Cleat Geeks

An Interview with Adewale Ogunleye

Adewale Ogunleye played college football at the University of Indiana. He was then signed by the Miami Dolphins in 2000 as a undrafted free agent.

Ogunleye played for the Chicago Bears from 2004-2009. He led the Bears D-line in sacks with 10 in 2005 and helped the team go to the Super Bowl during the 2006 season.

I reached out to Ogunleye about an interview opportunity and he accepted! Enjoy!

Q:You played your college football at Indiana, what other schools were interested in you and why did  you ultimately chose Indiana?
A: West Virginia, Ole Miss, Rutgers, Miami and East Carolina were some of the other schools that were interested in me. I choose IU because I had so much fun on my visit and I thought Indiana gave me the best chance to obtain a world class education.
Q:You were a  four year starter and team captain with unbelievable stats in college.   What was the experience like at Indiana with the team and knowing you were a top ranked prospect for the NFL?
A:Individually, I had as good of a career as a defensive player could have.  3x all BIG TEN, Play-Boy Preseason All-American, All Time Indiana football leader in Sacks and Tackles for loss.  Team wise, we just couldn’t win enough games.  It just felt like we could never get over the hump the 4 years I played at Indiana.  Not winning and not going to a bowl game hurt a lot.  We worked hard, we just didn’t have enough talent and history to beat the Ohio State’s and Michigan’s of our conference.
Q: You tore ligaments in your knee during your senior season, what was the recovery like?
A: Recovery took a good year.  After surgery, my knee got infected and I couldn’t rehab for the first 4 months and if you know anything about sports surgeries thats not a good thing.  Once the doctor gave me the ok, I hit my rehab full tilt.  The biggest obstacle was my mind.  The doctor told me my knee was healed, but I had to train my mind to trust my knee and just let go.adewale-ogunleye-newsConference
Q:After being on the IR your first year in the NFL, how did it feel to finally get back on the field in 2001 and lead the team in sacks during the preseason and make the 53-man roster? What were some goals you set for yourself that season?
A: Playing well during the preseason and making the 53-man roster was amazing.  It proved that all my hard work was paying off.  Before every season since High School..I would set goals for myself.. 1. earn my place on the team 2. earn a starting position 3. be a leader.. I did that from High School all the way through my 11 years in the NFL.
A: You got to play with guys like Zach Thomas, Sam Madison,  Jason Taylor, Brian Urlacher, Charles Tillman, Tommie Harris,   What was it like to play with such talented guys? What were some things you may have learned from them?
A: Well Zach, Sam and Jason were my role models  They taught me how to play and act on a Pro Bowl level.  They played defense at such a high level.  I couldn’t have learned from a better group of men.  When I got traded to Chicago, I thought God was smiling on me.  In addition to Urlacher, Tillman, and Harris, we had Mike Brown and Lance Briggs on defense.  That defense took us all the way to the Super Bowl.  We were all in our prime and having fun.
bears-defense1-e1314044260619Q: The 2006 NFL season was truly the Monsters of the Midway! You guys  were one of the top defenses in the NFL and a lot of dun  to watch.  I couldn’t wait for game day because you guys were so good! What was that year like being such a dominate force and getting to reach the Super Bowl?
A: That Super Bowl run was the most fun I ever had in sports.  The city was electric.  I don’t think I paid for a meal whenever we went out for dinner that year.  It was fun knowing that we didn’t need our offense to score points to win.  We had the mind set that… we will play defense and score all the points we needed off turnovers.  We were good and we knew it.  No offense was too good for us.
Q: What is your most memorable moment from playing in the NFL?
A: Beating the Saints in the NFC championship game.  The whole world was rooting for the saints because hurricane Katrina had just destroyed New Orleans. So, winning that game felt that much better since everyone outside Chicago wanted us to loose.
Q:  Your last stint in the NFL was with the Texans in 2010.  What led/caused you to retire from the game you love?AOTexans
A: I just felt like I was done.  After 11 years I was tired of the mind games coaches play and I didn’t feel like starting again with a brand new team in 2011.  In addition, my body was starting to feel the wear and tear of 20 years of tackle football.
Q:Looking ahead to this upcoming NFL season, who do you think will be the best defensive lineman out of this years draft class in the years ahead?
A: I’d be lying if I told you I keep up with the draft. Because I was an undrafted free agent, I don’t care about nor do I watch the NFL Draft. That being said, I think the Denver Broncos drafted a Defensive end from Missouri ..cant tell you his name…. but i think he looks like he will be replacing Demarcus Ware in the near future… I also want to see if Clowney in Houston will pan out after having a disappointing first year.



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