3-Minute Interview: Eric Bakhtiari

The San Diego Chargers signed the Burlingame High School graduate and former University of San Diego football player this week. The defensive end-turned-linebacker was the defensive player of the year in 2006 and 2007 in the Pioneer Football League, USD’s conference.

How does it feel to go from Burlingame High to the NFL? It feels surreal. Growing up playing in Burlingame, I thought I wasn’t very good, I don’t think I’m very good now. But now things are definitely going the way I dreamed they would. I wake up and say, “Oh god, I get to be a Charger today.”

Did you ever think as a kid growing up in Burlingame that you’d one day make it to the NFL? No, not at all. Especially in the first years at Burlingame High, I was told I wasn’t very good and that I’d be cut, and, in fact, I wasn’t very good. I had one good year in high school.

What was the first thought that popped into your head when you realized you could be lining up during an NFL game? I better not screw up, because you have a lot more people looking at you when you’re on the Chargers than when you’re playing at USD.

What NFL quarterback would you most like to sack? Josh Johnson, quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, my old teammate at USD. If Brett Favre unretired, that’d be really cool to play against him, and I always thought it’d be really cool to play against Michael Vick to see if I could catch him.

Are you going to make a statement by trying to take down teammates LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates? No, I’m a lowly undrafted free agent; those are $40 [million] to $50 million players who contribute highly to the success of the Chargers. I won’t even breathe on them wrongly.

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