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Gary Guyton put together four stellar seasons from 2008-2011 to kick off his NFL career with the New England Patriots. The 6-foot-3, 245-pound linebacker recorded 229 tackles, five sacks, three fumble recoveries and three interceptions, including a 59-yard touchdown return. Guyton played in 60 NFL games and made 32 starts in the regular season and a pair in the postseason for the Patriots.
But as the months ticked away in the 2012 season, he remained without a job. And the reasoning behind that has him baffled.
“I have no idea why I wasn’t with a team to start the year,” he said. “I wish I knew the answer to that, but I can’t think of any reasons. That’s a question I’ve been asking a lot, but I guess that is just what the situation was. I’m confident in my abilities. I’ve shown throughout my career what I’m capable of doing. I’ve had a pretty decent career up until this point, so I feel pretty good about myself.”
He also feels good to be a San Diego Charger.
The Bolts signed the linebacker on Wednesday due to a variety of injuries suffered at the position over the last few weeks. Guyton feels fortunate to join a team chock full of players he already has a strong relationship with, as well as a defense that has been playing very well of late.
“They called my agent a couple days ago and told him they wanted me to be in San Diego,” Guyton said with a smile. “It feels good to be a San Diego Charger. I’m happy to be here. It’s a good group of guys. I knew a bunch of guys before I came here, like Ronnie (Brown), Aubrayo Franklin, Takeo Spikes and a bunch more. So it feels good to join them and be here.”
The Chargers have had a lot of success this season bringing in players who were without a team who’ve made big contributions immediately. Danario Alexander is the best example, joining the team prior to Week 8 to become one of the focal points of the team’s offense. In seven games, he has 33 catches for 555 yards and five touchdowns. Most recently, Bront Bird was brought in after being let go in training camp. Forced into action during the second half of Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh, Bird led the team with six tackles and had a big interception.
Now, Guyton looks to become the latest player to join the team and make an immediate impact. He thinks his natural skill set, familiarity with the defensive schemes and the guidance he’s already had from defensive coordinator John Pagano will make for a seamless transition on the field.
“It’s a 3-4 defense, so it’s a lot of the same reads,” he said. “I trust my experience I’ve gained from being in the league. Coach Pagano is a good coach. He’s a good coordinator. He’s a smart guy and a leader. He’s definitely taking me under his wing already. A good, tough-nose guy who I’m excited to play for. He’s a good teacher and he has me confident I’ll be able to play and contribute right away.”