Bloomfield's Running Back Andrell Is All The Way Back

Andrell Pinnock of Bloomfield slowly makes his way off the field as Woodland celebrates a 30-26 victory during their CIAC Class S semifinal at Wolcott High School Saturday afternoon.
Andrell Pinnock of Bloomfield slowly makes his way off the field as Woodland celebrates a 30-26 victory during their CIAC Class S semifinal at Wolcott High School Saturday afternoon. (John Woike / Hartford Courant)

The latest chapter in Andrell Pinnock's football career began last season when a Rocky Hill helmet collided with his right knee.

On the fifth play of Bloomfield football's fourth game last year, at home against the Terriers, the senior running back made a move on a messy field to try and avoid getting tackled. It didn't end well.


"His helmet went right into my knee and that was it from there," Pinnock said. "Season gone."

The hit tore the ACL and MCL in Pinnock's right knee and set him on an eight-month road to recovery. And he has recovered. This year Pinnock rushed for 1,058 yards in the regular season and helped get Bloomfield back to a Class S semifinal at home against Seymour Monday.


But the journey back wasn't an easy one for Pinnock.

"For a while you can't actually raise your leg. Sometimes you can't make it the bathroom so you have to use a bottle. You're on crutches and all you really want to do is walk again," he said.

Pinnock's physical therapy started in January and lasted through the spring. In March, he was able to start training. By the summer he was allowed to do more strenuous work, like conditioning, before being cleared for cutting and contact.

Pinnock was one of 10 players on Bloomfield to go down to an injury last year. That loss of personnel was a major factor in the Warhawks' going 5-6 and missing out on the playoffs a year after a 9-2 season ended in a 30-26 loss to Woodland in the Class S semifinal.

"It wasn't a bump and a bruise or a tweaked ankle, it was major injuries. Guys went down for the rest of the season and that was hard," coach Ty Outlaw said. "[This season] we knew it was going to be a good team but we just wanted to stay healthy because injuries really hurt us last year."

Pinnock didn't want to just come back from his injury, though. He used the recovery of his favorite running back, Adrian Peterson, as motivation for his.

"I watched how he came off his injury. He's a work addict, he works hard. My main focus was to be like that," Pinnock said. "I didn't want to just come back OK. I wanted to make a major impact with it. So going into the season, my main focus, I kept asking myself how I could be as productive as I was before the injury."

Pinnock had some help coming back to be better than he was. His dad, Andrew Pinnock, is a former fullback for the San Diego Chargers who played for Bloomfield High in the mid-1990s with Dwight Freeney.

"He got down about [his injury] so I took him a little more under my wing to show him how to mentally overcome adversity like that," Andrew Pinnock said. "He worked his butt off and he listened to everything I taught him. And it's been paying off."

Andrew Pinnock played under Lou Holtz at the University of South Carolina after playing at Bloomfield and was drafted by the Chargers in 2003.

"A lot of people might look at it like, 'Oh, your dad was in the NFL you must get this, must get that.' But it's a regular father/son relationship," Andrell Pinnock said. "He tells me all the time just be yourself. 'Don't try to live up to what I've done. If anything, be better.'"

That relationship has made for an unusual experience, as the father watches his son play on the same field he used to.


"Sometimes it still hasn't hit me yet that I'm that old cause it feels like yesterday I was playing on that field. I'm out there with him every game it's a great feeling. I'm very proud of him and they way he overcome the adversity and bounced back," Andrew Pinnock said.

Now Pinnock and his team prepare for their semifinal against Seymour on Monday after their 28-20 Class S quarterfinal win over East Catholic on Tuesday. But reaching this point is something Pinnock believed they could reach.

"Despite everything that happened last year it was expected for us to do well this year. Because this team has been playing together since we were 8 years old. So we all have chemistry," Pinnock said. "[This year] the mentality is different. Everybody's been working harder than usual and everybody is focused."