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A Ball Watchers Guide to: Luis Castillo #93

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Concudan, Jul 18, 2009.

  1. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    [​IMG]

    Movin on:
    It was an eventful childhood, being born in Brooklyn, New York, moving to the Dominican Republic, then back to the States, settling in New Jersey. Defensive End Luis Castillo was to become only the second player in the NFL of Dominican heritage to be drafted, and start.

    However, Luis had to fight and work hard to get to the NFL, like many other talented young men who make their way to the locker rooms and hallowed fields. At eleven years of age, reportedly Luis had asked for his mother’s permission to quit football, However she let him know that he was not allowed to quit. He worked hard through school and then ended up playing for Northwestern where he played well, totaling 34 career starts and 251 career tackles. Northwestern reported that Castillo “Possessed great work ethic, tremendous attitude and good strength level”, which along with his level of play led earned him first-team Academic All-America honors and Pro Football Weekly first-team All-America honors. However he was also slowed by an elbow injury his last season, and that led to an early challenge for this young NFL hopeful…

    Trouble and Acknowledgement:
    By all reports the elbow injury that Castillo suffered in college was healing slowly, and with the pain he played through as a senior in college and the prospect of entering the NFL Combine at less than 100% Castillo took androstenedione. That being a steroid which increases the amount of testosterone the body produces, which is believed to promote muscle growth and speed the healing process. However the substance was detected during a urine test at the combine.

    Now typically most ball watchers would write the young man off. However, what Castillo did then earned him some respect from this fan, and possibly some NFL teams as well. Castillo did not hide from what happened, deny it or try and make excuses for it. He manned up and wrote all 32 teams of the NFL admitting what he did and explaining himself. I think it was a brave move for a young man whose future could have hinged on how well the teams of the NFL took the letter. However, the letter must have had an impact as AJ Smith decided to draft Castillo with the 28th pick of the 2005 draft.

    When AJ Smith, Chargers General Manager was questioned about Castillo’s steroid use, he responded saying "Let me tell you -- this is a great kid. Did he cheat to try to get ready for the Combine? All of that is true. He has admitted it. He cheated to cut a corner because he was fearful. But I don't believe he gained an advantage. If we wouldn't have picked him, someone else would have -- because he's proven what a good kid he is and this was a one-time mistake.

    2005, making an impact:
    Castillo came into Boltsville with an energy that was easy to see. His smile seemed contagious and his presence was felt in the opening day against Dallas when he registered tow tackles. No I know typically a ball watcher does not bother to worry themselves about the defensive line, but the defensive line that year could not be missed. Against Oakland they held the hated Raiders to 39 yards rushing, then the next week in Philadelphia it was the line that helped hold the Eagles to just 24 yards rushing.

    In 2005 Catillo played in 16 games, he helped the defense improve and Charger fans were picking up on his nickname ‘the Dancing Bear’ because of his speed, as well as his quick hands and feet. Castillo’s Rookie year production of 37 solo tackles, 12 assisted tackles, 3.5 sacks and 3 defended passes got him named an All Rookie team selection by NFL.com, Pro Football Weekly and the Professional Football Writers of America.

    2006, and 2007:
    Castillo suffered thought 2006 and 2007 with some injuries, playing in only 10 games each season. However in the 2006 season Castillo set a career high with 7 sacks and made his first interception against San Francisco. Castillo In 2006 during the opening game, ESPN commentator Dick Vermeil called Castillo one of the best young defensive linemen he's seen in a long time. Castillo suffered a knee injury that put him on the shelf for six games.

    In 2007 it was an ankle injury that slowed the dancing bear and led some Charger fans to question his ability to stay healthy. However when in the games he played very well for the Chargers, upon returning after his ankle injury he made an immediate impact by sacking jay Cutler of the Denver Broncos for a six yard loss on a 3rd and 9 to go play. When on the field he did play well stopping many plays for losses.

    2008:
    2008 saw Castillo rewarded with an extended contract of $43-million, with $18 million in guaranteed money. AJ Smith had these comments when the signing was announced: “Since his arrival, Luis has played a huge role in the success we’ve had as a defense, he’s an ascending player who is committed to getting better. We’re thrilled that he’ll be a Charger for years to come.

    Castillo started out the season well, combining on a stop of Bret Farve with Shaun Phillips on a two point conversion attempt. Castillo continued the next week when the Chargers harried and harassed Raiders Quarterback Jamarcus Russell, Castillo accounted for 1.5 of the 5 sacks that day. Castillo and the Chargers had a respectable pass rush the latter half of the season that got better as the defense spent more time under Coordinator Ron Rivera. It due in large to the improved was the play of the defensive line, and Castillo as the season went on that the Chargers were able to hang in and steal the division title from the Denver Broncos.

