Ten questions about life off the field with Atlanta Falcons FB Patrick DiMarco, a former South Carolina standout.
Q. You were injured during your third NFL practice with San Diego. What happened?
A. Broke my foot, the Jones fracture. We weren’t in pads yet. It was the lockout year (of 2011). I was in the I formation. I started right to bend back left and cut off the weakside linebacker. And as soon as I put my foot in the ground, I felt a pop.
Q. Did you know it was bad?
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A. As an undrafted rookie, I tried to giddy up and get through it. I finished practice. I went in the training room. I said, ‘Hey, can I just get some ice for my foot? It’s a little sore.’ They checked it out and the guy was like, ‘It’s either a really bad sprain or it’s broken.’ I was kind of floored. I figured it wasn’t anything that big and it ended up being a 10-month recovery.
Q. How supportive was Mike Tolbert (the Panthers fullback who was with the Chargers at the time)?
A. He was awesome. I didn’t spend much time there, I think four weeks in San Diego. But I really got to see how a true professional works, between him and Jacob Hester. Watching them work their craft and how in-depth and detailed players they were, I knew as soon as I got my next chance I was going to go for it all and be the true professional I saw them be.
Q. Is the Super Bowl a bigger stage than your uncle (PGA golfer Chris DiMarco) played on?
A. (Laughs) He would probably say yes and I would have to agree. He’s played in the Ryder Cup, the Presidents Cup, the final group at the Masters. He’s done some amazing things. He’s a heck of a competitor. But Chris is an avid football fan. He was at the (NFC) championship game. When we won that game he was down on the field. Shoot, he about knocked me out. He came up to me and gave me the biggest hug after the game and gave me a chest pump. It was really cool to see how excited he was.
Q. Has he hit you up for tickets?
A. I’ve given him access to tickets. When he was playing on Tour, when he was a hot name, he let us do everything with him. We were in the family area (at tournaments) and I’m trying to reciprocate that with him.
Q. Did you hear from Steve Spurrier this week?
A. He shot me a text. He just said, ‘Super proud of you. You worked your tail off for this. Enjoy the moment.’ It was really cool to hear from coach.
Q. Were you at the Pro Bowl last year?
A. I was.
Q. You might have caught the last year in Hawaii.
A. I know. That was a pretty surreal experience, too. Not only do I play football but I’m also a big football fan. I grew up watching the sport. It was pretty surreal to see some players I grew up watching, being out there playing with them.
Q. It was in Orlando this year. Isn’t that where you grew up?
A. Yeah, right in Orlando. I don’t have any family members that went. But I had a bunch of buddies I went to high school with that enjoyed the experience down there.
Q. I’m guessing if you had the choice to play in your hometown or in Honolulu, you’re going to Hawaii.
A. Correct (laughs).