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Co-authored by Ethan Kye and Merrick Itera (with Kentez Johnson and Aman Takess)

A note from the Editor-in-Chief: Things always seem better when they end on a nice round number. It just seems to work that way. Well, with that in mind, I’ve decided to combine our final two interviews into one bumper article. Call me old fashioned, but leaving the last article on ‘Episode 11′ just doesn’ t quite seem satisfying enough. Enjoy this extended read, and again, good luck in the draft later. Over to Ethan and Merrick.

Kentez Johnson

Well folks, this is my final interview before the big draft day later tonight, and I had the chance to kick it with none other than Kentez Johnson. He allowed me to boot some questions his way and get to know him on a better level. I figured well, ‘hell, why not share it with all you others out there in the SFL, so you can all get a kick out of all the questions I punted his way‘. I mean, come on, we are all teed up for this incoming draft anyways, so without further ado, I present to you the story of a kicker… oops I mean QB!

EK: So Kentez where did you grow up at? What was high school like for you? Were you kicked around in school or did you kick it with your friends?                                           KJ: As a child I grew up in Buffalo, New York however I moved to Murfreesboro, Tennessee during my freshman year in high school. We ended up moving mostly because the environment I was living in wasn’t secure. I am pretty happy that I made it out, but I do feel bad because I left some of my old friends, and they are still on the streets. High school was pretty rough at first because I didn’t know anyone as I had just moved there. I didn’t start playing football until my sophomore year in high school, mainly because I was more into baseball. During my freshman year in high school, I was really quiet and stayed isolated, however when sophomore year rolled around I was more vocal with others and started taking a liking to football, mostly due to the highlights someone showed me.

EK: What college did you attend? What was college like for you? What courses did you study there?                                                    KJ: I went to the University of Tennessee; while there i studied accounting. College was a hell of a ride man! After my Sophomore year in college, I decided to declare for the SFL draft, however my parents wanted me to stay for my Senior year. Ultimately, I decided to enter this years draft and still think it was the right choice until this day.

EK: While at college you obviously attended their football program or you wouldn’t have entered the draft, what was it like there? Did you start as a quaterback or did you kick around the idea of possibly playing in other positions like for instance: kicker, punter, wide receiver, running back or defensive back etc.? What did you learn while being a part of their team?                                         KJ: Well, I was the quarterback basically my whole entire high school career. U of T’s football program was outstanding man, I was so glad I decided to attend college there because they taught me multiple things that have molded me into the man I am today. When I went to U of T, they asked me if I wanted to play running back because I was pretty quick. However, I ultimately decided to stick with quarterback and I am glad I made that choice man, because now I am a top 20 prospect in the up and coming SFL draft. I learned that you have to stick with something and work towards it, you just can’t wait for it to come to you. YOU have to go and get it yourself.

EK: So, before you decided to kick college to the curb and enter the SFL what were your future goals in life? How will the SFL impact you? What do you bring to the SFL that is of value to your team and teammates?          KJ: Well, in my Freshman year, my goal was to make the MLB and move my family into a nice home and eventually start a family. I hope that the SFL will be a great learning experience for me, I know there will be ups and downs. I know that I will make mistakes as a rookie, but hopefully the team I go to I can make an impact right away. One thing that I bring to my team and teammates is a positive attitude man. Another thing I bring to my team and teammates is a competitive drive. I love to win and I want to hopefully bring the team I go to, to a championship someday.

EK: OK! I have to ask, what is the deal with everyone saying you would be a great kicker? Is it something you kicked around with or is it just rumors? Is there any truth behind the rumors? You just seem to punt away all thoughts of it, you must be used to it.                                                                       KJ: I don’t know what’s up with that man and I don’t plan on being a kicker in this league. As far as I am concerned, it’s all just rumors. I have no intentions of becoming a kicker.

EK: What would your reaction and emotions be if you were signed as a kicker by one of the teams?( not saying you will be) How would you handle it? Would you retire from that position and try again next year?         KJ: I would sign with that team because I mean a team is a team. I would try to be as positive as I could be about the situation if that was to happen, however, I am not trying to give any teams ideas or anything like that.

EK: Like I have asked many of the other rookies, what would you tell the future rookies and the ones newly arriving? What advise would you bestow upon them? What would the do’s and do nots be if you were to tell the rookies?                                              KJ: I would tell future rookies and newly arrived rookies to try and stay on the owner’s and GM’s good side. I have made some mistakes in the past that I am still trying to correct. To all future and newly arrived rookies, try and stay positive and encourage others. Always give 200% on and off the field at all times. DON’T be negative toward your teammates or just people in general because negativity affects play on the field.

