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Q&A: Bryan Walters
SAN DIEGO – When Bryan Walters got hurt in the 2010 training camp, it seemed doubtful he’d ever see the field for the Chargers in the regular season.
With a new class of draft picks and free agents each year, injured and undrafted players without one play of NFL film are not exactly coveted.
Walters, though, rehabbed his injury and joined the practice squad late in the season after fellow receivers Seyi Ajirotutu (active roster) and Richard Goodman (injured) vacated their spots.
Walters joined informal practices led by Philip Rivers during the offseason, then caught fans’ attention early in the preseason with a 103-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. On Saturday, his 14-yard touchdown reception with three seconds left proved the game-winner as the Chargers beat the Cardinals, 34-31.
He’s in a crowded group of receivers auditioning for roster spots and has one final preseason game to make an impression on the coaching staff. He’ll answer questions from fans this week.
Robert Garcia; Oxnard, Calif.
What was your motivation this offseason, with the lockout going on and all the uncertainty?
Being in my spot I just had to come out ready to go. If you come in and you’re a step slow you never know what will happen to you. You have to come in and show the coaches that you prepared in the offseason and you’re ready. Being able to hit the ground running when that lockout ended was definitely my motivation.
Cody Young; Las Vegas
How much does it help having one the NFL’s elite QBs to ease the learning process?
I can’t tell you how helpful Philip (Rivers) has been. He’s going to pick you up, he’s going to find you on the field and he’s just an amazing guy to work with.
Matt Newell; Temecula, Calif.
With such a deep receiving corps, does it make you work that much harder to achieve your goals?
I don’t really think about how deep we are or anything. Every day I’m going out there and working hard no matter what. If I was the number one receiver or the number ten receiver, I’m going to work hard to get myself better and my team better in order to get ready for the next game.
Joey Principato; San Diego
In your few games with the Chargers there has been a similarity with your style and the style of Wes Welker. How would you compare yourself?
I think so. He’s got a good rapport with Tom Brady. Brady believes that if he throws it to Welker he’s going to catch it. If I’m running my route, I want Rivers and Billy (Volek) to know that if they throw it near me I’m going to catch it.
Dorian, Carillio; Moreno Valley, Calif.
What was more exciting for you personally this preseason, the 103-yard kickoff return or the last-second game-winner?
Probably the touchdown catch just because that won us the game and it’s always good get the win. We lost against Seattle, which was unfortunate, so being able to be a big part of that preseason win was exciting.
Sam McCranie; Panama City Beach, Fla.
Which teammate have you learned the most from, or who has been the biggest influence on you so far this preseason?
The three guys that I can point out are VJ (Vincent Jackson), Malcolm (Floyd) and Pat (Patrick Crayton). Every day they are helping me get better, giving me new tips and helping me with the offense.
Scott Cochran; Visalia, Calif.
What goes through a returner’s mind moments before catching a punt?
First off, just catch it. You don’t want to turn the ball over. Don’t worry about where you have to go before that. Catch it, possess it and then look downfield and see where you can go.
Nathaniel Inniss; Sanford, N.C.
What is the mindset of a player who is on a practice squad?
Every day you have to get out there and give the guys a good look. Last year I was wearing the jerseys of all the receivers on different teams. Sometimes we’ll go and watch film on those receivers and then go run routes like them. We study the little things, such as which foot they put forward. Anything to give the defense that game feel. It’s all about giving your guys the best look possible as to what they are going to see on Sunday.
Brian Reed; Santee, Calif.
What is the hardest thing to adjust to in the NFL?
For me it’s the playbook. It’s much thicker than what I had in college. You’re trying to learn it and also going up against much better guys. The playbook is much more complex and there’s so many different things going on.
Colby Labounty; Hunington Beach, Calif.
If you had the chance to travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and what makes that place special to you?
I don’t know what part but I want to go to Europe since I’ve never been out there. I’ve been all over the United States. Any suggestions for somewhere good to go in Europe would be awesome.
Ernie Padaon; San Diego
Has anyone ever told you that you look like Matt Damon?
Oh yeah, I’ve gotten that way too much.