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Quotes: Texans Training Camp Day 3

Posted Jul 28, 2013

Members of the Houston Texans spoke to the media following Sunday's training camp practices.

Head Coach Gary Kubiak
CB Kareem Jackson
CB Johnathan Joseph
NT Earl Mitchell
RT Derek Newton
DE J.J. Watt

Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on G Wade Smith not practicing today) “He’s sick. I don’t know if we’ve got something going around or whatever, but he came in sick this morning. We’ve sent him to the doctor. He’s doing better. I’ll know about him this evening.”

(on if there is an update on TE Garrett Graham) “Garrett is doing good. (He) will be back in the building this evening to start his routine with meetings and stuff, and obviously we’re probably looking at a few days working him back the right way. He’s lost some weight. (It’s) been a pretty rough go on him, but he’s fine. It’s just going to take some time. We’ll get him back the right way.”

(on OLB Sam Montgomery’s injury status) “Sam’s got an ankle. We put him in a boot. He’s going to miss a few days, so he’ll be day-to-day.”

(on if OLB Sam Montgomery’s injury is a sprain) “Just rolled his ankle, yeah.”

(on FB Greg Jones’ status) “Day off. I’ve got a plan for him. He’s been playing a long time, doing a lot of banging and so we’ve got a routine for him. So you’ll probably see him take a morning off every third or fourth day.”

(on the first day practicing in pads) “It looked like it didn’t it? Obviously, it got a little testy out there this morning. That’s a good thing. I thought we were very good, guys competing. But this is when the team really starts to come together, when you’re out there banging on each other and guys have got to carry their pads around. I just told the players, ‘That’s why there’s all kind of guys that can play this game.’ It’s not always the fastest or this or that. There’s a spot for everybody and being able to play in your pads and being a physical player and think has a lot to do with it. We start to separate ourselves today with stuff like that.”

(on guys like OLB Whitney Mercilus, G Brandon Brooks and NT Earl Mitchell waiting their turn and then getting a chance to start) “I think one of the good things about our organization right now is you can look at the last five or six years and that’s our way of doing things. Guys know they’re brought here for a reason and they’re going to get an opportunity to play. The way teams change nowadays with free agency and the cap and, all of a sudden when a decision is made and it’s time to go, those guys have got to grow up real quick. So the process is different around this league. Our guys understand that and them stepping up is the key to our success.”

(on adding FB Greg Jones and how much different the offense will be with a traditional fullback) “We still teach the same way. What ends up being our strength when Greg’s in there, we’ll see, but, obviously, he’s a big banger. He’s proven that he can catch the ball and make some plays throughout his career. So we’ll see, but I like his presence. I like what he stands for. (We) just want to keep him in one piece and get him ready to go.”

CB Kareem Jackson
(on being able to communicate with CB Jonathan Joseph and know what he is thinking on the other side of the field) “Oh, definitely, definitely. Sometimes we communicate just hand sign- language or whatever it may be. We’re definitely on the same page and have the same train of thought on every play so I think that’s a plus for us.”

(on hanging out and training together with CB Jonathan Joseph in the offseason) “Yeah, I think it just comes along with us. Him being a veteran, and you know me, kind of easing my way into being a veteran. You know, Kind of thinking the same. Just kind of want to work together. We play together so we like to be on the same page of what we do so offseason we work out a little bit together.”

(on his position being more important than others on the field) oh definitely, definitely. With us playing the same position, we have to think alike. Certain plays he sees that I won’t see and there’s certain stuff that I’ll see that he won’t see. At the same time we have to be able to translate it to each other and be able to just think about it once he’s telling the other person about it just kind of think about and be like okay, I know what he’s thinking. So I think it’ll just only helps us.”

(on the advantages that the players have to be able to flow on their own.) I think that it just comes with just having a great group of veterans. (WR) Andre Johnson, (RB) Arian Foster, (QB) (Matt Schaub), (ILB) Brian Cushing, and the other guys that are veterans on this team. As a team, we know what coaches expect out of us each and every day. We expect the same out of ourselves. To want to come out and work to get better. To get that second round. Just to have that taste of the playoffs. We definitely want to go further so we just come out and kind of work on our own.”

