- - Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Josh LeRibeus was drafted in the third round in 2012 by Mike Shanahan and the Washington Redskins. He was the pick between Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins. Somewhat ironically, four years later, Cousins is still behind him — but only on the football field, as LeRibeus has been the Redskins‘ starting center since Kory Lichtensteiger was hurt earlier this season.

Q: How would you describe yourself as a kid? Did you play football because you loved it or because you were good at it?
A: “I was drawn to football at a very early age. Parents didn’t want me to play right away, but I wasn’t having that and I’m pretty sure I made their life slightly more difficult until I was allowed to play. I was 7 at that time if I remember correctly.”

Q: What other interests did you have?
A: “Growing up, football really was everything. I did the normal discus and shot put in high school, but that was really about it outside of football.”

Q: When did you know that you were good enough to make it to the NFL?
A: “It really wasn’t until about four or five games into my final year of my college career. NFL scouts would come to practice, but it wasn’t until coach pulled me aside and said they were here for me that it finally sunk in.”

Q: Who was your No. 1 influence in your life?
A: “Obviously, el madre.”

Q: What has her support and interest in your career meant to you?
A: “She was always extremely supportive and would do whatever it took to make sure I had the best chance possible to be successful.”

Q: You were drafted high in the third round by Shanahan. Many did not expect you to go that high. Do you remember being surprised and what your honest reaction was, or did you have a good feeling you were going to the Redskins and around there?
A: “You definitely start to get nervous on draft day, and I was told potentially third round, but at the end of the day, it’s always surprising exactly when you get the call. Plus, being a big John Elway fan growing up, I was more than a little excited when Coach Shanahan picked up the phone.”

Q: You played in a high-octane scheme at SMU. How hard was the adjustment to a West Coast, zone scheme in the NFL?
A: “Not only are the athletes the best in the world, but learning an NFL offense coming from college was a challenge. It probably wasn’t until my second or third year that things started to click.”

Q: You played a significant role in the division clincher in 2012 and started the playoff game. What do you remember about your emotions those days and how nervous or confident you were?
A: “I felt like I was ready for the challenge, but I can honestly say that I’ve never been that nervous in my life before that playoff game.”

Q: What’s something about Josh LeRibeus that not many people know?
A: “That I have a 75-gallon aquarium with a few fancy goldfish. Probably not people’s first expectation, but they really are amazing stress relief.”

Q: You didn’t play at all in 2013 because of injury and other stuff. Since then, you have worked hard to stay in shape and diet and all of that. How hard is it to be disciplined?
A: “It can be extra tough during the offseason, especially considering you don’t have practice or anything the next day. But I’ve found it to be a little easier during the season to control myself. It makes a difference when you know you have practice the next day, so maybe keep away from the junk food or else your day is going to be hell.”

Q: Can you talk about what you have battled with your health and how hard it has been to overcome it to be a starter?
A: “I’ve had ulcerative colits for about two years now, and it’s certainly had its ups and downs. [Last year] was especially rough, and even this year I had to battle a flare up, but I’ve started a new medicine now that for the time being has kept things under control, for the most part.”

Q: Bill Callahan is considered one of the best offensive line coaches. What has his impact been on you?
A: “The amount of technique that he teaches for almost every situation has been invaluable this year. Every player on the line has benefited tremendously from him being here.”

Q: Snapping the football is something you have battled. People might ask, “How hard could it be?” What do you say?
A: “I would just say that practice makes perfect, and that over time it’s getting better and better.”

Q: What do you like to do for fun?
A: “During the season I like to just unwind and watch Netflix at home while I try to recover physically. During the offseason, I like to travel to D.C. and look at different monuments and museums.”

Q: Who is your best friend on the Redskins?
A: “I’ve probably seen more movies with Spencer [Long] than anyone else in the room, but overall we are a very tight knit group and consider all of us friends.”

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