Former Bishop Hendricken standout and Providence native Will Blackmon appeared at a rally at his old high school on Thursday afternoon, where the New York Giants punt returner interacted with the student body and faculty. PHOTO BY BRENDAN McGAIR
WARWICK â Nearly two weeks have elapsed since Will Blackmon found himself engulfed in a sea of confetti at Lucas Oil Stadium, the first true sign that the Providence native was officially a Super Bowl champion.
Needless to say, the feeling associated with âGiants 21, Patriots 17â is one that hasnât completely sunk in, at least not right now. Blackmon appeared at a rally at his old high school Thursday, the Bishop Hendricken student body and faculty packing the gym to catch a glimpse of the newly minted champ.
Blackmon spent roughly 10 minutes on the stage, fielding questions from students while trying to speak over the âWill Blackmonâ chants that bounced off the gymnasiumâs walls. Once he was done addressing the masses, Blackmon fielded questions that ranged from his Super Bowl voyage to what lies ahead.
On what heâs been feeling since winning pro footballâs biggest game two Sundays ago in Indianapolis:
Will Blackmon: âItâs been out of control, a whirlwind. After the parade I didnât go out to any parties; I just stayed home with my family, but once I go back home to California, Iâll be able to breathe. Itâs been crazy (smiling).â
On whether he was a Patriots fan growing up:
WB: âI grew up liking individual players. Thatâs the way my father was and he passed that down to me.â
On whether heâs caught any ribbing from New England followers:
WB: âI talked to Coach (Mike Quigley, Blackmonâs freshman football coach at Hendricken) and he kept reminding me that âGood luck in the game, but go Patriots.â I was like âWhy even call me, coach?ââ
On what the scene was like immediately following New Englandâs Hail Mary play that came up just short:
WB: âWhen I was young, my father and I would always watch the Super Bowl. You see all the excitement and the hoopla and youâre like âOh, cool.â Once I got to the NFL, thatâs what youâre playing for every year. Once you get to the actual game, its fantasyland; you really donât believe it.
âWhen the ball hit the ground in the end and clock hit zero, it was crazy. I was like âThis is really happening.â
On what it means to finally be called a world champion:
WB: âYou hear the clichĂ© that hard work pays off, but itâs true. Usually those simple sayings are so true, but the obstacles I went through, to not give up and keep doing everything I had to do âŠ it got to the point where I could only control one thing and thatâs taking care of my body and just having faith that things will happen.
âI always told myself that I wanted to win the Super Bowl and when I did, I wanted to hold my son and see the trophy. You say those things, but for it to actually happen, itâs unreal.â
On what guided him during his multiple comebacks from injuries:
WB: âIâm fortunate to have a solid home. My wife and my son, I go home and I completely forget about everything thatâs gone on. I get to live in the moment and be a father and a husband.
âIâll be rehabbing and become frustrated, but when I go home, I have that break to where I realize whatâs important.â
On comparing and contrasting being on the Green Bay team that lost on an overtime kick by New Yorkâs Lawrence Tynes in the 2007 NFC Championship to the Giants team that won this yearâs NFC title game, which was also decided by a Tynes kick in sudden death:
WB: âI figured after the San Francisco game that I was going to write a book called âBoth Sides of Spectrumâ where I was on the losing end of a Lawrence Tynes kick and then I happen to be on the winning end. Itâs true that if you canât beat them, join them, so I did.â
On whether he wondered if the call would ever come from a NFL team again (Note: Blackmon landed on injured reserve during the 2010 season and was without a team when the 2011 campaign got underway):
WB: âNobody was calling. One day I had a fever of 104 and told my family to leave the house because it was that bad. I was so depressed that I stayed in my room for three days â ready to look for a job or something else.
âA couple of week later, I wasnât thinking about football. The next morning the phone rang. It was about 6 oâclock in the morning [West Coast time] and I said âThis is an unusual phone call because no one in California would call us that early. This person must be on the East Coast.â
âMy wife was letting the phone ring. I jumped out of bed and grabbed it. It was my agent telling me that I was going to New York. I was just looking to get my name out there and get in a couple of games, but I was part of a team that just kept on winning.â
On an exchange he had with Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan during Super Bowl week (Note: Ryan wrote a story about kick returners as it relates to the costly drops by San Franciscoâs Kyle Williams in the NFC Championship):
WB: â(Ryan) had a long interview with me during Media Day about dropping punts. Iâm like âBob, youâre going to put that in your column?â He talked to [New Englandâs] Julian Edelman about Kyle Williams and he talked to me about the same thing. It was crazy stuff about dropping the punt, the ball hitting you in the face. I think that was the last interview I did before the game. Now itâs in my mind.
âOn the punt prior to [the Giants marching down the field for the go-ahead score], I thought the ball hung in the air for like 10 minutes. My heart is pounding because all I want to do is catch the ball. If you donât thereâs no way you can go back to New York.â
On what the future holds (Note: Blackmon is a free agent):
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WB: âI would love to stay with the Giants. That would be my first choice.â