Ferguson brings veteran experience and leadership to a predominantly young group of Texans safeties.
Veteran Nick Ferguson, currently vying for playing time at free safety, joined the Texans this offseason after starting 33 games for the Denver Broncos over the past three seasons. Ferguson had a brief stint as a coaching intern for the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe in 2003 and considers it coaching as a possible career path once his playing days are through.
1. How competitive has this camp been for you?
"Camp has been really competitive. Any time you have a veteran corps of safeties and corners, it's always competitive. I firmly believe that competition brings out the best in you. There are some people who are afraid of competition. For me, I thrive on it. I've said many times, 'Only the cream rises to the top.' It's an old cliché, but it's true. It brings out the best in you."
2. How does your veteran experience help you in battling for a spot at safety?
"The way it has helped me is that I have been around a lot of coaches and systems, a lot of players who will eventually be Hall of Famers, so they teach you to see the game in a different way. Since I've been here, I've seen some things where my coach didn't even have to tell me about it. I've been around it for a while and I've been able to see things, adjust to them. That's helped me, but also, being around and being a veteran, that leadership helps as far as the young players, taking that knowledge that I've gained over my years of playing and being able to help them."
3. Are you excited to see your former team and teammates on Saturday?
"(Laughs) You know, yeah, really excited. There are a couple of guys there that are good friends of mine. I haven't seen them in a while; can't wait to see them. But unfortunately, at the same time, there are some guys who I had a great time with in Denver who are no longer with the team, you know, (WR) Rod Smith and a really good friend of mine, (S) John Lynch, who is not there anymore. I was really looking forward to seeing John (Lynch)."
4. Do you think your experience playing in Denver for five years will help you impress the Texans' coaches on Saturday?
"Maybe, maybe not. The reason being is because practicing against this particular offense is similar to practicing against Denver's offense. There are certain guys I know from playing at Denver and there may be certain things they do, certain things they don't do, and I'm sure from me being there five years it's vice-versa. So, for me, I'm just looking forward to getting out there and showing the fans of Texas who I am. That's the most important thing."
5. What do you think about Brett Favre going to the New York Jets, another one of your old teams?
"You know, I was just talking to someone today that (Green Bay Packers QB) Aaron Rodgers must have been like, 'Yeah! Brett Favre's gone,' and (New York Jets QB) Chad Pennington must have been like, 'Man, this sucks.' I played against Brett when I was in New York and Denver and to see him in another uniform is going to be weird, especially a Jets uniform, you know. When you think about Jets quarterbacks, you think about Broadway Joe (Namath). Now, it's like, 'Oh, here's Brett Favre,' who is another Hall of Famer. I think it's great for him. I just kind of feel a little sorry for him because of all he's done for football and that franchise and this is the way it worked out. But the thing about it is that he is still playing, and that's what he's always wanted."
6. What made you briefly try out coaching in NFL Europe in 2003?
"Any time in this game or in any profession, you should always prepare yourself for life after whatever it is. For me, I had been told by certain coaches that it would be great if I went into coaching. At first, it wasn't something that I looked at, but it's a good thing to be able to talk to a young guy and seeing that he's getting what you're saying and see if he can get out on the field and really go ahead and put those plans into effect. So, it's a great thing, but it's not something I want to do and rush to right now. I believe I still have a couple of years of playing left, and I'll put the coaching thing on the backburner for now."
7. How was it growing up with 10 siblings?
"It was tough, as I guess one can imagine. There's a point where you have two different households and some over here and some over there, and then we would all get together. It was just kind of crazy. Putting all of those kids together can be a huge problem, and I think that some of the trouble that was caused may have been on my part. That's what happens when you have a lot of kids, but it makes for a great time. You never have to worry about playing one-on-one basketball. You always get to play five-on-five, and you always do things together. So, it was great having a big family."
8. What was the best season of your career?
"I think it was '05. I think I was the third-leading tackler on the team behind (LB) Ian Gold and (LB) Al Wilson, and I had five interceptions that year, a year by which I should have gone to the Pro Bowl. I should have had my first Pro Bowl nod but, unfortunately, I didn't get those votes. I am a little salty about that."
9. How do you spend your time off the field?
"You know, pretty much hanging with my family these days. Before, when I was single, it was movies and video games. But once you get married, parties change. I'm a family man now."
10. Which team are you most excited to go against this season?
"I would say the Colts because when I was in Denver, they were always a thorn in our side. We came close to beating them once but (K Adam) Vinatieri kicked a field goal, and that seems to be this team's biggest rivalry. I have yet to beat them, so I will be looking forward to that game and trying to get a win."