    A man of the people:
    [​IMG]
    Castillo by all reports is a man who is proud of his people and his heritage. He is a man that seems to be down to earth, and helps out in the community whenever possible. In 2008 Castillo took part in a USO tour where he was one of the NFL stars visiting with U.S. troops stationed at military bases throughout the Persian Gulf.

    He also finds time to return to his ancestral home where he still receives a welcome fitting of a national hero when he returns to visit the Dominican. In 2005, he was honored with the Youth of the Year Award for excellence outside of the Dominican Republic.

    The love I’ve gotten from that country for playing a sport they don’t have another representative in has been something truly amazing, special and unbelievable it humbles me to think of how much love I’ve received for something that not all of them even understand.

    Even with all his success Castillo remains down to earth and credits his mother for her hard work and providing him with opportunities to succeed. She was raised in a small village in the Dominican that had no running water or electricity and few educational opportunities. Today, she runs a multimillion-dollar company in New York that imports hair-care products from her homeland. “Because she dedicated so much to me, I’m accountable to her, I’m accountable to her to make sure I take every opportunity and make the best of it, because she worked very hard to give me an education.

    Castillo is also a community leader in San Diego. Where he has hosted “Shop with a Charger” for abused and neglected children. A true role model, who exemplifies the character that the Chargers promote, Castillo was selected as the cover athlete for the Spanish-language version of Madden NFL ’08.
    That was a special honor I remember playing Madden growing up, and when I’d make my player on the video game, I’d think, ‘Castillo? That’s not the last name of any NFL player.’ I thought I’d have to change my name if I ever got lucky enough to play in the real NFL.

    Castillo, who is fluent in Spanish now uses his name and image to inspire other Hispanic youths. He has helped facilitate football camps in both Mexico and the Dominican Republic.
    [​IMG]

    We have to continue to do everything we can, especially as Hispanic players and role models, to show them it isn’t a matter of where you come from it doesn’t matter what nationality you are, how much money your family might or might not have, but really, that you can achieve anything you want. You set your own limits.

    Castillo was acknowledged for his contributions and awarded the 2008 Roberto Clemente Award for Sports Excellence. However, Castillo hopes to inspire youth to excel in all facets of life.
    I’ve had a lot of opportunities to interact with kids but it shouldn’t be about letting them hang out with a football player. I want them to see how I treat my family and friends and to see the integrity and honesty I try and live my life with. Those are the things that are important.

    Entering the 2009 season Castillo says he is feeling healthy. With Rivera’s emphasis on aggressive defensive play, and accountability, Castillo could have a banner year, If he is able to remain healthy, his combination of experience, size and speed can make his a difficult advisory to stop. Time will tell how the 09 season pans out for Castillo, but given his background and upbringing Charger fans can be certain that he will never quit.

    Ball Watcher noun (as defined by Shamrock)
    1. Those fans that stare down the QB at the snap of the ball (whether watching on TV or at the stadium). They don't see the coverage, the DL/LB alignment, the offensive formation, or other nuances of the game.

    2. After the snap, those same fans simply follow the ball. Pulls, traps, OL slides, secondary coverage’s, etc, all are foreign concepts to them.

    3. Advanced ball watchers become stat reading ball watchers. The "dirty" work, done by players in the trenches, or run support CB's, escape those fans knowledge of the game.

    4. Only skill position players (i.e. those that generate stats) are important to ball watchers.

    5. Concudan
     
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  2. Alpenbolt

    Alpenbolt BoltTalker

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    Nice work. Well done.

    May want to change the title though to the A Sideline watchers guide to Luis Castillo.
     
  3. BoltsFanUK

    BoltsFanUK Well-Known Member

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    Awesome Article Conc- it looks like Luis liked it too on twitter :)
     
  4. Dublin Bolt

    Dublin Bolt BoltTalker

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    So now we know the players know about our board!!. Hope Luis comes back to visit and maybe even post one day!.
     
  5. sickswonnyne

    sickswonnyne Well-Known Member

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    Shaun Phillips is half Dominican, does he count?
     
  6. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    Nice work once again, Conc. :tup:

    Luis needs to stay healthy & play like a man possessed this year. He got paid - let's see our money's worth.

    C'mon, big guy - if you're reading this, I love ya, but you gotta step it up this year!! :bolt:
     
  7. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    Luis, according to everything I read about him has the strength of character. Playing 3-4 defensive end is not easy, many time you have two people on you. That could be one reason that he has had ankle injuries.

    But there is no denying when he is in there, he is making an impact!
     
  8. pure-sol

    pure-sol Well-Known Member

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    Add to all that physical pressure with the fact that specialty shoes are not made for linemen. Big guys with lots of weight that need to move around like little guys demand specialty shoes to protect ankles and whatnot, especially if they pronate excessively.

