IRVING, Texas –
The veteran defensive tackle leads the league in sacks and tackles for less among defensive tackles – though that was news to him. He took the opportunity post-practice to discuss a bevy of topics, from the team boycott at his old school, Grambling, to the Cowboys’ much-discussed No-Name defensive line, and his newfound notoriety.
What’s going on at Grambling?
Hatcher: "It's just a bunch of nonsense, man. I don't want to be negative about a situation that's so close to my heart. I wouldn't be here without Grambling, so I just hope the situation gets better. I heard the guys showed back up to practice. I'm just going to continue to pray for them."
Have you reached out to the school at all?
Hatcher: "I just try to stay out of it, man. I'm more proactive than anything -- I think it should have been handled way before it blew up. It's a really sensitive situation, man. It's really hurting -- it's kind of embarrassing, in a sense. It shouldn't happen, man. It shouldn't happen at all. I feel sorry for those kids, and hopefully it gets better."
Were the conditions better when you went there?
Hatcher: "It was pretty much brand new when I got there -- the facilities. But one thing you don't do is you don't fire Doug Williams. That's like Peyton Manning going to Tennessee and you fire him -- something you absolutely don't do. At least ask him to step down -- you don't fire the guy. That's the wrong thing to do at Grambling State University, because when you think of Grambling, you think of two people. And that's Eddie Robinson and Doug Williams. So it's just a bad situation."
In the defensive tackle stats, you’re at the top in sacks and tackles for loss. Do you ever look back and think ‘I wish I had been in this position five years ago?
Hatcher: “Well, well, well. I thank God for everything I went through. It kept the fire burning in me – I knew one day I was going to get my opportunity. But I didn’t know it was going to be this damn long.”
How well does this defense fit you and what you do?
Hatcher: “It’s great, man. I just go out there and be the athlete that I am and just go out there and make plays, man, alongside a lot of guys I’m playing with. We’ve got a great no-name defense, and guys just want to play football. Sean (Lee) stepped in and studied while we partied on Thursday, so we’re gelling together. I’m excited, taking it one day at a time and enjoying this journey.”
Could you still be considered a no-name, after what you’ve done?
“Absolutely, I wish you guys would just call me nobody – just call me 97. I’ll be good with it. What I do, how I’ve played thus far has kind of put me in the spotlight, but I don’t like it, man. I just like to be a regular guy – I want to go out to the restaurant with my kids, my wife and just not be bothered. If I could live like that – but I doubt it, playing for the Cowboys.”
Is it surprising having good chemistry despite the large number of contributors?
Hatcher: “We do a good job setting the tone and telling these guys how we play this defense, and they come in right away and they buy in. The scouting department and Coach Marinelli and whoever else, they did a great job of picking the right guys and bringing them in.”
What do you see in Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford so far?
Hatcher: “He’s getting the ball out. I’ve timed like 50 percent of his plays, and he gets it out in like two seconds. So it’s kind of hard getting to him. We’ve got a good gameplan. It’s not of y’all’s business, but we’ve got a gameplan. Hopefully it works.”