James Ugochu Ihedigbo is an American football safety for the Detroit Lions of the National Football League. He was signed by the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent in 2007. He played college football at Massachusetts.
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Hi, my name is James Ihedigbo of the Detroit Lions.
I am also the founder of the Hope Africa charity: Hope Africa provides scholarships to students of African descent throughout the United States.
I got started using the platform that I have as an NFL football player and Super Bowl champion from the Baltimore Ravens to create it.
Victoria's helping me out today. Go ahead and AMA!
EDIT: Thanks for taking the time to ask me questions. I hope you guys got to know me a little bit better. And I appreciated the questions that you ask. Please follow me on Twitter @JamesIhedigbo and you guys are the best, thanks.
Hey James! First off, you should check out /r/detroitlions! Anyways here are my questions:
How does it feel to be the #1 defense in the NFL?
Who is the toughest player you've had to face?
Which team was/do you think will be the hardest to play against this year?
1) Um... how does it feel? I guess it feels great! IN our profession, we strive to be the best, and that's what we work for, and so to be the top defense in the NFL, it says a lot to our hard work that we've put in thus far, that's kind of where we want to be and we are very proud of that, and we hold ourselves to that standard every Sunday.
2) The toughest player that I've had to face? Oooh. Hmm. Toughest as in physical tough, huh? I would say... "Shady" McCoy, only because he's so elusive and so fast that he's probably one of the toughest I've had going against him as a safety in my career, his ability to break tackles and hit a home run on any given play.
3) I don't know, I mean, we had a tough one against the Saints that we managed, going against Drew Brees, he's a top-notch quarterback, but looking on our schedule, we still have to face Tom Brady, and Aaron Rodgers again, so there's plenty more tough games ahead.
Why will Detroit win the Super Bowl?
Because we will work harder than any other team to get there and win.
What is it like to play with Megatron?? I bet it is nice...
Honestly, I compare him - and I told Calvin this, so I can say this - I compare playing with Calvin Johnson is literally like witnessing Michael Jordan play in his prime.
Hey James! Ravens Fan here. Thanks for your time in Baltimore.
How did it feel to play in, and win the Super Bowl?
It felt amazing, it really did. You know, to be there, and feel that excitement, to do something that special, really felt amazing. And I'm looking forward to getting another one this year.
Is Stafford as cool as I think he is?
Let him know I said " 'sup"
I'll definitely do that. And Stafford is cool as hey. That's a smooth white boy right there!
Does Coach Caldwell ever get really emotional? He doesn't look like it but I imagine he must have been a little emotional after these last two wins.
You know what's crazy? is that Coach Caldwell, his facial expression from the beginning to end of the game never changes, which I just don't know how. But when we were down 21 points, he just kept saying "relax, relax, we'll be alright."
First of all, thanks for doing this AMA. I'm a Lions fan, and a big fan of yours. You've done so much to elevate the defense to the best in the NFL. Your impact really shows.
First of all, about Teryl Austin. You've worked with him for a couple of years now, and he's proving to be an effective Defensive Coordinator. Did him being in Detroit have any impact on your decision to sign with the Lions? When he was the defensive backs coach, did you know how good he would be as a Defensive Coordinator, or was it a surprise?
You seem to have very quickly developed chemistry with Glover Quin in the backfield, and you seemed just as comfortable playing closer to the line with the linebackers. Were there any players on the Lions that you were particularly looking forward to playing with? Who would you say surprised you the most, with their play?
Last question. What other player that you have played with would you say impacted your development the most, either from direct advice, or from just watching them play?
Thanks again for doing this, and we hope to see you over in /r/detroitlions sometime! Go Lions!
Well, for the first part of the question, Teryl had a major part in me wanting to come to the Detroit. I have a great relationship with Coach Austin both on and off the field, and being a part of the same defensive system I'd been a part of for 2 years prior, as well as knowing how I would be used, was a big part of it. And in terms of him being a good Defensive backs coach, he is a PHENOMENAL coach and I saw the preparation he put in in terms of having us prepared to play, in terms of what we were going to see from the other team, what calls to be ready for, so to see him excel as the Defensive coordinator does not come as any surprise to me.
I was definitely looking forward - I mean, many people know that Glover and I have been working out together since March. On the field, we are learning each week how to play with each other more and more and we compliment each other very well, that's why we're the best defensive team in the NFL. Along with that, I was just looking forward to playing with our D-line - with Nick, with Ziggy, with all those guys, because such a talented group, it's phenomenal and I was really looking forward to playing with those guys.
