- - Monday, December 28, 2015

DeAngelo Hall, in his 12 season, missed five games this season after spraining a toe and returned to make the transition from cornerback to safety.

Q: You’ve been through a lot the last two years with injuries. Was the mental part more difficult than the physical recovery?
A: I think it’s a combination of both. Obviously, coming back from an Achilles” [tear] is a pretty tough thing to do, especially past 30. Physically, it was definitely tough trying to get back to where I needed to be. Mentally, it was, “Can I still do it? Can I still perform at a high level?” I’m a guy who has always been known as one of the faster guys. “Will I still be my fast?” There’s always those questions in my mind. “I don’t need to do this, so should I walk away?” You always have those doubts. I’d be crazy if I didn’t, but ultimately, I ended up reaching the decision, myself and my family, I felt like I owed it to myself to at least give it a shot.

To finally get back to training camp and to start feeling good, to get hit with something else and then bam, get hit with something else, it’s definitely frustrating. I’m a guy who hasn’t been hurt a lot in his career, so for the later years to get banged up here and there, it’s definitely frustrating. So hats off to these coaches for believing in me and this training staff for getting me back out there and myself just really trying to take care of business and do what I need to do to get on the field and help my team win.

Q: Charles Woodson is retiring. He’s already completed the transition (cornerback to safety) that you are making right now – does that provide inspiration?
A: I sent a tweet out saying “C-Wood was one of the best ever.” DB’s around the world looked up to him and it’s true. I can remember thinking about going to Michigan because C-Wood went to Michigan. Wearing number two because C-Wood wore number two. Him and [Deion Sanders]. Wanting to transition to safety because he did it. Wanting to play in that style of defense because he did it. I had a coach in Atlanta – Joe Witt – who has been in Green Bay for the past six, seven years. He compares me to C-Wood a lot. He’s coached C-Wood and he’s coached me and he tells me all the time how much alike we are and that I remind him of C-Wood. If I can be one-third of C-Wood, maybe I’ll have a bust in Canton one day. It’s definitely an inspiration to see a guy be able to do what he’s done over the course of his career. He’s a couple of months away from being 40. You can’t even imagine when you watch him play. He plays with passion and fire.

I might hit a little harder than him right now. At the end of the day, I want to be viewed and play like him.

Q: What’s the most fun and hardest part of the transition been?
A: I don’t know about the best, but the [most fun part] has been the hitting. I think I’ve always been a corner who didn’t mind hitting. I’ve always thought of myself as a good tackler. I’ve had 80-100 tackles for this Redskins team, several years. I’ve always been a willing tackler. I think the hardest part is understanding the coverages from a safety’s point of view. At corner – you are quick trigger. You are worried about that one guy. At safety – You are worried about all 11 guys and somebody on your team is not lined up right and you have to help him get lined up. It sometimes puts you out of position but you’ve got to be good enough to get that guy lined up and get yourself lined up. ….That’s probably the biggest challenge, but I don’t mind it. I’ve been in this game long enough that I’m ready and I’m cool with handling those responsibilities.

Q: What has Perry Fewell and Joe Barry done for you and this defense?
A: I loved Haz to death! We had some ups and downs, but he was a great, great guy. A great coach. When I wanted to play safety, it was because I wanted to play in his defense. We kind of started that transition a little bit with Raheem. I love both of those guys. Mike Shanahan included.

When this staff got here, I still love these guys, love Jay, Joe B, Perry [Fewell], Aubrey [Pleasant] – I didn’t know where my fit was going to be. Ultimately I felt like my job was to turn Breeland into a Pro Bowl caliber player, to turn Amerson into a Pro Bowl caliber player and to try to help these guys to take my spot. I wanted them to ball out so I could go to then with confidence, to say these two guys are balling out at safety. For them to come to me and ask me to do it, I was more than willing to do it. I felt like coming back from my injury that Breeland had earned the starting spot. I didn’t want to come in here and say “I’m playing corner” because that’s what they wanted me to do. I was like Nah…don’t take this kid off the field. We had a little trouble at safety and I’ve been able to get better week in and week out.”

Q: Great to finally concentrate on football as opposed to a soap opera?
A: It’s been amazing. It’s been amazing. There’s no drama. It’s nice to just focus on football. It’s been so crazy over the past couple of years here, it’s just nice to concentrate on football and talk about wins and losses what went right and what went wrong. Instead of “hey what’s going on with this and what’s going on with that” that’s totally not related to what’s going on, on the field.

Q: Best day in the NFL – A four interception game in Chicago in 2010?
A: I think that was a better day individually, without a doubt.

Q: Was the 2012 the best team you’ve been a part of?
A: Yeah absolutely to win seven in a row. To go from (3-6) to (10-6) and have Seattle on the ropes, that was probably the best season I’ve ever been a part of. Even in Atlanta, I was on 12-13 win teams, I don’t think felt as sweet. It was a pretty surreal experience.

Q: Do you dream about getting hands on Vince Lombardi trophy?
A: I’ve definitely dreamed about that. I was just joking with some guys. I’ve never won a championship at any level in football. In high school, we had one of the best teams in the country and we were ranked. We lose to a team that had lost two games the previous year.

In college, we never make it over the hump. In the NFL, my rookie year we made it to the NFC Championship game and “I’m like this is easy, we’ll get right back” and to not get another shot in the playoffs until 2012 was a pretty humbling experience. To have what we have in front of our faces right now, It’s going to definitely be a sense of urgency and that’s the message to a lot of the young guys that I’m going to put out. I can’t wait to get out there.

Q: What’s the top misperception of DeAngelo Hall?
A: Probably that the guy on the field isn’t who he is off the field. On a good day, I’m a 5‘10, 5‘11, on a good day, 190 pound D-B. You have O-linemen and 6‘5” receivers coming at you and trying to challenge you. You gotta let “em know. It’s not the about the size of the dog, it’s the size of the fight in the dog. That’s kind of a philosophy I live by. On the field, I’m a dude you really don’t want to mess with.

Off the field, I’m the nicest, most generous, friendly guy you’ll probably ever meet.

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