Coaching intern Rod Hood dispenses advice to rookie cornerback Cariel Brooks during a recent OTA.
The last game Rod Hood played for the Cardinals was the Super Bowl.
Much has changed since that time for the team and its facility, a place to which the former cornerback had not been back until a few weeks ago when he joined the coaching staff as an intern.
"Adrian Wilson is here," Hood said of his former teammate and current consultant. "Seeing Calais (Campbell) and Fitz, it brings a lot of great memories back. I'm just happy to be a part of it."
Hood is helping secondary coaches Nick Rapone and Kevin Ross with whatever is needed. That includes frequent one-on-one pointers after a play during 11-on-11 or 7-on-7 work through the current organized team activities.
Hood started 30 games in 2007 and 2008 after signing as a free agent before Ken Whisenhunt's first season. He had five interceptions -- returning two for touchdowns – in 2007 and added another pick during the 2008 Super Bowl season. He was released after the 2008
season, and injuries limited him to just 15 more NFL games with the Titans and Rams. He last played in 2011.
A long-time friend of Cardinals defensive line coach Brentson Buckner, Hood was talking to Buckner at one point saying he was thinking about getting into coaching and taking a graduate assistant spot at his alma mater of Auburn (Hood, three classes shy of his degree when he got into the NFL, finally earned his degree in 2014.)
Buckner told Hood if he was serious about coaching, why not spend the summer interning with the Cardinals? Hood loved the idea.
Unsure if coaching was what he wanted to do going forward, Hood said these few weeks with the Cardinals have convinced him to stay in the profession. (Former Steelers linebacker Levon Kirkland is also serving as a coaching intern.)
"I'm really enjoying it," Hood said. "I like learning and I like sharing my experiences out there and help those guys, get them better."
His pedigree is a help.
"Being a guy that played the game, Rod is very knowledgeable," cornerback Patrick Peterson said. "He's been in those big games. He understands what techniques work. He has a clear understanding on how to manipulate the receiver with what you are doing."
It's coincidence Hood ended up coaching with the team with which he had his most on-field success, but he acknowledged it was satisfying to return to a place that underwent a culture change starting with the teams of which he was part.
"When I was in Philadelphia we had that Super Bowl run, and things changed," Hood said. "And then I came here and no one expected us to do it and we went to the Super Bowl and things changed. This team gets better. You feel now, this is a playoff team and if you don't make it, it's almost like a down year. I'm just happy for the expectation of this team and the whole organization."
Images from the Cardinals-Steelers Super Bowl 2009 Super Bowl matchup