Looking to return to form following a 2015 season highlighted by a knee injury and two releases, Ziggy Hood hopes that being with the Redskins will help him return to his early career production totals.
Ziggy Hood understands the longstanding history of the Washington Redskins.
From Sammy Baugh's individual excellence to the team's three Super Bowl victories during a 10-year span, the Redskins have a history few NFL franchises can match.
So when Hood was determining where he wanted to play after a difficult 2015 season, he settled on a team that not only has had lengthy success, but one that is in a position to rise up once again.
"Knowing a little bit of the history of the team and there's a couple time I've watched NFL Films and I've seen the other guys that played and paved the way and what legacy they left behind," Hood said on "Redskins Nation" about choosing to play for the Redskins. "So I was like, 'OK, I've got to follow that right there, they gave me the blueprint of what to do and how to work and stuff.'"
Hood comes to Washington for the start of his eighth NFL season.
He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft and was a model of consistency his first five seasons, appearing in all 80 of the Steelers' regular season games during that span.
But after signing a four-year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars before the 2014 season, a year in which he would once again be active all 16 games but didn't start, Hood started the 2015 season on Injured Reserve before being released on Oct. 20.
The University of Missouri product was shortly sign with the Chicago Bears after his release, and even appeared in two games before once again being let go in December.
The Washington Redskins on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, announced the signing of veteran defensive lineman Ziggy Hood. Take a look at his NFL career in photos.
Hood is eager to prove that last season was an anomaly, and that starts with the Redskins' regular season opener against his former team – the Steelers – on Monday Night Football.
"You can't carry too much old baggage because when I left the Steelers, we left on good terms, I have a lot of good friends over there," Hood said. "But not only that, this is competition; you want to go against some of the best and right now they're one of the best teams in the AFC, not only that, it's a Monday night game against them, what better time to perform."
Redskins defensive coordinator Joe Barry likes his defensive linemen to be versatile, capable of playing multiple positions depending on what situations dictate.
Right now, the 6-foot-3, 300 pounder is playing nose tackle along with three- and five-technique.
"[I'm] just learning all the ropes in case my number is called or there's an injury somewhere," Hood said. "and they need me to fill the gaps, I'm going to be able to replace and play from there."
Hood is willing to try it all for the Redskins' defensive line.
"Anything that the coaches need me to do, it's kind of similar a little bit to what I was doing in Pittsburgh when my time was there, but it's also like an attack," Hood said. "So penetrate and get in your gap, but not only that, making sure you keep your responsibilities, taking control and making sure you be the reason why somebody else makes the play."