I would have to say Ed Reed, and truly just from, you know, his mentorship, being in Baltimore for 2 years with him, and really just seeing how he prepared, how he studied the game and watched film, and really the preparation he put into being such a great player, and i really learned a lot from that. That being great doesn't just happen overnight, you have to put a lot of work into it.
What's more satisfying...getting an interception or nailing a receiver coming across the middle?
Interception! Need the ball. See ball, get ball !
Who is the most amusing Lion on the defense? And how was London? Did you nearly have a heart attack just like I did?
Most amusing player on Defense? I would have to say Levy, our Linebacker, because he's like - he's the type of guy, in the off-season, he will travel to like a real part of Africa and climb the highest mountain, just go backpack across country and stuff by himself, with nobody else, maybe 2 other people that he will meet along the way, he's that type of guy, an outdoorsman, he knows how to survive BY HIMSELF with no food or nothing, like what you see on those A+E TV shows? Yeah.
Man Vs Wild, that's it.
And London was awesome, it was a great experience. It's a beautiful city, the people are very nice, I guess, it's different compared to the US, very different, but it was nice. We had a great time, and I enjoyed myself. Definitely would go back .
Who was your favorite player when you were growing up?
Oh, that's easy ! Brian Dawkins.
AKA Weapon X.
How does the city of Detroit compare to the stereotypes? Did it exceed your expectations?
Hands down exceeded the expectations. The City of Detroit gets such a bad rap, and I was thinking "Oh we are going to get there, and all those stereotypes - like you will get robbed" and then you get there and it's the complete opposite. We haven't had a single issue, the people are great, the food is great, the fans are amazing, the best city to play in.
First of all, you're awesome. So glad you came to Detroit.
Secondly, you responded to me on Twitter last week, which was very cool.
In your career, who has been the most fun player to be on the field with?
What did Teryl Austin say to get the defense fired up in the 2nd half of the game against the Falcons? Also, I know you worked with him in Baltimore, how do you think he's doing so far transitioning from a positional coach to the DC?
The most fun player to be on the field with?
That's a hard one. I've played with some... amazing guys. I'd have to say... fun player to be on the field with. Terrell Suggs because he's hilarious, he says the most outlandish stuff, but he truly has fun while he's playing. And he taught me how to have more fun while I am on the field.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
Well, my biggest inspiration is definitely my dad, Apollo Ihedigbo. He passed away my senior year of high school, but just his love for Christ, and embodying what a true man of God is, and his work ethic was impeccable, coming from Nigeria to the United States, earning a PhD in education, being an active advisor at one of the top universities in the country - I saw that he accomplished all that, there is no reason that I could not pursue my dreams and accomplish the same.
Have you ever seen Stafford throw a ball slower than 900 mph?
Hahaha! Yeah, I guess, yeah. Whenever he plays catch with me, he throws the ball slower than that.
Good afternoon James! Thank you for taking some time to chat with us.
We're really happy to have in here in Michigan for a couple years (hopefully more). Until this year your professional career has been located exclusively on the east coast (New York, New England, Baltimore) and I noticed you grew up in Massachusetts. Is this a coincidence or did the teams locations play a part in where you decided to sign to play?
Also, favorite movie?
No, it's just coincidence. I'm glad I didn't get shipped off to Oakland, or Seattle or something. It was just by chance.
My favorite movie, ha ha ha... wow... that's hard. It's between GLADIATOR and DARK KNIGHT RISES, the newest Batman, yeah.
Hi Mr. Ihedigbo,
If you could sack any quarterback in the nfl, who would it be?
Thanks for coming to Reddit!
Who would be it be, if I could sack ANY quarterback in the NFL?
Thanks for doing this AMA. Lifelong Detroit Lions fan here.
So many questions about football, I'll just stick with a classic:
Would you rather fight 1 Ndamukong Suh-sized duck or 100 duck-sized Ndamukong Suhs?
Um. I would have to go with 100 small versions of him the size of a duck, rather than one big duck the size of him.
You obviously have history with Coach Caldwell and Coach Austin from Baltimore, and we are stoked to have you join the team as they made their shift to Detroit. You and Quin are one of the best safety tandems in the league
right now, and are apart of the #1 defense with HUGE question marks regarding the secondary prior to the 2014 season
I have two questions
1) What sets Coach Caldwell apart from the other coaches in the league? I can't say I've seen such brotherhood in the Detroit locker room based off of interviews that I've seen. The dynamic of the 2014 season is unlike years past, seemingly on and off the field.
