A Word With: Hannibal Flores
Rhino Charge host George Marinos recently sat down with wide receiver Hannibal Flores, who has returned to the Hanover Rhinos after a several year absence. The topics of discussion include chasing that elusive championship, and his two young children.
GM: Good to see you, Hannibal. We’ll start out with the question that’s been on everyone’s minds since you announced your return from the rival York Silver Bullets. What was the reason you chose to play for the Hanover Rhinos this season?
HF: I’ve been asked that question a lot. Everyone was curious as to why I left the Bullets and decided to be a Rhino again. Honestly, Chase Scarf was my reason. Loyalty is everything to me. Last year Chase and myself became brothers. He’s looked out for me so much this past year that I am unable to express how grateful I am for him. So, when he told me he was leaving, it was only right that I have my brother’s back, and pursue this journey with him.
GM: This journey that you guys are on now, how has it been these first few months back with the Rhinos?
HF: It’s been an adjustment, having not played with a lot of these guys before, so we are all still learning each other. I believe I bring a different personality to the team. Nonetheless, I’ve been enjoying it every step of the way.
GM: How exciting is it that the season is so close to beginning?
HF: Extremely exciting! Been counting down the days myself. (Chuckles). Put a lot of hard work in during the offseason. Last year I played at a weight of 240, and to date, I am currently 216. My goal, of course, is my collegiate playing weight, which was 205. I feel I was at my best then.
GM: What does that lower weight do for the mechanics of your game?
HF: More fluent movement. Last year, I was clearly out of shape. By the 4th quarter, I was completely gassed. I did a good job hiding it though. Also, the weight put a lot of tension on my joints. Dealt with a lot of injury last year.
GM: What are the team’s goals for this year?
HF: As a team, of course the answer to that question is to win it all. That’s what you’re supposed to say. What I would say I want our goal as a team to be is- Earn the respect of the league. Feel as though we are looked over, not in any conversations. That in itself can be motivating, and I hope we take it as such. I want teams to see our name on the schedule and think, “Damn, let’s get ready for a war”.
GM: Do any of the other goals, such as being the first Hanover team to win the division, mean anything without a championship?
HF: To accomplish that and not win it all would leave a sour taste in my mouth. It would be great for the Rhinos, but for me personally would mean nothing without a championship.
GM: You mentioned how exciting it was to be back. How exciting do you think it is for your teammates that they don’t have to watch you make spectacular plays against the Rhinos this year?
HF: Since day one, I’ve been welcomed with open arms. I can only hope to continue to grow and excel on and off the field with this organization.
GM: How long have you been playing organized football?
HF: I’ve been playing organized football since I was 10.
GM: What gave you the desire to strap on the pads and give football a try?
HF: My mother signed me up. I was always getting into trouble as an adolescent. Either I was fighting, or into something I shouldn’t have been.
GM: Do you remember your first team and season?
HF: South York Warriors… I’ll never forget.
GM: What made that game memorable?
HF: Well, I played for South York, I don’t recall against who. But what I do remember is my mother watching and me putting on a show. Just having the support of my family made that memorable.
GM: How big has your family been in your football career over the years?
HF: Huge! They believe in my abilities more than I do at times. Ali Johnson, my mentor, older brother and trainer, helps push me beyond comfort at times. Live by motto he instilled in me- Either you want it or you don’t. Because of him and his company Max-I-Mus Performance & Fitness, I continue to chase my childhood dreams. Also have eyes on me with my son watching. I cherish that.
GM: What do you want your son to learn most from watching you play football?
HF: I’m still a student of the game myself. I want him to learn to love and respect the game. He’s my shadow while he’s with me. Whether it be at the gym or at practice, my son is there. Puts a smile on my face when I hear from the stands “Go Daddy”. There’s a picture of him & I that I cherish the most. He was two. I was stretching and he was doing the exact thing as me. Which is why I think before I act.