Where are they now? Part II

Former Chargers Pro Bowler Hanik Milligan goes one on one with Amberly Richardson. The Birdman talks about his departure from San Diego, his one-year stint in Arizona and his addition to the St. Louis roster on Nov. 5.

Amberly Richardson: It seems like things fell apart in San Diego when it came time to talk about a contract extension after your Pro Bowl appearance. How far apart were you and the Chargers in those negotiations?

Hanik Milligan: I think we were really far apart. I had fun out there, but we weren't on the same level. I had done everything they asked me to do in the two years that I was there. Not that I thought they owed me anything, but I helped their team out a lot. I earned a good contract, but for some reason they didn't think so. It was a matter of respect.

AR: In hindsight, are you happy with the way things worked out?

HM: Yes, I'm enjoying St. Louis. They gave me an opportunity and I am still one of the best. They have given me the opportunity to improve my career.

AR: You had to deal with an awkward situation in San Diego where you were on the trading block for months while A.J. Smith shopped you around the league. How hard was it for you to focus on what the Chargers were doing when you knew that you wouldn't stay there?

HM: It was very difficult. I tried my best to keep focused, but the situation was hurtful. They didn't appreciate me. There are no hard feelings, but it was frustrating. In this business, you gotta' do what you gotta' do.

AR: You're going to be a free agent after the season. Have you given any thought to where you want to play next year?

HM: I wouldn't mind being back (with the Rams). This is great opportunity and I enjoy the coaches here. I like the way they run things here. They treat everyone the same. The coaches are players' coaches. I would love a long-term deal.

AR: If the Chargers undergo an offseason management change, would you consider coming back to San Diego?

HM: If that time comes, you never know. I can't count anything out. You have to see how things roll. I look forward to being back in St. Louis though.


Hanik Milligan
Brian Bahr/Getty

AR: Can you recap your experience last year in Arizona?

HM: I went in there and did what I do and they gave me the opportunity to go out there and be physical. To go out there and be physical is what I do best.

AR: Who were the players and coaches there that had the biggest impact on you?

HM: Edgerrin James and Anquan Boldin, those two guys helped me get through things. The coach who had the biggest influence on me was (former Cardinals special teams coach) Gary Zauner. He helped make my transition easier. I missed those guys in San Diego. Arizona was different because LaDainian Tomlinson wasn't there. It was kind of hard to leave San Diego, but that's the business side of it.

AR: With all that you have been through off the field, has your understanding of what it means to be in the NFL changed?

HM: Definitely. You just have to know and understand the business side of the league. It's a tough business. You have to be prepared for anything and have no hard feelings. You just have to be able to move on.

AR: Do you still follow the Chargers?

HM: Yes, I have a good relationship with those guys and wish them success. I'm focused on my team, but if I get a chance I look at what (the Chargers) are doing. I talk to Kassim Osgood. I see how he is doing and meet up with him in the offseason.

AR: Why is your nickname Birdman?

HM: Because I fly on the field.


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