(on WR Andre Johnson’s window closing) “No. Once you come out and you see Andre work, you kind of say, yeah he could possibly have three or four more left in him. Just physically, you know him as a person, you know he probably definitely doesn’t want to be out here all of his life playing football. It’s a thought, but at the same time he’s a great leader and a great teammate. We love to have him here and to be around him. He’s a hell of a guy.”

(on his relationship with Jonathan) “We’ve developed a great relationship. Almost kind of like brothers. We kind of think the same in certain situations. We work together in the off season as far as conditioning and feet work and stuff so like I said, it’s almost like brothers.”

(on his confidence at this point in his career) “I don’t want to say do anything, but physically that’s my train of thought but as long as its staying within the defense and I’m able to help this team and make some plays so I kind of have that confidence where I think I can make any and every play so I think that just comes along with going into year four and getting a lot more comfortable and perfecting my craft.”

(on what the biggest message that CB Jonathan Joseph gave him when he came in) “I would have to say technique. That’s one of the main things that we preach day in and day out. Definitely have the sharper year. Your tools and your crafty have to have good technique and that’s one of the things they preach the most.”

CB Johnathan Joseph
(on if he took CB Kareem Jackson to do yoga with him) “I didn’t take him. We train in different places, but I called him up on the phone and told him that he needed to try this yoga out. I was going in there and losing five or six pounds of sweat a day. Obviously, I’m working my hips and different joints and things like that, and stretching.”

(on if yoga helps him as a cornerback) “I think it helps a lot. I’m big into stretching now. I wasn’t a big stretcher before, but I worked it into my offseason regimen and everyday plan, and I think it helps a lot.”

(on if there were times when he watched himself on film last year and thought, ‘That doesn’t look like me’) “Not really. I played in about 13 games last year and out of those 13 games, in 11 of them, the guy didn’t have over 60 yards so it was kind of hard to argue with the production at the same time. There would be some games where you could see where I was taking two or three extra steps in my break, where I would usually take one step. With things like that, I guess the answer would probably be yes to your question.”

(on if he had ever done yoga before) “I did it back in 2009. I kind of got away from it, but this year I said I was going to pick it up because I wanted something to push my body in a different way. It can only help me if I go in there. I think I took about four different types of yoga classes with different kinds of stretches and things to help my mobility, my joints and shoulders to have more flexibility and range of motion.”

(on what it was like to walk into yoga classes) “It was weird because there weren’t many guys like me in there. Most people were in their thirties or forties. It would start at eight in the morning. I would go to a class at 12. Sometimes I went back-to-back some days where it would be an hour and 50 minutes straight. For me, it was a struggle. It was new to me, some of the moves and things like that but they talked me through it and helped me out each and every day.”

(on if he does yoga on his own now) “Yeah, I went to the training staff and told them I needed a couple stretching bands. When I left the yoga class, I asked the ladies there if they could give me some stretches to take with me to help me on a daily basis. They gave me some stretches that can help. Things like laying up against a wall and other stretches like that.”

(on if his yoga instructors knew he was a professional athlete) “Yeah, my wife told them that. I wasn’t going to tell them, but my wife told them. They stayed on me a lot and pushed me in the class and I think it helped me out a lot.”

(on WR Andre Johnson saying the Texans window isn’t closing but his personal window is and if they ever think about that) “I think it’s on everyone’s mind. If you watch him practice each and every day and you look at his production, I don’t think so. Obviously me and Andre spend a lot of time off the field together and it never really comes up, but you can only play this game for so long. He knows that. But at the same time, he pushes himself as if he was 21 or 22 years old.”

NT Earl Mitchell
(on the feeling of knowing what it’s like coming into the season knowing he’ll be the starter) “It feels good. I definitely worked my way up I feel and I definitely feel like I was groomed to play the position. I feel like I’m finally ready to take the reins and I feel pretty comfortable.”

(on if it’s good to see all across the team guys working their way up and becoming starters) “Yeah, definitely. When guys get their opportunity, you’re definitely groomed. You’ve got to figure out what the guy’s teaching you and that’s just how the league works. That’s basically a respect factor. Nose tackle is not really a position that people know, but, if you make a mistake, everybody knows about it, so you definitely have to understand what you’re doing, you have to play technique and you’ve got to make sure you’re a well-rounded football player before you get out on the field.”

