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Forced Into Action, Haslam Steps Up
Less than two months ago, right tackle Kevin Haslam was signed to be a member of the San Diego Chargers practice squad. Sunday, he played considerable minutes for Jeromey Clary, who injured his knee early on the first offensive series of the game.
Haslam, who signed a two-year deal to be on the active roster a little more than a week ago, had been on the practice squad since Sept. 5 before filling the spot left open when left tackle Jared Gaither was placed on IR.
“I felt good to help out, just do my job, go out there and play a helping role in the offense,” Haslam said. “(I’m) just glad to have that opportunity. The O-line is the O-line. We have a couple injuries, so I mean we’ll work through it, but every team has injuries this late in the season.”
Haslam is in his third NFL season out of Rutgers, where he was signed as an undrafted rookie by the Jacksonville Jaguars. After spending two seasons in Jacksonville, he injured his knee in training camp in 2011 and spent the year on IR. He was waived by the Jaguars in March and was picked up by Oakland in May, before being waived at the end of training camp, at which point he signed with the Chargers.
Despite spending most of his time on the practice squad, Haslam was ready for when called upon.
“I was prepared,” Haslam said. “Studying film, all that stuff. Even on practice squad, it doesn’t matter, you still prepare the same exact way. We’ve all played games before, whether preseason or regular season, so everything’s a game, just go out and play your hardest.”
Head coach Norv Turner praised Haslam on Monday for his effort, but admitted there were times the young tackle looked out of place and unsure of himself.
“Haslam never played in a game as a San Diego Charger,” said Turner. “Kevin comes in and plays 66 plays. He competed and fought but there are certain things going on. There are things that are happening where he is not exactly sure what he is doing because he has not been here long enough.”
Still, with all the injuries suffered by the offensive line, it looks like Haslam will once again man one of the tackle positions this Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.