm not focused on myself."
DK: Very true. There's more of these, though, so let's hope you know a few. You have half a sack...
HN: [Interrupts] Miami Dolphins.
DK: You were all over that one. What quarterback was it against?
HN: Um ... [Chad] Pennington. I know that one.
DK: What do you remember about that play?
HN: Jimmy [Leonhard] stole the other half of it. [Laughing] What a cheater.
DK: You had seven interceptions in your college career at Cincinnati. How many of them came your senior year?
HN: Four. I dropped like five though.
DK: You returned punts at Cincinnati as well. Your career long was a 24-yard return. What team did that come against?
HN: Rutgers. I remember that one.
DK: You obviously played against Ray Rice in that game. How many times did you tackle Ray that day?
HN: I couldn't tell you. All I know is we were talking trash the whole game. That's the only thing I do remember.
DK: Did you guys know each other?
HN: Well, we met each other during the Big East media day during the offseason, so we kind of knew each other. Not on a personal level, but enough to talk trash to each other.
DK: OK. You had four tackles on Ray that game, by the way. Two were for losses.
HN: OK, there we go. I used to get after it.
DK: What overall draft pick were you taken with?
HN: 206? Yeah, 206. All I remember is I got the phone call, that's all I cared about.
DK: Who was on the other end of the call?
HN: Kevin Byrne [Ravens Senior VP, Public & Community Relations]. Well, Ozzie [Newsome, GM] called me, but then he was like "I've got somebody that wants to talk to you." Then Kevin Byrne was the one that said, "Hey, welcome to the Baltimore Ravens." It was pretty cool. We went to the same high school I did. He said, "From one St. Edward Eagle to another, welcome to the Baltimore Ravens." I'll never forget that line. I'll remember that until the day I die.