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  • Sun., Sep. 28, 2014 11:05 AM - 1:05 PM PDT Countdown to Kickoff

    The official San Diego Chargers pre-game show.

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    The official San Diego Chargers pre-game show.

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  • Sun., Oct. 12, 2014 11:05 AM - 1:05 PM PDT Countdown to Kickoff

    The official San Diego Chargers pre-game show.

  • Sun., Oct. 12, 2014 1:05 PM - 4:05 PM PDT Chargers @ Raiders The Chargers head to Oakland to take on the Raiders.
  • Sun., Oct. 12, 2014 4:05 PM - 5:30 PM PDT Post-Game Show The official San Diego Chargers post-game show with exclusive interviews with Mike McCoy, Chargers players, phone calls and comments breaking down the game.
  • Sun., Oct. 19, 2014 11:05 AM - 1:05 PM PDT Countdown to Kickoff

    The official San Diego Chargers pre-game show.

Ivy League Representation

Posted by Christopher Smith on June 29, 2010 – 12:04 PM

Some rookies, especially undrafted players, haven’t gotten a lot of media attention. I’ve found that, when interviewing them for a story and not much background information available, their college days are a solid conversational starting point.

It helps when there’s a built-in association to their school, like Bobby Bowden and Florida State for WR Richard Goodman, or Ivy League with Cornell and WR Bryan Walters (who happen to be locker room neighbors).

So I did a little digging and found that 14 current players are Ivy League alumni.

Here’s the breakdown:

Brown (6)
Harvard (5)
Cornell (2)
Princeton, Pennsylvania (1)
Columbia, Dartmouth, Yale (0)

Seven of them are rookies. That number is highly likely to shrink by September. Even so, the original 14 represents about .58 percent of the NFL, a miniscule number.

Cornell, of course, reached the Sweet Sixteen this year before losing to Kentucky, a highlight of Walters’ senior year and perhaps the finest athletic accomplishment for the Big Red.

I find it fascinating that potential NFL players can face much different alternate career prospects. Guys like Walters, which an economics degree, don’t have trouble earning a comfortable pay if they don’t make it. Others would experience more than an appreciable dropoff, particularly those whose families are counting on them to lift an entire group of people out of poverty.

It doesn’t seem to affect the outcome much at the professional level, where outliers don’t stretch far from the mean. Professional athletes, in general, live up to the first word of this sentence regardless of their background and motivation.

So how does SoCal compare to his native Seattle and his college home in upstate New York?

It’s sunny here every day. That’s nice. In Seattle, if you get a sun day, ahh, it’s awesome,” Walters said. “This (overcast and cool) is kind of how it is in Seattle every day. It’s nice being in the same time zone. Coming from New York to San Diego, I pretty much feel like I’m home because of the West coast.”

Stay true and keep pounding,
Christopher


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Symposium Extras

Posted by Christopher Smith on June 28, 2010 – 4:24 PM

• Almost all of the 255 NFL rookies attended. Among those absent was Chad Jones, the New York Giants safety involved in a serious car accident last week.

• Asked what would happen if Cam Thomas launched himself into the space bounce with a hive of kids, Ryan Mathews broke a string of monotonous questions with this diddy: “He’ll pop that thing if he goes in there. I’ll probably be in there with him. If he ends up in there, he’ll probably squash a few kids or something like that, but it’s all fun and games.”

Darrell Stuckey wasn’t star-struck, per se, by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. But Goodell did gain his respect: “As important as (off-field behavior) is to our organization and the branding of the NFL, it’s one of those things to where we have to realize that, yeah, he’s the man. He’s the one that runs the show. And for him to take time out to come out here and let us know how important it is to him means a lot to us.”

As an aside, Stuckey already is one of the more polished interviews on the team.

• Thomas had an interesting take on the collective fate of the rookies: “Somebody’s going to have a Hall of Fame type life. Some people are going to be wealthy. Some people aren’t going to make it past training camp. They’ll probably play one preseason game. That’s just reality.”

• Monday’s media availability was part of the NFL’s Play 60 campaign to promote active lifestyles. There were a few dozen kids from Camp Pendleton that participated in a fun lunchtime play session outside with all of the rookies. The Chargers actively sought kids to engage. Jonathan Crompton played quarterback with a few. Stuckey and Donald Butler also were quick to find some young friends.

