As a part of our own halftime adjustments, CoachSark.com will be sitting down with notable competitors in the University of Washington, Husky Football, and Seattle communities to ask questions in a segment called “Competitor Tuesday.” This week we checked in with Damon Huard, former Husky and NFL quarterback and now a Major Gift Officer for the University of Washington Athletic Department.
CoachSark.com: Who is the best Husky quarterback not named Brock or Damon?
Damon Huard: That one is pretty easy, I think that goes with Warren Moon. I think anytime that you are an NFL Hall of Famer who has thrown for more yards than anybody if you combine both his CFL and his NFL days. And then also the fact that he won a Rose Bowl here his senior year in college certainly makes him the most distinguished quarterback of all time as a Husky.
CS: I heard you had a pretty good basketball career in high school. Do you think you could have helped out like ASJ on the court?
DH: 20 years ago a 6’4” guy could play forward. It just doesn’t happen anymore. But there wasn’t a shot that I didn’t like in high school. I have great memories from high school basketball but certainly I would get thrown around like a ragdoll with ASJ and some of those big boys on the court today.
CS: Any buzzer-beaters?
DH: You know I think I still have the school record: 43 points in a game. I averaged 28 my senior year and 25 my junior year, so I scored a lot of points. I like to think I was pretty good for a football player.
CS: You weren’t drafted out of college, but you went on to play in the NFL for over a decade. What kept you competing for that long?
DH: I think like anything else, you always believe in yourself. And I did. I got cut my first year in training camp with the Bengals and I was disappointed. I thought maybe I won’t get another chance. And low and behold Jimmy Johnson of the Miami Dolphins called me that next spring. I mean I was out of football for 6, 7 months and maybe thought that my career was over, and I got that second chance. Jimmy Johnson was the coach and he didn’t care how big you were, how fast you were, or what round you were drafted in. He gave everyone an equal opportunity. I won a job and was blessed to play 12 years in the National Football League.
CS: Coach Sark is from the Coach Carroll school of thought: Competition is a central theme. What have you competed most for outside of football?
DH: Once you play football you kind of compete in everything, all of the time. Whether it is football in the backyard with your buddies, coaching your kid’s team, or whatever it is, it’s always about competition and being the best at whatever you are doing. Or whether it’s working here in the Athletic Department at UW, in a sense you are always competing to do your best.
CS: Crown jewel of your non-football career?
DH: I guess I’m still striving. Right? I think it’s hard for so many players. You play a game and you are part of something so special. There are only 1600 of you in the world. You are on a stage every week in front of thousands of fans, millions of people watching. I would say coming full circle, working here at the UW, feeling like a part of the team in a small way. I can see how so many players do radio or TV because you get to show up to the arena on game day. You’ve studied the opponent all week and watched tape and broke them down. That’s why so many players hang around the game in some capacity. I know for me, being back here and working with the Athletic Department and doing the radio lets me feel a part of it in a small way.
CS: How excited are you for Husky Stadium?
DH: I’m so fired up for Husky Stadium. I can’t believe how fast it has gone up. I can’t believe how supportive our donors and fans have been. We’ve raised almost $50 million, which is incredible. I think a lot of people are worried about it being some tricked-out NFL stadium, but the reality is that it’s going to be the Husky Stadium we know and love but just better.
CS: You watch a lot of Husky Football as a commentator, who is your favorite Husky on this team?
DH: I think it’s always easy when you are a former quarterback and the current quarterback is Keith Price. How do you not love the kid? The passion he plays with, the big smile, the charisma, the way he fights every week. Keith Price is a special, special player. And obviously last year, having the greatest statistical season in Husky history as a quarterback. You just really root for the kid and I’m really fond of him.
CS: Moving to another Seattle quarterback, Russell Wilson: Buy or Sell?
DH: Buy. Absolutely buy. The height is a factor, but he negates that with his ability to make plays with his feet. He’s got one of the strongest arms in football. You see some of these highlights and he is throwing the ball 60 yards on a dime. Those are big time throws in the rain and wind down in Seahawks Stadium. More than anything you like his leadership and his moxie. He doesn’t seem to get rattled at all. He looks like a seasoned veteran out there for a guy who has played six games. I’m certainly buying him as the Seahawks’ quarterback of the future.
CS: You have been compared to Brock enough, but who wins in a Mixed Martial Arts bout?
DH: I definitely win because Brock gets hurt in the first five minutes. (Laughs) Here’s the reality, if we were in that ring with Brock and I against our brother Luke, Luke would beat us both up.
CS: At the same time?
DH: Without a doubt. He would take us both down. He is a big dude and he is strong. He was the third brother that we beat up on growing up so he doesn’t mess around anymore. He’s got a little bulldog in him.