Max Unger went from “shocked” to “stoked” in a matter of minutes after learning he had been traded from the Seattle Seahawks to the New Orleans Saints last week.
“It’s just kind of a crazy feeling, man,” Unger said Monday. “I’ve obviously never been traded before. It doesn’t happen with a lot of frequency in the NFL, so you don’t necessarily expect it.”
Saints fans are likely hoping they can soon experience the same range of emotions after New Orleans acquired Unger and a first-round pick for tight end Jimmy Graham and a fourth-round pick.
Widely considered one of the better centers in the NFL, Unger, who missed 10 games with knee and ankle injuries last season, was in New Orleans on Monday to take a physical. He said he assumes he passed the test and feels healthy.
Upon arriving in New Orleans, he checked out the city and was blown away by the activity around town for St. Patrick’s Day weekend. Unger arrived from Hawaii, where he grew up working on a cattle ranch and still spends his offseasons.
“I was born and raised on the big island, Kailua-Kona,” he said. “My whole family is from there. We have a big ranch out there. We farm some cattle and it was a pretty unique childhood to say the least. It is pretty fun.”
And as far as football is concerned, despite the amount of recent moves, Unger is confident he is joining a team that can compete and win games.
“I think there is a pretty awesome core group of players that has had a lot of success, and I think they are just trying to build on that and find the pieces for it,” he said.
Immediately after the trade was announced, Unger said he received a call from quarterback Drew Brees, and the two shared their excitement about playing with each other.
It is expected that Unger will replace Jonathan Goodwin, who’s now a free agent, as the starting center.
Unger said he expects the offense to operate the way it always has, with a lot of passing and chunk yardage being picked up on the ground. Looking at the blocking concepts the team uses, he feels the only learning curve for him will be picking up the new language of the offense.
“Just talking about the zone concepts running the ball, man concepts running the ball, for the most part across the league we all do, we all share concepts; we just call them different things,” Unger said.
“I can just see a lot of the stuff that they do I am familiar with; it is just going to be called something different. So that is what I was talking about with the coaches the other day, just kind of figuring that out and getting a jump-start on it.”