We are officially four weeks from the first rookies-only practice at training camp.

Stay true and keep pounding,
Christopher


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Greeting, Gameday Extra

Posted by Christopher Smith on June 25, 2010 – 6:15 PM

Chargers Park has cleared out, the World Cup still is more than 12 hours from resuming and I’m an hour from my Friday workout in the weight room here.

I figure this is as good a time as any to introduce myself and what I’ll be doing for you, the fan. Read more »


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More on Stuckey, Epps

Posted by Christopher Smith on June 24, 2010 – 3:36 PM

SS Darrell Stuckey and TE Dedrick Epps both signed four-year contracts today.

You’ll notice I got quotes from Stuckey and none from Epps. That’s not a knock on the tight end. I just happened to catch Stuckey on his way out of the building.

As for his plans between now and July 26?

He’s headed to Lawrence, Kan., to be with his fiancé and plan for their April 9 wedding.

I asked him if it felt different now that he’s in the NFL, which involves a bit more business than he faced with the Kansas Jayhawks, or if he ignored that side and let others worry about it.

I like to know what I’m getting myself into and know my surroundings,” he said. “You’ve got to be a complete player. You’ve got to be a great player on the field and just as good of a person off the field and know what’s going on around you to be efficient and effective.”

He’ll attend his first NFL training camp in about a month, so I asked him if he knew what to expect. His comments focused on the team’s development.

That’s where you find out the strengths and weaknesses of the team and you exploit those weaknesses and make them advantages. Sharpen them,” he said. “Iron sharpens iron. You go against the best every day and it makes you a better player.”

If you want more on Epps, here’s an article I wrote about him recently.

Stay true and keep pounding,
Christopher


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Stadium Update: What Now?

Posted by Christopher Smith on June 23, 2010 – 2:18 PM

You may recall the town hall forum spearheaded by Mark Fabiani on May 19.

He pointed to a June 22 city council vote to approve or reject a study that would examine the viability of extending the redevelopment spending cap for the Centre City Development Corporation (CCDC), which soon will reach its allocated limit for downtown development funds. He called the vote critical to keep alive the team’s “last, best” option for a new stadium.

Well, the council approved the $500,000 study Tuesday with a unanimous vote.

So what now? Read more »


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Mason’s Tough Competition

Posted by Christopher Smith on June 23, 2010 – 11:36 AM

Marcus Mason has made a career at watching other NFL running backs push him to the waiver wire. He’s played and practiced behind six Pro Bowl backs in three years. Here’s a look at some of the teams he’s been with and how they did during those seasons.

2007

Washington Redskins Clinton Portis rushes for 1,262 yards and 11 touchdowns. Ladell Betts adds 335 yards and a touchdown. They combine for 563 receiving yards. Third back Rock Cartwright returns 52 kickoffs for 1,339 yards.

2008

Washington Redskins Portis rushes for 1,487 yards and nine TDs. Betts and Cartwright still are on the team, as is former MVP Shaun Alexander.

Baltimore Ravens Le’Ron McClain, Willis McGahee and Ray Rice combine for 2,027 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns. They catch 76 passes for 569 yards.

New York Jets Thomas Jones gains 1,132 yards and scores 13 TDs. Backup Leon Washington adds 448 yards (5.9 per carry) and six TDs. They generate 542 yards and four TDs as receivers.

2009

Washington Redskins  Portis, Cartwright, Betts and Quinton Ganther combine for 1,710 yards of total offense and eight TDs.

***

SELF-ASSESSMENT:I run with my eyes. I rarely lose a yard. So I help move the chains. I help my team by keeping the defense off the field.”

HOMETOWN WEATHER:As of right now, (Maryland) is way too humid for me. You can have a blizzard in the winter time or you can just be blazing hot. Other than that, yeah, Maryland’s a lovely place. I love San Diego because it’s always 70. Except for the little earthquakes that you’ll have. We just had one (recently).”

Stay true and keep pounding,
Christopher


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Gates Hosts Football Camp

Posted by Christopher Smith on June 23, 2010 – 10:35 AM

Chargers TE Antonio Gates returned to Detroit last week to host a football camp with Sound Body, Sound Mind.

