BY Doug Farrar 05:05PM 12/15/2010

Jordan Babineaux

Jordan Babineaux sat down with Doug Farrar of Sportspress Northwest to discuss a range of topics, including what high school football in Texas is really like.

Jordan Babineaux gets ready to line up in one of his many defensive spots. (Rod Mar/Seattle Seahawks)

This week, we talked with Seahawks defensive back Jordan Babineaux on his football experiences in Texas, his secrets to staying in the NFL, and what it will be like to see his brother, Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux, on the other sideline when the Falcons come to Qwest Field this Sunday.

Can you try to put into words what high school football means to the state of Texas?

Have you seen Friday Night Lights (laughs)? It’s really big, man. In most of the smaller country towns, they’ll shut the city down because everyone’s going to the game. And I’ll tell you what – I’ve never seen (anywhere else where) a city will run a coach out of town if they’re not impressed with the job he’s been doing. It’s that tough – almost like an NFL franchise, except they’re not getting paid.

So, it’s like in the TV show, where they talk at length about high school ball?

Oh, yeah. And I want to say that there are even networks that even televise the games. I’ve played in high school games where the crowds were a big as 19-20,000 people, and the team isn’t even in the playoffs. When it is the playoffs, heck then it was the Astrodome, now it’s Cowboys Stadium. You’re playing in front of 50,000, easy.

What kind of advantage does that give you as you move up the ladder – it’s not the big, big time, but you’ve seen the elephant to a degree.

It’s all football – it’s not really the size of the crowd that dictates how one should feel when playing the game. It’s great to have that support and that atmosphere, especially as a 15 or 16-year old player. It’s a good feeling – I’ll say that – but I don’t know. It’s just something that can’t be described unless you experience it.

Do you think the high percentage of players per capita gives a “fishbowl effect” where the scrutiny leads to higher competition and people rise up at a higher level?

Well, we talk about this, and it’s an argument that’s gone on for years – what state has the most players in the NFL? (Cornerback Kelly Jennings breaks ion with “Florida!”) Florida, California, Texas, But everyone knows the best athletes come from Texas (Jennings again: “Florida!”) Everyone knows that.

Now, you and your brother Jonathan aren’t the only NFL notables from Port Arthur – former Cowboys and Dolphins head coach Jimmy Johnson is from there, as is Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles. Have you ever talked to Jimmy?

You know what? Next time you see Jimmy, tell him I’m looking for him. I’ve never met him, but it definitely would be an honor. I mean, he was the face of the Cowboys, and it’s Cowboys country down there. We had a lot of Oilers fans as well – I think Chris Dishman and Earl Campbell were my favorite players growing up – but Jimmy Johnson is definitely the legend down there. The guy had a street named after him! I’m still working on building my street down there, too.

Who else from down there made it in the NFL?

Eric Alexander played for the Patriots when they had their Super Bowl runs, but if you want to go back … Joe Washington, Tim McKyer, Jamaal Charles … what we called the “Golden Triangle” of Port Arthur, Beaumont, and Orange did really have at one point, the highest per-capita ratio of NFL players.

Your brother is one of the more underrated defenders in the league. How would you describe his play in one word?

Disruptive.

And your own?

Great versatility – two words.

Do you think that’s been the key to your longevity?

That’s exactly why I’m still here. Aside from me dressing well and looking as good as I do (laughs), I made myself valuable in the sense that I can play special teams, safety, corner, nickel defender, dime defender. I started out as a corner, than my first snaps came as a dime defender, I moved to the nickel, started at corner, started at safety. And I’m still trucking.

Will you and your brother do anything before or after the game?

He’ll probably come to the house; we’ll definitely eat. I’ll speak with him today and see what his schedule’s like. I’ll be working all week this week to see if I can get some information on what Matt Ryan and Michael Turner are doing on offense this week (laughs).


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