    I remember last preseason when Hardwick was talking about this. It's something that people just don't think about.
     
  9. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    Exactly. Not only that but you see the linesmen getting bent backwards or hit from odd angles I am amazed that there are not more injuries. Knees, ankles and lower backs are not meant to bend at odd angles.

    I hope what Luis said on Twitter earlier this month comes to fruition, he mentioned that the D want 40+ sacks this season. If our boys can get that, we might see it! We might just see them hoisting the Lombardi!
     
  10. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    CAMP CASTILLO 08'

    Celebrating its 5th year, Camp Castillo was once again held at the CREA Sports Field in Tijuana, Mexico. Hosted by the San Diego Chargers' Luis Castillo, the camp's objective is to motivate middle and high school students who have met the improved academic and citizenship goals set by their teachers and administrators. The camp is designed to promote personal health and wellness through teamwork and discipline, all of which lead to increased levels of self-confidence and self-esteem. Of course, all this is done while having FUN!

    We are particularly pleased with the success of Camp Castillo 2008 in light of the tremendous challenge we faced when we lost our media partner of 4 years just days before the camp was scheduled. We are incredibly fortunate that TV Azteca stepped in and offered their support at such a crucial time. It was through their backing, as well as that of several individuals who worked tirelessly day and night in preparation, that the camp was able to take place. According to one of the organizers, "Casualmente fui invitada para participar en este evento, sin imaginarme lo especial que seria. Con la disposición de TV AZTECA, de Directivos de algunas Instituciones Educativas de mi Estado, gracias a el C.P. Miguel Angel Juncal, a Angel Maldonado y a los muchachos del equipo de futbol de la preparatoria CBtis #155 que fueron punto clave para la realización de las actividades durante el campamento Castillo, a los niños y adolescentes que nunca perdieron el entusiasmo en que el campamento se realizaría ya que deseaban participar y tener de cerca a los Chargers, Sin duda valió la pena hacer el esfuerzo y no dejar decaer el compromiso ya establecido con la comunidad Tijuanense. Gracias a la AFE por darle a mi ciudad este tipo de oportunidades."

    This year, Luis Castillo's guest list included:

    * Chargers' teammates, Jeromey Clary, Tra Battle, Jacques Cesaire, and Steve Gregory,
    * Retired NFL athletes, Leon White and Karl Wilson,
    * World-renowned Capoeirista, Mindinho.

    Camp Castillo kicked off Saturday with a Capoeira demonstration and warm-up featuring Mindinho and the Tijuana-based branch of his group. For just about everyone on the field, the Brazilian art form of Capoeira was a new activity. Students and players alike were treated to an impressive display of this amazing combination of acrobatics, martial arts, dance, and music. After the performance, Mindinho led the student-athletes in a warm-up that prepared them for their stations.

    The camp continued with the over 75 middle school students on Saturday and more than 125 high school students on Sunday. Each day, the main group of attendees was divided into smaller groups, allowing for more personalized attention to the students. Despite doubling of the number of students on Sunday, athletes still worked with them in small groups and took time to sign autographs for everyone. The groups rotated around five different stations, each run by a different athlete, each concentrating on developing a different skill. From catching balls and running drills, to blocking practice and headstands, all activities were designed to improve overall physical conditioning, as well as teach proper techniques for running, throwing, and catching. With the effort that students where putting into their exercises, many showed improved coordination and balance, just by the end of their rotations!

    After breaking for lunch, each day continued with another series of exercises and games designed to teach the benefits of cooperation and teamwork. Games included relay races, tug-of-war, and of course, football. No matter what the activity, students learned that sometimes, being a strong individual is not enough; that they need to work with others on their team in order to succeed – and you don't always get to pick who's on your team.

    Camp on both days concluded with gifts from the Chargers' team for all the attendees as well as autographs by all the special guests on everyone's shirts.

    Athletes for Education is truly grateful for the support and assistance of everyone involved in allowing us to offer the camp attendees the inspiration and mentorship that can make a difference in their lives. We believe strongly in our motto of "Helping Our Youth Help Themselves," and realize that in order make that a reality; we need the support of the community. This year's Camp Castillo proved to us what amazing things can happen when we all come together.
     
  11. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    10 minutes with Chargers defensive end Luis Castillo

    San Diego Chargers defensive end Luis Castillo was an unlikely candidate to become one of the league's most promising young defensive linemen.

    Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Castillo moved to the Dominican Republic when he was a couple months old and lived there until he was 5 before returning to the United States. Castillo attended Northwestern, where he earned All-American and All-Academic honors. Chosen by the Chargers in the first round of the 2005 draft, he became only the second Dominican player to be drafted and to start in the NFL. Castillo, one of 24 players of Hispanic heritage in the NFL, was honored by the president of the Dominican Republic when he returned to the country after his rookie season.

