Marvin Austin quotes from UNC Pro Day

Former UNC defensive end Marvin Austin spoke with reporters for several minutes on Tuesday at Navy Field during Pro Day. More than 90 NFL scouts and coaches were on hand for the event.

Austin was dismissed from the team on Oct. 11 for violations of NCAA agent benefits, preferential treatment and ethical conduct rules.

Here’s a transcript of selected quotes from the draft hopeful in his return to a UNC field.

On how he’s grown
I’ve grown a lot with getting older, you grow and look at things and look back at things that you can get better at and improve on and some of the things you did good. I think I’ve grown and matured a lot. On the field I’ve matured a lot about the game of football and off the field just making better decisions and thinking about everything I do before I do it because one play can cause you the game, and that’s how I look at my situation. I never had any type of trouble, no academic trouble no nothin, I made a bad decision and it cost me my season, it cost me my image in the media. Cause the people who know me, know me. It cost a lot of people other than myself.

On how this hurt his image
I was always known before then as to an outgoing guy that had fun and was cheerful. When I made that decision people looked at it as a chance to poke at me and try to break me down. It was extremely hard being questioned about some of the things that I love to do. For them to question, ‘Does he love the game? Does he want be a professional?’ All I could do, when I had a chance to go out and perform, I’ve gotten better.

On Twitter
The NCAA, when they came to me with some of their inquiries, I believe they were coming to just investigate because we had so many guys come back when we could have had a lot of guys leave as juniors. I believe they wanted to find out if anything happened with that situation and nothing did. And when they got us in there and questioned us, they asked me what trips I went on and I told them the truth. That’s how the trips and stuff came about. Then they found the tweet, and to be honest with you, I was in the airport.

On where he’ll be on draft night
That’s something I’m thinking about. I haven’t been invited anywhere right now. So I’ll probably just be with my family, be with the people I know and love.

On negative responses from UNC fans
I got hate mail. A guy sent me some mail and he pretty much said that I disgraced the university. He didn’t know what I did, he didn’t care what I did, I disgraced the university and that I should be ashamed of myself. I should be ashamed of the way my parents raised me. And I wish I had the letter I could show you exactly what he said. It talked about me having my locks, said that I should cut my hair when I’m ready to represent this university, which I didn’t understand how my hair could have anything to do with the type of person that I was. He went as far as to say he was a Rams Club member and whoever paid for my scholarship I disgraced them and wished I never came to the university. I just took that right there and I believe there are ignorant people in the world and I just thought it was interesting that he felt that way about me. That he was so convicted in his opinion of me.

But I had way more overwhelming good stuff from Tar Heel nation than I did bad so it was all a learning experience and I really appreciate all the Tar Heel fans. I’d like to apologize to them again because they were there the whole way. Every time we were going to play, even when I went to the LSU game, they welcomed me with open arms. I was kind of skeptical to go to the LSU game for a number of reasons because I knew when I went to the game that a lot of cameras would be in my face. So I didn’t really want to go out there but my teammates they wanted me. They was like, ‘We want you to experience this moment with us.’ That’s the stuff that nobody from the media got a chance to talk to about. And one of my teammates gave me a ticket to get into the game. That’s how I got in there, by the way, for whoever said how I got into the game. Me, Robert (Quinn), Charles (Brown) and Michael McAdoo we all drove down to the game. It was good to see that people still had my back. They understood that I made a mistake. I was 21 years old, and everyone out here has made a mistake at 21. It’s just that when I was at that age there was a lot of attention surrounding me for coming back to school. I didn’t understand how they could question, did I want to play for the love of the game or the lifestyle.

If I wanted the lifestyle I would have left school and went to be a professional and I had a second-round grade from the committee. I could have been a second-, third-round pick so I was still gonna be rich—if it was for the lifestyle. It was for the relationships and my teammates. I tweeted on January 1, my birthday, that I was coming back to school. And the Tweeters said it’s not always about money. My teammates, the relationships and stuff like that, that’s why I came back to school. I came back, because when I came to this university I said I wanted to be a national champion. And we had a vision together as a team. You can see the number of scouts that we have out here. We had the players to do it and it’s just an unfortunate situation. All in all it was a growing experience. I’m past it and I’m ready to become a professional now.

On his emotions returning to a UNC field
You think about it but you can’t shed no tears. You got to be macho. But it was good to get out here and good to feel the game again. This is football weather right now, so it was good to get out here and perform in these kinds of conditions.

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