Chat with Patrick Willis
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, we'll have EA Sports' Madden 13 Cover Vote candidate San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis stopping by to chat.
More than 14 million votes (and counting) have already been cast in the Madden 13 Cover Vote, as fans are once again deciding the cover athlete. The second round opened Wednesday and ends April 4. Willis is looking to be the first defensive player since Ray Lewis in 2005 to grace the cover.
Send your questions now and join Willis Friday at 3 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (3:01 PM)
49ers LB Patrick Willis should be here in minutes to take your questions!
Buzzmaster (3:07 PM)
Mike Carzo (Phoenix AZ)
How excited are you to have all the starters back on Defense this year? Could you guys get any better?
Patrick Willis (3:08 PM)
I'm super excited for the guys that we have back. Last year we had a good nucleus. I really think we can improve that much more coming into this next season.
What kind of chance do you give yourself against MJD in the Madden Cover Vote?
Patrick Willis (3:09 PM)
He beat me in the Madden Bowl two years ago. I think he got past me a little bit. I picked my team and I thought he was going to pick his team but he picked someone else. I think this would be chance to get even.
Dorian (Flagstaff, AZ)
P-Will, you're my favorite player and I love watching you light guys up. Of all the players you've played against, who do you love to hit the most?
Patrick Willis (3:10 PM)
Oh man! That's a tough one. I don't know. I think each guy that I've had the chance to play against is amazing. Some of the guys are the guys that I grew up watching. Some are guys I came into the league with. Each opportunity you have to get out there and tackle, it's just another blessing from the Lord.
Chris (San Jose, CA)
How hard was it to convert from a Cowboys fan going up, to being a Cowboy-killer as a 49er?
Patrick Willis (3:11 PM)
Growing up as a Cowboy fan, me and my cousins went at it. My grandmother sometimes would not let us play and other times we would fight because he wanted to be Steve Young and Jerry Rice and I said heck no, you have to be Aikman or Smith or Irvin. It didn't hit me until I went to camp and put on that 49er helmet. I was like holy crap, this is who I am, who I believe in.
Nicholas (Spatola )
Do you think you would look good as the cover athlete of madden 13 ?
Patrick Willis (3:12 PM)
I really haven't thought about it. It would be amazing. Sometimes, people come up to me with pictures and it looks like I'm a skill position or something. I want to look like I'm in a LB stance. They'll have to come up with something good. But I won't complain.
Do you think you got a raw deal being seeded 11 in this Madden vote?
Patrick Willis (3:14 PM)
I don't even care about that. I've been like that all my life. You can put me where you want. You can judge. You can criticize. But at the end of the day, I'll be where I need to be. I'll put my work in. It's just an honor to be in the bracket. I'm sure some guys that wanted to be in aren't in. Some guys that deserved to be in it aren't. Some day I can just talk about how I had a chance to be on the cover.
D (Flagstaff, AZ)
Patrick, if you could play any other position what would you play?
Patrick Willis (3:15 PM)
Wooh! I would probably say either safety. I hate being on just one side of the field. I like being able to see the whole field. When you're in the middle, you play both sides and the middle.
Greg (building 4, espn)
Patrick... you're a beast on the football field, do you feel you could be a professional athlete in another sport, which one?
Patrick Willis (3:18 PM)
That's a good question. Growing up, I used to tell my family and friends that I wanted to be a professional athlete. They asked me in what and I said I didn't know, I just wanted to be a pro athlete. I played them all, baseball and basketball. I loved playing football because it was a sport that you didn't get in trouble for hitting. But I was probably best in baseball. I took a piece from each of them. I was offered some partial scholarships to play basketball, but I couldn't afford that. So I knew I had to look for the full ride to play football. If I had the chance to put my hand in anything, I am going to work.
Chris (San Jose, CA)
I understand you've been playing Madden for a while, and given your agressive style of play I know you must be good :) Any suggestions you can give us rookie Madden players?
Patrick Willis (3:21 PM)
It's like any game. The reason I love playing Madden so much is because it's so strategic. It's like playing chess. You against another guy. Learn his tendencies. You learn what he's going to do. It's like real life football. I tell myself all the time when I'm playing Madden, what would coach call? I feel like a defensive coordinator or offensive coordinator. You start to try and pick it apart. I find myself trying to be smart. I love my defensive coordinator. I feel like he's so smart. He's pretty good. I give him a lot of credit. And the other defensive coaches. They're part of the reason why we did what we did last year.
Dorian (Flagstaff, Arizona)
Patrick, why did you choose to wear #52?
Patrick Willis (3:25 PM)
The reason why is when I got drafted, they said they had 51, 50, 52, 57 and 58. I like even numbers. They just seem more smooth. I told myself that I like 52. It's the best number out of the other ones they offered me. And a lot of good players have wore 52. A lot of players I looked up to growing up wore 52. I wanted 52 so one day I could fulfill 52 like the others who've worn 52. I want to make it my own. When I was growing up, a great player used to wear the same number as I did. I had a substitute teacher whose son wore that number and she told me all about him. I told her, and I didn't mean any disrespect to her, "ma'am, before I leave high school, no one will remember your son. They will remember Patrick Willis." And now that number is retired.
Any thoughts on Alex Smith's motivation for this next season after the Peyton Manning saga?
Patrick Willis (3:27 PM)
I haven't had a chance to talk to him at all. It's a business. You never know what's going to be thrown at you. You have to do what's best for you. That's how it was for him. I was like, man, he came out and had that season he had last year. But life is about adversity. He went out and looked at other places. I would have done the same thing. If they had brought in another MLB, I would have shopped around too. He was doing what's best for him. He's where he wants to be. I'm happy he came back. I really am.
Patrick Willis (3:27 PM)
I just want to say thank you to all of the fans who voted for me. Thank you to all of the fans that have believed in me from Day 1. I'm going to continue to try and be the best player I can be. I love you all.