    The 24-year-old has certainly come a long way. ESPN.com caught up with Castillo and asked him about the progress of the NFL in the Hispanic community here and abroad.

    ESPN.com: Why is baseball more popular than football in the Hispanic community?

    Castillo: If you look at what more kids are playing, then clearly [it's] baseball, but there is definitely a shift toward football. I know that if you are growing up in a Hispanic household, your mother might never have heard of football. That was the case with my mother, who was uncomfortable when I suggested playing football. At least five or 10 years ago, it was the case that mothers would push their kids toward things they are familiar with like soccer, basketball or baseball. Castillo had to talk his mother, who knew nothing about the game, into letting him play football.

    ESPN.com: What has it been like playing in front of a large Hispanic community in San Diego?

    Castillo: When I began playing, the Hispanic family really did not have that understanding of football. Football has really grown and families now really do have that understanding of the game. Once you have a mom who knows what football is and has a favorite team, it makes it a lot of easier for the children to understand the game. You see the love the Chargers are getting from the Hispanic community in San Diego, and you see more and more kids playing every day.

    ESPN.com: How important is it for Hispanic NFL players to give back to their respective communities and to serve as role models?

    Castillo: I think there is a lot more that can be done. Even with not that much initiative, there has still been much growth. As the number of Hispanics in the NFL continues to grow and they do more national advertisements/endorsements, it will become more popular. Anthony Munoz [Cincinnati Bengals Hall of Fame offensive lineman] was the player everybody knew about when I was a kid because he was so good.

    Whenever a player has the opportunity to do something, he will do it. I know Marco Rivera [former Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers offensive lineman] did a football camp in Puerto Rico, and I did a football camp in the Dominican Republic. The biggest thing is for kids is to see a player from the same family structure, socioeconomic background that made it [to the NFL]. That is why we [Hispanic players] do what we do.

    We don't want to separate ourselves from any other athlete, but it is more an element of highlighting our heritage. We want the involvement to grow.

    ESPN.com: Football, with so many rules, can be a difficult game for much of the world to understand. How difficult has it been for football to gain traction in Latin America?
    Castillo: My mother was able to pick up the game in a few years. … Once the kids start playing, the mothers will get involved, etc.

    ESPN.com: What made you start playing football?
    Castillo: It's funny. At first I really did not want to play football. After the first couple of practices when I realized how hard the game was, I wanted to quit. It was the first organized team that I have ever played on. My mom had to push me to do it. She said, "If they can do it, you can do it."

    ESPN.com: What are some obstacles to having more Hispanics in the NFL?

    Castillo: I think it is not so much an obstacle, but taking time with initiatives to get the game out there in the Hispanic community. I remember when I started playing, other mothers in the Hispanic community would say: "How do you let your kid play the game? It is so dangerous. I yanked my kid off the field after the first tryout." Making Hispanics more comfortable with the game is the biggest thing. Seeing the game on TV, though, is huge. Teams like the Chargers broadcast their games in Spanish so first-generation immigrants can understand the game as well.
     
  12. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    Again ... Luis is one of my favorite players. He got a big contract what - last year? He needs to go the extra mile to make certain that he gets in the best possible shape to help avoid the injuries that have nagged him for a large portion of his career.

    Football is a violent sport. You have to prepare yourself to take the hits & move bodies, especially in the trenches.

    We need everybody's best this year. This is the year to do it - on the AFL 50th anniversary.

    You feeling me, Luis? :abq2: :abq1: :abq2:
     
  13. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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  14. CoronaDoug

    CoronaDoug Well-Known Member

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    Conc you have to change the title. "Ball Watchers" :icon_rofl:

    Sorry my Beavis and Butthead came out. :lol:
     
  15. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    :no:
     
  16. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    I don't know, Conc's continued ball watching theme is starting to get scary. :icon_eek::icon_huh::icon_shrug:
     
  17. Sydalish

    Sydalish Addicted to Sports

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    you said balls :lol:
     
  18. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    You to?!:icon_evil:


    :lol:
     
  19. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    Ball Watchers :no: :lol:

    Go Conc Go... :lol:
     
  20. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

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  21. in_a_days

    in_a_days dgaf

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    Great job conc! :tup:

    Keep 'em comin!
     
  22. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    Whenever I get back out to Dego for a game, If Conc is going to be in the crowd, I'm wearing a protective cup. :icon_eek:
     
  23. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    Why, you aint got none... :icon_eek:
     
  24. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    :icon_rofl:

    :eek:h$hit: :icon_banana:
     

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