More than 400 young people attended at Wayne State University on June 17-18.

Gates, who attended high school at Detroit Central, has a soft spot for kids whose lives are not burgeoning with opportunity.

No matter what circumstance that they’re in, you can always get out,” he told Fox 2 in Detroit. “Obviously, your physical ability is just one part of it, but the mental stage is where you have to make the progression.”

Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez and Michigan State coach Mike Dantonio also attended.

The organization encourages high school student-athletes to develop life skills and academics, not just sports. The players stayed overnight at the campus and got two full days of on-field instruction as well as discussions about life.

Stay true and keep pounding,
Christopher


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Goodman Praises Bowden

Posted by Christopher Smith on June 22, 2010 – 1:37 PM

A few seasons ago, Bobby Bowden and Joe Paterno were locked in a duel to become the winningest coach in Division I-FBS history.

A miserable last season, which induced a reluctant retirement out of Bowden after some soured on the direction of the Seminoles, made that seem like a distant memory.

An NCAA ruling recently vacated 12 wins from the 2006-07 seasons, but Bowden retired with an official record of 377-129-4, second behind Paterno all-time.

Here’s what Chargers WR Richard Goodman said about playing for Bowden from 2005-09:

It was a wonderful experience. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It’s a shame how he had to go out, but at the same time, that’s just the way things work. Everything will work out for the best. Coach Fisher, he’s going to do great things there, and Coach Bowden’s legacy will always be remembered.”

Stay true and keep pounding,
Christopher


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Roster Moves

Posted by Christopher Smith on June 21, 2010 – 1:16 PM

As you’ve heard by now, the Chargers released four players Monday.

Teams can carry a maximum of 80 players into training camp. The drafted rookies do not count toward the number until they sign contracts, nor do the restricted free agents that haven’t signed.

Including the rookies (only QB Jonathan Crompton has signed a contract thus far), the roster sits at 81 players after the most recent moves. The rookies do not report to camp for almost five more weeks.

The Chargers list two strong safeties without Kevin Ellison. They are Steve Gregory and draft pick Darrell Stuckey.

Stay true and keep pounding,
Christopher


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In Quotes: Last Week of OTAs

Posted by Christopher Smith on June 21, 2010 – 12:34 PM

About 45 players participated in the final week of OTAs last week, most of them rookies.

Here’s a look at what some of the Chargers’ draft picks, free agent rookies and young vets had to say and their evaluation of the offseason.

Ryan Mathews — “I think I’m on top of my game and ready to go, but there’s still a lot of stuff I need to learn. This upcoming month, July, is really going to help me out. If I just stay on top of everything, just keep working out and keep getting better, I’ll come back in July and be ready.”

Cam Thomas — “It really doesn’t matter until you put the pads on. It’s more mental than it is physical right now. It’s just getting the plays and understanding the philosophy of the defense. When the pads come on, that’s when we’ll tell who’s a man and who’s not. If you don’t like being physical, you shouldn’t play the sport. And I like being physical.”

Jeremy Williams — “I’ve been making as many catches as I can, doing everything as fast as I can and working hard. I think overall my OTAs went well. I’m just going to go back, get a couple days of rest, hang out with the family and then I’m going to get back on my grind. I’ll make sure I stay in shape and get ready for camp to come here and light it up.”

Antwan Applewhite — “What we try to take from it is not so much physicalness, but just the mental aspect of it. Just getting our minds back on football, getting our legs in football shape. That’s basically what we take from it, so that’s what the fans should take from it. It’s just kind of a pre-camp type thing. That’s why they call it Mini Camp. It’s just to kind of get us back into shape and get our minds ready to play football again in September.”

Dante Hughes — “This is a good time for us because we get an opportunity to play. That’s what we get paid to do and that’s what we enjoy doing, but at the same time, before training camp you definitely need that down time. You can get your body back if you have a knick or you’re bruised up a little bit. You can get those issues taken care of so that they don’t linger into the season. Plus, a lot of these guys have families. When the season rolls around, you’re not going to have much opportunity to enjoy them, so it’s a good time for us to get family time in also.”

Stay true and keep pounding,
Christopher


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