(on it seeming like Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line Coach Bill Kollar not yelling at him as much and yelling more at NT Chris Jones instead) “Yeah, that’s just a part of the game. Now, you’ve got to groom him. He’s got to learn the ropes and that’s just a part of it. Chris Jones, he’s definitely learning a lot and he has a lot to learn.”

(on how it felt today to put the pads on today and bang around a little bit) “It felt good. It’s been a long time since we were able to put pads on. It was the first time since the last time we played that we were able to kind of just hit each other a little bit more. It’s definitely good to finally get the pads on and get back into it.”

(on what he’s seen out of FB Greg Jones and what he can bring to the offense) “He brings a physical presence. You definitely know what’s coming when he’s in the game and then they can play off of that. They can run play-action just by him being in the game and it kind of sits people down, but you definitely feel that physical presence once he gets into the game.”

(on if he’s happy to have FB Greg Jones on his team) “Exactly, man. I’ve played him a couple of times and we definitely knew what was coming when he got into the game.”

(on how important it is to have more pressure from the nose tackle position this season) “It’s important. We play a lot of dime when it comes to third-down situations, but, when I get my opportunity to get to rush the quarterback; it’s definitely a good opportunity for me. I’m in there first, second down. I’m definitely in there for the run, but, when I get an opportunity to rush the passer, it gives me an opportunity to make some more plays.”

(on if he enjoys when the pads are put on during training camp and practices becoming more feisty) “Yeah, it’s physical. That’s just the nature of the game. Guys get to push each other around and you’ve got guys out there you want on your team that’s not going to get pushed around. That’s just a staple of our defense. We’re not going to get pushed around. We don’t want to get pushed around.”

T Derek Newton
(on if he’s waiting from the medical staff to be at full-go in practice) “Every day, I’m just doing what they tell me to do. (Head) Coach (Gary Kubiak) is like, it’s more of me still feeling 100 percent. As long as I’m feeling good, every day, I’m going to get more and more.”

(on what percent healthy he was last year when he was trying to play with his injury) “I was good enough to play, put it like that. My team needed me, so I was out there.”

(on if he didn’t feel that great when he was playing last year) “I had some pain here and there, but when it’s time to put it all the line for my team, I’m going to be there.”

(on if he was excited to have surgery in the offseason) “The surgery was something I kind of had some doubts about, but at the same time, me and (Head Athletic Trainer) Kap (Geoff Kaplan) sat down and talked and felt like it was best for me to get it out of the way now. That way, I wouldn’t have to worry about it in the future. I’m kind of glad I did it (and) I’m feeling great now.”

(on if the rehab process was good for his overall conditioning) “Yeah, it was good, but, at the same time, I wanted to be out there with my team. I knew I couldn’t, so it was all about getting my leg fully healthy and, during OTAs, getting a lot of mental reps.”

(on if he thinks he’ll start against San Diego for the first regular season game) “Yes sir, I’m ready to go week one.”

(on what the biggest thing he’s learned from last year) “I’ve just got to focus on getting my technique right and being more consistent.”

(on improving the right side of the offensive line in the run game this year) “We’ve got to be in sync with each other. We did some good things last year, but sometimes, it didn’t go right. But, at the same time, we’re going to bounce back this year and we’re going to be one line and we aren’t going to have to worry about any left-side, right-side comparison. We’re going to be ready to go.”

(on how ready he was to put pads on and hit somebody) “I’ve been ready to go for a long time. Sitting back and watching, you get anxious, but my team held it down while I was out and I’m ready to provide now that I’m back.”

DE J.J. Watt
(on opposing teams starting to focus on him) “It’s going to be fun. I’m going to have a lot of fun out there. I’ve got a lot of great teammates around me, so they can’t block us all.”

(on the growing pains of the NFL) “I feel great. I’m experienced now. I have had a couple years in the league. I have been through a couple training camps and you kind of get in the groove. You know how your body reacts to things. You know how to prepare yourself properly and each year I get to focus on things a little bit more cause I got the playbook down.  I got the defense down, and now I get to focus specifically on my game. “

(on being the highest ranked defensive player in the NFL Top 100) “I don’t have many thoughts on it. It’s just a list.”

(on the players voting for the NFL Top 100) “That’s cool, it’s cool. I worry about out on the field. I worry about the film, I worry about the games. I just want to play ball.”

