Hometown Hero Andrew Pinnock, former San Diego Charger drafted in the seventh round in 2003 NFL Draft now resides back in his hometown Bloomfield, CT where he played for Bloomfield High School. He played college football at South Carolina after he was named Mr. Football for the state of Connecticut and earned All-State and All- District Honors in his high school career.
Q: How was the transition from playing in the NFL to now living in Connecticut?
A: It's always a major transition, I'm used to being on a certain schedule, you know, I been doing all my life, as far as getting up in the morning with meetings, practice, media, physical therapy, certain schedules. It's funny even four years out I still sometimes look at the clock and my body still wants to do and be in that football mind set. In transition, this is home, I always wanted to come back home and give back to the community. I work at the Boys and Girls Club in Hartford. I run my own youth football camp for kids in 2nd and 8th grade and I'm looking to bump it up to high school as well. It takes part at the Jewish Community Center in West Hartford. I always knew I wanted to work with kids, I'm still living my dream.
Q: How important is it to you to give back to the community and what advice do you stress to the kids?
A: It's very important you know, even though the kids are really young , the way I run my camps I give them everything I learned and everything I know. I utilize my expertise, this is not a kiddy camp , I teach them the game from a totally different angle ,from a steady stand point, how to read keys , how to fit in blocks , how to run and tackle. Every step of the way even though there young you would be surprise of what those kids could think of.
Q: What do you miss most about playing in the NFL?
A: The competiveness and competition. It's still in me now. At work I would throw a piece of paper in the trash can and if I miss I still have to make it. It balances out because I'm still right there with the kids, the kids love it. I play games with them. I run obstacle courses with them, I still have that competiveness edge in me.
Q: How was the relationship with your former teammates playing in the NFL playing with Ladainian Tomlinson, Antonio Gates and more?
A: We had a great relationship, a few weeks ago I watched the documentary on LT "The Football Life", I'll be honest it was a little emotional just the memories, it feels like it was almost like it was yesterday, it's crazy in a blink of an eye, it just goes, it feels like yesterday we were huddle up when LT broke the record or just yesterday overtime against the Titans week 11 and I sprung a block for LT to win the game. So many good memories, but I did not only have the opportunity to only play for good coaches but being in the room with LT and Antonio and Phillip Rivers was a blessing and I could name many more great players I played with .I try to stress that in everything I do today with the youth kids in coaching and mentoring, each one of those kids gets a part of what I learned from them.
Q: What's the difference between the college football level and the NFL to you?
A: Believe it or not , it's nothing to do with speed, strength, it's the mental, you see many great players from college that end up short of the NFL and you wonder what happened to them, it's the mental class, you have to study, you have to take notes, you have to watch film, you have to know the opponent better than you know yourself, and the ones that think they could only make it by with the talent are the ones that don't make it to the pension.
Q: As a parent, how is it watching your son Andrell Pinnock playing high school football for Bloomfield High School?
A: It's a great feeling, I was able to come back catch his last year and a half in youth football. And it's great to see him follow in my footsteps and I'm proud and I let him know there is no pressure to fill your father shoe. Go out and have fun and take care of school and everything else will take care of itself. For some people it might be easy to say this about your son but he is one of the best athletes I seen and he was twenty times a better football player than I was. He runs as fast as the wind he plays offense, he plays defense. He's still young right now and he has a few seasons ahead of him but when it's time to take the football position offer you will see what he can really do.
Q: What are your thoughts on Bloomfield Football and their upcoming game against Rocky Hill, both teams are currently undefeated, what are your thoughts on how the season is going?
A: WARHAWK PRIDE, I believe in in the orange and blue and what I been part of, and sometimes I could be one of the biggest critics on the Bloomfield football program , because I have high expectations , all the alumni will say the same thing, it just like if you go to any big time school like Florida or Alabama , from the alumni, the boosters, the fans , you have high expectations, you expect to win , you expect them to play physical and do the little things right and regardless what happens I'm always have high expectations for the football program. Always.
Q: As you know your former coach Jack Cochran is coaching at Harding in Bridgeport, what are your thoughts on his return to coaching?
A: I think it's great, I'm happy for those kids in Bridgeport because you are going to see a big difference in those kids with his guidance and I'm happy for him to get back because I know it has to be eating him up inside not to be able to be out there and do what he loves to do and coach Cochran is like a second father to me. Despite all the negative press he got I can't speak on what happened but I know what he has done for me and what I seen he did for other kids in his program. He takes them all under his wing he guides them step by step and mentors them in whatever they need and he gives kids that have trouble backgrounds somewhere to cope. His knowledge of football and game over shadows from what he does behind the scenes he doesn't look for any attention for what he does but to me Coach Cochran will always be a great guy and I will always support him.
Q: What are your thoughts on concussions in the NFL, are you worried about your health in the future?
A: No, not really about my health, I'm just blessed to make it out alive (laughing), I think it's the way league is structured now you have all these programs, You have to start out at an early age the proper way to tackle, the proper way to block the proper way to wear your equipment, especially in youth sports you have a lot equipment mangers today don't really know if the kids helmet is the right size and that is so unsafe. And they need to start getting coaches certified and properly protect these kids and teach them the proper way, then you will see the concussion rates drop.
Q: What are your expectations for UConn football and what do they need to do in looking for a new coach, how does UConn get to the next level in your opinion?
A: I think they should hire Coach Cochran (laughing), Honestly, I think in a certain point and time you should try something different but I'm not just saying it because he was my coach in the past and his success in high school football. But I know the game in all levels and I know the game in high school is totally different from college but I know that he has what it takes to build the program, bring the staff in and bring excitement back to UConn football.
Q: What was your most memorable moment playing in the NFL?
A: It's kind of hard of a bittersweet moment, in 2007-08 season, AFC championship in Foxboro, I'm using the last few games as a whole my moment when I made my first start all the way to the playoffs, all the way to the AFC championship that year was my best and most memorable, it's sad we didn't make it to the Superbowl that year I still bite my tongue ,we had too many injuries that week we just couldn't get past the Patriots but the brotherhood we had , the relationship we build and the experiences you just never forget , and I sit there and watch Sunday football, I'm watching the game from a totally different angle. Everything that really runs is the same as far as the structure as far as what goes on in pre game , and what goes on in the locker room and when they come back out , I know exactly what is going on out there and how it feels to be out there, the emotions you can't even explain it so it's when I'm watching football and I'm with someone that loves the game and haven't been on my level that it's not like that I'm not playing the game no more that I'm viewing it totally different, even sometimes if it's a 3rd in long and how the passing defense breaks down , I view the game totally different.
Q: What's your favorite thing about Connecticut, any favorite restaurants?
A: Sake Hibachi Sushi and Bar is my favorite restaurant, and my favorite about CT is because its home and people be like are you crazy why would you come back to CT and I'm like you know it's just home, and there's no place like home. I love the four seasons and even since I was a kid before I went to high school I always had a passion for working with kids and youth, and when I was youth myself I was out there coaching a kid younger than me and always knew I would come back and work with the kids in the community and have a positive impact.
Q: If we were to take a ride in your car what kind of music would be playing?
A: Depends on what kind of mood I'm in, but I'll probably listen to Hot 93.7 and when I want to relax I will listen to 100.5, the type of music you listen to when you go to the doctor's office but I listen to everything really Hip-Hop R&B, Light Rock all types of music.
Q: What was your favorite player growing up?
Copyright 2013 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.