Where are they now?

Hanik Milligan enjoyed a quick rise to stardom in San Diego, going from a sixth-round pick in 2003 to a Pro Bowler in 2005. Two years and two teams later, he is plying his trade for the Rams. Amberly Richardson serves up an exclusive interview with the Birdman to discover what's taken place in the interim.

EDITOR'S NOTE: For the Insider portion of this interview, click here.

Amberly Richardson: You are known as one of the top special teams players in the league. What is that makes you so effective at covering kicks?

Hanik Milligan: It's just something I love to do. I enjoy playing football. I just want to go out there and be physical, doing what I do.

AR: On the flip side, it seems you've never been able to carve out a spot in a defensive rotation. Have any of your coaches given you an explanation for their reluctance to play you on that side of the ball?

HM: Basically, there is always opportunity at camp and we go from there. I have the ability and skills to do it. It's up to me to get it down fast. You have to make the best of the opportunity. It's up to you to study hard and prove yourself.

AR: You played with Bhawoh Jue in San Diego in 2005. When the Rams signed you this season, they released Jue to make room for you on the roster. Do you stay in contact with Bhawoh at all and did you talk about your roster swap?


Hanik Milligan
Donald Miralle/Getty

HM: No, we haven't talked in a while. In certain situations, you just have to move on and so you would like to talk with him, but the opportunity hasn't arisen. We are both taking care of our business.

AR: You've worked under a couple of elite defensive coordinators in Wade Phillips (San Diego) and Jim Haslett (St. Louis). Can you talk about your experiences with those two?

HM: The two coaches were opposite experiences. They are both great coaches and I am thankful for the chance to work with both. Coach Haslett has a fire that keeps your energy going. Wade was more laid back, but they are both good at what they do.

AR: What did you learn from both?

HM: I just learned about the schemes and about focusing and concentrating, but at the same time going fast. Good coaches make your job easier. I've watched a lot of film with both and have never been afraid of asking questions.

AR: What is the biggest difference between San Diego and St. Louis?

HM: It's just a different environment. We train in a dome, so we are not outside. The biggest difference is the cold weather. I like how the coaches and staff are like a family. The coaches don't treat players any different. There is respect at a business level. Even if things are going bad, the coaches still care.

AR: The Rams started the season 0-8. Then they sign you and win two in a row. Other than your arrival, what has this team done over the last couple of weeks to turn its season around?

HM: I think I helped, but everyone is getting healthier. There were a lot of injuries to the offensive line. The team has never been bad. Injuries play a big role in the NFL. Everyone is getting healthy and things are getting going again. I definitively think this is a turn around for us. We play it one game at a time. Each game is a playoff game.

INSIDER EXCLUSIVE

Click here to read Part II, where Milligan talks about his negotiations with A.J. Smith, his first impressions in St. Louis, and the possibility of a return to the Chargers.


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