Gladiators Q&A: DL Matt Hardison
We caught up with the Gladiators newest acquisition Matt Hardison to get his thoughts on the upcoming 2016 season.
Cleveland Gladiators: Welcome to the team! How excited are you to come to Cleveland and play for the Gladiators?
Matt Hardison: I’m pretty excited about it! One of my former teammates (Larry Beavers) is also on the team playing wide receiver. After talking to coach and the rest of the staff I like the direction of the program. I’m glad to be here.
CG: What do you bring to the team and to the defense?
MH: I feel I always bring energy and excitement to the team. I’m a pretty energetic guy that likes to motivate and work hard. My competitiveness is second to none, I hate losing more than I enjoy winning, honestly. From putting in work to doing the film study, I’ll do whatever it takes to get the job done. That’s one thing I think that I bring to the squad, and from what I’ve heard, there are a lot of guys on the team that are the same way.
CG: You have yet to play here yourself, but what have you heard about playing at Quicken Loans Arena and in front of Cleveland fans?
MH: I’ve heard great things! It’s by far one of the best crowds in the league and I’ve heard the arena in general is insane, especially the humongotron. It’s a high-energy place and the fans really get behind the team, which is awesome. From other visiting players, I’ve heard nothing but great things about playing at the Q.
CG: What are the goals this season for the team and for you personally?
MH: There are always goals but you have to try and take it one game at a time or one week at a time. Nothing is guaranteed. I know I have to go out in training camp and earn my position first. Team-wise the ultimate goal is to win a championship, obviously. Personally, I play to be the best. I want to be All-Arena and I strive to get back to the NFL but the only way to do that is to have success as a team. If you want to be great you have also got to find ways to make your team great.
CG: Favorite memories while you attended college at Rutgers University?
MH: I was with Rutgers for three and a half years before I transferred to Delaware. We won three bowl games and I had a lot of great experiences throughout my time there. One season we started the year 1-5 and our coach, Greg Schiano, sat us down and gave us a great speech that resulted in us winning eight games in a row, including the bowl game, to finish the season.
CG: How about your time at the University of Delaware?
MH: It was great. We were ranked in the top ten throughout most of the season, had the number one defense in the country and got to play in the National Championship. I was blessed to be on some good teams and have some good coaches.
CG: What was your experience like playing in the NFL?
MH: I was in mini-camp with the Bengals right out of college. It didn’t work out there but was able to catch on with the Jets for their mini-camp. I ended up spending the whole 2012 season with the Jets. It was amazing. Obviously, the ultimate goal is to get to that level and Rex Ryan is an awesome coach. Anyone that gets to play for Rex would love him. Overall though, it was a great experience for me.
CG: Anything that you’d like to say to the Gladiators fans about the upcoming season?
MH: Stay with us and keep bringing the excitement! From what I hear, that’s what the fans in Cleveland do already. I know myself and my teammates feed off of that excitement. We’re going to bring that work ethic and we want to win. They should be excited. They have guys coming in here that want to win a championship.