EK: Well, as we come to the end of our interview, are there any rookies you would like to give a shout out to? Who, out of all the rookies, would you kick it with the most?KJ: Honestly, I want to give a shout out to all the rookies for just being active and staying positive entities at the combine. I wanna mention three people in particular: MDP also known as Marcus Dunhill, BJ Loveless, and Ethan Kye. I wanna give those three a shout out because of all the rookies, they are by far the nicest, coolest, and most active people I have met thus far. I am happy I have met them. I would kick it with BJ Loveless the most because he seems like a pretty chill, down to earth person.

EK: Well thanks for taking the time to do this interview with me, Kentez. You will make a great kicker.                                                     KJ: I’m grateful that you were willing to have me brotha and i don’t think so haha.

EK: Just kidding bro! Good luck in the draft Friday.

Aman Takess

Position: LB/DE/DT
College: University of Maryland
Measurables: 6’3”, 250 lbs.

I’ve been hearing a certain LB/DT/DE has been gaining an almost unbelievable mystique around himself here at the Combine over these last couple of weeks. His name was mentioned in awe, and always came accompanied by a furtive glance from side to side as the word left the speaker’s lips. I started my search for him on the practice field, and although I didn’t find the rookie I was looking for, I did find a group of rookies gathered on the sidelines, barking at each other. Now, I’m still relatively new to the Combine scene, so I thought that this may be a ritual that I was unaware of and hadn’t witnessed before… but as I started to walk towards them I heard conversation along with the barking. “We have to get the dog in us!” said the apparent leader of the ragtag collections of rookies, spurring them on to another round of barking and howling. I noticed another scout off to the side of the group, and approached him, asking him what the hell was going on. He just shook his head, and told me that Aman Takess had been out here earlier, accusing everyone on the field of being ‘3rd round trash’ and declaring that “nobody out here can match the level of Aman Takess; no one has the dog in them like I do…” before walking off the field in disgust. These rookies had been gathered ever since, barking and howling like idiots. I thanked the scout for the info, and also got the location of the rook I was looking for; he had headed to the weight room from the field. Hoping I’d still find him there, I walked towards the weight room, my interest piqued by what I’d seen so far. The weight room was as crowded as I expected it to be, being the day of the draft and all. Even with the weight room being crowded, though, I immediately identified the rook I was looking for. He had the bench all to himself, glaring at anyone foolish enough to approach either the bench or the weight rack next to it. I maintained a fierce gaze, locked eyes with him, and approached.

INTERVIEW

MI: Excuse me, Aman? Do you have time in between sets to answer a few questions for me?
AT: First of all, when you greet the Great Aman you put a SIR on the end of that statement…but, for the SFL I will make time to answer a few of your questions…only because The Great Aman wills it.

MI: (Oh wow, they weren’t kidding) uh, ok – Aman, do you have a few minutes for the GM of the owner of the 3rd overall pick in the draft, the Las Vegas Fury… sir?
AT: NOW we’re talking! The Great Aman will answer your questions respectfully.

MI: I see. I’m glad to hear that. Now, I’ve heard lots of rumors about you during the last couple of weeks around the Combine. People keep mentioning this almost mythical ‘backer that plays up on the line as well as he does backing it up… am I correct in assuming they’re talking about you?
AT: There’s no myths here. The Great Aman only speaks of his abilities in factual descriptions. Hands down, The Great Aman Takess is the best all around athlete of this rookie class. He can run a 4.3, he can bench 225 lbs 35 times, anything. The Great Aman will step on any football field and play ANYWHERE on that secondary and lock it down…I’m sure many feeble men want to speak on Aman, hell there’s probably a bunch of Disney animals running around talking about Aman Takess and his skillset…

MI: Now, hold on a second – did you say you’d play on any team’s SECONDARY and lock it down? Are you planning a surprise move to Strong Safety or Cornerback?!
AT: Strong Safety, Cornerback, Free Safety, quarterback, Hotdog stand, the Great Aman will step anywhere near that football and turn a team around…because a real DOG like Aman can be on any side anywhere and be an X factor.

MI: There’s no question; you MUST be the rookie I’ve heard about. It’s surprising to find someone so accomplished come in a little under the radar from the Terrapin’s campus out east… is that why you’re working so hard on making an impact here at the Combine?
AT: Let’s not get confused here, the Great Aman works hard every day. It’s not his fault the rest of the rookies can’t live up to his standard of training…you better put the Great Aman’s name on that quote too, I’ll walk up to every last one of these rookies and call ‘em SORRY.

MI: I mean, a standard of training is one thing, but some of the things that people have witnessed you do here seem far removed from what most would call a standard of training, don’t you think?
AT: When Aman does any form of training, it isn’t to show off, its to be stronger than ANY opponent. When I wrestle a bear in my free time, I know I can truck people like that “Ray Bentley” in my sleep. He isn’t even a Bentley, he’s a broke down 94 Honda Civic on craigslist. I pick up mountain lions for a warmup. I’ll look them in the eye and tell them “don’t come back with that warthog and meercat Hakuna Matata nonsense either. You’ll never be king, the Great Aman is king.”… The Great Aman lives to train, I am basically Tarzan from the hood. I can’t expect a suit and tie like yourself to understand that, with all due respect.