(on first day in pads) “It’s football now. It’s football. We haven’t played. We haven’t gotten to play in a while so it feels good to play real football. Put the pads on, bang some heads and have some fun. This is what it’s all about. This is fun, this is what I love and this is what makes coming to work fun. Anybody can look good in shorts, it’s what happens when you put the pads on that you get to actually see who is really good.”

(on being able to separate players once pads come on) “This is when you find out who’s got it. Who is a football player and who is a guy who looks like he could be a football player. This is what gets your juices going. If you’re a real player, if you’re a guy who loves the game, you love coming out to practice with the pads on because you get to hit every single day and you get to prove yourself.”

(on the offensive line) “I think we have a good offensive line. I mean its day one with pads. I can’t tell you a lot from day one, but I know from playing against them last year and from watching them play on game days. They are a good offensive line and obviously with camp they are going to get better. (LT) Duane (Brown) is Duane. He is one of the best in the game; he is great. (C Chris) Myers is a fantastic center and (LG) Wade (Smith) is good over on his side. (RG) Brandon Brooks is a strong guy. (RT) Derek Newton’s coming off injury, but he is coming along. We will see how it goes; its day one.”

(on consistency on the right side of the offensive line) “Of course, that is what camp is for. It’s for building that chemistry, it’s for getting those calls down. It’s for getting that bond between those guys. Offensive line is one of the most important groups for that. They have to have great communication, they have to be in tune with each other and I think our guys are great at that. We have a really close knit offensive line.”

(on safeties playing linebacker during practice) “Its day three of camp and I’m really not 100 percent aware of what’s going on behind me.  I’m worried about focusing on my game right now and as the season goes I will learn more about everything back there, but I’m sure they are doing a great job. If I get the sack, it doesn’t matter what happens behind me.”

(on the team’s attitude) “When you put the pads on, you expect a little bit of fire and a little bit of edge. I think it definitely showed and that’s when you know you’ve got a good group. You’ve got guys who are hungry and you got guys who are ready to play. You don’t want to go out here and have it be like a patty cake session. You want it to be fiery. You want there to be a little bit of flare up. I think it’s good. I think it shows the aggression that we have and I think it shows how ready everybody is.”

(on who might start a fight at practice) “No, I mean, you always know a couple guys who are going to be in the scrum, but at the end of the day you never really know. For me, (DE) Antonio (Smith) has got to be in there somewhere, it’s just a given. That’s who he is and I love it. I love playing next to him, he is a crazy guy.”

(on how he feels day three of training camp) “Its day three; you can’t tell a whole lot with pads on. I feel good. My body feels really good. Being here year three, I know how to take care of it. I know how to handle it and it feels great. I feel explosive. Just working on some stuff, that’s what’s fun about camp. You get to work on a lot of different things. You get to do one-on-one pass rush every single day and try some new moves. Some of the stuff may not work, some of the stuff will be great and that’s what I love about camp. You get to improve yourself every single day. Now, I get to go in and watch the film to see if I improved and I get to improve again tomorrow. Each day I get a little bit better and a little bit better and then when 9-9 comes it will be a great thing.”

(on players  controlling the team more than coaches) “I think so. I think we have a group of guys who have been here for a decent amount of time and we understand the program. We understand what it takes to get prepared and we definitely have that core group of guys who can keep things in line and who can kind of run things. Obviously, the coach is here to coach and they teach, but the tempo, the intensity, and the focus is all set by one group of guys. When you have a good group of guys, that’s good for your team and that’s good for moving forward.”

(on the leadership on defense) “It’s good to have experienced guys on your defense. Cush (ILB Brian Cushing) is obviously a great football player and (FS) Ed Reed has a lot of experience whenever he comes out. We are excited to have him out here. We have a great team and it’s fun to come to practice every day because you never know what’s going to happen. You know you’re going to have plays being made and you know you’re going to have a lot of great, experienced voices out there. Each day is going to get a little bit better.”

(on S D.J. Swearinger) “He is a fiery little guy. He’s a good little player back there and it’s exciting to have a guy back there who is confident. He is definitely confident, so it will be interesting to see how it plays out with him and how well he progresses along. He has the confidence and he has that little swagger to him. That’s always good to have.”

