5 minutes with Justin Mccareins

By Frank Rusnak

NIU alumnus and NFL wide receiver Justin McCareins signed a free-agent contract with the New York Jets last year. His brother, Jay, is a junior defensive back at Princeton University.

The older McCareins was one of 14 leadership donors for the $9.5 million NIU Academic and Athletic Performance Center that went public Saturday.

After the official announcement, McCareins talked to the Northern Star about his brother, life in the NFL and his college days.

Northern Star: How excited are you about the the new facility?

Justin McCareins: Very excited. Looking at the plans, this building will not only help take the athletic program to the next level but the entire university. And they need to get this done and I’m sure they will.

NS: This is your first time back in DeKalb in how long?

JM: It’s been a couple years. I’ve got a brother at Princeton and I watch him as much as I can and it’s tough to get back and forth. But I’m always talking about P.J. Fleck and a number of former players. I’m always watching and I’m always bragging about [NIU].

NS: You are married to your college sweetheart. Did you have a good time at NIU?

JM: She was a cheerleader when I was on the team. We just had a little boy. I made a lot of life long friends at [NIU], and I really enjoyed my time.

NS: If it were you, P.J. and Dan Sheldon all going out for routes on a Hail Mary, who would come down with the ball?

JM: I would. Those guys are shrimps (laughs). No, they are good friends and I’m just happy to be grouped in the same category as them.

NS: Who is the toughest corner in the NFL?

JM: Champ Bailey [of the Denver Broncos] is one hell of a cornerback. He is so quick, where even if you get by him he’ll recover so fast.

NS: What cornerback talks the most trash?

JM: There is not as much trash talking as you think. The young rookies are usually too out of breath to say anything anyhow.