Reminiscing with Andrew Pinnock

With the 2004 NFL Draft just recently concluded it is a chance to look back at some nostalgia. Memories of the past and the difference a year makes. Last April a young fullback became a San Diego Charger and his nerves are just settling down from the long road as a rookie to second year veteran.

Coming from South Carolina, Andrew Pinnock saw himself as a running back that could excel at fullback. Then day one of the draft passed. Day two nearly played itself out before he heard his name called.

Exhale.

"Oh man, longest day of my life," Pinnock said in reflection. "When you were projected to go in the third round and projected to be the first or second fullback in the draft, and you sit there and see all these fullbacks go ahead of you and you don't go until the seventh round, it was a long day."

At South Carolina he played for the demanding Lou Holtz, a legend among coaches. Coming to San Diego where Marty Schottenheimer was a walk in the park.

But he really had no idea that San Diego would be the team to select him.

"I met with them during the combine, but I had no idea I would come out to the west coast," Pinnock said. "I thought I was going somewhere on the east. I remember a couple days before the draft one of my friends and I were talking and we were joking about it, "who knows after this weekend I could be headed to the west coast.' I had no idea I was really coming."

Pinnock wasn't even sure what he was just two months before the draft. He was known as a running back but had the body of a fullback.

His vision growing up was to be Jerome Bettis, so much so that he used to call himself that in the backyard of his house.

He was rated higher as a fullback and chose that path, but in the Gamecock offense he was a runner and not a blocker. But his attributes were hard to ignore. Six foot and built like a mac truck at 255 pounds, Pinnock's thighs were bigger than a supermodel's waist.

"Going into the draft, no one really knew where I was going to be," Pinnock honestly admitted. "I was even confused. Did they want me as a running back or as a fullback? When I saw I was rated high as a fullback, actually rated as the top fullback, I said ok I am going to go in as a fullback. I was just so into this I need to be bigger. I was moving real well at that weight, but I didn't need to be that big."

This offseason, Pinnock is working hard to bring his weight down to a manageable level. He does not want the "gasers" recurrence of last time he came to training camp.

His goal in year two is to make a difference on offense and not just special teams.

"San Diego believed in me and picked me up. I am looking forward to finally getting my chance and get on the field, play my role and prove that I was the best fullback in that draft."

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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