2) Who is the funniest guy in the locker room, on both offense and defense?
Also, if you get the chance you should stop by /r/detroitlions, a bunch of us would kill to have some players stop by. Thanks man, I hope your neck is feeling better and best of luck to you guys for the second half of the season!
1) It's hard to put into words: Coach Caldwell brings a presence about him which makes the players not only believe in him, but he believes in us. He trusts us. He creates an atmosphere where you have to be of high character, great integrity, and you have to have great accountability, and those are all key things you need to be successful in the NFL and to win games. And that's kind of the standard that he brings, along with his expectations of us on the field in terms of performance, and he does a great job of taking care of us on the field so we can go out and play our best, and we just believe in each other across the board, and that's why I love him. I guess to add to that, everyone is all in - no one is self-centered, they are all thinking "what can I do for the team to win."
2) Oh, funniest guy in the locker room? Wow... on defense, it has to be Cassius Vaughn. And offensively... oh man, he can do ANY voice. He did an English accent the whole time we were in London like "I don't need to throw away any of this rubbish!"
but I'm blanking on his name.
Oh, and my neck feels great, 100%
Hey james! Im a huge lions fan and I am thankful for uou doing this!
Who was the hardest player to tackle that you ever faced?
Hardest player to tackle I've ever faced? Ben Roethlisberger...because he's SO hard to tackle, he's HUGE, he's so elusive!
James, first off, I want to thank you and the entire Lions team for giving us something to believe in. I'm sure you guys get a lot of heat from fans sometimes and I want you to know that despite the bad seeds, this fanbase is nothing but loyal to you guys and appreciates everything you do.
Questions: what has been the most difficult challenge for you as an NFL player? And what inspired you to start/support your charity?
I don't know. It's hard, at this point in my career, at this point in my career i kind of have everything structured. The big part was in the beginning of the year when I got hurt, definitely keeping up faith and trusting that God had a bigger plan and not getting discouraged that I couldn't help my team. That was probably the biggest part.
Truly, what inspired me was the many young students that wanted to pursue a higher education and go to a University but didn't have the financial means to do that, and truly, my parents were an example of that - they had to work and fight tooth and nail to pay for their education. I wanted to provide a platform to help people so they didn't have to compromise for education due to their financial situation.
How awesome is Ed reed?
He's a great guy. You know, he's a great guy. He's a better person than he is a player, if that makes sense.
Do you have any pregame traditions? Have you noticed any stange pregame traditions in your career?
I have a cool pre-game tradition. Before every game, before I leave the hotel, I call my mom, my wife and my brother Nate, and we all pray together before every game, and I've been doing that my entire career, before every game.
And I don't know, I guess some guys have to eat the same meal before every game or something? I had a guy, I'm gonna leave his name out of it, but every away game he plays, he has to find a casino and gamble at it, because he thinks he'll play better!
Hi James! Long time Lions fan here, I'm very glad you're a part of the team!
My question is this, when deciding to sign with the Detroit Lions, does the long losing history of the team factor in when making such a decision? In the past, the Lions seemed to have a hard time signing top notch free agents because no one wanted to play here.
Well, that's a tough question, because that was the old Detroit Lions. And I knew Coach Caldwell that he was bringing in a new culture, and a culture that i was familiar with, in terms of what it takes to win and be successful in the NFL, so I din't really look at it "I'm going to the old Detroit Lions" - I knew there was going to be something special with this team, and I definitely wanted to be a part of it.
6-2 baby!! AND so entertaining so far this year... I've been a die-hard lions fan since I was 7 (about 20 years) and this has been the most fun start to a season so far.
I feel like the lions are always one of the last teams to get any credit in the NFL and even nowadays are greatly underrated. Do you think that helps drive you guys a little further? That maybe you'll be the great underdog story of the year when you guys keep kicking ass and taking names?
Yeah, I guess! I mean, we don't really look for other people to give us recognition for our hard work, we just continue to work at it each week. So as the season goes on, we just let the chips fall where they may, and we'll have enough space on the back of the bandwagon for people to jump on.
Hey James, I've been a Lions fan ever since watching Barry Sanders when I was a kid and I just want to thank you and your teammates for all the effort you've put in to making this a great start to the 2014 season.
My question is, what similarities do you see between this year's Lions team and the Superbowl (Pats/Ravens) contending teams that you were on earlier in your career?
Also I just want to give you a shout out for that sack on Brees last week, solid Grave Digger!