(on if he can hear S D.J. Swearinger on the field) “I hear him every now and then. I hear the chirping from the back end and that’s good. That means he made a play and any time he is making plays that’s good for our defense, so that’s fine by me.”

(on people saying his numbers will regress from last year) “They are probably sitting behind a desk somewhere.  I’m out here working. I’m in the weight room putting in work, so anybody sitting behind a desk or talking to a camera can say whatever they like. I’m just going to go out here and put my work in every single day. I’m going to do what I do and people can say whatever they want about me. They can say I’m the best in the world, they can say I’m the worst in the world. I could literally not care any less. I’m just going to put in the work to be the best I can possibly be and I’ll go from there.”

 Afternoon Practice:

Head Coach Gary Kubiak
DE Antonio Smith

Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on if there is any news this afternoon) “No, nothing different. (TE) Garrett (Graham) is back with the team. He’s not doing anything right now, but he’s back. (CB Johnny) Adams, the corner, was not working this afternoon. Yeah, he didn’t work this morning. Other than that, nothing’s changed.”

(on if TE Garrett Graham is going to be okay) “Yeah, he’s doing good. He lost some weight (and) he’s trying to keep some food down. (We’re) trying to get him going again, but he’s well enough to be back around the team. (He) will be back in meetings tonight and we’ll work on the process of getting him back on the field.”

(on what he looks for his fullbacks to do) “It all depends who they are. (Greg) Jones, we know is a big physical banging guy. Tyler (Clutts) is a pretty athletic type of guy and the young kid we have (Zach Boren) has got a little bit of both. We have a two-back offense that we teach. How much we do depends probably on who that guy ends up being for our team, but it’s always going to be something that we do. It’s something that we believe in. That’s why we brought Greg here to be a part of it. We’re trying to bring him along the right way.”

(on afternoon practices being different since the most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement and what he’s looking for in these sessions) “Yeah, really what you’re trying to do is still keep an edge where we’re walking around fast, so you’re not just standing out here. But one of your practices has to be a walkthrough. We just try to keep them focused on what they’re doing. (We) don’t want to be out here long. We also try to rest a bunch of veteran players and give a lot of young guys repetitions, so it works out good from that standpoint. I think it’s for the better. I think it’s been good. For us, we have to work in the morning because of the heat, but our afternoons are good too now that we’ve got this nice turf field. I think it’s helped out.”

(on how he views the safety position since FS Ed Reed is not practicing) “First off, we’ve got a good group. (FS) Shiloh (Keo) has become a much better player for our football throughout the course of last year and right now. He’s really competing extremely well. (S) D.J. (Swearinger) has been everything we thought he would be. He acts like he’s been around four or five years, and that’s who we thought we were drafting, so that’s a positive. We’ve got five guys working. That’s not many right now. We think we’re going to get the (S Orhian) Johnson kid back tomorrow. We’ll see, but it’s a good competitive group. Adding Ed to it is a big, big plus. We’ve got to keep going until he gets here.”

DE Antonio Smith
(on tempers flaring during morning practice ) “That just comes with putting the pads on. I have hardly ever been on any team where when the pads come on, it might not be the first day, but before long you’re going to have some skirmishes.”

(on if that type of emotion is a good thing) “It depends; sometimes it can be a bad thing. Sometimes nothing good can come out of it. Sometimes it just shows the toughness of your team and the competitiveness because once you put those pads on, you got grown men going at it and trying to win each down so it’s going to have some competition in it.”

(on offensive line versus defensive line one-on-one’s) “It’s getting better. I think that if you don’t practice your pass rush, you ain’t gonna do it out there on the field. I think that first day of one-on-one pass rush was still a little rusty for both sides. Some people was winning, some people wasn’t winning. A lot of people were falling and didn’t have their footing right. Things like that, but today was a lot smoother. Even with the rain, it was a lot smoother.”

(on OLB Whitney Mercilus going against LT Duane Brown in practice every day) “That’s going to be probably the best training he can ever have. Right now, in my opinion, I think Duane is the best tackle in the league. I have watched him develop over these years and I don’t see nobody holding a real candle to him right now. There might be some close, but if you’re practicing against him every day you can’t help but to get better.”

