TE David Njoku (1.4.24)

So making your first Pro Bowl, how does it feel? 

“Feels pretty good, hopefully first of many. But honestly, the best feeling is just being what I can be to this team. Crazy saying that how everything went the past few years, but nowhere else I’d rather be.”


What was it like the other night? Just being able to celebrate with the fans. There were some videos.

“Watching it and doing it were two different things. Like, doing it, I was like, whatever. Was having a good time and watching. I was like, ‘Oh, shit. I did some wild stuff.’ But it was awesome.”


Why do you think everything’s coming together for you this year where potential production and everything kind of intersected? 

“Honestly, I owe it all to God. That’s really how I feel. It’s all God. God’s timing.”


In a day like yesterday, when you get that award, do you reflect on what has been here and kind of your journey? 

“As crazy as it sounds. As crazy as it sounds. Throughout my whole career, it was mostly about stats and how many yards I can get, how many touchdowns I can get. The one year where I felt like, not that I didn’t care about it, but more so the team was more important than me that I made it. It’s really funny how that all works out. We, not me.”


What made that mentality switch for you this year? 

“Probably after my face got burned off. I was like, number one, life, no matter what, is a beautiful thing. The finer things, like just being able to see and hear, senses and everything. And then as each week went by and it went by, I started noticing that I was caring more about what the team needed to win, more so than what I needed to be happy. And by doing that, it also made me happy as well. Funny how life works.”


That being said, how meaningful is it for you to be going back to the playoffs?

“It means the world, you know. Everyone’s asking me if I’m happy. Yeah, I’m happy with how we are so far, but the job is not finished. We are not nowhere near done. So, there’s not really a reason to be happy yet.”


David, for how long have you been looking, did you come in 2017 thinking Pro Bowl is one of your goals?

“I mean, that was a long time ago. I’m not saying I’m old, but that was seven years ago. I don’t really remember my mindset back then. I was just young, I can really think of what I was thinking at the time. Obviously, we’ll take it one week at a time.”


Regardless of if you play Sunday, Joe (Flacco) is being held back. Some other guys will be held back. How helpful can this week be for you guys to prepare you for the playoffs? To give you a little rest because you had that early bye week?

“The guys that are banged up it will help. Other than that, we’re pretty much very locked in. We all are playing, you know what I mean? So that’s how we’re taking it. One day at a time, just stay ready.”


David, how important is it then? Not, maybe not having everybody playing, but still to finish strong out for the regular season? 

“Very important. It doesn’t really matter who’s playing. The job is still to win. We’re very prideful of that, so that’s what we intend to do.”


AVP (Alex Van Pelt) was saying morning how coming into the season they were looking to get you more involved in the offense. How has your relationship grown throughout the season?

“Pretty strong. I mean, every week that goes by they try to find ways to get me more involved. I’m very grateful that we have AVP and Kevin (Stefanski).”


Off of that. I know your relationship with (Kevin) Stefanski has obviously grown a lot over the years. You talked a little bit earlier this year just about how you guys kind of had to break the bread and sort some things out. As you kind of look back on where you guys are now. What’s that relationship like now?

“Night and day, to start. Even practice today, just like us, like both sitting together. We weren’t doing that back in 2020. It feels good. Feels really great to be on the same page, have like the same view, same goals. It’s awesome.”


When Kevin (Stefanski) came here, he was abusive in his love of tight ends, right. Just curious, what did he say to you either last night when you got the news or today? 

“I was sick yesterday. He called and congratulated me. It was a really heartfelt message. I’m very appreciative.”


He was like a proud dad, Kevin (Stefanski).

“All right, take it easy. Proud Coach.”


So why won’t he let you kick field goals then?

“Ask him that. I tried. The mentality for this team is next man up. So, I’m trying to go on a limb and say, let me try to help the team. And you ought to ask him, man. I tried [laughing].”


What was your range? 

“Far. I can kick. I’m strong.”


So if we could do a time machine thing, what would 20-year-old David Njoku say about today? 

“What would 20-year-old David say about today? Probably – I mean, you got to understand, it’s a different mentality. 20-year-old David was not thinking of the team as much. I was thinking about the team, but not to this extent. Me now, all I think about every day is what can I do to help the team get better? Sometimes it’s more mental, sometimes it’s physical. I just do whatever I can to help.”


David (Njoku) when you facetimed Stefanski on the jug machine, that story he shared.

“He told you that [laughing]!”


A while ago. Was that part of what that was all about? You’re trying to show this is all about the team.” I want to be that guy for this team?

“I can’t believe he told you that. I feel very embarrassed. What are your questions?”


Was that what it was all about for you? Was it about, ‘Hey, I want to be that guy for this team.’ I want to show you where my head’s at.

“No, because he knows where my head is at. I guess it was more so for me because when I called him, the first thing he told me was don’t worry about it. Especially with how everything was going losing Nick Chubb, losing Deshaun (Watson), losing players that we had. Guys had to step up, it wasn’t really to show him that I’m 1,000.”



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