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McElroy: Mo Alie-Cox reflects on his 'crazy' journey from hoops to NFL starter

McElroy: Mo Alie-Cox reflects on his 'crazy' journey from hoops to NFL starter

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Former VCU basketball player and fan favorite Mo Alie-Cox is turning more heads in the NFL after his first career start last Sunday for the Indianapolis Colts, where he caught five passes for 111 yards.

Question: It was your first career start on Sunday, so how’s the body feeling today [Monday]?

Answer: I’m a little sore. This general soreness we typically get after a game, but overall, I feel great. I came out of the game healthy.

Question: Give us the description of a NFL player’s body right after the game compared to “the morning after” when you wake up and you roll out of bed.

Answer: Right after the game, depending on a win or loss and how your adrenaline was going, you might not really feel anything. But Monday morning, when you wake up. It’s like you don’t want to get out of bed at all. You don’t want to do anything. You have to force yourself to get out of bed and get moving.

Question: When is it in the week that you feel somewhat normal?

Answer: Probably Wednesday because Wednesday we practice in pads, so if you don’t have it, you better find a way to have it.

Question: Take me back into Sunday here because Phillip Rivers had some high praise for you and others who stepped up. What did Rivers say to you after that early miscue down in the red zone that resulted in an interception?

Answer: He didn’t say anything. We just have a saying, we say “nun chuppy,” which pretty much means start over [and] reset. It was pretty much all we did [because] we had a good drive moving a ball and we just figured we were going to be able to move the ball all day. So he didn’t say anything; it was just make the next play. That’s all pretty much what we did and we had a good day.

Question: The mentality of “moving on to the next play.” Is it the same when you played college basketball at VCU? Is it harder in the NFL?

Answer: Yeah, getting on to the next play, it’s definitely similar in sports. I would say it’s kind of harder in basketball because you’re just going up and down and up and down. It’s hard to get past the play sometimes. Football you pretty much have no choice. You have to get past it because the next play will send you full speed or you have somebody trying to run through your face or something so you have to get past that a little faster than you would have in basketball.

Question: What’s this year been like for you having no offseason and no preseason games while learning to gel with your new quarterback?

Answer: I started off a little slow because I was out to start training camp. By the time I got back, it was only two weeks before the first game so I didn’t really get too much work in, but the reps I did get, I just tried to make the most of it with them and then this week was probably the most work I’ve gotten in with him.

We just had a real great week of practice just from what I was doing at practice. That’s what I think gave him the confidence to be able to throw me the passes that he threw.

Question: Rivers had a great relationship with Antonio Gates, another former college basketball star and tight end. What advice has he been able to give you?

Answer: I guess his advice would be different things on the field. Like that corner that I had caught yesterday in the game. We had that same play in practice, but I kind of broke it short.

He was like, “if the guys playing you like that? Just keep the route higher.” I just made the adjustment and how he delivered me the ball or different little things with my routes and stuff like that. He helps me a lot with that because you’ve got to see it through the quarterback’s eyes also, that helps you as a receiver.

Question: This is your third year in the NFL out of VCU where you didn’t play college football. Do you ever still catch yourself saying I’m not only playing in the NFL, but now I’m starting in the NFL. Do you ever catch yourself in the moment?

Answer: Once in a while. Yeah, sometimes I’ll be talking with one of my friends and they’ll talk to me about it and I’ll be like, “Yeah, this is kind of crazy, right?” I’m kind of not supposed to be here, but I am here and I’m actually doing good. So yeah, it’s crazy.

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