July 21, 2000

Moreno working to bring back a championship to San Diego

Over the years, you can probably count on one hand the number of Hispanic athletes who have made a major impact on the NFL. Dominating offensive tackle, Anthony Munoz, the first and so far, only Hispanic player to be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame is perhaps the most well known. But Oakland Raiders quarterback, Jim Plunkett and the Cowboys' defensive lineman, Tony Casillas provide Munoz some company on what is regrettably, a very short list.

With more Hispanic players being introduced into the league, the chances are that pro football will eventually join Major League Baseball as a popular career destination for our nation's most gifted Hispanic athletes.

The San Diego Chargers possess one of those rare quantities in quarterback, Moses Moreno. With the Chargers training camp now underway, Moreno is locked in battle with incumbent quarterback, Jim Harbaugh and former number one draft pick, Ryan Leaf for the team's starting job. Moreno was pleased with the Chargers April draft, likes the enthusiasm exhibited by his teammates and is anxious to get back on the field.

"I think we used our draft picks to get what we needed most. We focused on the defensive side of the ball early where we lost some key guys. And the addition of Trevor Gaylor is big. He's a big-time receiver with height that is ideal," Moreno said of the Miami of Ohio wide receiver. As a local star who played his prep football at Castle Park High, Moreno had more than his share of eyes trained on him. But then he has come to grips with the fishbowl existence that typifies the NFL.

"Right now, being one of the few Hispanic quarterbacks in the league causes you to see the other side of it. You are not only playing for yourself, you are playing for all the kids out there that are watching you."

Being a positive role model is important to Moreno, who comes across as a very down to earth guy with a strong work ethic and a stronger sense of family.

Anticipating the season ahead, Moreno said, "Obviously, I'd like to be the starting quarterback here and that is what I'm working toward. I'd love to someday bring a championship back to San Diego."

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