By Curtis Egan
<em>BoltTalk Staff Writer</em>
<div class="alignright"><a href="http://seahawknationblog.com/files/2009/07/curtis-brinkley.jpg"><img title="Curtis Brinkley" src="http://seahawknationblog.com/files/2009/07/curtis-brinkley.jpg" alt="" width="200" height="132" /></a></div>
It was a year ago when an undrafted free agent rookie from Philadelphia came into Chargers spring camps with stars in his eyes. He was a Running Back for the east coast stepping into one of the West Coast teams. It is something that many fans dream about and hug their pillows tighter in the mornings to try and keep from waking up and losing the dream.
But this young man's dream became a nightmare as he was shot several times before training camp. Seriously wounded and in the hospital thoughts of his future with the Chargers or any other professional team had to be on his mind, a mental anguish to accompany the physical pain he was in.
His dream did not end, the Chargers told him that they would bring him back to camp as soon as he was feeling better. This young man, Curtis "<em>Boonah</em>' Brinkley suffered something many of us can only imagine, but in that time the constant was him saying â€˜<em>My dream is deferred, not denied!</em>'.
Curtis is back in southern California and on a hunt for a roster spot with the San Diego Chargers. He took time out of his hectic day to answer some questions for the fans at BoltTalk. I hope you enjoy this little glimpse into the man some call â€˜Boonah'.
Curtis, thanks for taking the time to speak to the Chargers fans today. It should be an interesting and exciting year coming up for yourself and the fans; the Chargers could very well have a wide open competition for running back for the first time in almost a decade. The position of starting Running Back (RB) as we all know has been cemented shut by the Great LaDainian Tomlinson for the past 9 seasons.
Now Tomlinson is a Jet, Ryan Mathews joins the team as a high first round pick, incumbent Darren Sproles returns, and you are in the mix with other young RBs looking to take a locker and make it yours come early September. I don't know about you, but there is an air of excitement as we move towards the season, so lets get your thoughts on how things shake up.
<strong>Q:</strong> First off, how are you feeling, the rehab is over, correct?
<strong>A:</strong> Yes, the rehab is over. It's been over for almost 3 months now.
<strong>Q:</strong> Is it true that you still have a bullet about an inch away from your heart?
<strong>A:</strong> Yes, I do have a bullet an inch away from my heart. The doctors believe it's too risky to remove.
<strong>Q:</strong> You are finally back in San Diego, working with the Chargers, what is that like for you?
<strong>A:</strong> It's great being back in San Diego working with the Chargers and continuing to chase my dream especially after almost losing my life. It's a blessing to be a live and I'm grateful to the Chargers for not releasing me.
<strong>Q:</strong> You seem to have an ability to stay focused and positive, even when you are faced with so many challenges. How do you manager to stay so positive?
<strong>A:</strong> I've been thru a lot growing up and also on the football field. The hardest thing I ever had to deal with was losing my father, so when things get hectic, I just think about him and what I went through trying to deal with his death and it motivates me.
<strong>Q:</strong> As you know LaDainian Tomlinson is now a Jet. A young RB, Ryan Mathews was drafted this year. How do these changes impact you, in your quest to take a roster spot?
<strong>A:</strong> I'm going to go out and compete everyday. Hopefully we all can help win. Of course I'm the underdog in people's eyes, but it's a young group of good talent and we all can push each other to get better.
<strong>Q:</strong> Do you feel there will be an open competition for the RB spots come Training Camp?
<strong>A:</strong> I'm not sure whether it will be open for competing but I know when my number is called- I'll be ready!!!!!!!!
<strong>Q:</strong> In College you saw action in the return game. Is that something you would like to, or anticipate having to try at the professional level?
<strong>A:</strong> I'm willing to help the Chargers where ever I can and in any way possible.
<strong>Q:</strong> How do you see yourself fitting into the offensive system in San Diego?
<strong>A:</strong> When I get my opportunity to run the ball, I know I will do well. I'm surrounded by a bunch of great players who do great things on and off the field.
