Virginia cornerback Chase Minnifield talked to reporters this afternoon at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Minnifield is the son of Frank Minnifield, who played cornerback for the Browns from 1984-92 and made four Pro Bowls. The elder Minnifield and Hanford Dixon formed one of the best cornerback tandems in NFL history. Chase Minnifield said he has not met with the Browns at the combine, but he discussed his father's legacy and ties to the team as well as his own goals. Here are some of the highlights from the conversation:
What is the best advice your dad gave you?: “I got advice every day. Just don’t let people outwork you. His work ethic was passed down to me. I’m a big believer in you get out the work you put into it. My dad was a walk-on that turned into a four-time Pro Bowler. He’s a big-time, hard-working guy, and that’s what I’ve been. That’s what he passed down to me.”
Have you watched tape of him?: “I have a little bit of tape. I have films of him playing Jerry Rice and things like that. We don’t sit there and study them. We look at them sometimes to see what he and Hanford do. I don’t just watch my dad. I watch Hanford, too. It’s interesting.”
Your dad was one of the first players to use a laptop to study receivers. I suppose you don’t just rely on physical skills?: “I watch a lot of film, about four hours a day during the season. I use my laptop and Microsoft Excel. My dad taught me a lot and that’s one of the things he taught me.”
Who was better, Hanford or your dad?: “My dad. He’d kill me if I said something different.”
What would you do if you weren’t playing football?: “I can’t see myself not playing football. Football was in my cradle. That’s all I’ve really ever done -- sports and football has always been a part of that.”
You said you had a football in the cradle, was that for real?: "Yeah, I’m pretty sure I had a football in the cradle."
Did you live in Cleveland?: "I lived in Lexington, but my dad had a place in Cleveland. I came up there on the weekends."
Do you have a special feeling about the Browns?: "I’m clearly attached to the Browns because of what my dad is to the Cleveland fan base. But I don’t have a preference for teams."
Your dad’s calf muscles were really big. Did he tell you to work on your calves?: "Nah, but everybody from Cleveland always checks my calves. I guess they’re kind of legendary."
You seem proud of your dad. Do you ever wish you were Chase Jones?: Nah, my goal in life is to be better than my dad, and it pushes me every day. Everybody tells me I won’t be, so it’s a good fuel. Clearly you can’t sit there and say your son’s going to be better than you. You have to prove it first."
How much you enjoy talking about your dad?: "I enjoy it because my dad is what I would call a true rags-to-riches story if you really followed him. From what he’s doing now from where he came from, he’s a true inspiration. You can’t knock anybody because nothing was given to him. You’ve got to respect that."
Did he coach you?: “Yeah, he’s coached me all the way from little league to high school. He was the defensive coordinator for (my first) two years (of high school), and then he just backed off a little bit and just did the parent thing for two years.”
Have you spent time with Hanford Dixon?: “Every time I’m in Cleveland, my dad and Hanford get up there, we talk there and sometimes he gets Hanford to call me in college and he talks about my technique and things like that. It’s always good to get a second opinion on things.”
Do you have the poster of your dad and Hanford Dixon?: “Yeah. Mighty Minnie and Top Dawg? We’ve got a whole bunch of ‘em.”
Would it be special if you ended up with the Browns?: “Yeah, that would be an awesome situation. I wouldn’t be trying to carry on what my father (did). I’d try to make my own thing. My goal is to do more than what my dad did. He never got to the Super Bowl with the Browns, so that would be something I would try to do. I’m always trying to strive to do more, but it would be an awesome situation.”
Is your dad a cult hero in Cleveland?: "I understand. My dad is a rock star in Cleveland."
Are you tired of hearing about Dawgs all the time?: "I'm not tired of hearing it. That's what I grew up in. My dad barks every time he comes to Cleveland, so it's not nothing new."