What Lions’ Frank Ragnow said at opening press conference

The Detroit News

Lions first-round draft pick Frank Ragnow, a center from Arkansas, was introduced to the Detroit media Friday.

Here are the highlights from his media session, as transcribed by the Lions’ P.R. department.

Matt Patricia, Lions coach

Opening statement: "Obviously, we’re very excited to welcome Frank into our organization, ready to just get going. Obviously, it’s everything we talked about, from trying to help our team to get better and the things that we’re looking for, and we feel that he does a great job of helping us in those areas and someone that we’re very proud of. So, it’s a great day for the Lions organization, very excited for Frank and his family who are here with us today. So, thank you so much and we’re going to get Frank up here and let him get going."

Frank Ragnow

Opening statement: “Hey guys, I’m Frank Ragnow and I am so, so, so excited to be here. Dream come true and I couldn’t be more happy to be part of Detroit and be under Coach (Matt) Patricia. Just really excited to get to work.”

On how quickly the organization suggested he wear a blue tie: “How quickly? No, actually this was on me. I decided that the red (tie) maybe wasn’t the best idea.”

On how the Lions’ desire to build a team from the inside out fits with his playing style: “I think I just play football. I take a lot of pride in the way that I play, how hard I play. I think that’s what they are talking about. I take a lot of pride in finishing guys and I just think that’s very important. It’s a physical game and I think that’s a very important part of it.”

On recalling the moment he was drafted as he was surrounded by family and friends: “This is going to be tough, I basically blacked out. It was incredible. I had a lot of people there. My agents were telling me not to invite that many people because, you know, you never know. But there’s a lot of people who made me who I am today. There’s a lot of people that have supported me and been through a lot of things, so I wanted everybody to be there. And then leading up to that moment I had known kind of my sweet spot in the draft, then I got the call from Dearborn, Mich., and I knew it was happening. It was just surreal. I got a chance to talk to Mr. (Bob) Quinn, Coach (Matt) Patricia, Mrs. (Martha) Ford and it was incredible.”

On what his father meant to him as a football player and as a person: “My dad was my best friend. I’m sure every kid says that, but my dad — He got Google alerts. So, if you guys were writing an article right now about me, he would get that Google alert and he’d be the first text to get it. He was my biggest fan, my biggest supporter, a great dad and my best friend. So, obviously this is tough and he’s meant the world to me, and he’s the reason who I am today, him and my mom. I’m very grateful for the time on this earth that I had with him and I know that he’s watching down and he’s very proud of me.”

On what he does well on the football field: “I think I’m a hard worker. I take a lot of pride in my work ethic and I take a lot of pride in my preparation, and then everything else just kind of take care of itself. I think if you work hard and you’re prepared, a lot of good things can happen.”

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On what it is like playing college football in the Southeastern Conference and how much it prepares him for the NFL: “Well, I don’t know yet because I’m not there quite yet. But I know that the SEC, I felt it was great. And that was one of the reasons that drew me down to Arkansas, I wanted to be against the best of the best, competing against the best of the best. And I enjoyed my time down there and there’s a lot of great competition I went against.”

On if he remembers any of his college matchups against Lions DT A’Shawn Robinson while he was at Alabama: “Yeah, I do. I remember him looking like he was 40.”

On what inspired his YouTube fishing channel: “So, it’s Grizzly Man Outdoors. It’s kind of just a fun deal. But me, my dad and my brother, we’ve always grown up loving the outdoors, whether it’s fishing or hunting. We’ve always kind of had this plan that I want to play in the NFL as long as I can. And then after that, maybe we have our own fishing show. So, after he passed away, me and my brother kind of really took it on ourselves to kind of try to keep it going. I mean, it’s really nothing but an Instagram page now, but who knows where it can go. I got a lot of other things on my plate right now to worry about. But it’s just kind of fun, maybe have a fishing show when I’m done with football. But that’s about it.”

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On the biggest fish he has caught: “Oh, that’s tough. Probably a 40-plus inch Muskie. I have a cabin up in Canada that’s pretty good fishing.”

On Michigan being a great place for fishing: “Great spot. From what I’ve heard, it’s a great spot. I couldn’t be more excited. Some great fishing and hunting around here, so I’m really excited to be here.”

On if he remembers anything about his meeting with the Lions at the Combine: “You know, Coach (Bret) Bielema always told me, I can remember him calling me before the Combine, ‘Just be yourself.’ And that’s what I was. I was just trying to be myself and trying to be the best Frank Ragnow I can be. And that’s what I did in that interview. I remember it was a great interview with some great people. I’m happy to be here.”

On where his physicality on the field comes from: “I think that’s just part of — to be an offensive lineman you don’t get much of the glory. You don’t get much of anything else. You’ve got to love football. I love that part of the game. It’s just kind of been what drew me to the game. I’ve always been the bigger kid. I was the double-striper, when I was little I wasn’t able to touch the ball. So, that’s what you kind of really have to fall in love with and that’s what I’ve always been in love with.”

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On if there was an offensive lineman that he grew up watching: “I can’t particularly name a name, no.”

On his relationship with former Lions C Travis Swanson: “He’s been a great mentor to me. He’s a good friend. He obviously went to Arkansas, so we’ve had those roots. But he’s been a good friend and I wish him nothing but the best.”

On if he received any feedback on the Lions organization from Swanson: “He just texted me, ‘Congratulations,’ and he’s really happy for me.”

On the pros and cons of playing guard and center: “I like everything about both of them. There’s snapping the ball, you’re reading a little bit more with center. They’re both more similar than you think. Wherever they want me, I’m happy to be, whether it’s guard, center, long snapper, punter. Anywhere they want me, I’ll be out there and I’ll be giving my best.”

On his first impressions of the Lions offense: “Well, I’m excited. I mean, that’s really all I can say. I mean, I’m a college kid going to the NFL, so I’m impressed by everybody here. There’s a lot of great players in the NFL and I’m just going to try to be one of them.”

On what he knows about QB Matthew Stafford and how he feels about having the opportunity to block for him “It’s incredible. You know, he texted me earlier today and I was just in awe. Matt Stafford texted me. And I actually responded saying, ‘Mr. Stafford.’ He said, ‘I’m not that old.’ I learned my lesson quick there, but it’s incredible. He’s the ultimate gamer, a tough player. There’s not words to describe how excited I am to block for him.”

On what Stafford said to him via text message: “He just said, ‘Enjoy the weekend. I’m excited to have you aboard and excited to win some ballgames.”