ATLANTA - Saints wide receiver Keith Kirkwood just finished his first season in the NFL. The undrafted rookie out of Temple played in eight games this season. He caught 13 passes for 209 yards and 2 touchdowns. Kirkwood suffered a calf injury in the playoff game against the Philadelphia Eagles and missed the NFC championship game against the Los Angeles Rams.
The Advocate caught up with Kirkwood briefly on Friday in Atlanta.
Q: What have the past 12 days been like?
A: It's been tough. It's tough knowing that the New Orleans Saints should have been in the Super Bowl. But like last year, we have to understand that this is another test for us. We'll be back next year. We have some young players, including myself. Everybody is getting accustomed to the system. We'll bring in some rookies and some other guys and I think we'll be in the Super Bowl next year.
Q: What were the first few days after the game like?
A: I was in the building first thing in the morning the next day rehabbing and you could just feel the emptiness. No one was talking. Everyone was quiet. You saw the clip over and over of Tommylee and the hit and how we should have been in the Super Bowl. It really set in. It was a nasty feeling. Not just to us, but to the fans in New Orleans. But I think this is just another test for us and we'll be back. It will be really hard to stop us next year.
Q: What did you think about Roger Goodell's speech on Wednesday?
A: To be honest, I didn't even watch it. I don't even know what he said. I've been staying away from reading about the Super Bowl and what they are saying on social media.
Q: How would you access your rookie season?
A: I think I had a really productive rookie season, being undrafted and never played in the NFL and not understanding it. As the season went on, I gradually progressed. I think this offseason I'm going to work extremely hard to become the most dominant slot receiver in the NFL. However I can to make the best connections with Drew, I'm going to do it. I want to do whatever I can to be the best player in the NFL as a slot receiver.
- Rod Walker