I have to say... thus far in the year, the resilience that we have, you know, it takes a special chemistry as a team, but it takes resilience and being able to win games people think you can't win, and we've kind of done that these past 2 weeks. That's a sign of a championship football team.
Ha ha. Nice!
Hey james! With all of the injuries to the team this year, which would have made past lions teams implode, how has this team been able to keep playing at such a high level?
Because of the next man up mentally - even when I was out with an injury, and Isa stepped in for me, and played at a high level, it's been that way across the board, with Reggie being out, and Calvin being out, there's been guys across that board that have stepped in to play at a high level and it's been the next man stepping up to help our team win.
How did it feel to win the Super Bowl?
The most amazing feeling EVER. Looking forward to doing it again this year! But it's truly, you know, an amazing thing. It's surreal. I can't even put it into words.
Funniest moment hanging out with your high school, college or nfl team on the field or in practice?
Favorite moment in your career?
Wow, that's such a hard one! My favorite moment hanging out? Hmm.
I would say... that's such a hard question. I guess when I first entered into the NFL as a rookie on the Jets, and went out to dinner with the whole Defense, and it was my first "Wow" factor, where I was like "Wow, I'm really here in the NFL" and I kind of achieved my dream of playing in the NFL - that type of feeling with the camaraderie of the guys that we had on the team at the time was really a memorable experience.
You are obviously interested in education and improving people's lives due to your excellent charity. As an NFL player, you find yourself surrounded by many people who cut their education short or didn't take it seriously. Do you find this troublesome and do you have any ideas for how we can change this?
You know, I don't know. Because there are guys in the NFL that don't complete their education, but they are doing a great job in the NFL with the continuing education plans that they have set up by the NFl for guys to be able to get their degrees while they are still playing. So there are a lot of good things in place already.
Hey man, you were one of the Free Agents I really wanted to see come to the Giants in the offseason, but it looks like things are working out really well in Detroit.
I have two questions to ask:
Toughest QB to play against mentally?
Favorite pre-game meal?
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this!
1) The toughest QB... definitely thus far in the year, Drew Brees, because of his ability to kind of make every throw move so far, such a great quarterback and competitor.
2) Favorite pre-game meal? French toast, strawberries, and a bacon, tomato and onion omelet.
Hey James! How much free time do NFL players get exactly? You must have a lot of practice and training to do, but how many hours would you say you get to yourself and what do you do with it?
Yeah, I do stuff like this when I get time to myself. No, honestly... we definitely don't have a lot of free time. And... I try to spend time with the family when I'm away from football.
I'm a massive NFL fan that has to watch the games at all sorts of weird hours over here in Australia. Loving the turn-around in form for the Lions this year and must say you are an integral part. Anyway, here's the question...
Who do you think is going to have the better career when it's all said and done. R. Wilson from Seattle or A. Luck from the Colts? Or do you have another up and coming youngish QB in mind that can trump them all?
I say Andrew Luck when it's all said and done, I think he's going to do things in the league that will turn heads. He is going to define what it means to be the new elite quarterback in the NFL.
JAMES!! Thank you for doing this AMA! I was wondering (if you can answer) what was said during half time of the London game to help motivate you guys back into your dominant ways? Also how are you enjoying being a Lion? Also congrats on being a huge part of a great D.
Well, I'll answer the first part of the question: we have a saying in our locker room, what you hear here, stays here, when you leave here.
And I can't really say, you know, what was said, but we are all embarrassed by our performance, and we knew we could play much better, and we did.
And the second part ,how am I enjoying being a Lion? I love it, I look forward to finishing my career as a Lion, God willing, that's the plan. I love the city thus far, I love the season we are having, we definitely have something special going on and we just got to stay focused and stay the course.
Thanks for doing this, Dig! Really glad to have you on the team. Love watching you play on Sundays.
What are the most difficult things about being a player that people don't often realize?
Well, I guess the work that we put in. People have a conception that we just come out on Sundays and play. They don't see all the hard work that you put in off-field, how much you have to take care of your body, how much time goes into that, to get yourself ready to play each week.
Which are the best and worst opposing fanbases you've faced?
The best opposing fan base? Wow. hmmm Hmm.
I'd say I like playing in Pittsburgh, between Pittsburgh and Cleveland fans, they're the best fans that make you feel like the villain.
Xbox One or PS4?
PS4, all the way.
Thanks for doing this AMA!
1) Who is the best dancer of all the Detroit Lions?
Who's the best dancer? Oh man... I have no idea... I have no idea!
Whats your favorite pizza topping?
Pepperoni. That's easy.