(on LT Duane Brown) “It’s awesome to me, man. Like I said, I watched him develop since the moment I got here. There were just a couple things that I told him he needed to work on at that point in time. When I told him, he took that and mastered it. He went above whatever it was I gave him and that’s just to show what type of player he is. He really hates to lose and he tries to perfect everything that he do.”

(on being a coach on the field) “I always had a little coach in me. It’s part of my sensei hood.”

(on being defensive coordinator when Wade Phillips was out) “No, I don’t want no coaching responsibilities job. I just teach guru stuff: pass rush, hands, feet, aggressiveness. Those are the things I teach. I don’t want to wake up early in the morning; I don’t want to be here at 11 o’clock at night.”

(on who has impressed him on defensive line) “Willie, number 63 (OLB Willie Jefferson). He surprised me. When you put the pads on, that’s when you really want to see what somebody brings to the game. He really surprised me as far as over there with us.”

(on DE Jared Crick’s quickness) “Yeah, but Crick been quick. He’s just going to have to work on becoming the pro that he’s going to turn into. Right now, I think that he is past that rookie stage. He knows how to hold down blocks, he knows how to pass rush, and he can make plays. All he got to do now is just hone in on his craft. Who else? Hunter. Yeah, that’s who I forgot about (DE) David Hunter. They have been screaming his name for two days now and we are trying to stop it from going to his head. He has been doing pretty good.”

(on NT Earl Mitchell) “Earl has always had the skills. He is one of the quickest, probably the quickest on our d-line as far as the first step. He is powerful, probably one of the strongest if not the strongest. I was telling Bill (Kollar) today that he just needs to put it all together. Once he put it all together, he gone be not just a great player but a dominate player because of the assets that he do have. I think that this year, like you said, he is getting better because that just comes with getting reps. When you get reps, being number one and being in the game, you can adjust your game and things like that. I think it makes you better and you can see out there on the field that he is a lot better player.”

(on not having ILB Brian Cushing in and how the outside rush changed because of it) “I feel pretty much, it wasn’t many sacks. The sacks, they speak for themselves. (ILB Cameron) Collins, (OLB) Brooks (Reed) and (OLB Whitney) Mercilus had a lot of winning reps and that’s when they beat the guy they’re on; they just didn’t get to the quarterback. I’ve seen a lot of that from watching the film from last year. They were winning, people were just getting the ball off a little bit and sometimes they were just a second late. Cush (ILB Brian Cushing) rushes from the inside, so I don’t know how much it affects the outside other than, you know, the offensive line being able to slide protect because they don’t feel that threat of Cush coming up the middle, but (ILB) Bradie James is probably one of the best rushing blitzers I’ve seen as a linebacker. He kind of stepped up there too last year.”

(on what those guys have to do to be quicker and winning) “You’re going to have some of the best moves you’ve ever done before and those will never get you to the quarterback and one of the worst moves you do will get you the easiest sack you’ve ever had before. So it’s give or take, man. It’s not a specific thing that says how you can get there quicker because like I said, they were beating people right off the ball just sometimes you have good quarterbacks. They get the ball of their hard.”

(on if they had the rookie entertainment last night) “It changed man. It ain’t like it used to be. We used to make them sing. Now they get to choose what they want to do. We had some poetry with like a rap-poetry and then a real rap.”

(on which rookies were the best and worst) “(OLB) Sam (Montgomery) was the funniest. He’s just naturally funny, man. I was laughing the whole time. (S) D.J. (Swearinger), he just needed a beat. If he just had a beat with the rap that he was doing, it might’ve went platinum. It wasn’t bad. It was good.”

(on his thoughts on S D.J. Swearinger being very vocal when the offense and defense got into it this morning) “I loved that. I loved that. That’s kind of what I want to do. Light a spark on my team, show defense what type of defense we’re going to be. Any great defense that you’ve ever seen has always been aggressive. A great defense has never been a passive defense. Me seeing that and the youngsters that sparked that up, the rest of practice, there was some good competition out there. It made me smile. It puts a warm place in my heart.”

(on how much they’re getting to know the young players through camp) “You get to know them more and more every day. It’s almost like college, where you’re spending most of your time of your day with each other in the locker room and talking and laughing. You have to find some way to pass the time, so you get to talking about people’s lives and things like that. As the days go by, you’re going to get to know each and every player more and more.”

 

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