<strong>Q:</strong> In the offensive scheme the Chargers employ, the running back often has to be able to catch passes out in the flat. What can Charger fans expect to see from you in regards to this part of the game?
<strong>A:</strong> I can catch the football. I love that part of the game and believe it or not I like blocking-everything is not just about running.
<strong>Q:</strong> You have worked hard at the High School where you rushed for 7,429 yards and 85 touchdowns in his career at West Catholic High School. You also worked your way to the starting position in College; at Syracuse. You started out mainly returning kick offs, but ended your career with the Orange as the starting rusher, compiling a 4.9 yard per carry average, rushing with 1,164 yards and seven touchdowns in 2008. You have done well at both levels. Do you feel you have to prove yourself again at the professional level?
<strong>A:</strong> Yes I feel as if I must prove myself on the professional level, but I really believe my best days are ahead of me. I've become a harder worker and a better student of the game.
<strong>Q:</strong> If so, does that frustrate you at all?
<strong>A:</strong> Yes I get frustrated but I keep working.
<strong>Q:</strong> When you score your first touchdown in the NFL, what is your touchdown celebration going to be?
<strong>A:</strong> I don't know, I might explode LOL!
<strong>Q:</strong> Curtis, one of the most endearing things you have said, in the light of the obstacles you have had to overcome (college, a broken leg your junior season, and the shooting your rookie year in the NFL), you still say that <em>your dream was just put on hold, not denied</em>. Now that you are back in Mini Camps, and the dream is so tantalizingly close, is there anything or anyone in particular you think about?
<strong>A:</strong> I think about my son and my father a lot. Thoughts of them get me through my rough patches as I often think of the day I was shot, how my life was spared but how my life-long dream was almost taken from me. Then I smile again when I think about my conversation with AJ and he told me I would be able to come back next off season and that I hadn't been released. Although the road hasn't been easy, the blessings outweigh the obstacles, so I try to think positive thoughts and I believe with all my heart that my dream is deferred not denied!
<strong>Q:</strong> Curtis, as a new father; Congratulations by the way! You are now responsible for a child of your own and you have shared with me at a high level that it has taken some adjusting in your life. However, as a Charger children are going to look up to you as a role model.
Does that worry you are all? What type of role model do you see yourself being for my children?
<strong>A:</strong> Thanks! No, I'm not worried about being a role model. I'm from Philadelphia and grew up in Abbottsford Projects where so many of the children see a lot of wrong things. Because of my family's support, I've always been one of the people on a positive track so the kids have always looked up to me. I've been a role model for a long time. Although I'm not perfect, I accept the responsibility and handle it well and I know it's only going to get better. I believe in giving back and I've been out to talk to schools and programs in San Diego as well. Stay tuned as there's a lot more to come.
<strong>Q:</strong> Curtis based on your experiences with the Chargers organization thus far, what have you been most impressed with?
<strong>A:</strong> The support the organization has shown and also the love and support of the fans.
<strong>Q:</strong> Curtis, being in Southern California has brought a lot of new responsibilities and challenges for you. But one thing I need to know, have you made it up to see your Aunt yet?
<strong>A:</strong> Yea I've seen her a few times probably twice out of the four or five times I've been to LA. She wants me to come see her every time and she doesn't like that LOL!
<strong>Aunt:</strong> And as his aunt/publicist and the final editor of these answers-for the record he has only seen me 1 time out of the 4 or 5 times he's been to LA and NO I don't like it!!!!
Thank you Curtis, (and your Aunt!) for taking the time to speak with us, and I hope to see you at this years training camp. I know I am joined by many fans at BoltTalk and other forums in wishing you the best of luck, health and success! <strong>Make us proud Boonah!</strong>
If you have questions you would like to ask Curtis, you can follow him on Twitter, his name/log on is <strong>boonah920</strong>. He is an extremely polite young man and I have seen him reply to a lot of fans. Wish him the best, and send him some BoltTalk love, because if he does half as well as I hope he does, it means the Chargers are doing well!</div>
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