MI: Listen Rook – The “U” created the turnover chain to keep my hands cuffed and I STILL pick-6’d the quarterback during practice – I know all about being exceptional. But I can say with absolute surety that I haven’t tried to head-butt a Big Horn Sheep to death to increase my tackle strength or anything like that… Were your parent’s Zoo Keepers or something?                                 AT: The Great Aman’s parents left him in the forest for 3 weeks at the age of 9 to make him a man. If I survived, I could become the man of the house. I came back home with a lions pelt and a snakes petrified body as a pimp cane.

MI: Wow… that’s a very Spartan approach to your upbringing. Do you accredit your parent’s decisions for creating the freak beast you are today, or was there a different source of motivation for you during your formative years?                                             AT: The Great Aman’s only source of motivation needed was the desire to win. Ever since I was a baby, the Great Aman always competes. If a kid at school said he could tie his shoes, the Great Aman would show him up by tying him to a street light at recess.

MI: Who do you consider your competition here, at the SFL Combine? Is there anyone else’s name that you’re keeping track of when they re-rack the Rookie Draft Board display in the main plaza?                            AT: The only man who can come close to matching the Great Aman’s skillset is Phony Hill, and even then the margin is still huge… Phony Hill doesn’t have the dog in him, he couldn’t hold the Great Aman’s jockstrap. He’s sorry, and anybody projecting him in the Top 5 is delusional.

MI: I’ve been meaning to ask you about that…. could you elaborate on what you mean when you say something doesn’t “have the dog” in them?                                 AT: They’re soft! They don’t have the animal instinct in them. The Great Aman will bite when he wants to. I just don’t see that killer animal instinct in anybody here.

MI: So, you mean to say that their competitive edge just isn’t honed to the same razor sharpness that yours is?          AT: Not at all, nobody in this class can match my aggression.

MI: I see… do you expect that to still be the case once (if) you’re picked up in the draft this week? Are there any veterans you think might be able to match your intensity?      AT: The only veteran who can challenge my intensity is Espnn, also, let’s call a spade a spade here. You’d be dumb to pass on the Great Aman. Top 5 or Bottom 5, Aman is going to make you mad you didn’t pick him.

MI: Espnn Ry’ale is a good goal to aim for, in my opinion… he’s a model ‘backer in the league… Since you’ve mentioned draft order… do you expect to go #1 to the Pharaohs?                                                       AT: The Great Aman has no expectations for this draft. Michael Jordan went 3rd, Carmelo Anthony was skipped for a complete nobody, The Raiders could have had Megatron and Aaron Rodgers on the same team.

MI: I agree that talent shows out on the field, regardless of when or where you get picked up. Is that why you weren’t concerned when you started to fall on the Rookie Big Boards earlier in the offseason?
AT: The Great Aman simply allowed Xander to get ahead of him. He couldn’t allow this draft to get too out of hand…. with that being said, he’s going down too.

MI: Now, you’ve mentioned both Xander and Kody, but not Tom Ramen… do you not see him on the same level as the others?
AT: Look at his name man. Thomas Ramen is a 10 cent quarterback that’ll be out of this league in 2 seasons. A dime a dozen like his cheap Japanese pasta brand name implies.

MI: Damn, it’s like that between you two? I had no idea…
AT: The Great Aman respects no man but the Commish. It is strictly business, and I’m a car salesman until I am drafted. I will not respect other men but the owners and GM’s of the SFL.

MI: Well Aman – I don’t want to hold you up any more than I already have… before I go, is there anything else you’d like to say to the SFL scouts, owners and GM’s that are keeping a close eye on your performance through these last few days leading up to the draft?
AT: Watch close. The Great Aman is just starting. I’m making these rookies look like a flag football team. These weights aren’t going to lift themselves, you want another interview you’ll have to fly over to Denver and pay me 600 bits. I’m getting back to work.

MI: Wait, so does that mean you’re confirmed to the Nightwings?
AT: The Great Aman simply uses their facility to train his body. Denver has a low altitude and the Great Aman can lift more weights this way. The Nightwings Owner Jeremy has allowed me to pull his car up and down the street as part of my training regimen. It seems only fair I give his training facility a shout-out. No team is confirmed with my camp… any more words and its 800 bits.

MI: I’m sure that Mr. Vega will appreciate the love… thanks for your time, Aman. Good luck this weekend!
AT: (Aman walks out mid-sentence, already re-racking weights)…

That signals the end of the Tales from the Combine. We hope you enjoyed reading it as much as we enjoyed producing it.

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