We caught wind earlier today of linebacker Scott Fujita’s intention to retire as a member of the Saints not long before the launch of Monday’s PFT Live. So, at some point in the 20 minutes before the show started, I thumb-typed a series of questions for Fujita with one hand while shaving my face and adjusting my toupee with the other.
Fujita responded, from Peru, where he is helping former teammate Steve Gleason traverse the terrain.
Here’s the full, unedited question and answer session with Fujita, who signed his contract in Machu Picchu, Peru.
Q: Why the Saints?
A: I’ve been fortunate to play in this league for a long time for some great organizations. But my time spent in New Orleans was certainly the best four years of my career. When Mickey Loomis found out I was preparing to officially retire, he reached out as I was about to board a plane to Peru, to ask if I’d like to sign a contract with the team and officially retire as a Saint. I was blown away by that. And what better time to make something like this official than on the grounds of Machu Picchu with my friend & former teammate Steve Gleason?
Q: Did you have any offers for 2013?
A: When I got hurt this past season, it was pretty clear that it would likely be the end of my career. But I didn’t want to rush into any decisions. I wanted to catch my breath before making any public announcements. But I think most people were pretty sure it was the end of the road for me as a player. I’ve been pretty beat up the past few years, am clearly not the same player, and I’ve already had one neck surgery & am possibly facing another down the road, so we had to make health the priority. It’s definitely time.
Q: What’s next?
A: My goal is to take it easy for a bit & spend a lot of time with my family. It’s been a hectic couple of years, so it’ll be nice to slow things down. But I don’t sit still very well. I enjoy writing and am evaluating a few opportunities there, which would be nice because I could work primarily from home.
Q: How do you want to be remembered as football player?
A: More than anything else, I just want everyone to know how appreciative I am of every opportunity that’s been afforded to me. From being a walk-on at Berkeley and having the chance to compete for a scholarship, to my experiences in Kansas City, Dallas, New Orleans, and Cleveland, I’m just very grateful.
Q: Where does the bounty scandal fit in your football legacy?
A: I don’t spend too much time thinking about that anymore. For a while it was something we had to deal with almost every single day, and you almost felt like you would never be able to move past it. But as I expected, over time most people realized how ridiculous the whole thing was, so I’m not overly concerned at this point about how it may affect my legacy, especially given how everything ultimately played out.
Q: On a scale of 1 to 100 you leave football with health at what number?
A: Probably about a 50 at this point, and hopefully that number climbs over time. I feel good about the fact that I’m able to walk away from this game on my own terms, pretty much in one piece.